You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on passports for a tropical getaway with the kids. Consider one of these beach vacations that don’t require a passport.
Note: As of Feb. 5, 2018, some U.S. states require travelers to have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or passport to travel anywhere—even domestically. Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website to see how your state is affected and whether or not you need a passport to travel within the U.S.
1. U.S. Virgin Islands
Yes, you can go to the Caribbean without a passport! In fact, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, you can go to three Caribbean destinations without a passport. On St. Croix, you’ll find stunning beaches and historic attractions; on St. Thomas (a major cruise port), more great beaches and shopping in Charlotte Amalie; and on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands National Park, which comprises most of the island. All three destinations feature fantastic beach resorts, though you’ll find the highest concentration of them on St. Croix. Our suggestion? Stay on St. Croix and plan day trips to St. Thomas and St. John. All are easily accessible by ferry or a short plane ride.
Recommended Hotel: The Buccaneer
The Buccaneer is St. Croix’s largest resort, with a wide variety of accommodations, onsite dining options, swimming pools, water sports, kids’ activities and day trips to nearby Buck Island National Reef Monument.
2. Puerto Rico
There’s never been a better time to visit Puerto Rico, and bonus—U.S. citizens don’t need passports to visit this island in the Caribbean! Explore the history, culture and colorful architecture in Old San Juan, plan a day trip to El Yungue National Forest, take a glass-bottom boat tour on Bioluminescent Bay and sip pina coladas (said to have been invented in Puerto Rico!) on any one of the island’s beautiful beaches.
Recommended Hotel: Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort
This recently renovated, oceanfront resort offers swimming pools, kids’ activities and six onsite dining options. The best part? This resort has an optional all-inclusive plan!
In the continental U.S., there’s nothing more tropical than Hawaii. Plan a trip to Oahu to see the North Shore, Pearl Harbor or famous Aulani resort, or plan to spend your time on the shores of Maui, traveling the Road to Hana while there. The kids will also get a kick out of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where they’ll be able to see a real lava field!
Recommended Hotel: Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa
Want an all inclusive vacation that doesn’t require a passport? Aulani is the closest you can get to achieving that in Hawaii, with many services and amenities included in rates and package pricing available.
4. Key West, Florida
Key West is as close to the Caribbean as you can get without leaving the continental U.S.; in fact, you can actually visit the Southernmost Point in the U.S.! Your family will enjoy the history of Key West, which includes the Ernest Hemingway House, along with the colorful homes and delicious restaurants along and around Duval Street. And while the beach isn’t the main attraction (head to Islamorada or Marathon for that), full-service resorts beckon families to relax with private stretches of sand and surf, sparking pools, children’s activities, onsite dining and more.
Recommended Hotel: Southernmost on the Beach
This resort provides a little bit of everything—access to the beach, bike rentals, organized activities and a swimming pool. Best of all, it offers a quiet location at the end of Duval Street—close enough for convenience, yet far enough to avoid the party scene.
5. American Samoa
Unless you live in Hawaii, the American Samoa is a long trip—it’s about a five-hour flight from the islands. But it’s a fantastic no passport vacation option for families who are up for the adventure. Popular activities include exploring the National Park of American Samoa and visiting the island’s many beaches, such as Ofu Beach, famous for its coral reefs.
Recommended Hotel: Tradewinds Hotel
There aren’t any major resorts on the American Samoa, but Tradewinds Hotel is a nice home base for families. The beachfront hotel offers modern guestrooms and suites, a swimming pool, internet cafe and laundry facility.