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There are several exciting destinations to choose from when booking tropical vacations in the U.S. A seaside escape is always at your fingertips, from California to the Carolinas to crystal clear Caribbean waters. Whether looking for a fun summer getaway or a brief escape from the cold, you won’t need to look far for fun in the sun and sand.
Luckily for you, your next trip to paradise doesn’t even require a passport. Consider these eight tropical U.S. vacations when planning your upcoming travel.
1. Key West, Florida
Early explorers dubbed it “Cayo Hueso” — Bone Island. However, today’s Key West is a far cry from the indigenous and pirate burial ground it used to be. Key West is a charming beach town at the southernmost tip of Florida. Touched by lively Caribbean culture and colorful Cuban architecture, you’ll love walking its charming streets with palm tree canopies.
Spend your afternoon sipping on frozen cocktails and watch Mallory Square come to life at night. You won’t run out of things to do and see — from outdoor water excursions to shopping, dining and museums. Stop by the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum, Hemingway House and Key Lime Pie Factory first.
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, has everything you want in a tropical vacation — breathtaking beaches, a rich history, good food and plenty of entertainment. It oozes the feeling you get when traveling internationally. Yet, you can leave your passport at home for this tropical U.S. vacation.
San Juan boasts remarkable landmarks like the Castillo San Cristóbal, Puerta de San Juan and the San Juan National Historic Site. Many visitors also look forward to Old San Juan’s brightly-colored buildings along cobblestone streets, trendy bars and eateries.
3. Lanai, Hawaii
Nature lovers flock to Lanai, Hawaii, and with good reason. This tropical U.S. destination spans 89,000 acres of countryside with only 30 miles of paved roads. Not to mention, there aren’t any stoplights.
Those visiting Lanai take advantage of its 18 miles of coastline, where they spend the day surfing, hiking, horseback riding and playing golf. Before you leave, visit one of the many eclectic shops for island souvenirs to take back home.
4. Coronado Island, California
A short distance from San Diego, Coronado Island is the perfect tropical getaway in Southern California. Visitors come for the casual Mediterranean vibe, pristine beaches and abundant shops, restaurants and entertainment.
Orange Avenue is where you can find all the fun — and if you genuinely want to explore Coronado Island the right way, rent a beach cruiser to get around. Then, enjoy watching the sunset over San Diego’s skyline in the evening.
5. U.S. Virgin Islands
The USVI comprises three islands — St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. But how did they make the list? That’s right — you won’t need papers to step foot onto these domestic islands.
St. Thomas is the largest of the three islands, where you can try the local cuisine and feast your eyes on local artwork. You’ll find plenty more to do on St. Croix and St. John, including swimming in the Carambola tide pools, snorkeling and scuba diving in coral reefs. About 92% of USVI residents deem coral reefs essential to their culture.
Aim to visit in the Spring when the Carnival festival is underway — an annual extravaganza with music, food, art, dance and performances. You’ll likely recognize the vibrant, feathered costumes worn by the women.
6. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Located only 20 minutes from Historic Downtown Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach has quickly earned recognition as one of North Carolina’s top beach destinations. Rent a beach house, eat on the pier, surf and cruise along the barrier islands for full days of sunshine and collecting seashells.
If you’re up for it, Kure Beach and Carolina Beach are two other popular seaside towns in Wilmington, only 40 minutes away from Wrightsville Beach. A quick drive over Memorial Bridge will also give you access to Brunswick County’s breathtaking coastline just north of Myrtle Beach.
7. Gulf Shores, Alabama
You may not have considered Alabama to be home to one of the best tropical vacations in the U.S., but the city of Gulf Shores is hard to beat. Stay at one of Gulf Shores’ palm tree resorts, where you can split your time between the beach and the pool.
There is plenty of outdoor fun to be had in Gulf Shores. Most visitors enjoy exploring Gulf State Park, fishing and walking around the town’s many historical sites. Adventure seekers may also decide to go kayaking, sailing or jet skiing.
Plan your trip right, and you’ll be around for the Annual National Shrimp Festival in October. This popular event draws 300,000 people every year, with 100 hours of musical entertainment. Aside from the delicious food, attendees can shop for artwork, trinkets and other goods from over 100 vendors.
8. Miami, Florida
A list of the most tropical vacations in the U.S. wouldn’t be complete without Miami, Florida. Miami is home to more than 1.5 million immigrants —mainly from South America and the Caribbean — and is full of color and culture.
The city might be known for its white-sand beaches, deco architecture, nightlife and celebrities, but a trek to the inner neighborhoods will introduce you to South American flair.
Otherwise, visitors can stop by luxurious shops and upscale restaurants between sunbathing and sipping mojitos poolside. You might also want to snorkel or jet ski throughout Key Biscayne or take an airboat ride in the Everglades — a short drive away.
Your Tropical U.S. Destination Awaits
Domestic travel takes a load off your shoulders from getting your passport renewed and documents together. Some countries also require specific vaccinations and visas. Remember, you’re striving for a relaxing trip. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel across the globe to find paradise. You can embark on tropical vacations in the U.S. instead.
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