Have you been wondering what some of the best islands in the USA to visit are? On this list, we’ve found our favorite USA islands to visit, and you don’t need a passport! The US is a large country, so it’s no surprise that there are quite a few islands in the United States as well. You can explore tropical islands, Midwestern islands, and even islands in the Northeast or Southeast.
All of these amazing islands are considered US soil, so you won’t ever need a passport to visit them. Some of them are really close to mainland USA, and others do require a bit longer flight. But that also depends on where you’re traveling from. We’ve tried to find the best American islands throughout the whole country. So no matter where you are located, you’ll find an island in the USA to visit near you.
Some of our favorites are the many tropical islands in the USA. But if that’s not your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of different types of islands in America. That means that no matter what kind of island vacation you’re interested in, there’s a perfect island getaway for you. So, let’s take a look at 16 of the best islands in the USA!
16 Best Islands In The USA You Can Visit Without A Passport
Dry Tortugas, Florida
Dry Tortugas is actually a National Park in Florida. It is about 70 miles west of Key West, one of the most popular of the Florida Keys. Because it’s a National Park, the only option for staying on Dry Tortugas is camping. If that’s something you’re up for, it’s a really fun experience. Otherwise, you’ll want to stay in Key West and travel to Dry Tortugas.
Included in Dry Tortugas National Park is a series of smaller keys. They all make up the larger collection of islands simply known as Dry Tortugas. The islands all have different attractions. You can explore a historic fort, see local wildlife, go snorkeling, ride a seaplane, and there is also a ferry around the islands. Dry Tortugas is one of the coolest islands in the USA to explore.
Stay Here: Oceans Edge Key West Resort
Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands
If you want to go to the Caribbean, but you don’t have a passport, then you need to check out the US Virgin Islands. The US Virgin Islands is a series of islands that are considered US territory. So even though they are in the Caribbean, US citizens can visit them without needing any type of passport. One of our favorite tropical islands in the USA is Saint Croix. From Florida, it is about a 3-hour nonstop flight and there are so many things to do in Saint Croix!
Saint Croix was once a Dutch settled island. While it was owned by the Dutch, it was part of the transatlantic slave trade. So there are many parts of the island where you’ll learn about the Dutch slave trade that operated out of Saint Croix. The island has a rich history, from before and after Dutch occupation, and it’s absolutely beautiful. There are sugar plantations, tropical mountains, and beautiful beaches to explore during your visit.
Stay Here: The Buccaneer Beach And Golf Resort
When most people think of tropical vacations in the USA, they think of Hawaii. Oahu is the main island in Hawaii, but it’s not the largest. However, it is where you’ll find most of the typical tourist activities. Oahu is also where the state’s capital city of Honolulu is located. It’s also one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the USA. To get to Oahu, it’s about a 6-hour flight from California. And let us tell you, there are a lot of luxury hotels in Hawaii if you are into that sort of thing!
Oahu is an island in the USA that has tons to offer. You can relax on the famous Waikiki Beach, head around the island to see incredible surfers at the North Shore, and more.
Most people choose to stay right in Honolulu, as that is where you’ll find activities like traditional luaus and snorkeling. But everywhere on the island is absolutely beautiful, and each side has something different to offer. It is home to some of the best luxury hotels in the USA!
Stay Here: Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, you can find Vieques. From Florida, you’ll need to take two flights to reach Vieques. It’s typically at least a 6-hour trip. Vieques is an island in the Caribbean that is known for the best Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico. You can take boat tours of the bay and see the amazing colorful algae in the water.
You’ll also find some beautiful beaches. Because a lot of the island is a National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll get to see some amazing wildlife as well. In the countryside, there are wild horses. Around the beaches, you can snorkel and see some amazing marine life. It’s easily one of the best tropical islands in the USA.
Stay Here: Bravo Beach Hotel
South Padre Island, Texas
One of the prettiest islands in the USA is Texas’ South Padre Island! South Padre Island is in the Gulf of Mexico just off of the southern coast of Texas. If you fly into the Brownsville airport, you’ll have a short 20-minute drive to get to South Padre Island. So it’s one of the easiest islands in America to get to.
South Padre Island is a resort island, so you’ll find plenty of things to do there. You can try horseback riding on the beach, spend your days by the pool at one of the amazing resorts, or visit the Sea Turtle Conservation Center. There are also fun amusement parks, beautiful trails to explore, and of course, gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches. It’s one of the best USA islands to visit if you don’t want to travel far but still want a tropical atmosphere.
Stay Here: Isla Grand Beach Resort
Mackinac Island, Michigan
The US is full of pretty beach towns. One of those pretty beach towns is actually Mackinac Island, an island in Michigan. Mackinac Island isn’t a tropical island and it’s in Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes. The charming island doesn’t allow any vehicles. So you’ll need to take a ferry from nearby Mackinaw City, but it’s only a 15-minute ride! Most people on the island get around either on foot or you can rent and bring your own bicycles. You can also take carriage rides on a horse-drawn carriage!
The island is incredibly charming and is full of Victorian flair. There are 10 historic museums on the island, beautiful historic buildings, and a lighthouse. It also has unique shops, restaurants, and more to explore. If you’re interested, you can even learn how to make the island’s famous fudge. While you’re there, you’ll definitely want to explore Mackinac Island State Park as well. It’s full of beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and scenic views.
Stay Here: Island House Hotel
Sanibel Island, Florida
For some of the best sunsets in Florida, you’ll want to visit Sanibel Island. Sanibel Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the USA. To get to Sanibel, you’ll want to fly into nearby Fort Meyers. From there, it’s about a 45-minute drive to reach Sanibel Island. You can also get to the island by boat if that’s more your speed.
On the island, you’ll want to take some time to try shelling. That just means walking the beach and collecting seashells. Sanibel Island is known for having one of the best varieties of shells. They are all beautiful, and you can actually find some more rare shells there as well. When you’re not shelling, you’ll want to relax on the white sand beach and swim in the gorgeous blue waters.
Stay Here: West Wind Inn
Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Saint Thomas is probably one of the most popular islands in the US Virgin Islands. It’s often called the getaway island. The island is also only a little under 3-hours by plane from Florida. So it’s one of the tropical islands in the USA that is fairly quick and easy to get to. It is absolutely worth the short flight, and you will love the beautiful island.
While you’re in Saint Thomas, you’ll absolutely want to spend time on the picturesque beaches. We also suggest seeing the port city, and territorial capital, Charlotte Amalie. It’s a bustling port city that has tons of activities, historic buildings, and a watchtower called Blackbeard’s Castle. The name is a reference to the area’s pirate history. But it’s important to remember that since it was originally a Dutch colony, it also has a history in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Stay Here: Point Pleasant Resort
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
If you’re looking for a gorgeous southern island, that is also one of the top honeymoon destinations in the USA, check out Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head is just a 2-hour drive from Charleston and less than an hour from Savannah Georgia. One of the best things about Hilton Head Island is that it’s so close to several large cities in the South. For several years in a row, Hilton Head has been named the #1 Island in the US by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
Along with the beautiful beaches, Hilton Head is known for its world-class golf courses. That’s one of the things to many visitors love about it. On the beaches, you’ll find clean soft sand and perfectly warm water. During low tide, the sand is compacted enough that you can even ride your bike on it. Hilton Head also has some amazing restaurants, charming parks, and unique boutiques to explore. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best islands in the USA.
Stay Here: The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa
Just off of the coast of Cape Cod is the small, isolated island of Nantucket. Nantucket is one of the most popular islands in the United States for New England summer holidays. In the summer months, you can find the beautiful sandy dunes full of tourists coming to enjoy a quintessential New England coastal summer vacation. However, it’s also incredibly charming during the winter months as well. Its unpainted cedar-shingled buildings are iconic staples of this beautiful island in the USA.
When visiting Nantucket, there are a few different things we suggest seeing. The island is probably best known for its extensive whaling history. Today, you can tour the old wharves, many of which are still in use. There is also a Whaling History Museum that discusses the area’s 19th-century history as a whaling hub. Nantucket also has a district with high-end boutiques, delicious restaurants, and more.
Stay Here: 76 Main
Another beautiful island in the USA is Maui, Hawaii. Maui is one of the smaller Hawaiian islands. You can get to it via Oahu, which is just a 45-minute flight away. In total, Maui is about a 7-hour flight from California. So it is a bit of a trek. However, the flight is absolutely worth it because it is one of the absolute prettiest tropical islands in the USA.
Make sure to check out our list of the best Resorts On The West Coast for more travel inspiration!
Whether you’re planning to visit Maui because it’s one of the top honeymoon destinations in the USA or you’re planning a bachelorette trip, there are tons of things to do. Maui is one of the most popular Hawaiian islands if you love outdoor adventure. You can drive the Hana Highway and visit the Seven Sacred Pools, explore black sand beaches, or hike in the lush rainforest that makes up most of the islands.
Stay Here: Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas
After just a 2 and a half hour flight from Florida, you can find yourself on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a US territory, so you don’t need a passport to visit and enjoy a warm tropical vacation in the USA. One of the best things about Puerto Rico is the sheer number of things there are to do there.
The tropical island has beautiful beaches, sweeping mountain ranges, and a tropical rain forest. While you’re there, take some time to hike to any one of the stunning waterfalls in Puerto Rico! In the cities, you’ll find beautiful old Spanish architecture, charming boutiques, and delicious restaurants of all kinds of cuisine.
Stay Here: Copamarina Beach Resort and Spa
Galveston Island, Texas
Galveston Island is often just referred to as Galveston, the island’s city namesake. It’s one of the best islands in America and it’s full of things to do. You can get to Galveston pretty easily from Houston. It’s just a little under an hour from the city. Galveston is one of the most popular islands near Texas to visit and it sits in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
While you’re in Galveston, there is an endless amount of activities. Because it’s a popular Texas resort island, there are unique attractions. Like the Moody Gardens, the Galveston Island Pleasure Pier, the Moody Mansion, and Schlitterbahn’s Waterpark. The island is full of beautiful historic homes and buildings as well. Many of them are museums. The island also has amazing restaurants and shops to explore.
Stay Here: Hilton Galveston Island Resort
Saint John, US Virgin Islands
Saint John is another stunning island in the USA that is part of the US Virgin Islands chain. It is actually the smallest of the three Virgin Islands that are US territories. To get there, you’ll need to take a 3-hour flight from Florida. It’s a beautiful island that is mostly still very natural and wild.
Over half of the island is actually the Virgin Islands National Park. The National Park shelters migratory birds, especially warblers and hummingbirds. In the park, you’ll also find mangroves, coral reefs, and a tropical forest. One of the main attractions of visiting Saint John is getting to see the dolphins and the green and hawksbill sea turtles that call the island home.
Stay Here: Gallows Point Resort
Located in the North Pacific Ocean, Guam is the furthest island in the United States from mainland USA. To get to Guam, you’ll need to take a series of flights that typically last over 17 hours. However, the long flights are absolutely worth it once you get there. Guam is one of the best tropical places in the USA to visit.
It has beautiful tropical beaches, authentic Chamorro villages, and historic stone pillars and structures. Guam became a territory shortly before WWII and was an incredibly important US territory during that war. To mark that importance, the island has the War in the Pacific National Historical Park. You’ll be able to tour a battlefield and also see remnants of the Spanish colonies that once occupied the island.
Stay Here: Dusit Thani Guam Resort
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island is off the coast of Georgia. It is part of Georgia’s Golden Isles. The Golden Isles is a string of islands that stretches out from Savannah all the way down to Jacksonville Florida. Jekyll Island is also considered one of the Sea Islands. The island is pretty easy to get to and it’s only a little under 2 hours away from the city of Savannah, Georgia.
On Jekyll Island, you’ll find one of the prettiest beaches in Georgia. Driftwood Beach is known for its sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets, and abundance of seashells. However, the thing that Driftwood Beach is most known for is the large ancient driftwood trees that are on the beach. It feels like stepping into another world and it’s absolutely one of the most beautiful islands in the USA.
Stay Here: Jeykll Island Club Resort
With so many beautiful islands in the USA, it’s hard to pick just one to visit. The best thing about all of them is that you never need a passport to visit. Plus, most of them are really quick and easy to get to! Have you had the chance to visit any of these stunning islands in the United States? Let us know in the comments!