The COVID-19 pandemic enforced several strict travel restrictions, prompting vacationers to seek other less stringent places. Hawaii is one of the islands that faced the worst side of the pandemic, but it's slowly bouncing back since the restrictions were lifted months back. While Hawaii is one of the best go-to places for surfing sports and palm-tree-lined beaches, rumors have it that some beaches aren't swim-friendly, and the cost of vacationing there keeps skyrocketing. Here are ten awesome alternatives to Hawaii you should add to your bucket list without footing hefty flight expenses worldwide.
20. Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos offers a paradise-like feeling, from the turquoise-colored water to gorgeous sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. Also, Turks & Caicos has 40 small islands and cays home to more than 31,000 residents, attracting millions of tourists every year. It's a superb destination for watersport lovers, beach loungers, snorkel enthusiasts, and swimming lovers. The best resorts to visit on these sandy beaches are COMO Parrot Cay, Grace Bay Club, The Shore Club, Wymara Resort and Villas, and many others.
19. Exuma, Bahamas
Exuma is one of the districts in the Bahamas with over 365 islands and the most beautiful beaches in the world. The sandy beaches aren't the only tourist attractions you should expect. Instead, you have the Bahamas archipelago to drool over, a perfect place for nature lovers. This place holds the title for maintaining Bahama's rich history, with educationists frequenting it to learn more about early settlers. Exuma, Bahamas, is also famously known for the swimming pigs in Big Major Cay. The journey started with five newborn pigs who are all grown. They are so friendly to people that they swim to let you feed them whenever you come closer.
If you're a seasoned or first-time snorkeler or deep-sea diver, a Caribbean country like Grenada is the place to be on this coming holiday. Beneath the waters are historic shipwrecks like King Mitch, Rhum Runner, and Buccaneer, to mention but a few. According to Sandals.com, the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is the one place you want to explore if you are a marine life explorer. You might want to visit the Grand Anse Beach (St. George), Belmont Estate, Seven Sisters Falls, Fort George, Carenage, and Palm Tree Gardens Botanical Garden in St. David.
17. Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is another excellent beach destination packed with plenty of activities to try, like, snorkeling, scuba diving, and the likes. The most popular hangout spot is the Anse Chastanet Beach in Soufriere, an excellent location for engaging in the activities mentioned. If you've ever heard about a drive-in volcano, you will be pleased to learn that Santa Lucia is home to Sulfur Springs.
Are you a history lover? If yes, you have every reason to go to Cyprus, a Turkish Kibris and Greek Kipros on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. Today, the island is a popular tourist destination for honeymooners as it boasts the legendary Aphrodite's home. Also, it is one of the cleanest beaches in Europe, so you have every reason to go for a swim or watersports. So, whether you're a surfer, swimmer, scuba diver, or sightseer, Cyprus is your go-to place offering Hawaii-like benefits. It will also please you to learn that it's native to Goddess Aphrodite of the BC days.
Ever imagined going to a place whose locals have a welcoming spirit? Imagine reaching there to be welcomed by many friendly locals who are ready to show you around and give you a taste of the ultimate Caribbean experience. Before you know it, you discover ultra-modern hotels with state-of-the-art amenities. Look no further than Antigua, the home to the most beautiful sandy beaches. Away from a good hospitality experience, Antigua also has many attractions waiting for you to explore. There's a romantic accommodation facility called Dickenson Bay. It is no surprise that it was voted the "Most Romantic Resort in the World." Expect temperatures from 77-degrees Fahrenheit in January to 82-degrees Fahrenheit in August.
14. San Diego, California
Like Hawaii, San Diego offers city excitement and beach getaways such as Carlsbad, Coronado, and Point Loma. The neighborhoods like Balboa and Victorian-era Gaslamp are also historical, giving you the chance to learn more about the early settlers. Even though most islands and other vacation destinations have resumed business after the COVID-19 scare, you might need to follow the protocols following vacations in San Diego, California. Most accommodation establishments might want you to provide documents proving you've been vaccinated. There are many tourist attractions to explore away from the restrictions, provided you book early.
13. The Maldives
According to Nomadic Matt, the Maldives is a line of approximately a thousand islands with only 200 harboring residents, and only five are sparsely populated. Its capital city, Malé, is one the most densely populated cities globally, though the locals are friendly. Also, it is the flattest and lowest nation in the world. Most of these islands are in the center of the Indian Ocean. Surprisingly, the 2004 Tsunami wreaked havoc on most islands. However, it was a blessing in disguise as the government established flood barriers to prevent this from happening again. Today, the coral islands in the Maldives attract thousands of vacationers from all over the world. Apart from the white sandy beaches, the Maldives is the ultimate destination for snorkeling, diving, and other watersports.
12. Bali and the Gili Islands
Bali and Gili are among the best tropical islands guaranteeing a Hawaiian experience. These Indonesian islands have the most delicious cuisine from local farms. Thanks to the friendly locals, Bali is the place to be if you're a party-goer. Also, there is a volcano to help you try your climbing skills. The second island in Indonesia you should explore is the Gili. It's a perfect getaway go-to place after Bali Island, with Gili Trawangan being the most cosmopolitan. The best part about vacationing on these islands is the tropical weather, and they're close to each other. The best time to tour these two islands is between April and October when the weather is hotter.
Something about Fiji spells an unmatched paradise experience, and you can't help but marvel at the 322 islands it hosts. Almost everywhere you go on, the archipelago is an attraction spot. It can take you a whole year to tour all the islands if you have the time and money, giving you enough reasons to backpack. Another unique trait that Fiji has is that it welcomes everyone regardless of their age, gender, socio-economic status, or religious affiliations. Whether you're an ardent snorkeler, whale-watcher, sailor, or diver, there's always something for everyone. The constant tropical climate throughout the year is Fiji's most significant selling point. You might want to watch out for cyclones from November to January.
Have you ever wondered where celebrities take pictures of tropical bungalows in the water? You might not believe this, but Tahiti is where you've been drooling over all these years. Interestingly, most people who've visited the island before know how it complements honeymoon settings. It is no surprise most honeymooners consider it one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Tahiti has many mouth-watering cuisines your taste buds have never encountered on matters of food and drinks. Fresh cocktails accompany every meal; a perfect way to call it a day and pave the way for some partying. The only thing to worry about is the high prices because Tahiti's target clients are affluent. The all-year-round tropical weather is the icing on the cake.
9. The Cook Islands
Deep in the heart of the South Pacific are 15 Cook Islands, with Rarotonga and Aitutaki being the most-visited. As the name suggests, the Cook Islands were named after an explorer named James Cook, who discovered them. Surprisingly, it's one of the least visited islands, but it'll do you great justice should you be a history lover. Like other islands on this list, the Cook Islands enjoy all-year-round tropical weather. So, get your swimsuit ready as you are about to go on a South Pacific experience like no other.
Are you a fan of reggae and want to have a meet-and-greet session with some of the most talented singers? If so, then Caribbean Jamaica is the country to consider on your wanderlust bucket list. Jamaica's best beaches to tour include the Boston Bay beach, Seven Mile Beach, Cornwall Beach, Reggae Beach, and Doctor's Cave Beach. Unless you have limited time, you should consider touring the Bob Marley Museum to understand the history of reggae and its roots. Call it a day by partying at the beaches, and your dream will be accomplished.
7. The Dominican Republic
In 1969, Punta Cana, a popular resort area, was built for tourists. Since then, it's become one of the most visited hotspots in the Dominican Republic, hosting 2.5+ million tourists every year. One of this resort's most significant selling points of the resort area is its accessibility, thanks to its airport. It'll only take you three hours to fly from New York, and you will be in Punta Cana in no time. Unlike Hawaiian resorts, Punta Cana has a set price for their cuisines and won't impose separate charges for drinks, meals, and accommodation fees.
Barbados is home to a famous American pop singer named Rihanna, giving every reason to go there. The country hosts people from different racial backgrounds, making it one of the friendliest tourist destinations. Also, there is a direct flight from the US or UK to Barbados, so you don't have to worry about connecting flights that will leave you jetlagged. While there, visit Crane beach, Gibbes beach, Mullins, Archer Bay, and many others.
Mauritius is an Indian Ocean island nation in East Africa, offering the Hawaiian-like experience at a lower cost. Mauritius beats Hawaii hands down when comparing the prices of spa treatments, catamaran cruises, windsurfing, kite-flying, and watersports. The only things to worry about are the flight cost to the country and your accommodation. From Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis, Chinatown, and UNESCO World Heritage sites to the Central Market Bazaar, there's always something for everyone in Mauritius.
4. Lakshadweep Islands, India
India is home to 36 Lakshadweep islands known for lush-green landscapes and exotic beaches, making them perfect for honeymooners. Every island you visit in Lakshadweep spells serenity and romance, complementing the Laccadive Sea. The archipelago's islands cover an area of 36 sq km. Lakshadweep boasts plenty of water sports activities like wind-surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, and yachting, thanks to its scenic beauty and isolated status. Bangaram Island, Agatti Island, Kadmat Island, Kalpeni Island, and Minicoy Island are the best islands to visit.
If the crowded atmosphere in Hawaii during peak seasons awakens the claustrophobic experience you've always avoided, Belize is the place to be. The nation is known for beautiful Caribbean shorelines to the east. Besides ancient ruin tours, Belize is a tourist paradise offering parasailing, zip-lining, scuba diving, and spelunking activities. We recommend booking your accommodation with Blancaneaux Lodge if you like to unplug from social media and the internet.
2. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
The second alternative to Hawaii on this list is the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. It mainly consists of two islands, Kecil and Besar, perfect for diving and snorkeling. Anything you have always wanted to see first-hand, like the sea turtles, sharks, and reef fish, is at your disposal. The activities lined up are snorkeling in D'Lagoon and Shari-la resort, deep-sea diving in Coral Bay, and quant fishing at the coastline.
1. Miami, Florida
According to Trek Baron, Miami is in the heart of South Florida culture, with loads of fun activities. The city faces the Atlantic Ocean, with Greater Miami and Miami Beach being the hotspots. The region is home to many attractions, including coral reefs. While in Miami, the activities you can enjoy private sailing adventures in Biscayne Bay, a fishing trip at Half Day Deep Sea, and a nature walk with naturalists in Everglades National Park. While Miami and Hawaii are excellent for surf, sun, and family-friendly beaches, Miami beats the latter in proximity to the US population. Also, Miami's beaches transform into nightspots and clubs when the sun goes down. The best time to tour the place is in spring (mid-February through May) when the weather is warm and the hurricane season hasn't arrived.
All the twenty destinations on this list offer a Hawaiian experience on a budget. They all give you the chance to see the world and the attractions it holds. Before deciding where to go, find out how much it'll cost in their itinerary and the activities to determine if there's anything worth your touring needs.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn