22 Best US Islands

From Catalina Island, CA, to Mount Desert Island, ME, view our list of the best islands in the US -- except Hawaii, of course!

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US Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands

A Caribbean vacation isn't out of reach without a passport if you stick to the US Virgin Islands: St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas (pictured here). Since they're US territories, a driver's license or birth certificate will suffice. 960 1280

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Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Another option in the Caribbean is Vieques, a small island that lies about 8 miles east of Puerto Rico. Along with the Puerto Rican mainland, it is a United States commonwealth with a strong Spanish influence. 960 1280

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Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra, another island municipality of Puerto Rico, offers some of the Caribbean's most serene beaches. 960 1280

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Not to be overshadowed by its islands, Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan, is steeped in Spanish heritage and culture without sacrificing waterfront sunsets. 960 1280

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Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler, British Columbia

Have your sights set on a Canadian ski vacation? You can hit the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, but not without restrictions. First, you'll need to travel by land, and second, you'll need either an enhanced driver's license or a US passport card. These travel documents were created in conjunction with changes to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that took effect in 2009.  960 1280

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Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida

Who says you can't find an island paradise in the continental US? Just off the coast of Florida, Key West is the southernmost city in the country and is unlike anywhere else. 960 1280

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Guam

Guam

Guam is the westernmost US territory, and while it's known for its military base, it's also one of the leading tourist destinations in the Western Pacific. This tropical paradise features beach clubs, luxurious accommodations and world-class golf courses. 960 1280

DuReMi, flickr  

Hawaii

Hawaii

Of course, if you want to be on an exotic island far, far away, your first thought should be of Hawaii and the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Maui. 960 1280

Rhiannon Taylor  

American Samoa

American Samoa

You can also experience the heart of Polynesia and Samoan culture in the 5 volcanic islands that make up the territory of American Samoa. 960 1280

Walter Spina/iStock/Getty Images  

Swains Island, American Samoa

Swains Island, American Samoa

If you're feeling adventurous, travel to Swains Island in American Samoa, one of the territory's 2 atolls (coral islands) halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. 960 1280

Wikimedia Commons  

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Your last option for a tropical vacation without a passport is Saipan, one of the 14 lush Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth. The Micronesian paradise has been called "America's best-kept secret." 960 1280

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anderson hollow cove, lake of the ozarks, missouri, people, party, boats
Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks

Anderson Hollow Cove at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri is a haven for both spring breakers and summer revelers alike. More popularly known as “Party Cove,” it’s considered the oldest established permanent floating bacchanal in the country. 960 1280

Chris Oberholtz/Kansas City Star/MCT/Getty Images  

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes

A footbridge hangs over the blue-green waters of Plitvice Lakes in Croatia hidden by thick vegetation and connected by hundreds of waterfalls. The largest national park in Croatia, it attracts over a million visitors each year. 960 1280

Kelly Cheng Travel Photography/Moment/Getty Images  

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy in the French Alps is a popular destination for tourists. Enjoy water sports before refueling at lakeside restaurants and bars. 960 1280

iStockphoto.com/DMP1  

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is situated in the Guatemalan highlands at the foot of 3 volcanoes including the San Pedro volcano pictured above. 960 1280

  

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Wizard Island sits in Oregon's Crater Lake, which was formed by the collapse of a volcano. Not only is this the deepest lake in the United States at 1,943 feet, but it's also famous for its deep blue color and crystal-clear waters. 960 1280

iStockphoto.com/James Cross  

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

Hikers take in the sunset over Loch Lomond, Scotland, which is dotted with islands and medieval castles.
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iStockphoto.com/Josefkubes  

Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson

Lake Matheson in South Island, New Zealand, is also known as mirror lake for its reflected vies of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.
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Rob Suisted  

Lake Garda

Lake Garda

Windsurfers ride Lake Garda, one of Italy's most popular vacation spots, featuring resort towns, hot springs and terra-cotta-roofed hotels.
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iStockphoto.com/Thomas Quack  

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu, on the border between Arizona and California, brings in 3.5 million visitors a year, and, thanks to its floating party scene, it's a major spring break destination for coeds.
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iStockphoto.com/MCCAIG  

Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru

Don't go diving into the picturesque waters of Lake Nakuru in Kenya -- the mass of pink flamingos are one of the few species that can stand the hostile conditions. Visitors can spot up to a million birds wading side by side as well as baboons and black-and-white rhinos. 
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Elosoenpersona Photo/Moment/Getty Images  

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake

View from the Icefields Parkway's highest Lookout Point over Peyto Lake in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. The glacier-fed lake has a bright, turquoise color. 960 1280

iStockphoto.com/Missing35mm  

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

View of the clear waters and sandy beaches of Crystal Lake from the town of Beulah, MI. 960 1280

Panoramic Images/Getty Images  

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