6 Places Like Hawaii to Visit

Discover 5 tropical alternatives to a Hawaii beach vacation like French Polynesia, the US Virgin Islands, and more.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


Hawaii is known for its idyllic location, stunning sunsets and incredible waters, which all make it an enviable place to visit. But as the state struggles with the effects of over tourism and prices for accommodations that continue to climb, you may be wanting to look elsewhere for your next vacation.

Let’s check out six places like Hawaii to visit, including French Polynesia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and more.

6 Hawaii alternatives

1. French Polynesia 

Also located Southwest of California, French Polynesia is a series of islands like Hawaii. This French territory features all the amenities you’d expect from a tropical vacation, with high-end resorts, bucket-list diving sites and unspoiled natural beauty.

French Polynesia especially shines when it comes to photo-worthy vacation spots. Options such as the Conrad Bora Bora and The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort can be booked with points — but even better, they feature overwater villas from which you can dive straight into the ocean.

There are direct flights to Tahiti, the main island, from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, making this fairly accessible for U.S. travelers. It’ll take you roughly eight and a half hours to get to Papeete (the capitol); from there, you can either opt to stay in Tahiti or travel onward to islands such as Bora Bora, Moorea or Faa’a.

2. U.S. Virgin Islands

If you’re located on the East Coast, the U.S. Virgin Islands may be appealing for a place similar to Hawaii. Consisting of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John (plus a multitude of smaller islands), this Hawaii alternative is easily accessed from the U.S. mainland.

You’ll find all types of lodging within the U.S. Virgin Islands, whether you’re looking for a vacation rental or all-inclusive resort.

Its status as a United States territory also leads to a multitude of benefits; the official language is English, U.S. dollars are its currency and as a U.S. citizen you don’t need a passport to visit. How simple is that?

3. Guam

Another far-flung island destination, Guam has probably never been on your travel list — but it ought to be. This U.S. territory features a rich history, including strong military significance during World War II. In terms of location, it’s much nearer to the Philippines than it is to the United States.

That doesn’t mean it’s difficult to get there, however. United Airlines runs the famous ‘Island Hopper’ route from Honolulu, which makes several short-term stops as it delivers supplies to islands. Along with stunning views, having made the Island Hopper run is a feather in any traveler’s cap.

A U.S. territory like the Virgin Islands, you will be using U.S. currency and won’t need a passport to travel. English is also one of the many languages you will hear and use on your trip.

In terms of places similar to Hawaii, Guam offers all the beaches and tropical weather, as well as resorts, but still maintains some uniqueness for its reasonably-priced housing and living.

If you’re looking for a place like Hawaii but cheaper, Guam is a great place to look.

4. Maldives

Maldives is a sprawling archipelago located off the coast of India. Sure, it’s a trek, but the journey is worth the effort once you step foot on the pristine white beaches of this island nation.

Home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the world, the Maldives encompasses the utter relaxation you’ll often find in Hawaii.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Maldives can be expensive, but hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott allow you to redeem your points for stays in the Maldives.

Add to this world-class snorkeling and overwater villas galore, and you’ll start to see why so many people make the pilgrimage to the Maldives.

5. Cabo San Lucas

Our only non-island location on the list, we chose Cabo for its proximity to the United States, its weather, its landscape and its infrastructure. Cabo San Lucas is located on the very tip of Baja California’s peninsula and features a wide variety of activities, no matter your vacation style.

When in Cabo you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to where to stay and what to do. You’ll find ultra-high-end resorts such as the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, but it’s equally possible to spend a week in a beachfront Airbnb for just over $100 per night.

Cabo is also very well-connected to the United States, with direct flights to 25 U.S. airports. This includes the West Coast, where a flight to Los Angeles takes just two and half hours, as well as the East Coast, where a flight to New York-EWR will take a little over five hours.

6. Puerto Rico

Both Hawaii and Puerto Rico are popular tropical destinations and have many similarities.

For East Coast-based travelers, traveling here cuts travel time more than half (when comparing flights to Puerto Rico to Honolulu).

Its cost are on par or more affordable than Puerto Rico, and its offerings have a similar range: activities span land and sea, wildlife is abundant and historical tourism is alive and well.

That said, the main difference between Puerto Rico and Hawaii is the culture visitors can experience.

If you want alternatives to Hawaii

We get it — Hawaii is a dream vacation for many reasons, including its verdant forests, immaculate beaches and superb water activities. But if you’re looking to go on vacation, there’s no reason to limit yourself to Hawaii and its islands. Instead, opt for one of these five alternatives to enjoy a similar experience elsewhere.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more travel cards
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.