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Tropics in the USA: where to go on the perfect beach vacation in America

When you dream of a vacation in the tropics, but you are running out of time and money, you can find suitable options without going too far. And it doesn't matter if you live on the east or west coast, the tropical place is only a few hours away. Islands, beach towns and resorts await you to satisfy your longing for pleasant weather, palm trees, as well as ice-cold fruit cocktails and tiny umbrellas. Edition Travel and Leisure collected 12 places where you can go to the tropics close to home.

Photo: IStock

So grab your swimsuit, sunglasses and sunblock, leave your passport at home and head to one of these tropical destinations directly in the US.

Key West, FL

Year-round warm weather plus 300 miles (482 km) of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico make Florida the perfect tropical getaway destination. In particular, Key West, the southernmost point in the US, is home to beautiful beaches, palm-lined streets, and a laid-back vibe. Its history of cigar makers, literary figures, and explorers, along with Bahamian shell-like architecture, add to the overall mystique of the place.

Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, part of a group of barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico off the southwest coast of Florida, is known for its abundance of seashells. White sand beaches, warm waters, mild weather, lots of birds and other wildlife create a tropical atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy golf, tennis, shellfishing, boating and biking.

Amelia Island, Florida

Located off the northeast coast of Florida and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Coastal Channel, Amelia Island offers beaches, rivers, dunes and a variety of native wildlife, including sea turtles. Boating, water sports and looking for shark teeth on the shore are some of the guests' favorite activities.

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Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

Summer temperatures in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico make the south coast of Alabama a great place for a tropical getaway. Miles of beaches, fishing, boating, bird watching and a variety of water sports keep visitors entertained throughout the year.

Dauphin Island, Alabama

This barrier island is located three miles (4,8 km) south of Mobile Bay. Vacationers arrive here over a three-mile bridge to enjoy the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, white sand beaches and relaxing atmosphere. Visit the Aquarium, Audubon Bird Sanctuary, or Indian Shell Mound Park to see birds, wildlife, and learn about the history of the island.

South Padre Island, Texas

This barrier island off the southern tip of Texas is a year-round tropical oasis. The island has 34 miles (54 km) of white sand beaches, as well as clear and warm water, mild weather and plenty of entertainment. Fishing, boating, visiting the Bird Watching Center, the Nature Center and the Alligator Sanctuary are just a few of the ways to enjoy your holiday on this island.

Catalina Island, California

Tropical luxury Catalina Island, located off the coast of Southern California, is rich in beaches, mountains and plenty of places to stay - from resorts to campsites. Snorkelling, kayaking, fishing, diving, boating, mountain biking, zip-lining and hiking - a wide variety of activities await you on the island.

Santa Barbara, California

This island, called the American Riviera, can be mistaken for a tropical island due to the abundance of palm trees, lush gardens, sandy beaches, as well as a harbor. Visitors enjoy a sunny climate, Pacific Ocean views, and outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, fishing, and golfing.

Dofuskey Island, South Carolina

Nestled between Savannah and Hilton Head, Dofusky Island offers white sand beaches, a low-country atmosphere and extraordinary hospitality. On the island, which can only be reached by ferry, there is something to do: boating and horseback riding, hiking, fishing, excursions.

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Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island, located about 18 miles (29 km) from Savannah, is a favorite with vacationers for boating, a fishing beach, and a variety of water sports. Beach food and fresh seafood complete the tropical vibe. But be careful - cephalopods nest on the barrier island, for which there are many programs to protect.


Hawaii is teeming with some of the best islands in the world, as well as plenty of places to stay, from the beach to the mountains. Here you will find all kinds of tropical holidays. For example, Kauai includes rainforests, waterfalls, and valleys, while the Big Island has waterfalls, Hilo rainforests, the drier Kona Volcanic Coast, and Maui has luxury resorts and farms. Oahu's sophisticated Honolulu and surf-focused coastline, the stylish resorts of Lanai, and the natural beauty of Molokai are great options for a tropical getaway.

Las Vegas, NV

It's a city in the middle of the Nevada desert, but it can easily be mistaken for tropical if you choose the right place to live. For example, at the Mirage, swim in the pool surrounded by palm trees, or dine in the Polynesian-style café. And Mandalay Bay will take you to the South Pacific with a sandy beach, wave pool and aquarium.

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