Due to work obligations and children’s’ sports activities, many families do not get the chance to enjoy a summer vacation. Oftentimes, autumn presents itself as a more convenient time of the year to get away.
There are many destinations where warm, summer months last year long. Some of these locations exist within the boundaries of the United States, which alleviates the need for a passport.
1) Northern Mariana Islands
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are found in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, between Guam and Japan. A total of 15 islands make up the archipelago with Rota, Saipan and Tinian being the most highly populated. All are rich in German, Japanese and Spanish culture.
While all boast stunning beaches with crystal waters, Siapan is the most developed and has a number of attractions. If planning on spending time on the spectacular waterfront, vacationers should venture to Garapan on Saipan’s western coast and experience Micro Beach. Here, guests find white sand and turquoise waters that invite swimming and snorkeling. Water sports are plentiful on all of the islands and include banana boat rides, jet skiing, surfing and fishing.
There are a wealth of underwater caves, grottos and coral forests that are of particular interest to scuba divers. Local waters are also teeming with native marine animals. Perhaps take the time to explore the Kalabera or the Tonga cave system to witness unusual formations and ancient pictographs. Animal lovers of all ages will enjoy viewing the array of exhibits from around the world at the Saipan Zoo.
2) U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are the three most frequented islands that create a natural border between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Adults traveling here merely need a birth certificate and a U.S. issued photo I.D. Children do not require photographic identification. Pristine beaches and clear water cause many to consider the islands the perfect paradise location.
On St. Croix, guests might opt to embark on ecotours, horseback rides or safaris. Some of the popular local attractions include the rum distilleries and sugar cane plantations, which not only promote economy, but also provide a glimpse into the island’s history. The majority of land on St. John is deemed a national park that welcomes nature hikes and cultural demonstrations. Cave exploration brings visitors face-to-face with ancient rock carvings.
The waterfront is also ideal for a wealth of activities ranging from swimming to scuba diving. Nearby stand a large selection of arts and crafts shops and upscale boutique stores. St. Thomas remains popular for Blackbeard’s Castle and the 17th century St. Thomas Synagogue along with the elevated Skyride.
The 50th and most recent state is the only U.S. land mass in Ocean and consists of five main and a series of smaller islands. Cascading waterfalls, picturesque beaches, lush tropical foliage and massive volcanoes are but some of the natural wonders found here. Hawaii is a great destination for families. Rent a family-sized condo and take the time to see the sights.
Take all for a hike up Diamond Head on Oahu, learn about military history along the way and experience breath-taking 360 degree views at the summit. Have an unforgettable experience while snorkeling with dolphins and manta rays. Join a whale-watching cruise on Maui and watch the sunrise after venturing to the top of the Haleakala volcano.
Kauai is famous for shallow water beaches that even the youngest of family members might enjoy. The area is also great for all to learn the sport of surfing. While there, see the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and marvel at the Na Pali sea cliffs. The big island offers the chance to tour historic naval vessels or plantations. Go on a horseback riding adventure or zipline through the treetops.
4) American Samoa
The archipelago consists of five main islands situated between Hawaii and New Zealand. Considered off-the-beaten-path and not as densely populated, American Samoa features a national park that spans over three islands. Within Ofu, Tau and Tutuila guests encounter lush rainforests, native animals, remote villages and unique coral sand beaches.
Learn about the culture in island villages and sample native cuisine. Popular activities found here include boating and kayaking tours, snorkeling, swimming and hiking. The beaches on the eastern coast of Tutuila have shallow water and are perfect for snorkeling and viewing marine life.
Embark on dolphin or whale-watching tours. Make the seven-mile round trip journey up to Mount Alava for amazing views over the island. Many activities offer discounts for children. Thrill seekers might indulge in a deep-sea excursion, large game fish frequent local waters.
5) Puerto Rico
Located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea between the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands, the archipelago consists of Puerto Rico and a series of small islands. The destination is a rich complex blend of Spanish, Amerindian, African and North American cultures, which are demonstrated in the local architecture and cuisine.
Take a stroll through Old San Juan and absorb the history. Explore military history at Fort San Cristobal. Learn more about the culture and history of the island by visiting the National Gallery, the Parque de Bombas Museum or the Wildlife Museum. Carolina features a children’s museum and the Parque Aquasol waterpark. Enjoy hiking through the rainforest or relax on one of the scenic beaches.
Adventure seekers might consider ziplining through the forest canopy, rappelling into caves or paddling through a bay filled with bioluminescent marine life. Singles and couples find San Juan nightlife in abundance from clubs offering many types of musical entertainment to the casino in the Marriott hotel.