The best alternatives to Hawaii to visit are all located on or near the mainland. These states offer stunning landscapes, diverse cultures, and plenty of activities for visitors of all ages. Here are the best alternative destinations to Hawaii to consider when planning your next vacation (based on our destination database).
Hawaii undoubtedly is a destination that is hard to compare against as there aren’t many islands in the world that offer the same excursions, black sand beaches, and fresh seafood as the Aloha State.
However, there are some easier destinations that will give you a glimpse of new culture while also maintaining close proximity to the continental United States.
Best Hawaii Alternatives to Visit
If the Hawaiian Islands are too expensive or too far for you, we’ve got you covered with some travel inspiration about other islands, travel destinations, and the best beaches to visit.
San Diego, California
With miles of sandy beaches and warm weather year-round, San Diego is a popular tourist destination. You can also visit some of the city’s iconic attractions, such as the USS Midway Museum and Balboa Park.
There are a variety of places to stay in San Diego, and the best one for you will depend on your budget and what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront is a great option.
If you’re on a tighter budget, the Best Western Plus Hacienda Hotel & Suites is a great value. And if you’re looking for something in between, the Mandarin Oriental, San Diego is a beautiful hotel with great amenities.
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This United States territory offers a sunny retreat with beautiful beaches, amazing waterfalls, and magnificent mountains, and all without a passport. Puerto Rico is a stunning destination with plenty to offer visitors. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or enjoy some adventure activities, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Puerto Rico.
Some of the best things to see and do in Puerto Rico include:
- Visiting San Juan, the capital city, which offers colonial architecture, great restaurants, and lively nightlife.
- Hiking through El Yunque National Forest, which features lush greenery and impressive waterfalls.
- Relaxing on the beaches of Vieques or Culebra, which offer some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
- Swimming in the Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay, where you can see the water glow in the dark.
- Experiencing the traditional culture and music of Puerto Rico at a festival or by taking a dance lesson.
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to Hawaii, consider Puerto Rico. With plenty to offer visitors, Puerto Rico is a great place to enjoy a sunny vacation without breaking the bank.
There are flights from Puerto Rico to San Juan Luis Muozmarn International Airport (SJU) by many United States Airlines including American Delta, American Air, and American Airlines.
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Barbados is a popular travel destination for many visitors, and for good reason. Not only does the island have direct daily flights from major US and UK cities, making it relatively easy and convenient to reach, but it also offers an array of rich cultural experiences and all-inclusive resorts.
From its diverse festivals, musical performances, and arts and dance traditions to its tropical charm and warm hospitality, Barbados is truly a unique and inviting place.
And compared to other Caribbean destinations like Bermuda or Hawaii, Barbados has a number of distinct advantages. While Bermuda is only accessible via short connecting flights from the US or Canada, Barbados has direct daily flights from many major cities across the country.
What’s more, while Hawaii can be reached by lengthy flights with multiple stopovers, most travelers can reach Barbados with just one or two connections.
Overall, this means that visitors to Barbados experience shorter travel times and fewer logistical hurdles than their counterparts in Bermuda or Hawaii.
So whether you’re looking for sun-soaked beaches and crystal clear waters, exciting outdoor adventures, incredible local cuisine, or just some much-needed rest and relaxation in paradise, Barbados is sure to be your ideal destination.
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is a city in Southern California, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It is known for its beautiful coastline, perfect weather, and Spanish-style architecture. There are also plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara, including hiking, biking, and wine tasting.
This destination on the west coast is a great Hawaii alternative because it offers similar natural beauty and attractions at a fraction of the cost. This charming city is known for its stunning coastline, and there are plenty of great hiking and biking trails to explore. The weather is also perfect year-round, making it a great destination for any time of year.
And if you’re a wine lover, you’ll definitely want to check out the wine country in this region of California. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Santa Barbara, plenty of great options exist. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The Fess Parker – This historic hotel is located right on the beach. It offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, and guests can enjoy amenities like a pool, spa, and wine bar.
- The Kimpton Canary – This boutique hotel is located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, and offers guests unique amenities like free bicycle rentals and afternoon wine tastings.
- The Harbor House Inn – This inn is located in the charming town of Montecito, just a few minutes from the city. It offers rooms with fireplaces and private decks, and guests can enjoy amenities like a spa and pool.
Key West, Florida
If you are looking for a paradise-type destination with beaches, family-friendly activities, and laid-back vibes, look no further than Key West, Florida.
This island located just south of mainland Florida is a popular spot for tourists and offers plenty of things to see and do, including world-renowned beaches, Ernest Hemingway’s home, and excellent snorkeling and diving spots.
Best of all, Key West is considerably more affordable than Hawaii. When visiting Key West, there are a variety of places to stay to fit your needs and budget.
If you’re looking for luxurious resorts and a relaxing stay, the Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa is an excellent option. This property features a private beach, an on-site spa, and several restaurants.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Days Inn Key West Oceanfront is a great choice. This hotel is located right on the beach and offers free breakfast and Wi-Fi.
No matter where you choose to stay in Key West, you’re sure to have an amazing time.
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For those looking for a tropical destination similar to Hawaii, the Bahamas is another great option. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Florida, this island nation offers everything you could want from a beach vacation – gorgeous beaches and crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
What’s more, the Bahamas is a great choice for those looking for an affordable alternative to Hawaii. There are a variety of lodging options available, from luxurious all-inclusive resorts to more budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses on a variety of islands.
When visiting the Bahamas, be sure to check out some of the highlights of this island nation, including the capital city of Nassau, the pristine beaches of the Exumas, and the luxury resorts on Paradise Island.
And no matter where you stay in the Bahamas, you’re sure to enjoy the warm weather, turquoise waters, and beautiful scenery.
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Miami, Florida is a great alternative to Hawaii for budget travelers. There are always great travel deals to Miami no matter where you are coming from. Not only is Miami much more affordable than Hawaii, but it also has many of the same natural attractions and amenities.
The good part about this city is the diversity. You’ll get to see and experience many different cultures from South America to Latin America to all over the world. Miami’s Atlantic Shoreline on the east coast is famous for its sandy beaches and warm waters, which make it ideal for sailing, swimming, and surfing.
Summers are hot and humid with scattering monsoon-like thunderstorms, but spring’s climate is mild and tropical. Florida is a perfect party spot thanks to many nightspots, bars, and restaurants along the beaches.
If you’re looking for a great place to stay, Miami has many excellent hotels. The best places to stay in Miami depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, there are many high-end hotels on South Beach.
If you’re on a budget, many affordable options are also available. Some of the best budget-friendly hotels in Miami include the Villa Venice Beach Hotel and the Aqua Hotel. These hotels offer comfortable accommodations and great locations close to all the action.
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If you’re looking for a sunny destination with beautiful beaches and rich culture, Mexico is a great option. From the coastline of Cancun to the colonial towns of Oaxaca, Mexico has something for everyone.
Some of the best things to see and do in Mexico include:
- Visiting Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest and most well-preserved ancient Maya sites in Mexico.
- Soaking up the sun on the beaches of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Cabo San Lucas.
- Experiencing traditional Mexican culture by visiting a local market or taking a dance lesson.
- Hiking through the Copper Canyon, a series of canyons more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
- Learning about Mexican history and art at one of the many museums throughout the country.
Mexico is a great choice for vacationers looking for a sunny destination with rich culture and plenty to see and do. With prices that are often much lower than Hawaii, Mexico is an affordable alternative for those looking to explore a new and exciting destination.
The Cook Islands is the ultimate tropical paradise. With its pristine beaches, crystal clear ocean waters, and lush vegetation, it truly offers everything you could ask for in a vacation destination.
Not only is Cook Island home to some of the friendliest people in the world, but it also boasts fantastic food and drinks options that satisfy your every craving. Whether you’re looking for adventure or slow relaxation, Cook Island has something for everyone.
And compared to similar destinations like Hawaii, travel to Cook Island is much more affordable, making it an ideal choice for travelers on a budget.
So if you’re looking for a true escape into paradise, the Cook Islands is the place to be. Come experience all that this stunning hidden gem has to offer, and discover what makes the Cook Islands such a special place. You won’t regret it!
The main island of Rarotonga, known for its vast lagoons, is easily accessible since it is only home to one landmass. There are no tall buildings, amenities, fast food, or even stoplights.
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Jamaica is a tropical paradise famous for its breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant culture. Everywhere you turn, you are surrounded by lush rainforests and pristine beaches, making it one of the most idyllic beach destinations to visit.
At the same time, Jamaica is also known as the birthplace of reggae music, which has become a global phenomenon and draws thousands of visitors from all over the world each year.
Whether you are looking to relax on stunning coastal shores or experience Jamaica’s musical heritage firsthand, this island nation has something for everyone.
Food and drinks in Jamaica tend to be quite affordable compared to other popular travel destinations like Hawaii, meaning you can enjoy delicious meals and refreshing cocktails unfettered by hefty price tags.
From fresh seafood dishes to tantalizing West African specialties, Jamaica’s cuisine encompasses a variety of flavors and styles that will satisfy any palate.
And when it comes to Jamaica’s beaches, there are plenty of options for sunbathers, surfers, scuba diving, and water sports enthusiasts alike. Whether you want to lounge on golden sands or take in the crystal clear waters from above with a thrilling jet ski ride, the beaches of Jamaica have it all.
So if you are looking for an unforgettable getaway full of breathtaking natural beauty and rich culture, Jamaica should be at the top of your list.
What is a cheaper alternative to Hawaii?
A cheaper alternative to Hawaii is the Caribbean. Many of the islands in the Caribbean are volcanic and have amazing beaches, as well as a more relaxed vibe than Hawaii. Plus, flight tickets to the Caribbean are often much cheaper than tickets to Hawaii.
Is Cabo cheaper than Hawaii?
Cabo is considerably cheaper than Hawaii and has more exciting nights. However, Cabo is primarily a vacation destination.
Where should you go instead of Hawaii?
With the exception of some islands, Hawaii’s best alternatives are in the Caribbean, Saint Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Barbados, and the Bahamas.