If you live in the U.S.A., you probably don’t think of American places as exotic destination material. But take a closer look and you'll find tropical paradises beyond Hawaii — and beyond your wildest imagination — that are actually part of the U.S.
You won't want to overlook some of these gorgeous territories when making plans for your next adventure, so dive into our primer on these particularly beautiful locations that are (technically) right here at home. Once your trip is booked, it's time to pack those bags... no passport required.
1. Northern Mariana Islands
Imagine Fiji-esque lush cliffs dropping off into clear aqua water. It might not sound like everyday America — and it’s not — but this certainly is a U.S. territory: the Northern Mariana Islands. A collection of 15 islands in the Pacific ocean, Marianas offer some of the best diving in the world. The beaches are picture perfect and the cuisine is eclectic and flavorful. Whether you spend your time here diving off of cliffs into warm water, relaxing on beautiful beaches, exploring underwater caves, or hiking the rugged volcanic landscape, you'll have the time of your life.
Guam (and also the Northern Mariana Islands) is rich with Chamorro culture, which makes for a decadent mix of food options and an experience that will prove to be a memorable one. Guam is the most populated island in Micronesia and as such, dining and shopping options abound. Since the island is pretty small, you can explore all of it within a couple of days, so rent a car and don’t forget your sunglasses! Don't miss Ypao Beach, Two Lovers Point, and Chamorro Village.
3. American Samoa
For a dramatic landscape flush with volcanic peaks, book your flight to American Samoa. Comprised of seven islands that neighbor Samoa, the scenes are unforgettable and you’ll have no trouble finding a remote beach for decompressing there. The military presence is strong, so you’ll encounter plenty of Americans here on this island. Be sure to check out the shining waters of Ofu Beach, the hiking trails at Mount Alava, and the incredibly photogenic Two Dollar Beach.
4. U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are a famous vacation destination for a reason! If you want a Caribbean getaway but are drawn to the idea of exploring a place that is technically a part of the country, jaunt down to the U.S. Virgin Islands and expedite your relaxation mission! Warm breezes and cool drinks are plentiful as are white sands and tropically teal waves. Take the time to snorkel, check out the turtles at Maho Beach, and chill on the beach of Trunk Bay.
5. Puerto Rico
While Puerto Rico is populated and touristy in some spots, no doubt, some spots are still great places for secluded daydream-like vacations. For the most out-of-this-world Puerto Rico experience, go straight to Vieques. The island is visibly different from the mainland, with wild chickens and horses mingling with the people in the streets. Be sure to take time for a trip to the Bioluminescent Bay. And In addition to adventuring out to the magical countryside, be sure to wander through Old San Juan, Flamenco Beach, and the El Yunque Rain Forest.
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