No one loves an island escape more than I do. And while a large part of my content is far flung destinations, or at least ones that require a passport for entry, there are actually a good number of incredible islands you do not need a passport for as a US citizen.
The United States is an extremely large country with plenty of its own islands and overseas territories that do not require a passport to visit.
Whether you are looking for a Caribbean style island, midwestern getaway, east coast, west coast, or even islands in the south – there is something for everyone.
This is not a full list, just some of my favorites!
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10 Islands US Citizens Can Visit Without A Passport
Oahu is an island located in the state of Hawaii, which is a part of the United States. It is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is also the most populous of them all.
Oahu is known for its outstanding beaches, larger than life landscapes, and rich cultural history.
Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, is located on the island of Oahu. The city is a major tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year.
Some of the popular attractions in Oahu include Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, the North Shore, Pearl Harbor, the various hikes and waterfalls, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. You could easily put together an Oahu itinerary that makes you feel worlds away from home.
Oahu is also home to a number of important historical and cultural sites, including the Iolani Palace, which is the only royal palace in the United States. Not to be confused with the “Pink Palace” aka The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
Other notable cultural sites include the Bishop Museum, the Mission Houses Museum, and the Honolulu Museum of Art.
In addition to its cultural attractions, Oahu is known for its natural beauty. The island is home to numerous beaches, mountains, and hiking trails.
Some of the popular outdoor destinations on the island include the North Shore, which is known for its big waves and world-famous surf spots, and the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, which is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.
When the sun goes down, Oahu has a thriving nightlife scene that should not be missed.
Because Oahu is part of the United States, you do not need a passport to visit, despite its location in the Pacific Ocean.
Whether you are interested in exploring Hawaiian culture, relaxing on the beach, discovering incredible food, or enjoying outdoor adventures, Oahu has something to offer all its visitors!
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean Island and a territory of the United States.
The island is known for its gorgeous blue beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture. There are so many things to do Puerto Rico to keep you busy exploring the island.
San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico, is a popular tourist destination and it is known for its historic architecture, including the 16th-century fortifications of El Morro and La Fortaleza, which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Other popular attractions in San Juan include the colorful streets of Old San Juan, the beautiful beaches of Condado and Isla Verde, and the lively nightlife scene.
Beyond San Juan, Puerto Rico offers a variety of other attractions.
The El Yunque National Forest is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers, with its lush rainforest and numerous waterfalls.
The island is also home to several beautiful beaches, including Flamenco Beach on the island of Culebra, which is often ranked among the best beaches in the world.
Puerto Rico has a rich culture and history that is reflected in its food, music, and art.
The island is also a thriving foodie destination, dishes not to miss include: lechon, mofongo, and arroz con gandules.
Puerto Rican music, including salsa and reggaeton, is famous around the world.
The island is also home to several art museums and galleries, including the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico.
In addition to its cultural and natural attractions, Puerto Rico is also a popular destination for outdoor adventures such as kayaking, ziplining, and surfing.
You could also visit Vieques and Culebra, two additional islands that are part of Puerto Rico.
Overall, Puerto Rico offers a unique and diverse destination that blends the natural beauty of the Caribbean with a rich cultural heritage.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Martha’s Vineyard is an island located off the coast of Massachusetts in the northeastern United States.
It is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, charming towns, and picturesque landscapes. Martha’s Vineyard is made up of six towns, each with its own unique character and attractions.
Visitors can explore the island’s historic lighthouses, such as the Gay Head Lighthouse, or take a stroll through the charming streets of towns like Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, which are filled with shops, restaurants, and galleries.
One of the most popular activities on Martha’s Vineyard is beach-going, with visitors coming to enjoy the clear waters and sandy shores of beaches such as South Beach, Katama Beach, and Menemsha Beach.
The island is also a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and kayaking.
Martha’s Vineyard is known for its rich culture and history. The island has a number of historic landmarks and buildings, including the 19th-century gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs and the 18th-century Whaling Church in Edgartown.
Visitors can explore the island’s art and culture scene through galleries and museums such as the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
One of the unique features of Martha’s Vineyard is its commitment to sustainability and preserving the island’s natural beauty. Visitors can explore local farms and vineyards or take a tour of the island’s many conservation areas and wildlife sanctuaries.
Overall, Martha’s Vineyard is a charming and picturesque destination that offers a mix of natural beauty, culture, and history. It’s a great place to relax and soak up the island’s laid-back atmosphere.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island is a small island located in the Midwest, in the state of Michigan, within the United States. Located between the upper and lower peninsulas in Lake Huron.
One thing that always shocks visitors is the crystal clear blue water around areas of the island, but this is not unusual for Michigan. There are several lakes that have waters that look like they are Caribbean blues.
It is known for its scenic beauty (Arch Rock is the best), scenic biking and hiking trails, historic architecture, and lack of motorized vehicles.
Once visitors arrive, they are greeted by a charming, old-world atmosphere.
Mackinac Island is a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming to explore its historic sites, scenic beauty, and fudge shops. While the best time to visit Mackinac Island is during the summer months when everything is open, there are perks to visiting at different times.
One of the most popular attractions on the island is the Mackinac Island State Park, which covers over 80% of the island’s land area and includes historic buildings, gardens, and scenic trails.
Another popular attraction on the island is the Grand Hotel, which is a historic hotel that has been visited by a number of famous figures throughout its history, including Mark Twain and five U.S. Presidents.
Visitors can also enjoy several outdoor activities on the island, including biking, hiking, and kayaking. Two popular events on the island are the Lilac Festival when the island blooms and the yacht races.
Even though the island is small (about eight miles around) most businesses sit along the main street of the island, with the Grand Hotel and Mission Point Resort occupying the end of each side.
One of the most unique features of Mackinac Island is its ban on motorized vehicles. Instead, visitors and locals alike get around the island by bike, horse-drawn carriage, or on foot.
This gives the island a peaceful and nostalgic atmosphere that is hard to find in many other tourist destinations.
Overall, Mackinac Island is a charming and picturesque destination that offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and quaint small-town charm.
Santa Catalina Island, California
Santa Catalina Island is a small island located off the coast of Southern California (just an hour and a half by boat), in the United States.
It is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historic architecture, which some people refer to the island as “Little Italy” because they feel it looks similar.
The island is accessible by ferry, helicopter, or private boat, and once visitors arrive, they are greeted by a laid-back, coastal atmosphere.
Santa Catalina Island is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with visitors coming to enjoy activities like hiking, the stunning blue waters of Descanso Beach, kayaking, and snorkeling. However, there are sharks in the area, so always be on the lookout.
One of the most popular attractions on the island is the Avalon Harbor, which is a picturesque harbor that is home to a number of restaurants, shops, and galleries.
Another popular attraction on the island is the Catalina Island Museum, which tells the story of the island’s history and culture.
Visitors can also explore the island’s historic architecture, including the iconic Casino Building, which was built in 1929 and now serves as a venue for concerts and events.
One of the most unique features of Santa Catalina Island is its abundant marine life.
Visitors can go on guided snorkeling or diving trips to explore the vibrant underwater world around the island, which includes colorful fish, sea stars, and even sea lions. Just keep an eye out for the sharks.
Overall, Santa Catalina Island is a charming and relaxing destination that offers a mix of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historic charm.
Pro tip – plan your trip and activities before you arrive or you may feel like you have nothing to do.
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
St. Thomas is one of the three main islands that make up the United States Virgin Islands, a Caribbean territory of the United States.
The island is known for its beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and vibrant Caribbean flare.
St. Thomas is a popular destination for tourists, with visitors coming to enjoy activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the clear waters surrounding the island.
Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Magens Bay, Lindquist Beach, and Sapphire Beach, all of which offer stunning views and opportunities for water sports.
Beyond its beautiful beaches, St. Thomas is also known for its rich history and culture.
The island has a number of historic landmarks and buildings, including the 17th-century Fort Christian, which now serves as a museum, and Blackbeard’s Castle, a historic site that is said to have been used by the famous pirate in the 18th century.
In addition to its historic sites, St. Thomas also has a vibrant music and arts scene, with a number of local artists and musicians showcasing their talents in galleries and venues around the island.
Visitors can also enjoy a variety of local cuisine, which is a fusion of Caribbean and international flavors.
St. Thomas is a popular port of call for cruise ships, and visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and tours, such as island-hopping excursions to nearby St. John and the British Virgin Islands (you will need a passport to visit the British Virgin Islands).
Overall, St. Thomas is a beautiful and lively destination that offers a mix of natural beauty, culture, and history.
Maui is an island located in the state of Hawaii, in the United States. It is the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands and is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and laid-back atmosphere.
Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Kaanapali Beach, Wailea Beach, and Kapalua Bay, all of which offer crystal-clear waters and opportunities for water sports like snorkeling, diving, whale watching, and more.
Beyond its beautiful beaches, Maui is also known for its stunning landscapes and natural wonders. The perfect Maui itinerary will include a mix of everything the island has to offer.
The island is home to Haleakala National Park, which encompasses the massive Haleakala Volcano and offers visitors breathtaking views of the island’s outstanding beauty.
Visitors can also take a drive along the Road to Hana, a scenic route that winds through lush rainforests, various hiking trails, a black sand beach, a red sand beach, and by cascading waterfalls.
In addition to its natural beauty, Maui is also known for its rich culture and history.
The island has a number of historic landmarks and buildings, including the 19th-century Lahaina town, which was once a bustling whaling village and is now a vibrant tourist destination with galleries, shops, and restaurants.
Maui is also a popular destination for foodies, with a variety of local cuisine that features fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and other local ingredients.
Visitors can also enjoy a variety of local festivals and events, including the Maui Onion Festival, the Maui Film Festival, and the Maui County Fair.
Overall, Maui is a beautiful and diverse destination that offers a mix of natural beauty, culture, and outdoor activities. It’s a great place to relax and soak up the Hawaiian atmosphere or to get out and explore the island’s many attractions.
South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is a popular resort town located in the southern tip of Texas, USA.
It is situated on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, and is a popular destination for beach-goers and vacationers looking to soak up some sun and enjoy the warm waters of the Gulf.
The island is around 34 miles long and 1.5 miles wide at its widest point. It is connected to the mainland by the Queen Isabella Causeway, which spans the Laguna Madre Bay.
The island is home to several miles of sandy beaches, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Laguna Madre Bay on the other.
Some of the popular activities on South Padre Island include swimming, sunbathing, fishing, kayaking, parasailing, surfing, and windsurfing.
The island also has several water parks, museums, and other attractions for visitors of all ages.
South Padre Island is known for its spring break culture, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. It is also home to several annual events, including the Sandcastle Days, the Texas International Fishing Tournament, and the South Padre Island Kite Fest.
Overall, South Padre Island is a popular destination for those seeking a fun-filled beach vacation in a beautiful setting.
Key West, Florida
Key West is an island located at the southernmost point of the United States, in the state of Florida.
It is a popular tourist destination known for its mostly year round warm weather, lively bar scene, and water activities.
Key West has a rich history, having been a center of commerce and trade for much of its early history.
Today, the island is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, with a variety of galleries, theaters, and museums that showcase the island’s unique history and culture.
One of the most popular attractions on the island is the famous Duval Street, which is lined with restaurants, shops, and bars. Day and night visits are very different.
Visitors can also explore historic landmarks such as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum (where six toed cats live on site), which was once the home of the famous writer, and the Key West Lighthouse, which offers panoramic views of the island.
Key West is also a popular destination for outdoor activities, with visitors coming to enjoy activities such as snorkeling, sailing, diving, and fishing in the clear waters surrounding the island.
While Key West isn’t exaclt known for its beaches, some of the most visited beaches on the island include Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach, and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.
Overall, Key West is a lively and unique destination that offers a mix of history, culture, and outdoor activities. It’s a great place to relax and soak up the Florida sun or to explore the island’s many attractions and events.
Island of Hawaii – the Big Island
The Big Island of Hawaii, also known as Hawaii Island or simply Hawaii, is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and is in the Central Pacific Ocean. It covers an area of 4,028 square miles and is home to a population of around 200,000 people.
The island is known for its diverse landscape, which includes active volcanoes, black sand beaches, lush rainforests, a green sand beach, incredible hikes and waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains.
Hawaii is known for being relaxing and has a variety of incredible resorts on the beach to stay at.
The Big Island is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, which are part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park offers visitors the opportunity to witness some of the most incredible natural wonders on Earth, including active lava flows and steam vents.
The island is also known for its cultural and historical significance. It was once home to powerful Hawaiian monarchs, and ancient ruins and petroglyphs can still be found on the island.
Today, the island is home to a thriving Hawaiian culture, with traditional music, dance, and crafts still being practiced and celebrated.
Some popular activities on the island include visiting the beaches, snorkeling, golfing, scuba diving, hiking, chasing waterfalls, and whale watching.
Overall, the Big Island of Hawaii is a unique and fascinating destination that offers something for everyone, from adventure seekers to history buffs to those seeking a relaxing beach vacation.
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