Escape to paradise islands without passport renewal hassle. These breathtaking getaways offer sun, sand, adventure and culture—no passport required.
Swaying palms, pristine beaches, the caress of warm tropical breezes; a no-passport-required vacation delivers all the elements of an exotic getaway. As U.S. territories, these destinations welcome American travelers with open arms.
Part of the allure is just how easy it is. No foreign currency, no language barriers, no lengthy customs lines. And in many cases, you’ll enjoy the flavor of the Caribbean islands while paying less for flights and hotels.
Top 10 Paradise Islands Without Passport
Relax on Dazzling Beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands rank among the top vacation spots in the Caribbean. Situated about 1,100 miles southeast of Miami, this paradise trio—St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John—combines talcum-powder sand, bathtub-warm water and gently swaying palms.
You can spend your days enveloped by brilliant blue water and expansive skies. Snorkel over coral reefs festooned with tropical fish. Kayak through crystalline bays and lagoons. Sip rum-based cocktails under the stars.
And when you’re ready for a change of pace, tee off at a scenic golf course, go horseback riding through the rain forest or shop for deals on diamonds, watches and liquor.
Top Best Beaches
With so much shoreline, the USVI are legendary for picturesque stretches of sand lapped by gentle surf.
- Trunk Bay, St. John. This postcard-perfect beach consistently lands a spot on best beaches lists. And no wonder—its turquoise water, white sand shoreline and underwater snorkeling trail never fail to impress.
- Lindquist Beach, St. Thomas. Just minutes from cruise port Charlotte Amalie, Lindquist offers exceptionally calm water and powdery sand with plenty of room to spread out. The views across to other Virgin Islands add to the appeal.
- Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, St. Croix. On the island’s western tip, this beach remains blissfully undeveloped. Kick back in a hammock slung between shady sea grape trees after swimming in the usually waveless water.
Getting there ╰┈➤
American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, United and other major carriers operate flights to St. Thomas (STT) and St. Croix (STX). Ferries and seaplanes connect the islands.
When you’re ready to relax on sugary sand without leaving the country, start planning your dream trip to America’s Paradise Islands.
Soak Up Puerto Rican Hospitality and Sunshine
Lively San Juan pulses with nightclubs, historic sites and upscale resorts—it’s Puerto Rico’s cosmopolitan highlight. Beyond the capital, the island unfurls beaches, rainforests and small towns with vibrant art and culture scenes.
Zipline over a tropical forest. Snorkel a bioluminescent bay that glitters after dark. Tour a historic Spanish fort. Then dig into mouthwatering mofongo (mashed plantains) and arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas).
Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders
Puerto Ricans have endured their share of hardships, including damage from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and earthquakes in 2020. Tourism plays a vital role in the island’s recovery. By visiting, you can help this lovely destination get back on its feet.
Top things to do
- Wander the blue-cobbled streets of Old San Juan. Soak up 500 years of history at El Morro and San Cristóbal forts.
- Catch unbeatable Atlantic views on a hike through El Yunque National Forest’s waterfall-laced trails.
- Grab a tube or boogie board and ride waves at Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla.
Ease of travel
Multiple airlines connect major U.S. hubs with San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
Getting around ╰┈➤
Outside San Juan, it helps to have a rental car for flexible island-hopping. But public vans, ferries and buses also crisscross the island.
Lose Yourself in Hawaiian Beauty
With emerald valleys, golden sands and an erupting volcano, Hawaii fires the imagination. As the southernmost state, its position 2,500 miles from California gives a castaway feel—and explaining why Hawaiians have nurtured their own traditions.
Beyond postcard-worthy beaches, get your adrenaline pumping at what was once the world’s largest volcano.
Watch humpback whales breach offshore. Wander tropical gardens said to have inspired Jurassic Park. Sample sashimi, shave ice and plate lunches like a local.
- Marvel at molten lava flowing from Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island.
- Road trip along Hana Highway on Maui, stopping to hike waterfalls and lounge on red- and black-sand beaches.
- Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial honoring those killed in Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.
The six major islands—Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island—all receive direct flights from the mainland U.S.
Once there, interisland flights on Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air connect the dots. Ferries also operate between some islands.
Find Eco-Adventure in American Samoa
Around 100 miles south of Samoa stretches beautiful American Samoa, a true paradise with beaches, welcoming people and vibrant marine life.
Spread across seven South Pacific islands, American Samoa numbers fewer than 60,000 residents plus oodles of swaying coconut trees. Tutuila, the main island, holds the capital Pago Pago, tranquil beaches and superb diving.
Independent Samoa lies a short flight away when you’re ready for a two-country vacation. Just bring your passport for that portion.
- Swim with sea turtles and spotted eagle rays at Aunu’u Island.
- Tour battlefields and bunkers from WWII’s Pacific campaign.
- Explore Polynesian culture and traditions at Jean P. Haydon Museum.
One weekly flight connects Honolulu with Pago Pago International Airport on Tutuila.
A better option for Americans: Fly to Apia, Samoa (via Auckland or Sydney) and then catch a quick hop over to Pago Pago.
Discover History and Beaches in Key West
Florida’s southernmost point floats in a turquoise sea just 90 miles from Cuba. Key West travels to the beat of its own drum with a funky, come-as-you-are vibe.
Days unfold at a leisurely pace, with plenty of time for sipping rum cocktails and admiring pastel-hued Conch-style architecture.
Wander the home where Ernest Hemingway penned classics like For Whom the Bell Tolls. Paddle morning glass-flat waters. Or simply claim a sun lounger on South Beach’s restorative white sand.
- Watch the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square. Street performers set the scene for bold hues spreading across the horizon.
- Tour the studio-turned-museum where Hemingway lived and worked in the 1930s. See where the famed novelist typed many of his greatest works.
- Snorkel or dive the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which teems with tropical fish and coral.
Key West International Airport receives regular nonstop flights from major cities across the U.S. The Overseas Highway connects the Keys to mainland Florida.
Submerge in U.S. Virgin Islands History
History lives on St. Croix, from ruins of sugar plantations to restored 18th-century buildings in Christiansted. Buck Island’s national monument protects waters where snorkelers commune with sea turtles. Rain forest-cloaked Salt River Bay National Park recounts Columbus’ 1493 Caribbean landing.
Beyond exploring the past, make time for St. Croix’s idyllic beaches, water sports and island cuisine. Accommodations run from big resorts to cozy inns and Airbnb apartments.
- Buck Island Reef National Monument. Snorkel the underwater trail to glimpse coral gardens and sea turtles.
- Salt River Bay National Historical Park. This Columbus landing site holds mangrove forests and a mile-long beach.
- Cane Bay Wall. Scuba divers descend along this submerged cliff, revealing coral-encrusted walls thronged with tropical fish.
American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, United and other major carriers operate direct flights to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport. Seaplanes and ferries connect with St. Thomas and St. John.
Experience California’s Channel Islands
Float between Ventura or Los Angeles and gorgeous Channel Islands National Park on a high-speed ferry or helicopter ride. Comprising five islands, this coastal sanctuary safeguards wildlife, archaeological sites and unique geology.
Kayak sea caves on Santa Cruz. Camp beneath starry skies on Anacapa. Snorkel with seals and sea lions around San Miguel. Wander beside the skeleton of a pygmy mammoth on Santa Rosa.
Top things to see and do
- Spot whales on an Island Packers cruise or from shore on remote San Miguel.
- Watch rangers feed orphaned elephant seals at Point Bennett on San Miguel, then hike the island’s grassy hills for sweeping views.
- Camp at Del Norte on Santa Rosa, exploring beaches strewn with driftwood in the day and stars at night. Walk to legendary 0.5-mile-long Water Canyon beach.
Island Packers runs daily year-round boat tours and seasonal ferries from Ventura. Channel Islands Aviation flies helicopters and planes from Camarillo and LAX.
Tour Coastal Forts in Puerto Rico
Two massive fortresses—San Felipe del Morro and San Cristóbal—protect Old San Juan like titans guarding a treasure. Both achieved UNESCO status for their vital coastal defense from the 17th–19th centuries.
Wander ramparts while harbor waves crash below. Follow narrow tunnels linking interior rooms. Examine soldier graffiti etched into walls. Then stroll El Morro’s sweeping lawns and explore centuries-old Santa María Magdalena de Pazzi Cemetery next door.
You can even thrill kids by firing miniature cannon—before hitting up happy hour with Caribbean sunset views!
- San Cristóbal Fort. Puerto Rico’s largest fort housed soldiers until as recently as the 1960s. Take in panoramas of city skyscrapers from the lighthouse overlook.
- San Juan National Historic Site. Comprising forts San Cristóbal and El Morro plus 19th-century city gates, it vividly relays more than 400 years of military history and architecture.
The forts sit at the northeastern tip of the Isleta de San Juan, accessed from the capital’s historic old town.
Feel Your Pulse Quicken in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Fiery lava flows and steamy sulfur banks bring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to life—especially when Kilauea erupts. By day, stop at sea cliffs to scan horizon views encompassing recent and historic flows. After dark, cruise Crater Rim Drive to sight vivid lava trickling toward the sea.
This park isn’t just about volcanic activity though. Hike through cinder cones and native rainforest. Explore native Hawaiian heritage on the Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau refuge. Discover petroglyphs etched into pahoehoe lava dating back thousands of years.
- Halemaumau Crater. Earthquakes and eruptions often shift the landscape, but sunrise glow reflecting off this crater’s steep walls always proves magical.
- Thurston Lava Tube. Cool off while descending through this tree-shaded natural tunnel formed by an ancient flow. Its smooth floor makes for easy walking.
- Puʻu Loa Petroglyphs. Get up close with rock carvings left by Hawaiians centuries—perhaps millennia—ago during rituals, surfing or epic journeys.
Bring sunscreen, water, layered clothing, sunglasses and sturdy footwear for day hiking beside steaming vents and over uneven lava flows.
Marvel at Coral Reefs in St. John
Two-thirds of St. John gleams as protected Virgin Islands National Park—all glittering bays, emerald hills, wild donkeys and low-key resorts like Cinnamon Bay Campground. Snorkeling and diving the encircling coral reef reveals spotted eagle rays, sea turtles and clouds of reef fish.
Splash at Trunk Bay’s underwater snorkeling trail through waving fan coral. Scramble over boulders beside ethereal Reef Bay. Kayak mangrove waterways at Hurricane Hole. Then toast sunsets with painkillers or rum punch alongside islanders and salty sea dogs.
No wonder St. John makes frequent appearances on “world’s best island” lists!
- Trunk Bay. Ideal for beginners and families, Trunk’s 225-yard underwater trail has line markers and signs identifying coral and fish.
- Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins. Rise beside towering stone remains of this 18th-century windmill, occasionally used as an outdoor theater.
- Reef Bay Trail. Descend this rugged early Danish thoroughfare to a petroglyph-carved rock shelter overlooking the gravestones of enslaved plantation workers.
St. John receives flights from San Juan and St. Thomas. Ferries ply the Pillsbury Sound, while water taxis access smaller bays.
Disconnect from Civilization on Water Island
Looking for a castaway Caribbean escape without venturing overseas? Sail across Pillsbury Sound to reach Water Island, St. Thomas’ sleepy neighbor. Ringed by reef, this American Paradise island has honeymoon appeal with just a few resort cottages sprinkled around its two beaches.
Laze beneath rustling palms that punctuate grassy green hillsides. Snorkel crystal waterssheltering sea turtles and nurse sharks. Watch megayachts parade into Charlotte Amalie harbor across the channel. Then dig into fresh spiny lobster at the Caribbean-chic Water Island Adventures cafe.
- Charter boats and paddleboards for exploring untamed coves and bays.
- Splash on mellow Honeymoon Beach before connecting coral gardens and reefs while snorkeling.
- Trek to brick ruins of a circa-1800 plantation great house smothered in bougainvillea for timeless photo opps.
Ferries for Water Island meet arriving flights at Cyril E. King Airport on nearby St. Thomas multiple times daily.
Island Hop Along Alaska’s Inside Passage
No passport? No problem! Explore Alaska’s glacier-draped Inside Passage by “closed-loop” cruise ship. Departing from Seattle, Vancouver or other West Coast cities, navigate island-dotted straits shared by whales, sea lions and puffins from the comfort of your ocean liner before returning to your port of call.
Popular ports of call
- Ketchikan. This salmon capital makes a delightful stop to visit historic Creek Street built overwater, watch seaplanes take off or sample succulent Dungeness crab.
- Juneau. Basecamp to immense Mendenhall Glacier and close to gold rush attraction Gold Creek, Juneau also offers an optional excursion to see bears catching spawning salmon.
- Skagway. Step back to 1898 Klondike Gold Rush days wandering this restored frontier town that once served as a launch point for prospectors seeking fortune in them thar hills!
Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival operate weeklong roundtrip “closed loop” Alaska cruises out of Seattle, Vancouver and other ports.
Now escape to paradise without leaving the country! Sandy beaches, verdant landscapes and vibrant culture await on these easy no-passport-required vacations.