Top 5 Island Getaways that do not require a passport for U.S. travelers by Kelsey T.

If you love water, sunny skies, and exploring beautiful places, then an island vacation may be just what the doctor ordered for you. 

Don’t have a passport? Fear not! There are plenty of exciting places in the United States that you can visit without one. 

There are well over a hundred islands covering over at least 20 square miles each across the country.

With so many island options, you’ll have no problem finding a relaxing getaway.

We simplified this for you by compiling a list of our top five island getaways that do not require a passport for U.S. travelers. 

#1 Hawaiian Islands 

For most people living in the U.S. mainland, the tropical Hawaiian Islands feel otherworldly. While it is part of the U.S., these multicultural islands represent cultures from the entire world. 

Where to go: 

The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago including eight main islands: Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, and Niihau. Most of the city life is on Oahu, but all islands have spectacular natural beauty.  

Things to do: 

Hawaii has things to do for everyone! It is the hometown of surfing and is suitable for any watersports lover. You can snorkel with turtles, visit active volcanoes, and explore the islands’ lush natural beauty. 

What to eat: 

Top local foods include:

  • Poke (seasoned raw fish salad).
  • Poi (taro root paste).
  • Loco moco (hamburger patty with gravy and an egg over rice).
  • Spam musubi (spam sushi).
  • Other delicious global cuisines. 

#2 Puerto Rico 

If you want to visit Latin America passport-free, Puerto Rico is your spot. This tropical Caribbean island is full of beautiful scenery, vibrant culture, and historical charm. 

Where to go: 

Puerto Rico’s largest city and most popular tourist spot is the city of San Juan. However, other popular destinations on the island include Ponce, Fajardo, Rincon, and Arecibo, which all have natural beauty and charm. 

Things to do: 

San Juan has adventures for outdoor lovers and history enthusiasts alike. There are endless boating, paddle boarding, scuba, and surfing opportunities on the island. Visitors can also explore Old San Juan’s central district, old castles, and lighthouses. 

What to eat:

Puerto Rico has mouthwatering dishes for visitors to try that include mofongo (filled mashed plantains), lechón asado (suckling pig), arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and asopao de pollo (chicken soup). 

#3 Hilton Head 

Hilton Head is a resort island off South Carolina’s coast with plenty of southern charm and incredible scenery. It is a significant tourist destination with excellent golfing, biking, and beach life. 

Where to go: 

Hilton Head has numerous outdoor attractions, including the Pickney Island National Wildlife refuge, Coligny Beach, Driessen Beach Park, Burkes Beach, and the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Its town also offers excellent dining and shopping opportunities. 

Things to do: 

The island is a haven for golf lovers, with over 24 championship courses to enjoy. Other exciting activities include Dolphin tours, bike trails, the Arts Center of Cultural Carolina, and the Coastal Discovery Museum. 

What to eat:

Hilton Head specializes in fresh seafood. There are tasty shrimp and lobster rolls, and crab legs everywhere. Gullah cuisine is also influential here, so try some of its classics, including shrimp and grits and gumbo. 

#4 Mackinac Island 

If you want a destination that isn’t overflowing with chain hotels and cars, visit Mackinac Island in Michigan. Trip Advisor and USA Today rank Mackinac as a Top 10 U.S. Island. 

Where to go: 

The island is so small you can go everywhere. Mackinac has a thriving downtown with horse-drawn carriages, bikes, and pedestrians. There are also plenty of museums and natural formations to explore while visiting. 

Things to do: 

While many people visit the island to relax, there are plenty of activities. These activities include Historic Forts, unique golf courses, and bike paths. Don’t forget to try its excellent downtown fudge shops!

What to eat:

Aside from its famous fudge, the island offers numerous restaurant choices. Downtown has pancakes, pizza, burgers, and beer. If you’re looking for something upscale on the water, head to one of the resorts.  

#5 San Juan Islands  

If you can see yourself spending time with a herd of alpacas or picnicking in lavender fields, the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington might be your scene. 

Where to go: 

One hundred seventy-two islands are part of San Juan county. The three islands served by ferry include San Juan Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island, where most tourist activity and lodging reside.  

Things to do: 

While each island is unique, all three have excellent water activities, including kayaking, whale watching, or fishing. Outdoor lovers enjoy biking and hiking around these islands and enjoying the islands’ idyllic scenery. 

What to eat:

The San Juan Islands highly value the farm-to-table movement. You’ll find no shortage of fresh food options. The islands also have excellent wineries and vineyards to explore and have some flavorful wine. 


One thought on “Top 5 Island Getaways that do not require a passport for U.S. travelers by Kelsey T.

  1. These are all great travel destinations, and thanks for including what to eat. I know that I like to try out the seafood at any island location because it tends to be super fresh.

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