Are you itching for a getaway but don’t have a passport? Or maybe your passport expired? No worries!
There are plenty of beautiful destinations you can visit without needing one.
In this post, we’ll explore 15 amazing places that you can fly to without a passport if you’re an American citizen.
I’ve personally been to most of these vacation spots and will share some of my top activities and sights to see.
From tropical paradises to stunning national parks, these destinations offer a wide variety of experiences that cater to every traveler’s taste.
So, let’s dive in and discover the best places you can visit without a passport!
1. Puerto Rico
If you thought no passport = no Caribbean, then I’ve got great news for you:
You don’t need a passport to experience the stunning beauty of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean.
You can spend you days exploring Old San Juan, visiting the El Morro fort, wander through the cobblestone streets, and snapping some insta pics in front of the vibrant colored homes.
My personal favorite part of Puerto Rico was hiking through El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system, which is just a short drive from San Juan, maybe 30-40 minutes away.
The views from the top of El Yunque are incredible, and you can see out over the island and the ocean all around you.
There are tours that leave from the city if you don’t want to drive yourself.
And no Puerto Rico call out would be complete without mentioning their world class Caribbean beaches, of course.
2. U.S. Virgin Islands
The warm water and laid-back vibes of the U.S. Virgin Islands is calling your name. This is another Caribbean destination where no passport is needed for U.S. citizens.
The 3 islands that make up USVI are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix and are all quick to get to from the US Mainland. From Miami, it’s only about a 2.5 hour flight.
In St. Thomas, visit the bustling port of Charlotte Amalie, where you can shop for duty-free goods or head to Magens Bay for some beach time. St. Thomas is a big cruise ship stop, so there’s usually tourists around, especially in the winter months.
For nature enthusiasts, St. John is a must-visit, as over two-thirds of the island is protected as part of the Virgin Islands National Park.
Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay are both world class beaches, but it’s hard to go wrong anywhere you end up. There’s great snorkeling opportunities everywhere, and plenty of turtle snorkel tours too.
If it’s open when you arrive, I recommend taking the short hiking trail from Cruz Bay where the ferry lands on St. John to Honeymoon Beach, which is one of the softest beaches I’ve walked on.
St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is home to charming towns, historical sites, and beautiful beaches. I haven’t been there myself, but it’s generally known to be more relaxed and less touristy than St. Thomas.
The Hawaiian Islands are what most people imagine when you say “tropical paradise”. There’s everything from rainforests and waterfalls to world-class beaches and city nightlife in Honolulu.
Each island has its unique attractions and experiences, and none require a passport to fly there.
Here are some popular activities:
I visited Pearl Harbor, hiked the iconic Diamond Head trail to overlook Honolulu, and took a surfing lesson at Waikiki beach near downtown Honolulu. My friend took a surfing lesson at the legendary North Shore of the Island and said the waves were pretty intense there, so maybe Waikiki is better for beginners.
We had a big group Luau dinner which was an incredible way to kick off the trip!
I drove the famous Road to Hana, with its 600 turns winding through the Hawaiin jungle. There were stunning coastal views and numerous waterfalls, and some darn good banana bread at a stand halfway to Hana.
If you end up going, check out my tips for avoiding motion sickness on the Road to Hana, as the winding road really does a number on many travelers.
The Big Island of Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii is home to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can witness active volcanoes and walk through lava tubes.
We hiked through the crater of a dormant Volcano and it was pretty sweet.
I haven’t personally been to the 4th major island (Kauai), but they call it Garden Isle and it boasts the dramatic cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. My friends who have gone say really good things, especially if you’re a nature lover.
There are also two smaller Hawaiin islands of Molokai and Lanai, but these are not major tourist destinations.
Alaska might not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of passport-free travel, but trust me, it’s definitely worth the trip. The Last Frontier has jaw-dropping landscapes that make for some once in a lifetime photo ops.
My wife recently did a dog sledding excursion on her recent trip to Alaska and she had tons of fun. It’s now on my bucket list as well!
UPDATE: as of 2023, US citizens are required to possess a U.S. passport to enter Guam, but on a case-by-case basis, photo ID and proof of citizenship may be accepted instead. Check all requirements and details prior to your trip.
Guam, which is another U.S. territory in the Pacific, is yet another tropical paradise.
The island is best known for beaches, snorkeling, waterfalls, and hiking. It’s definitely less touristy and less visited than Hawaii and the USVI.
If you’re into hiking, you should check out the breathtaking waterfalls in the southern part of the island, like Sigua Falls.
History buffs will also appreciate the World War II historical sites. There the War in the Pacific National Historical Park, where you can learn about the battles that took place Guam.
6. Northern Mariana Islands
Another lesser-known U.S. territory in the Pacific, the Northern Mariana Islands offer another unique, less traveled experience.
The main island, Saipan, has stunning beaches like Managaha Island, which is perfect for snorkeling and diving. And there’s a cool limestone cavern called the Grotto that attracts a lot of visitors to its hidden snorkel spot.
Like Guam, there are also World War II historical sites, like the Last Command Post.
7. Key West, Florida
If you’re looking for an island getaway without leaving the continental U.S., Key West is an ideal destination.
Just be careful of the roosters!
Yes, there are thousands of wild roosters all over Key West, and I almost hit one while I was driving around on my rented scooter.
You’ll get used to
This quirky, laid-back island has a fun, artsy vibe with plenty of unique shops and galleries to explore.
I loved visiting the Ernest Hemingway Home, driving around the island on our electric scooter/motorcycle, and the jetski tour we took around Key West.
And you can’t leave without visiting the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA.
(If you’re curious, the Southernmost point in the US overall is on Hawaii’s Big Island, which I briefly touched on in my Big Island 7-Day Itinerary). Key West is the southernmost point in the continental USA.
8. American Samoa
UPDATE: as of April 2023, if you do not have a valid passport, you may be able to enter American Samoa with a certified US birth certificate. See here for details
American Samoa, located in the South Pacific, also doesn’t require a passport to fly there.
The stunning National Park of American Samoa covers both land and sea, providing ample opportunities for hiking, snorkeling, and immersing yourself in the island’s unique Polynesian culture.
Visit the remote villages, learn about Samoan art and history at the Jean P. Haydon Museum, and don’t miss the chance to witness a traditional Samoan dance performance.
9. New Orleans, Louisiana
While you don’t need a passport to visit New Orleans, this lively city’s unique blend of cultures, cuisines, and musical styles might make you feel like you’ve traveled to another country.
Stroll through the historic French Quarter, with its iconic architecture, bustling jazz clubs, and mouthwatering Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Explore the Garden District’s beautiful antebellum mansions, or take a spooky ghost or voodoo tour.
And if you time it right to show up during Mardi Gras, you’ll be treated to a truly unforgettable experience!
10. San Diego, California
San Diego, California, offers a diverse array of attractions and experiences for travelers without a passport.
With its beautiful coastline, visit La Jolla Cove to watch the seals and sea lions, or take a walk along the stunning cliffs of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
For a taste of history, explore the Gaslamp Quarter and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Balboa Park, the city’s cultural heart, is home to numerous museums, gardens, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo (my favorite zoo of all time).
11. Savannah, Georgia
Looking for Southern Charm and a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty?
Stroll through the city’s historic squares, shaded by live oaks draped in Spanish moss, and admire the stunning antebellum architecture.
Take a tour of the historic Bonaventure Cemetery, made famous by the book and film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
12. Seattle, Washington
Seattle offers a mix of urban attractions and stunning natural beauty.
Visit iconic landmarks like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, where the first Starbucks store lives.
When you’re ready to get outside, take a ferry ride to the nearby San Juan Islands for some whale watching, or head 2 hours south to Mount Rainier National Park for hiking and breathtaking views.
13. Sedona, Arizona
Sedona, Arizona, is famous for its dramatic red rocks and vibrant arts scene.
Over the years, a number of jeep tours have popped up to help visitors explore the area’s geological wonders.
The town itself is home to numerous art galleries and shops, offering everything from traditional Native American crafts to works by local artists. It’s a quaint strip with shops and restaurants on both side, with decent views of the nature wherever you go.
The town is located about 2 hours north of Phoenix or 1 hour south of Flagstaff, which is where the closest major airports are.
14. Austin, Texas
Austin, the capital city of Texas, is known for its eclectic culture, live music scene, and delicious food.
Sixth Street and the Red River District offering a variety of options. Don’t forget to stuff your snout with some Texas barbecue and Tex-Mex cuisine at one of the city’s many food trucks and restaurants.
15. Nantucket, Massachusetts
For a classic New England island experience, visit Nantucket — a small island off the coast of Massachusetts.
The cobblestone streets, old whaling-era homes, and beautiful beaches will help your mind relax and escape the summer heat.
Rent a bike and ride along the scenic paths, looking out for lighthouses and fresh seafood shops which serve up the famous Nantucket bay scallops!
No Passport? No Problem!
In conclusion, there’s no need to feel limited by not having a passport when there are so many beautiful places to visit within the United States and its territories.
Whether you’re craving a Caribbean beach vacation, a city break, or an outdoors adventure, these passport-free destinations offer something for everyone!
Traveling Without a Passport FAQs
Here are some more frequently asked questions about where you can travel to without a passport as an American:
Can I travel to Canada or Mexico without a passport?
No, you need a valid passport to travel to Canada or Mexico. Both countries require U.S. citizens to present a valid passport when entering (there may be some exceptions for children and in the case of “closed loop” cruise itineraries.)
Can I fly within the United States without a passport?
Yes, U.S. citizens can fly domestically within the United States without a passport.
A valid state-issued driver’s license or identification card is generally sufficient for domestic air travel. However, at some point the REAL ID Act will be enforced, which means travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant identification card or another acceptable form of ID, such as a passport to board domestic flights.
The implementation date keeps being postponed, so check your local regulations for details about your personal situation.
How can I get a U.S. passport?
To obtain a U.S. passport, you’ll need to complete an application form, provide proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate), show valid identification (like a driver’s license), submit a passport photo, and pay the required fees.
You can apply for a passport at designated U.S. post offices, some public libraries, and other government facilities. For more information and detailed instructions, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website at travel.state.gov.
How long does it take to get a U.S. passport?
It can vary depending on the time of year and how many people are applying at the same time.
It can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. These times may change, so it’s always best to check the U.S. Department of State’s website for the most up-to-date information and apply well in advance of any planned international travel.
What is a U.S. territory?
A U.S. territory is a region under the jurisdiction of the United States that is not a part of any state.
The current U.S. territories include: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (in the Caribbean), Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
U.S. citizens can travel to these territories without a passport, as they are considered domestic travel.
Can I take a cruise without a passport?
Some cruises, known as “closed-loop cruises,” begin and end in the same U.S. port and visit only certain destinations, like the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, or Alaska.
U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises can usually travel without a passport, using a certified birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license) instead.
However, it’s always best to check with your cruise line for their specific requirements, as some destinations may still require a passport.
Additionally, having a passport is recommended in case you need to fly back to the United States from a foreign port during your cruise due to an emergency.
Can I travel to Hawaii or Alaska without a passport?
Yes, U.S. citizens can travel to both Hawaii and Alaska without a passport, as they are both states within the United States. A valid state-issued driver’s license or identification card is generally sufficient for domestic air travel. At some point you will need a REAL ID-compliant identification card or another acceptable form of ID, such as a passport or military ID, to board domestic flights, whenever the law change officially goes live.
Can I travel to Native American reservations without a passport?
Yes, if you live in America you can generally visit Native American reservations without a passport.
However, it’s important to respect the rules and regulations of each reservation, which may require permits or registration to visit certain areas.
Some reservations may also require visitors to present a valid government-issued photo ID upon entry. But you shouldn’t need a passport since there is no international travel involved.