A breezy island vacation doesn’t always require a trip through customs. We found 8 of the most exotic spots every American citizen is free to enjoy without any extra hassles or red tape. Some won’t even require a plane ride.
Craving the glamour of the city and the call of the wild? This US territory offers gorgeous hikes, secluded beaches, traditional villages, and historic sites. Aside from the rustic, there’s plenty of luxury shopping, multicultural cuisine, and trendy nightlife spots in the district of Tumon in Tamuning. You really can have the best of both worlds.
Find a Mediterranean-inspired vacation spot just 22 miles off the coast of California. While the island offers plenty of outdoor activities, shopping, and fine dining, most of Catalina is protected land. This gives you access to unspoiled hiking trails, campgrounds, and beaches. You’ll get a glimpse of the island’s bison population, which were originally brought to the island for a film production and have called it home ever since.
Looking for something off the beaten path? American Samoa is the perfect getaway for rugged activities and relaxing slower-paced villages. You’ll find few comforts of home, but you’ll reap the benefits of seemingly untouched volcanic mountains, lush rainforests, and quiet beaches. Many traditional Samoan customs are still practiced, including observing Sunday as a day of rest.
Want the most accessible exotic vacation? The southernmost point in the US, Key West is actually closer to Havana than Miami. Luckily, though, you can get here (and to the other nearby keys) by car. A colorful spot, Key West offers plenty of outdoor activities, debaucherous nightlife, and high-brow exhibitions. Moreover, its laidback state of mind makes it a well-known spot for LGBT travelers.
Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice. There’s no shortage of adventures to be had here. Spend an afternoon scuba diving through a shipwrecked World War II vessel, cliff jumping, or golfing at one of the area’s many courses. You’ll also find plenty of historic World War II sites to tour and luxury pads to rest your head.
For an authentic Caribbean vacation, head to the US Virgin Islands. Much like other Caribbean destinations, you’ll get white sand beaches and turquoise waters but here you’ll get three islands with different experiences. Looking for a life of leisure? St. Croix’s island time lifestyle is the perfect way to relax. For the adventurous, 60% of St. John is reserved for the Virgin Island National Park. Get away from it all on rugged hikes, lounge on hidden beaches, or get a glimpse of local wildlife. The most populated of the islands, St. Thomas offers plenty of shopping and dining.
Puerto Rico offers an abundance of unique experiences throughout its cities and regions. History buffs will enjoy the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan and its colonial sites. Adventurers will love exploring one of the world’s largest underground rivers or spearfishing. The village of La Parguera offers incredible experiences like kayaking through mangrove islets and the wonder of bioluminescent bays.
No list of exotic American locales would be complete without Hawaii. If you’re well-versed in the Hawaiian landscape, try one of the lesser developed islands. Kauai presents plenty of challenges for even the seasoned outdoors enthusiast with wonderous rewards. Some difficult treks lead to the island’s best beaches, waterfalls, and cliffside views.