21 Best Places to Travel Without a Passport

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Scenic fall landscape with snow-capped mountains in Denali National Park, Alaska

Are you craving new scenery and exciting landscapes? After all, an escape to Fiji, Morocco, or the Maldives sounds good now.

Unfortunately, they all require that expensive little blue booklet called a US passport. Never fear; there are plenty of cool, unique, adventurous, and even exotic places to travel to without a passport.

Whether you’ve neglected to renew your passport, don’t feel like dealing with the process, or need some unique domestic destinations to add to a bucket list, we’ve got you covered. There are volcanic islands, tropical places, lush rainforests, untouched beaches, coral-filled waters, desert vistas, otherworldly landscapes, red rock canyons, mountain peaks, European-inspired landscapes, and quaint fishing villages across the country.

If you’re planning a vacation and wondering where to travel without a passport from the U.S., keep reading. We’ve picked the perfect places to visit without a passport for luxury-seeking honeymooners, thrill and adventure-driven adrenaline junkies, photographers, and travelers.

Check out Going.com (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) for great deals and free flight alerts to amazing and cheap places to travel without a passport.

Best Places to Travel Without a Passport

1. Acadia National Park – Maine

Acadia National Park Scenery
mandritoiu / Adobe Stock

Dreaming of a rugged Canadian getaway? Yep, you’ll need a passport for that. Alternatively, you can head to the rocky coastlines, jagged mountain peaks, and Acadia National Park wooded wilds. Located near New Brunswick and across the Bay of Fundy from Nova Scotia, Acadia National Park is one of the closest places you can get to Canada without a passport. 

The 47,000-acre park sits on Mt. Desert Island on the East Coast, making up most of the island. Established in 1916, Acadia was the first national park in the U.S. east of the Mississippi.

Known for its stunning fall foliage and cool summer weather, the region is equally scenic when covered in snow or wildflowers. Capture photos of the immense Cadillac Mountain, the wildly popular 1858 Bass Harbor Head Light Station, Atlantic Ocean sunrises, stunning beaches, and wildlife such as bears, moose, and whales.

Get active by cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and viewing wildlife. After all that activity, enjoy lobster dinners in the small and historic fishing village of Bar Harbor. Anchor your stay at a local hotel like the Maples Inn Bed and Breakfast or the Acadia Hotel – Downtown.

See Related: Cell Phones That Can be Used in Canada

2. Aleutian Islands – Alaska

View of the Airport Beach road and the Nateekin Bay, Unalaska, Alaska.
RUBEN M RAMOS / Shutterstock

You don’t need a passport to travel to the Last Frontier. Also called the Aleut Islands, the Aleutian Islands are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones. They sit in the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea near the Gulf of Alaska. Some of these islands are actually owned by Russia, but you can travel to the U.S. ones without a passport.

With a dramatic and rugged landscape of active volcanoes, native villages, and fishing heritage, the islands are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (the largest in the U.S.). Located 800 miles southwest of Anchorage, the islands include Akun, Unimak, Sanuk, Tigalda, and towns like Unalaska, Sand Point, Akutan, and Cold Bay.

While on the Aleutian Islands, you’ll want to experience as many rugged Alaska activities as possible. Visit the Aniackchak National Monument and Preserve, or look for native wildlife at the Ugashik National Wildlife Refuge. Discover the local history of the islands at the Museum of the Aleutians.

Want to make this a real adventure? Check into The Eagle’s Nest or a Chalet in Kodiak to experience this rugged landscape.

See Related: Cheapest Places to Fly Around the World

3. Big Sur – California

Big Sur Guided Half-Day Tour
Big Sur Sightseeing Tour / GetYourGuide

The California coastline’s rugged section, Big Sur, features a landscape of jagged cliffs, golden sand beaches, misty ocean views, and a backdrop of redwoods and waterfalls in the Santa Lucia Mountains. The region is situated along the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1 or Highway 1), which is 656 miles long and provides a stunning view of the Pacific coastline.

Located along the central coast of California, Big Sur sits between Carmel and San Simeon. The region was named Big Sur, which means Big South, by Spanish settlers on the Monterey Peninsula. The area has small hotels, family-owned restaurants, and a charming coastal vibe.

There are many best things to do in Big Sur. You’ll find state parks, beaches, and nature preserves where you can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and nature viewing as well as exotic purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach. The concrete-arch Bixby Creek Bridge, built in the 1930s, offers spectacular views from its vantage point of 260 feet above Bixby Canyon. You may have seen it in the opening sequence of Big Little Lies.

Go swimming, hiking, or picnicking at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, or Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. If literary travel is your thing, head to the museum, bookstore, and former home of Henry Miller at the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

Traveling without youngsters? You may want to consider the Alila Ventana Big Sur – Adults Only luxury hotel for an incredible adults-only vacation in Big Sur.

See Related: Where to Stay in Big Sur: Best Areas & Accommodations

4. Denali National Park – Alaska

Interior of a Helicopter in Denali National Park
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

At six million acres, Denali National Park alternates its outlook between tundra, icy glaciers, spruce forests, and wildlife like the Big Five (caribou, moose, grizzly bears, wolves, and Dall sheep). There’s only one road running through this wild open space. It’s 92 miles long and was completed in 1938.

 Located near Fairbanks, the park is home to Mt. McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. Travelers enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, and mountain climbing.

You may even see sled dogs at work or watch demonstrations. The park is among the best places to see the Northern Lights without a passport.

Check out the Eielson Visitor Center for guided hikes, an art gallery, and stunning Denali views. For insider tips and advice from professional photographers, book a Denali Photo Excursion.

This is an excellent way to find the best photo spots and wildlife hangouts. I’d also highly recommend a jeep tour of the park or even a helicopter tour around the mountain.

Looking for accommodations near Denali National Park? Consider the Denali RV Park and Motel or the Grande Denali Lodge for convenient park access. For a visual and deeper look at Denali National Park, watch our YouTube video about the Best Things to do in Denali National Park & Preserve.

5. Guam and the Northern Marianna Islands

Beautiful rock formations along the sandy beach of Tanguisson Beach on the tropical island of Guam
J nel / Shutterstock

While exotic and remote sounding, the tropical destinations of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are U.S. territories. That means you don’t need a passport to travel to them as long as you travel by plane or ship that doesn’t stop in another country.

By ship, this is what’s known as a “closed-loop cruise.” For example, if you were traveling to the pink sand beaches of Bermuda by cruise ship, leaving from and returning to the same port, you shouldn’t need a passport.

They’re located east of the Philippines in the Western Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea. Part of Micronesia, Guam’s total land area is 212 square miles.

It’s about 30 miles long and comprises Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force bases. Explore the island’s tropical beaches, ancient statues, and Spanish Colonial heritage at the Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad and the War in the Pacific National Historic Park.

The Northern Mariana Islands are north of Guam and surrounded by sapphire blue water, soft sand beaches, and lush green palm trees. There are 14 islands in the 300-mile-long chain. The most popular are Saipan, Rota, and Tinian.

Saipan is the largest, with brilliant white sand beaches, mountains, and coral reefs. Go diving or snorkeling around a World War II shipwreck, or play an oceanside round of golf.

To visit American Samoa – a U.S. unincorporated territory and collection of five volcanic islands located in the South Pacific between Fiji and the Cook Islands – you must have a passport. Sorry.

See Related: Islands to Visit Around the World

6. Great Sand Dunes National Park – Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado at Sunset
Kris Wiktor / Shutterstock

For sweeping golden sand dunes on American land, and without a passport, head to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Fans of sand will enjoy the unique experience of sand sledding and sandboarding (like snow, but on sand).

Found in south-central Colorado, just west of Colorado City in Alamosa, it’s home to North America’s tallest sand dunes. Along with all the sand, you’ll find forests, canyons, wetlands, lakes, and the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Go trout fishing at Medano Lake or hike Hidden Dune, Star Dune, Eastern Dune Ridge, and the forest trails at Mosca Pass.

This unique retreat is perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, especially once the sun goes down. The park features stunning Milky Way views if you’re into stargazing and nighttime photography.

7. Holland – Michigan

An authentic wooden windmill from the Netherlands rises behind a field of tulips in Holland Michigan at Springtime
Craig Sterken / Shutterstock

Holland, Michigan, is another great place to travel without a passport. If it weren’t for Lake Michigan filling in for the North Sea, you might think you’re in the Netherlands. Wooden windmills and springtime tulips abound in this Great Lakes State.

Located on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, on Lake Macatawa, the city offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and breweries along heated streets (yes, really), and cobblestone sidewalks.

Take in Dutch architecture, cuisine, and culture around the city and at events like the Dutch Winterfest and the Tulip Time Festival. Learn how to klompen dance and carve wooden shoes at Nelis’ Dutch Village, peruse Dutch art at the Holland Museum, explore acres of tulips at the Veldheer Tulip Gardens, and see an authentic Dutch windmill at  Windmill Island Gardens.

Explore woodland, shrub, and marsh habitats at the 18-acre DeGraaf Nature Center. Head to Holland State Park for swimming, hiking, and biking. Watching the sunset at Tunnel Park is a nice way to end the day.

In town for an extended stay or a festival? CityFlatsHotel Holland, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, and the Courtyard by Marriott Holland Downtown offer convenience and comfort.

See Related: Things to Do in Michigan & Best Places to Visit

8. Joshua Tree National Park – California

Joshua Tree National Park
Alessandro Rossi / Unsplash

One of the best places to travel without a passport, Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park is a no-brainer. With its twisted and gnarled Joshua trees, the desert landscape offers an otherworldly feel and an incredibly unique view.

Located near Palm Springs and surrounded by the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree is a dream destination for photographers, hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts. Visit the famous Arch Rock or look over the Coachella Valley at Keys View.

If you’re combining this passport-free trip with historic luxury, be sure to check into the Azure Palm Hot Springs hotel. The Royal Plaza Inn and the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Indio Coachella Valley are other excellent options to anchor your Joshua Tree adventures.

Watch our YouTube video of the Joshua Tree National Park for visual travel.

9. Kauai – Hawaii

Wailua Falls scenery in Kauai, Hawaii
Mohamed Selim / Shutterstock

You knew the Hawaiian islands would make this list, right? Kauai is one of the best places to travel without a passport if you’re looking for a tropical South Pacific destination filled with rainforests, waterfalls, sea cliffs, and exotic flowers. Hawaii’s fourth largest island, Kauai, is located northwest of O’ahu. This tropical getaway is known as the Garden Isle.

The island exterior is rimmed with beautiful sandy shores and stunning beaches, while the interior offers parks, refuges, and nature preserves. Top tropical vacation sites on Kauai include the Wailua Falls double waterfall, Waimea Canyon State Park, and the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park.

Visit the rock-rimmed sinkhole at the Queen’s Bath, explore tropical trails at Koke’e State Park, tour the Kilauea Lighthouse, or relax on gorgeous beaches with views of volcanic peaks and lush mountains. We’re not judging.

There’s no point in going to Hawaii unless you plan on making a real vacation out of it and staying there for a while. You’ll find luxury, comfort, and convenience at the Banyan Harbor Resort or the Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection.

See Related: Where To Stay In Hawaii: Best Areas & Neighborhoods

10. Leavenworth – Washington

Leavenworth, Washington
Mark A Lee / Shutterstock

Authentic Alpine charm comes to the Pacific Northwest in Leavenworth, Washington. A small timber town, Leavenworth was the headquarters of the Great Northern Railway in the early 1900s. After the railroad relocated in the 1920s, the town went into decline.

Taking the area’s gorgeous mountains as inspiration, a revitalization project in the 1960s led to its lean towards a German Bavarian village ambiance. Residents added traditional architecture and established events such as Oktoberfest celebrations, winter carnivals, sleigh rides, and Christmas markets.

There’s even a nutcracker museum, which features more than 9,000 nutcrackers from the 12th and 13th Centuries to today at the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum.

Leavenworth Ski Hill is a popular spot for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing. The foodies and drinkers in your crew will want to take a brewery, distillery, cidery, or winery tour.

Your Leavenworth adventures don’t have to end there, though. To soak in the Bavarian vibes, check into the Bavarian Lodge.

See Related: Top 10 Places to Travel

11. Niagara Falls – New York

Aerial view of Niagara Falls State Park
CPQ / Adobe Stock

For a classic Canadian adventure, just head to Niagara Falls…New York. The U.S. side is just as spectacular as the Canadian side, and you don’t need a passport. It’s located at the Canadian border, north of Buffalo, on the Niagara River.

Niagara Falls is actually three cascades, and two of them (and part of the third) are on the American side. American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are on the American side. The Horseshoe Falls cascade is on the Canadian side (it’s the more well-known of the cascades).

Book a Maid of the Mist boat tour and a Cave of the Winds tour to get up close to the massive misting cascades. The Maid of the Mist boat is the same experience (meaning you’ll get just as drenched and see the same stunning scenery) as Canada’s Hornblower – and all without a passport.

Don’t miss Niagara Falls State Park. The park is home to American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, as well as a portion of Horseshoe Falls. There are miles of walking trails, scenic overlooks, and a restaurant. Goat Island has walking trails and lots of viewing spots for the falls.

This is also a great passport-free destination to bring the wee ones. The kids may enjoy the Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara Amusement Park, or Splash World.

Need a place to crash? Hyatt Place Niagara Falls and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls New York both offer convenience to these attractions.

See Related: Things to Do in Niagara Falls

12. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Guided LED Night Kayak Excursion
Puerto Rico Guided LED Night Kayak Excursion / Viator

For a setting of Spanish Colonial architecture, ancient fortresses, lush waterfalls, and beautiful Caribbean beaches, look no further than Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory island is 100 miles long and 35 miles wide.

You can freely travel without a passport. Culebra Island, off the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico’s main island, is home to the beautiful Flamenco Beach and the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge.

The most unique nature experience is a visit to the bioluminescent bay. Phytoplankton in the waters has a brilliant glow-in-the-dark blue effect when stirred up. Mosquito Bay in Vieques, La Parguera in Lajas, and Laguna Grande in Fajardo are the best places to see this phenomenon. Kayak trips are readily available.

Other adventurous activities involving the history and biodiversity of Puerto Rico include the El Yunque tropical rainforest and the El Morro and La Fortaleza fortresses in San Juan.

Social butterflies and night owls will want to check out the beach bars, casinos, and nightclubs of San Juan. Interested and looking for a luxury hotel in San Juan yet? The Royal Sonesta San Juan is an excellent choice.

13. Santa Catalina Island – California

Santa Catalina Island Aerial View
Alec Douglas / Unsplash

Mediterranean vibes abound in the Santa Catalina Islands! About 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, Santa Catalina Island is in the Gulf of Santa Catalina in the Pacific.

The island is 22 miles long and eight miles wide. The tropical paradise of Avalon is the most popular destination. There are sandy beaches, restaurants, shops, countless boutiques, and cafés around the island to visit without a passport.  

Take a diving, snorkeling, or glass-bottom boat tour of the reefs, explore island history at the Catalina Island Museum, or relax on pristine beaches. Seriously, this place is gorgeous in the extreme.

Best of all, you can stay on Santa Catalina Island without a passport! Consider the Seacrest Inn or the Catalina Canyon Inn for a relaxing stay.

See Related: Things to Do in California & Places to Visit

14. Santa Fe – New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico Aerial View
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Experience the Mexican landscape without pulling out a passport. Santa Fe, the capital city of New Mexico, is in the north-central section of the state and offers a diverse view of deserts, wind-swept vistas, snow-capped peaks, a rich Spanish heritage, and an incredible food scene. There’s even a Margarita Trail.

Established in 1607, the city sits at 7,199 feet above sea level. Bandelier National Monument, Pecos National Historical Park, and the Santa Fe National Forest are the places to go hiking, camping, biking, skiing, and sightseeing. Spend the day at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and Ski Santa Fe.

In 2005, Santa Fe became the country’s first UNESCO-designated Creative City. That title is evident in the city’s galleries, museums, literary festivals, and markets. It’s home (or has been home) to writers, artists, and creative types of all genres, including Georgia O’Keefe, Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin, Willa Cather, and D.H. Lawrence.

Learn about local culture at the Museum of International Folk Art or explore art and history at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. Head to the Railroad Arts District for contemporary art.

Check out the Meow Wolf Santa Fe immersive art installation and multi-media experience. And, if you’re looking for convenient accommodations, look into the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza or The Hacienda & Spa at Hotel Santa Fe

15. Solvang – California

Solvang, California
fox_lei / Shutterstock

If you dream of Copenhagen, Aarhus, Skagen, or Aalborg, grab your driver’s license (no passport required) and head to Solvang. Step into a fairy tale scene right out of Hans Christian Andersen. It comes complete with windmills, European bakeries, and California wines. Danish vibes are all around this Santa Barbara County city.

Solvang was founded in 1911 in the Santa Ynez Valley and is known as “The Danish Capital of America.” Travelers visit the town for events like grape stomps, Christmas celebrations, and Danish heritage festivals.

European bakeries and shops mingle with the wineries and vineyards of Southern California. Restaurant menus offer international and regional cuisine and pastries such as flodeboller (cream puffs), aebleskivers (round balls of dough fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar and a raspberry drizzle), kringle butter cookies, stroopwafels (Danish waffles), and risalamande (rice pudding dessert).

After you’ve sampled all the treats, tour the town aboard the Solvang Trolley or visit the replicas of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue and Round Tower. Then, you can visit more than 18 wine and beer tasting rooms (or maybe try a few – moderation is the key).

Keep the Danish vibe going by checking into the King Frederik Inn or the Mirabelle Inn and Restaurant. Both feature Danish decor in a convenient location. Check out these best hotels in Solvang to improve your trip.

See Related: Most Exotic Places in California to Visit

16. St. Augustine – Florida

St. Augustine Lighthouse
itsallgood / Adobe Stock

Spilling over with Spanish architecture, palm trees, cobblestone streets, a giant stone fort, and a charming old-world ambiance, St. Augustine is a stunning spot to travel without a passport.

Located along Florida’s northeast coast, the historic city was founded in 1565 (way before Jamestown and Plymouth Rock). With a nickname of Ancient City, it’s the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the U.S.

Historic downtown St. Augustine (America’s oldest continually occupied city) has shops, bars, restaurants, and historic structures. Visit the Fountain of Youth (the alleged spot where Juan Ponce de Leon first landed in 1513), the Old Jail, the Lightner Museum, Flagler College, and original structures such as wooden schoolhouses, military forts, hospitals, and more dating to the 1700s.

Historic structures and attractions like the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum throughout the historic district. Visit freaky exhibits at the world’s oldest Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Explore the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, which overlooks Matanzas Bay. Climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse or take a moonlight ghost tour (it’s supposedly haunted). Hanging out on wide sandy beaches at St. Augustine Beach isn’t a bad day.

Stay close to that authentic but completely modern vibe at The Flagler Inn – St. Augustine. If you’re traveling by boat (and we say “kudos to you” if you are), you may want to check out The Conch House Marina Resort.

17. Tarpon Springs – Florida

Tarpon Springs, Florida sponge docks
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

You can’t get much more Greek than Dodecanese Boulevard. Frankly, I’m just impressed to be able to pronounce this iconic name. For a taste, (both literally and figuratively) of the Greek isles, Florida’s West Coast has got you covered.

Known as the “sponge capital of the world,” Tarpon Springs has been an active waterfront for the sponge diving industry since the 1800s. It has even been featured on Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs.

Tarpon Springs is located near Lake Tarpon and the sapphire-shaded waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The town gets its name from the fish (the tarpon) found in the area waters.

Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the U.S. and offers a wide array of cultural festivals, art installations, and a rich selection of Greek, German, Mediterranean, Danish, Creole, and Japanese dining choices.

If you’re looking for baklava, loukoumades, or spanakopita, you won’t have to search for long. Cure a hunger craving at Hella’s Restaurant and Bakery, Fournos Bakery, Dimitri’s on the Water, Mama’s Greek Cuisine, or Madeline’s Falafel & Shawarma.  

Stroll along the sponge docks and historic waterfront and purchase sponges and sponge-related souvenirs from many stores and vendors. You can’t walk far without seeing a sponge. View sharks, rays, and other sea creatures at the Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary.

Spend the day at nearby parks and beautiful beaches while fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming, and sunning. Book a ferry boat ride to the Anclote Key Preserve State Park & Lighthouse. It’s approximately three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs.

Take the arts, culture, history, and cuisine scene when you’re done in the sun. Tour the Victorian 1883 Safford House Museum, home of Tarpon Springs’ founder, Anson P.K. Safford. Peruse 20th Century art at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.

See Related: Beautiful Springs in Florida to Visit

18. United States Virgin Islands

Overview to Trunk Bay in United States Virgin Islands national park
Gonzalo Buzonni / Shutterstock

The US Virgin Islands include the three islands of St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas. You do not need a passport to visit these tropical, relaxing, and serene islands. Now, to visit the neighboring British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada), you will need a valid passport.

The tiny island of St. John (the smallest of the tropical islands at four miles long and five miles wide) and St. Thomas (the middle sister at 13 miles long and four miles wide) sit side by side to the west of the British Virgin Islands.

St. Croix, the largest island of the three at 22 miles long and six miles wide, floats south of the two. The stunning blue waters and pristine white sand beaches of the Caribbean surround all.

St. John

Trunk Bay Saint John USVI
Josh Duncan / Unsplash

St. John, US Virgin Islands, known for natural beauty, is a nature lover’s paradise. Go hiking, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and legendary diving with sea turtles, rays, tropical fish, and reef sharks.

About two-thirds of St. John is a designated national park, the Virgin Islands National Park, which includes underwater and land areas.

Local sites include the Catherineberg Estate Ruins, the 18th Century Annaberg Sugar Plantation, Cinnamon Bay Plantation ruins, and the underwater trail at Trunk Bay.

St. Thomas

Caribbean, St Thomas US Virgin Islands. Panoramic view.
SCStock / Adobe Stock

St. Thomas, US Virgin Island, is considered to be more upscale, with boutiques, duty-free shopping, fine dining, golf courses, and two bustling cruise terminals. For history, nightlife, and lots of dining options, head to St. Thomas.

Have fun at attractions such as the Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden, the St. Thomas Skyride, rainforest zipline tours, and the Coral World Ocean Park aquarium and ocean attractions.

St. Croix

Stunning trail through the coastal flora and cactus on the east end of St. Croix with view over Grapetree Bay and rolling landscape in the US Virgin Islands
EA Given / Shutterstock

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Island, is a popular tropical paradise with serenity seekers and travelers who enjoy relaxing on secluded and beautiful beaches, kayaking the bioluminescent waters of Salt River Bay, and hiking along peaceful trails. It’s also a favorite with the foodies visiting the US Virgin Islands.

Additional activities include the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, Buck Island Reef National Monument, and the Estate Mount Washington ruins.

19. Valley of Fire State Park – Nevada

Valley of Fire State Park
Sandy Allen / ViaTravelers

With deep red rocks, ancient petroglyphs, and a Mars-like landscape, Valley of Fire is one of the best places you can visit without a passport. Drive or hike through this stunning landscape taking in the red, orange, copper, rust, and pale pink shades of Aztec sandstone. You can pull over and hike a bit in plenty of parking areas.

Located in Overton, Valley of Fire is Nevada’s largest and oldest state park. It makes a terrific day trip from Las Vegas. If the landscape looks familiar, you may have seen it in the 1990 Schwarzenegger flick Total Recall or Star Trek: Generations in 1994.

Check out petroglyphs and a natural basin water hole along the Mouse’s Tank Trail, or enjoy the scenic drive along Mouse’s Tank Road or the Valley of Fire Highway. Atlatl Rock has a stairway leading to amazingly preserved petroglyphs.

Visit the Beehives sandstone formations (hint: they look like beehives – I know, shocker). Additionally, Elephant Rock resembles a robotic elephant. I’m not sure why they didn’t call it Robot Elephant Rock.

See Related: Sierra Nevada Mountains Travel Guide

20. Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

Grand Prismatic Spring and Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail
Bucchi Francesco / Shutterstock

The 3,500-square-mile Yellowstone National Park spreads across three states. Most of it is in Wyoming, with portions in Montana and Idaho. All of these are U.S. states, so you can easily travel without a passport.

Established in 1872, it’s America’s first national park. It features a landscape of plunging canyons, geysers, hot springs, rushing rivers, and spruce and pine forests filled with native plants and animals such as bison, elk, antelope, and wolves. Travelers to Yellowstone enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, biking, fishing, boating, hunting, and more. Visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to learn about native animals.

View the rainbow colors of Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s the third largest spring in the world and is located in the Midway Geyser region in Wyoming. Don’t miss the iconic site of Old Faithful, which is in the park’s southwest section in Wyoming.

How cool would it be to stay inside the park, you ask? Pretty cool, and you can do just that at the Old Faithful Inn. For a visual and deeper look at Yellowstone National Park, watch our YouTube video about the Best Things to do in Yellowstone.

21. Yosemite National Park – California

Yosemite National Park
Fritz / Adobe Stock

One of America’s most popular national parks for travelers and photographers like Ansel Adams, Yosemite National Park is located within the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central eastern California (near Modesto). You’ll find 1,200 square miles of waterfalls, giant sequoia and redwood trees, peaks and valleys, whitewater rapids, and wildflower meadows.

Go river rafting, horseback riding, camping, rock climbing, stargazing, or take a scenic drive along Tioga Road. Glacier Point provides a stunning view of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, and the high country.

For the ultimate in rugged Yosemite experiences, take a five-day backpacking excursion. You can hike the cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome for stunning mountaintop views.

Would you prefer a less strenuous Yosemite experience? Visit Yosemite Village’s shops, restaurants, and attractions, or get your art and photography fix at the Yosemite Museum and Ansel Adams Gallery.

FAQ

Can you travel without a passport internationally?

No, not legally, anyway. Travelers are required to have a valid passport to travel internationally, even if it’s to countries that share borders.

There’s just no getting around it. Suppose it isn’t the United States or a U.S. territory (like Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, or Guam). In that case, you’re going to need a valid passport.

The only other way to get around this conundrum is to be a permanent resident of a jurisdictional entity like the European Union that allows freedom of movement without a visa or passport. The U.S. is not part of the EU.

Can you travel to the Caribbean without a passport?

U.S. citizens can travel without a passport to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. These Caribbean islands are U.S. territories.

What is the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)?

The WHTI is an initiative between the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It’s the act that requires travelers to show proper documents (such as a US passport) for travel to or from other countries. Its purpose is to strengthen border security while making it more efficient and convenient for U.S. citizens and international travelers to enter and exit. 

Related Resources

Sandy Allen
WRITTEN BY

Sandy Allen

Sandy is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia. Her specialties range from hotels, dining, beaches, and boating to theme parks, urban settings, mountain getaways, and fun attractions. She loves Nashville, Las Vegas, and Williamsburg, Virginia - but you're most likely to find her at the beach or on a boat somewhere. In addition to ViaTravelers, her work appears at AFAR, PierShare, Cozymeal, and more.

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