Hawaii has some of the toughest travel restrictions in place right now, but the demand for this beloved travel destination bounced back strong in recent months. This has put a strain on Hawaii’s tourism infrastructure, which inspired our team to find other beach destinations for sun worshippers – alternatives to Hawaii we can get behind.
As the weather cools off and folks look for coastal spots, may we suggest a few fun (and affordable) alternatives to Hawaii.
We recommend the southern California beaches a ton on CheapAir.com – so we’re going to go a little more off-the-beaten path for this pick. Catalina is an island 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, and it’s both a sleepy little island town and a wild destination to explore hiking and wildlife. You can snorkel in Catalina’s clear waters and enjoy this romantic getaway with your plus one.
Located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, the Cook Islands are a remote and relaxing alternative to Hawaii. This tiny nation has zero cases of Covid-19 and they plan to keep it that way. Having said that, the plans are to open the country up very soon, and once restrictions ease, are an affordable and spectacular destination not often experienced.
Tybee Island, Georgia
You’re just 20 minute from Savannah in Tybee, but you can save a bunch of coin by not staying in town. There’s a 5 mile span of beach on this little island, with various activities to recommend it. Stay in South Beach if you need a little more activity, but most people visit Tybee Island for the low key vibes.
Santa Barbara, California
If you’re looking for a bit more of an upscale beach getaway on the west coast, Santa Barbara ticks all the boxes. They have a small, but walkable downtown, a few fabulous resorts and temperate beach weather (sometimes all the way into October). It’s also a 2 hour drive from L.A. if you feel the need to daytrip.
You get 70 miles of pristine white sandy beaches when you visit Barbados, which is why its beaches are considered some of the best in the Caribbean. Another great reason to visit the country is the plethora of water sports, including deep sea diving. The best beaches can be found on the island’s west and south coasts, while the best beaches for surfing and body boarding are off the east coast. Keep this in mind when booking accommodation!
Gold Beach, Oregon
Oregon beaches don’t have much swimming, but they offer spectacular views and a ton of activities, if water sports and adventuring are more your style. You can save some money by staying away from the more popular spots like Canon Beach, and take advantage of family-friendly activities like tide pooling, ocean kayaking, and tours and fishing. If you time it right (between March and May) you’ll also be primed to spot migrating gray whales.
Greece is one of the least expensive countries to visit in Europe, and if you’re looking for a bargain Greece destination you could do a lot worse than Corfu. Corfu has a small town vibe, so you won’t get the clubbier feel of an island like Mykonos, but it might be perfect for you if you’re looking for a sleepier destination.
World travelers know that Thailand, and in particular Phuket, are a bargain – and a fantastic place to perch for an extended hang. The beaches of Phuket offer tons of fun, and the accommodation is extremely reasonable. If you’re on a longer jaunt, you could even linger in Phuket while you figure out your next move.
Belize offers world-class SCUBA and snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef, and ancient architectural Mayan ruins to visit. One of the world’s largest underwater sinkholes, the Blue Hole, draws visitors every year. In Belize you can experience extremes in biodiversity and culture. To top it off, you can just relax with a book on the beach for hours if that’s more your speed.
We love Hawaii too – so don’t think we won’t be serving up more great Hawaii content in the months to come. But for now, we hope you’ll scratch that Hawaii itch with one of these many picks.