Longing for a tropical getaway on a far off island, but missing a passport? No need to worry, there are many incredible destinations you can access without the costly document. The U.S. has territories all over, from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean; these are the top tropical spots where Americans can visit without a passport.
Set in the Pacific Ocean, closer to the Philippines than the continental U.S., the Northern Mariana Islands might just be America’s best-kept travel secret. The 14 islands, only three of which are inhabited, were taken by the U.S. in 1944, following a victory over Japan in the battle of Saipan. Now a lesser-known tourist destination, the three populated islands: Saipan, Tinian and Rota manage to draw American travelers despite the remoteness. Look forward to forests full of wildlife and great diving opportunities—the Grotto is a must-see for experienced divers, home to sea turtles and reef sharks.
Who says you need to need to leave the continental U.S. to experience incredible tropics? Key West, the southernmost point in the continental U.S. offers beautiful beaches and breathtaking sunsets, no passport required. This beautiful spot at the southern tip of Florida truly has something for everyone, from those looking to chill out to those looking for an all-out party. Shopping, excellent bars and restaurants and top accommodation make Key West a tropical paradise—minus the hassle of international travel.
This top tropical travel spot is an unincorporated territory of the U.S., which means U.S. residents can visit without a passport. The hassle-free travel terms, cheap airfare from the East Coast and Caribbean setting make this island a top spot for American travelers. Experience the best of both worlds—roam the city streets of San Juan and then visit the nearby island of Vieques for stunning beaches and a bioluminescent bay.
Few destinations are as untouched, naturally beautiful and culturally intact as American Samoa. Comprised of five volcanic islands along with a pair of atolls, American Samoa sits northeast of Fiji and draws adventurous travelers year-round. National Park of American Samoa is an incredible glimpse into the natural world of the South Pacific—both in and out of the water.
Want to explore the British Virgin Islands, even though you don’t have a passport? According to the U.S. Passport Service Guide, Americans can explore foreign territory by way of a closed-loop cruise as long as they have a government issued ID and a birth certificate. Be aware, though, that some cruises will require a passport and some destinations won’t allow travelers off the ship without a passport. It’s always best to check into the specifics of a trip to ensure you won’t need a passport.
Less than 50 miles off the coast of California, Catalina Island is a picture perfect escape that happens to be part of the U.S. Visit without a passport, via boat or private plane or helicopter, and enjoy adventures like kayaking, hiking or zip lining. When you’re looking to unwind, head to the spa, soak up sun on the beach or dine at one of the many great spots in Avalon or Two Harbors.
The quintessential American tropical retreat, Hawaii has an undeniable allure to all kinds of travelers. The eight main islands each have their own vibe and appeal—from The Big Island, which is full of adventure, to the bustling paradise of Oahu. Everyone can find their own version of tropical paradise in Hawaii and you won’t even need a passport.
Best known for its use by the U.S. military, the island of Guam is making its way into the tourism arena. The island became an American territory after WWII and evidence of the war still lingers. Scenic vistas, interesting villages and excellent SCUBA diving make this a tropical travel gem and a visit to the War in the Pacific National Historical Park is a must.
Another way to splash in the waters of the Caribbean Sea without paying for a passport is to plan a visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Set a little more than 100 miles east of Puerto Rico, the three main islands—St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John—offer a little something for everyone. The islands accept U.S. currency, making travel that much easier, but don’t mistake these Islands for the British Virgin Islands, as you’ll need a passport to enter those islands.