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If you’re looking for a vacation that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of daily life we’ve got you covered. Think tropical vacation- snorkeling, waterfalls, white sand beaches and turquoise waters. To kick off your tropical vacation planning, we’ve rounded up a list of 30 of the best tropical places to visit with enough information to inspire you. Time to build out your beachfront bucket list!
Tropical Places to Visit that Don’t Require a Passport
With passports taking over three months to get right now (even if you expedite them), let’s look locally. If you’re seeking a tropical paradise without crossing the globe, these United States destinations and territories are for you.
If you love an action-packed tropical vacation, Miami might be the right destination for you! Perfect for girlfriend getaways, bachelorette parties and foodies, Miami is a quick flight from major cities and has tons of hotels to choose from.
With palm trees, beachfront cabanas and fruity drinks galore, the tropical part of the vacation is covered. Add in Cuban food, great shopping boutiques and modern art and you’ve got the culture covered.
There are tons of tours to maximize your time in Miami including a street art tour of Wynwood Art District, parasailing over Biscayne Bay or deep sea fishing. From Miami you can also easily day trip to our next pick – Key West! Miami is a great jumping-off point. If you have a passport, you can even take a ferry day trip to Bimini in the Bahamas!
Key West, Florida
While Key West isn’t the most exotic choice, it is charming. With its colorful architecture, lively nightlife and stunning sunsets, Key West is a great destination for those seeking a taste of the Caribbean without leaving the US.
Don’t forget to book a fun excursion for your Key West trip. From a kayak trip ending in sandbar drinks to a Ghosts of Key West walking tour to a simple hop on hop off trolley tour, there is a tour for every traveler.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Looking to make the most of your travel budget while maximizing the fun? With a wide range of deals on local activities, dining, and experiences, Groupon helps you stretch your budget by offering discounted options near you.
Your to-do list should also include Key Lime Pie at Blue Heaven, a stop at the Southernmost Point and a swing by the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. If time allows, it can be a great jumping-off point to visit the Dry Tortugas National Park. Check out our Key West itinerary for more ideas!
This US Territory in the Caribbean doesn’t require a passport. With a rich heritage, beautiful beaches, historic sites and rainforests, you’ll feel like you’re further away than you are. The mix of Spanish, African and Taino cultures result in an exotic and accessible tropical destination.
There are tons of fun tour options both in the San Juan area and beyond. A few favorites include visiting the Bacardi Distillery, a bioluminescent nighttime kayak adventure, El Younque National Forest trips, full day catamaran outings and my personal favorite, an Old San Juan Walk and Taste Tour by Spoon Experience. This tasting tour was packed with history, storytelling and so much amazing food.
Don’t forget to leave time to wander a bit. Murals were everywhere and I stumbled into some of the cutest coffee shops and bookstores on my visit.
Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is a beautiful and unspoiled Hawaiian island. It’s less touristy than other popular Hawaiian islands like Oahu and the big island of Hawaii. Kauai has lush rainforests, stunning beaches and dramatic cliffs. Visitors love the relaxed and authentic island experience.
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If you love movies, you may want to look into booking a movie location tour. Popular options stop by filming spots for Gilligan’s Island, Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, you can set up a zipline adventure. And of course, I’m always going to recommend checking out a food tour to taste all of the local favorites!
Read More: The Best Time to Visit Hawaii
From the awe-inspiring Road to Hana to the stunning beaches of Wailea, Maui offers a diverse landscape and a laid-back atmosphere that make it a popular tropical vacation destination. Popular beach resort areas like Kaanapali provide numerous hotel choices.
Fun activities in Maui include visiting a pineapple plantation, attending a luau, and sampling shaved ice flavors. If you’re looking for stunning views and out of this world pictures head to the Haleakala National Park to see the Haleakala Crater. There are even sunrise tours to get those one of a kind shots.
If snorkeling or scuba diving is your thing you can take a boat tour to Molokini. This sunken volcano houses a coral reef. Located roughly one hour off the shore of Maui by boat, it’s home to sea turtles, whales and other marine life.
The Most Popular Tropical Places to Visit
Let’s face it, if we were running a popularity contest of best tropical vacation spots, these islands would always make the list. People visit because there are easy flights, a variety of resort choices and because everyone knows someone who has been there. Sometimes you want to deal with a known entity.
This Caribbean archipelago is famous for its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and family-friendly resorts. Whether you’re swimming with pigs in Exuma or exploring the underwater world of Andros, the Bahamas is an ideal destination for a tropical getaway.
Be sure to try Bahamian food like conch. A tour is a great way to try a lot of items. You can also snorkel, ride banana boats or see marine life through a glass bottom boat. If you’re looking for a little more adrenaline, you can explore underwater caves at Lucayan National Park.
The Bahamas is home to a celebration called Junkanoo (think Mardi Gras). If your visit won’t fall during the last week of December you can visit the Junkanoo Expo Museum to experience it. Lastly, if you’re looking for a unique photo op you can visit the Four Seasons Ocean Club. Their Versailles inspired gardens are open to all and include the ruins of a 14th century monastery.
Read More: Guide for First Timers Visiting The Bahamas
As far as tropical places to visit go, Jamaica is fairly easy to get to with numerous nonstop flights. Their high season is November, December and January, so it’s pretty easy to pick a month to go that isn’t packed. February is considered their slowest month which matches up perfectly with a lot of school breaks. The laid-back vibe and number of activities make it a fun island to check out. Famous for its reggae music, jerk cuisine and beautiful beaches, Jamaica offers a unique blend of culture and relaxation that’s hard to resist. To top it off, many Jamaican resorts are all-inclusive, which makes budgeting for vacation a breeze.
Read More: How to Do a Long Weekend at Beaches Negril
Fun Tropical Places to Visit With Family or Friends
These fun tropical destinations are favorites for both family trips or getaways with friends. All of them have options that cater to all types of travelers, making them versatile.
Pura Vida! Costa Rica is a year-round nature lover’s dream, with an array of eco-adventures and abundant wildlife. Zipline through the rainforest, surf world-class waves, soak in natural hot springs, explore numerous national parks or just kick back and relax on the beach in this eco-friendly paradise.
Costa Rica is often ranked the best tropical country to visit by tourists. It also has a large community of ex-pats who have retired there. We can see why!
Read More: The Ultimate Costa Rica Packing List
Turks and Caicos
With its powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters and destination diving, Turks and Caicos is a dream vacation for beach lovers. Adults love the laid back attitude and luxury resorts. Families will love the all-inclusive resorts like Beaches Turks & Caicos.
For activities you can enjoy the water on a private catamaran rental, go golfing, snorkeling with whales on Salt Cay or look for rock iguanas. Parasailing and the Grand Turk Lighthouse are other popular tourist to-dos.
Read More: 14 Best Hotels in Turks and Caicos
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Located off the coast of Belize, this tropical paradise attracts beach lovers, scuba divers and fishermen. With its white sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs and laid-back Caribbean vibes, Ambergris Caye is a must-visit destination for folks seeking a tropical escape.
If you’re feeling like an explorer, check out the Mayan temple of Altun Ha or check out the local marine life along the Belize Barrier Reef. You’ll also be able to explore a shipwreck and see manatees.
St. Lucia, Caribbean
This stunning Caribbean Sea island is famous for its lush rainforests, some of the best beaches and the iconic Piton Mountains. St. Lucia is the perfect destination for couples seeking a romantic retreat or adventurers looking to explore the island’s natural beauty.
Although St. Lucia isn’t super far from the United States, the flight connections can sometimes be a little creative. Allow extra time.
Read More: St. Lucia With Kids: 10 Best Things to Do
Most Affordable Tropical Places to Visit
Questions we often get are “Which islands cost the least to visit” or “Where is the most affordable beach vacation”. While any tropical destination is going to come at a cost, there are a few with a lower price tag. These options are popular for quick getaways or budget vacations.
If you’re looking for a tropical getaway that won’t break the bank, the Dominican Republic is your answer. The Caribbean’s Dominican Republic is one of the most affordable tropical islands to visit. With numerous all-inclusive resorts, budget-friendly accommodations and reasonable flights, it’s an excellent destination for those seeking a tropical getaway on a budget.
Even the activities are affordable. Full day snorkeling tours to Catalina Island run under $80. You can take a tour that includes a cable car ride, historical walking tour, rum tasting and lunch for roughly the same price. Or combine monkeys and ziplining for an experience you won’t forget.
Read More: 17 Best Punta Cana All-Inclusives
With its beautiful beaches, colorful culture, and delicious cuisine, Mexico is an ideal tropical place to visit. From the lively party scene in Cancun to the laid-back vibes of Puerto Vallarta to the rainforest views of the Mayan Riviera to Tulum’s coastal charm, there’s a Mexican beach town for every traveler.
Read More: Complete Packing List for Mexico
Travelers love the enchanting island of Bali. Known for its lush landscapes, beautiful beaches and rich culture, Bali has something for everyone. Whether you’re a yogi seeking inner peace or a beach bum looking for the perfect wave, you won’t be disappointed in Bali.
Photographers will love the lush rice terraces, stunning temples, volcanic mountains and cultural sites. Bali manages to stay affordable as a tropical place to visit and welcomes tourist dollars.
Visitors can experience unique tours like the Elephant Care Experience, check out traditional dancers at the Ubud Palace, take photos at the Gates of Heaven and even book a breakfast at the zoo with orangutans!
This archipelago of 99 islands off the coast of Malaysia is a tropical paradise known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests and diverse wildlife. Langkawi offers a range of activities for travelers, from relaxing on the beach to exploring the island’s many natural wonders.
One natural wonder is the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark. You can book a boat tour on the Kilim River to explore the giant mangrove formations. Next, soar over the rainforest in a Langkawi SkyCab cable car. Looking for something a little quieter? Join a birdwatching tour.
With affordable tours, hotel options under $100 and affordable (and delicious) food options, we love Langkawi as a budget tropical place to visit. The flights can be pricey if you book at the last minute. Book in advance to find roundtrip tickets for $1000-1200.
One note: the monkeys may look cute but they can attack if you have food. Be careful on the beach!
Bougie, Romantic and Tropical: The Honeymoon Destinations
Are the following spots only for honeymooners? No. But we guarantee you if your fancy friend name-drops their honeymoon overwater bungalow destination, it will be one of these spots. You can go visit for any other occasion but if you’re looking to recover and relax after a breakup, these spots may have a little too much PDA for your liking.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Picture this: overwater bungalows perched above turquoise lagoons, lush green mountains in the background and the scent of frangipani flowers in the air. Bora Bora is the epitome of a tropical paradise, and it’s no wonder it makes pretty much every list of tropical places to visit. The phrase “tropical paradise” must have been coined with Bora Bora in mind.
This stunning South Pacific Island offers tourists activities like private lagoon cruises, safaris, French wine tasting experiences, hiking Mount Pahia or a visit to Marae Marotitini, a large Aboriginal ceremonial site.
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Fiji is the epitome of a picture-perfect tropical island, with its postcard-worthy beaches, crystal-clear waters and lush landscapes. This South Pacific archipelago is a favorite among honeymooners and adventure seekers alike, offering everything from luxury resorts to adrenaline-pumping activities.
With over 300 islands to choose from, you’ll never run out of picture-perfect spots to explore. Warm hospitality is a hallmark of Fiji.
Activities include trips to Tivua Island, zip line tours, Fiji village visits, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and thermal baths.
Talk about a bucket-list destination! The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is often considered the best island for a tropical vacation. With over 1,000 coral islands, each with its own unique charm, the Maldives offers R&R to frazzled travelers. Dive into crystal-clear waters to explore vibrant coral reefs, or simply relax in an overwater bungalow and watch the world go by.
Romance is in the air in Seychelles. This popular honeymoon destination is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. With its secluded beaches, luxury resorts and mesmerizing natural beauty, Seychelles is the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway.
If you feel like an adventure you can head to the Seychelles’ second largest island Praslin. A large purely untouched preserve, Mai Valley National Park, is a popular spot to check out on Praslin. You can also experience a submarine at St. Ann National Marine Park or head out on a rum distillery tour.
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Let’s lead off with a fact. Tahiti, French Polynesia is one of the most expensive tropical islands to visit. Its remote location, luxury accommodations and unique travel needs can add up quickly. Tahiti’s jaw-dropping beauty and unique overwater bungalows make it worth the splurge. This French Polynesian paradise is perfect for those seeking luxury, seclusion and postcard-worthy views.
This Indian Ocean volcanic island nation is known for its sapphire-blue waters, powdery white sand beaches and lush green mountains. Explore the island’s diverse culture, indulge in delicious cuisine, or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty.
This is a destination where you don’t have to hunt down a 5-star resort because there are tons of them. Luxury is the name of the game in Mauritius.
There are endless activities to take part in during your visit. You can hike Le Morne Mountain, take a guided kayak tour on Tamarin River, go on an Instagram tour to grab the best shots or take a tea tasting tour with a visit to a crocodile park.
Unique Tropical Places to Visit
The following spots are a little less mainstream. They may be harder to get to and the beach aspect may be heavily mixed in with unique transport or inland adventures. We love these spots for tropical vacays that aren’t so vanilla.
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
This stunning island chain in the Andaman Sea is known for its dramatic limestone cliffs, turquoise waters and vibrant nightlife. Koh Phi Phi is a popular destination for backpackers and beach lovers alike, offering a mix of relaxation and adventure in a beautiful tropical setting. You may recognize the scenery from Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach.
Most travelers fly into Phuket. There is direct transport by ferry that runs around $15. For activities you can take a sunrise boat tour and visit 4 different islands, visit Maya Bay to snorkel or explore bioluminescent plankton at night.
This Dutch Caribbean island is known for its colorful architecture, beautiful beaches and unique blend of cultures. Located off of the Northern shore of Venezuela, it’s a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Aruba and Bonaire.
While Curacao occasionally experiences hurricanes, it is outside of Hurricane Alley, providing reassurance for travelers looking to avoid weather snafus. Curacao’s off-season runs from May to November. With its rich history, vibrant art scene and diving along the Blue Edge, Curacao is an ideal destination for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path Caribbean experience.
The Cook Islands
Nestled in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are a collection of 15 small islands that offer an authentic Polynesian experience. Although associated with New Zealand, they are self-governing. Most of the population is centered on the island of Rarotonga, which is also where the airport is located. The only city in the US with a nonstop flight to Rarotonga is Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines launches this route in May 2023.
The shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October will have decent weather and more affordable prices. The cheapest months for airfare are December thru March but that falls during the wet season.
Snorkeling is a popular sport. Hit up Aroa Marine Reserve to see moray eels, angelfish, parrotfish and more. You can learn more about Maori culture in the Tuvara Nui Village. Shipwreck dives can be arranged as well.
With their pristine beaches, lush green landscapes and friendly locals, the Cook Islands are a true tropical paradise.
Known as the “Spice Island,” Grenada is a lush, mountainous island in the Caribbean with stunning beaches, colorful coral reefs and a rich history. Whether you’re exploring the island’s vibrant markets or hiking through its national parks, Grenada offers a unique and unforgettable tropical experience. Luxurious 5-star all-inclusive resorts offer stunning accommodations and amenities.
Located in Africa off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is an exotic blend of African, Arab, Persian and Indian cultures. With its white sand beaches, spice-filled markets and UNESCO World Heritage Site Stone Town, Zanzibar is an unforgettable tropical destination.
You will truly never find another destination like Zanzibar. It’s a unique travel experience.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 tropical islands that offer some of the most beautiful beaches and coral reefs in the world. The green land, turquoise waters and white sands provide stunning contrast and beautiful backgrounds for holiday pictures.
The islands are popular resort destinations. September and October are the high season. US visitors can time their trips during Christmas break to take advantage of lower prices in November and December.
Often hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful islands, Palawan is a paradise for nature lovers. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear lagoons and vibrant coral reefs, Palawan is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an unspoiled tropical escape.
With some of the coolest activities around like Underground River Tours with Firefly Watching, snorkeling the Skeleton wreck, exploring Barracuda Lake, dips in hot springs and the Mount Tapyas Viewing Deck.
Be sure to sample all of the local seafood and explore Tabatha Reef National Park. Or just lounge in your beach villa all day and soak up the sun!
An island nation in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a personal favorite of mine. My trip there remains one of my favorite vacations ever and I didn’t even scratch the surface of everything the island offered.
One of the best parts of Sri Lanka, other than the super-friendly people, is the geography of it. Its unique location allows it to be visited year-round because the rainy season is on a different side of the island depending on the season.
Flights from the United States typically connect in Doha, Qatar or Dubai, UAE but if you’re flying from a major city you can make it with only one stop.
From UNESCO sites to markets to water activities to elephant safaris and tea farms inland there is something for everyone. We’ve got full articles on Sri Lankan food, visiting Sri Lanka with kids and planning your vacation to Sri Lanka.
Read More: Sri Lanka Complete Packing List
Nosy Be, Madagascar
Last but not least on our list of tropical places to visit is Nosy Be, a small island off the coast of Madagascar. Known for its unique wildlife, beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters, Nosy Be offers a truly off-the-beaten-path experience for travelers seeking something different. Plus you might meet King Julian at Lemuria Land!
Madagascar itself is a completely unique experience. With animals that aren’t found anywhere else and unique plants and baobob trees, your trip will be educational and inspiring. Madagascar is actually an extremely affordable country to visit. Hotels and activities are low-budget. Flying there will cost money though. A round trip ticket will definitely be over $1200. September tends to be the cheapest month to travel.
We think that the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and low overall cost offsets the airfare. You can fly into Antananarivo and explore the main island before heading to Nosy Be to maximize your time.
30 Tropical Places to Visit: Build Your Bucket List
So there you have it…30 of the best tropical places to visit for an unforgettable adventure! Whether you’re dreaming of lounging on a white sand beach, diving into crystal-clear waters, or exploring lush rainforests, these destinations have it all. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next tropical escape today, and let the adventures begin!