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5 Lesser-Known Tropical Adventure Destinations in the U.S.

Travel Team | Feb 27, 2024

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With the mention of fruity cocktails, clear waters, and cloudless horizons, you may immediately think of a luxury cruise to Bermuda or all-inclusive five-star resorts in Costa Rica.

While these tropical escapes remain high-profile destinations for millions of travelers each year, you don’t need to leave the country to enjoy “island time.” Better yet, you don’t need to spend your week of relaxing in a crowded hotel with hundreds of tourists.

These underrated locales in the United States will transport you off the beaten path for a wanderlust-worthy vacation — sans the spring break crowds. 

Hidden Tropical Gems in the U.S.

Gulf Shores, Alabama 

Go for: Golf courses

Located west of the Florida panhandle, this coastal community fringes the Gulf of Mexico and is known for its aquamarine waters and mild temperatures. The leisurely pace and “small-town USA” vibe make Gulf Shores a more relaxing choice than other regional hotspots like Panama City or Myrtle Beach, both of which tend to feel overcrowded and commercialized.
On top of it all, golf enthusiasts can enjoy access to some of Alabama’s premier 18-hole courses, while savoring the finest in Southern hospitality. Be sure to check out Peninsula Golf and Racket Club, named by Golf Digest as one of the most memorable and enjoyable” courses in the region.

Honokalani, Hawaii 

Go for: Snorkeling and black sand beaches

Surrounded by lush rainforest vegetation, the striking shoreline of Honokalani in Waianapanapa State Park is tinted black from the area’s volcanic activity. This off-the-grid locale is more pristine, secluded, and untouched than its touristy counterparts in Maui and is a must-visit detour along the storied Road to Hana.

This slice of Hawaiian paradise offers world-class snorkeling, hiking, and nature wonders to explore such as the lava caves, arches, tubes, and cliffs etched into a rugged landscape. Take a moment to also learn about the beach’s historical significance. It’s considered a sacred place by many Hawaiian people and features Hawaii’s largest known heiau, or temple.

Destin, Florida 

Go for: Deep-sea fishing

This small Florida town was dubbed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” in the 19th century. You’re the lucky one when you visit this charming, artsy seaside hamlet with sugar-sand beaches.

Don’t just visit Destin to relax on the beach, though. You’ll want to get out on the water for deep-sea fishing, too. Destin has unrivaled access to deep blue water stuffed to the, yes, gills with big-game fish like marlin, sailfish, and tuna. If Destin is your next vacation spot, get ready to put your fishing skills to the test.

Pismo Beach, California 

Go for: Wildlife sightings

Nestled between the urban spectacle of Los Angeles and the bohemian spirit of San Francisco, this craggy shoreline is flecked with sand dunes, palm trees, and nature galore. Outdoor enthusiasts will find their appetite for adventure satisfied with numerous activities and wildlife encounters amidst a classic “1950s California” backdrop.

There’s no shortage of opportunities to explore in this beach town, from tide pooling and clamming to riding horseback through remote trails to visiting the famed Monarch Butterfly Grove. So don’t forget your walking shoes at home.

Galveston, Texas 

Go for: Water sports

This Southwestern port city is more than just a pit stop for cruises en route to some Caribbean retreat. With its Spanish colonial architecture, quintessential Texan pride, and casual pace of living, it’s so much more.

Galveston offers a variety of options to make a splash in the ocean waves with kayaking on the Intracoastal Waterway or learning to paddleboard in turquoise inlets. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and Galveston takes this to heart. You’ll have big-time fun in this stateside tropical getaway.

Travel Insurance for Tropical Getaways

Whether headed to the most popular beach in the country or a hidden spot only locals know, protect your trip costs with Seven Corners Trip Protection USA. Customize your plan to get the best coverage for your next U.S. tropical adventure.

Important Information from the United States Fire Insurance Company


Insurance benefits are subject to limitations and exclusions, including an exclusion for pre-existing conditions. The insurance provided by the plans is in excess of all other valid and collectible insurance and indemnity.

Trip insurance within the plans is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. Benefits listed can vary by state of residence. Travel assistance services in the plans are not insurance, and they are provided by Seven Corners Assist. Individuals looking to obtain additional information regarding the features and pricing of each travel plan component, please contact Seven Corners at 1-800-335-0611.

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