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Americans Can Leave Their Passports At Home Traveling To These 5 Beach Destinations

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In the dead of winter, the short daylight hours, bitter cold, and gray skies can become monotonous. But for those willing to travel, sunshine and balmy weather are always just a drive (or plane ride) away. 

Whether you want to dip your toes in one of the world’s most popular black sand beaches, watch the manatees play in lagoon waters, or immerse yourself in a cultural center, we’ve found a warm, sunny spot for you.

View of people at the beach in Hawaii

Americans can pack their swimsuits and leave their passports at home while visiting these 5 beach destinations. 

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan was a fortified city 500 years ago, and today, it is Puerto Rico’s cultural center. This U.S. territory offers 270 miles of coastline, warm temperatures, and approximately 300 beaches to locals and tourists. Explore the coves, snorkel in San Juan’s clear water, or watch the manatees playing in Condado Lagoon.

After you dry off from a day spent at the beach, head into the city to enjoy the culture of the city. San Juan is the oldest European-founded city in the Americas and has preserved the historic architecture and cobblestone streets for that Old World feel.

The fort, Fuerte San Felipe del Morro, Saint Christopher’s Castle, and San Juan Baptista Cathedral are also worth a visit.

Beautiful street full of trees in old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Foodies can sample traditional dishes such as mofongo, fried alcapurrias, Puerto Rican tamales or pasteles, or roast pork, and then finish a meal off with a pina colada.

Whether you are looking for a capital of culture, or just some winter fun in the sun, San Juan, Puerto Rico is worth putting on your travel map. This popular destination also gets the top spot on U.S.A Today’s 10 Best Beach Destinations list.

Big Island, Hawaii

On Big Island, Hawaii, you can enjoy balmy outdoor weather even in the winter months. The temperatures here see highs of up to 80 degrees and rarely drop below the mid-60s.

Also, you get to skip the summer humidity–and crowds! 

Aloha sign with palm trees on Big Island Hawaii

The Big Island is known for its stunning views and some of the best rainbows in Hawaii. Head around to Punaluu Beach and visit the turtles that live on its striking black sand.

Or, tour the famous Kona coffee farms and enjoy a gourmet cuppa as you take in the views.

You can also go visit Volcanoes National Park, zipline over KoleKole Falls, and take a night swim with Manta Ray.

Rainbow on Big Island

The weather, year-round activities, and unique beauty make Big Island a perfect winter destination to escape the cold.

Since Hawaii is America’s 50th state, U.S. citizens don’t need a passport to enjoy this gorgeous beach destination.

St. Simons Island, Georgia

St. Simons Island is the largest barrier island in the Golden Isles.

This island is just an hour away from Savannah, Georgia so the winter months are often chillier than more tropical locations. However, from January to March, you still can expect to enjoy mild 60-degree weather. 

In fact, the winter months are a perfect time to enjoy the island without the crowds. You can birdwatch at East Beach and Gould’s Inlet, rent a beach cruiser to tour the island, bike the trails, or play golf at the picturesque King and Prince Golf Course. 

Lighthouse on the Atlantic coast

Some of the most popular attractions are the working 19th-century lighthouse and Christ’s Church where the Wesley brothers preached.

From Labor Day until Memorial Day the beaches are open to pets. So you can enjoy the waves and white sands of St Simons Island with your furry friend at your side.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

The winter months are the best for visiting the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas. From December to May temperatures reach the 80s and humidity is low. Also, there is very little rain during this season to dampen your vacation plans. 

view of a beautiful bay on st thomas us virgin islands

On St. Thomas, you can observe endangered green sea turtles while snorkeling or relaxing on the sands on Honeymoon Beach. At the top of St. Peter Mountain, you can take in the sights from Magens Bay to Puerto Rico.

This winter beach destination is perfect for enjoying the waves, sand, and sunshine without the crowds. It is one of the best spots in the Caribbean for family fun.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Anna Maria Island is a popular vacation spot for national and international tourists alike.

This sunny spot with its white Florida beaches offers tropical foliage and old-fashioned charm. 

White sandy beach in Florida

You can enjoy nature and watch the dolphins and manatees play without high-rise condos and fast-foods spoiling the views.

Anna Maria is still untouched by mass tourism and allows you to unwind in the winter sun and enjoy the unbeatable views in peace and quiet.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Heelboy

Sunday 7th of January 2024

Tybee Island instead of St. Simon’s if you want to visit an island off the coast of Georgia. The beach at SSI is gross.

Ty

Monday 8th of January 2024

@Heelboy, Thanks for that tip 👍🏽

Mary

Sunday 7th of January 2024

I think it is important for people to do research, before commenting.

Betty

Friday 5th of January 2024

Gosh. What is wrong with an article giving ideas about where you can travel within the US in the winter months where the weather is warm and tropical without a passport? If some people didn't know this information, now they know. What's the big deal? If you don't care about traveling within US territories without a passport this article is not for you. Take your vacation to places where you would need one.

Some people will comment and bash people on any topic to make themselves feel superior, even a simple article like this. Get some self esteem please.

Susan

Friday 5th of January 2024

Most ridiculous article.....

but given the lack of knowledge and understanding in a huge portion of the US, they will appreciate these tips on places you can travel without a passport......

BECAUSE YOU AREN'T LEAVING THE US WHEN YOU TRAVEL TO THEM.

Walt

Friday 5th of January 2024

Totally glad I found out that I don't need a passport to visit a city in my own state, a barrier island in the state just above me, two U.S. territories, and the state of Hawaii. Whew, takes a real load off my mind.