Dreaming of a tropical escape, but stuck with limited travel time or budget? Look no further! You will find some incredible island paradises that rival places like Maldives closer to us, offering stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and luxurious accommodations.

You will even find some overwater bungalows near the US with similar vibes to the Maldives. While you won’t find the exact Maldives remote island feel nearby, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Florida, California, the Central & South America offer a taste of paradise closer to home.

13 Exotic Places Like the Maldives in the US or Close

1/ Hawaii

If you want to see and feel the Maldives in the USA, you must visit Hawaii, a magical place with beautiful islands, each with its own unique attractions. For example, you can see big cliffs in Kauai and go surfing in Oahu. I personally love Maui because you can find quiet beaches like Napili Bay Beach to relax and see colorful fish while snorkeling.

Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii offers many attractions from road trips on the Road to Hana to exploring volcanoes in Haleakala National Park. With stunning beaches like Lanikai and Hapuna, outdoor activities such as hiking and ziplining, and a rich cultural heritage including ancient temples and traditional ceremonies, Hawaii blends natural beauty with cultural immersion.

Cool places to stay in Hawaii:

2/ Palm Island

Palm Island is a beautiful small island in the Grenadines reachable only by boat. It is known as the “Bora Bora, Fiji, or the Maldives of the Caribbean.”. The calmness hits you as soon as you step on it, just a mile away from busy Union Island. It covers 135 comfy acres and boasts five beautiful beaches, making it one of the best places like the Maldives closer to the US.

Stay at Palm Island Resort, a luxurious, all-inclusive, adult-oriented resort known for its beaches, water activities, and romantic dining. Experience the Caribbean in the elegant Seahorse Villa with a private setting and Caribbean-inspired design for an unforgettable stay.

3/ US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands are a mini-Maldives right in the Caribbean, offering a slice of tropical paradise without the long-haul flight. It has three major islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix – each with its own unique attractions that draw visitors seeking sun, sea, and sand.

St. John offers unspoiled beaches and lush landscapes for nature lovers. St. Thomas provides luxury and local experiences with a vibrant harbor and upscale shopping. St. Croix stands out with historical sites and cultural richness, diving into Caribbean heritage. These islands are like the Maldives islands in the US but with a Caribbean flair, offering clear waters and powdery beaches. 

Cool places to stay in the US Virgin Islands:

4/ Florida Keys

The Florida Keys, islands off Florida’s southern coast, are famous for calm vibes, beautiful beaches, and rich sea life. Luxurious resorts with private beach access and great facilities dot the area. Key Largo is known for top-notch diving and snorkeling, letting you discover reefs, wrecks, and varied marine life.

Florida Keys
Florida Keys

The Florida Keys offer more than just beaches like the Maldives. You can fish, kayak, and paddleboard there. And explore the underwater world at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. A visit to Key West, the westernmost part of the U.S., is also a fun way to enjoy unique shops and art galleries in this tropical paradise.

Cool places to stay in the Florida Keys:

5/ Florida Islands

You can experience the Maldives in Florida without leaving the United States! Honeymoon Island and Calusa Beach in the Florida Keys offer tranquility for couples and families. South Beach combines relaxation and adventure in a unique way. Beyond the Keys, Clearwater Beach has the world’s whitest sand, a two-mile stretch of paradise.

Florida’s islands are some of the best places like the Maldives in the US, offering something for everyone. Explore vibrant coral reefs in the Keys or enjoy delicious food with Caribbean, Latin, and American flavors. And it has year-round warm weather and a relaxed atmosphere!

Miami Beach, Florida

Florida isn’t just beaches and islands; it’s a haven for water animal lovers. Skip pricey tourist spots for authentic sea wildlife at Crystal River, the “manatee capital.” Swim, kayak, or paddleboard with these gentle creatures affordably through operators like Crystal River Watersports.

Cool places to stay in Florida:

6/ California

California has also many Maldives-like places in the US with its diverse coastal landscapes, pristine waters, rugged coastline, and exciting activities. It provides luxurious accommodations and a unique beach alternative, easily accessible from various parts of the US. Explore diverse coastlines, thrilling activities, and a rich cultural tapestry in this Maldives-inspired beach escape.

Huntington Beach is perfect for families with its calm waves, perfect for building sandcastles and learning to surf. Coronado Beach offers luxurious beachfront resorts with private balconies. It provides a secluded feel, while remaining close to charming San Diego.

Carmel Beach in California is a secluded escape with tide pools, hiking trails, and art galleries in nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea. Laguna Beach offers secluded coves and a vibrant artistic scene, while Balboa Peninsula delights families with its charming boardwalk and water sports rentals.

Cool places to stay in California:

7/ Costa Rica

For a taste of paradise closer to home, Costa Rica is the perfect alternative to the Maldives close to the US. While it won’t offer the exact remote island experience, Costa Rica boasts stunning beaches with turquoise waters. And it has lush rainforests teeming with wildlife and exciting adventures like ziplining through the canopy.

Unlike the Maldives, Costa Rica has a rich cultural heritage, with vibrant cities like San José showcasing its history and friendly locals. With direct flights from many major cities in the US, it’s easy to access this paradise destination.

Cool places to stay in Costa Rica:

8/ Mexico

While Mexico may not be as remote as the Maldives, it offers the same crystal-clear waters and white-sand beaches. It also boasts delicious food, vibrant music, and historical sites like ancient Mayan ruins to explore. And it offers beautiful Cancun to enjoy Maldives-like holiday:

Cancun, Mexico

Destinations like the Riviera Maya boast stunning turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and luxurious resorts with overwater bungalows. Beyond the beach, Mexico dazzles with its rich cultural heritage, from ancient Mayan ruins to vibrant colonial cities. Explore the bustling markets of Playa del Carmen or delve into the fascinating history of Chichen Itza, all within easy reach of your beachside paradise.

Cool places to stay in Mexico:

9/ Panama

Seeking an island paradise closer to US shores? Discover the crystal-clear waters and secluded islands of the San Blas archipelago, fringed with palm trees and offering a glimpse into a simpler way of life. Unlike the Maldives, Panama boasts a rich biodiversity, with lush rainforests teeming with wildlife and indigenous cultures to explore.

Also, Panama has a vibrant capital city, Panama City, with a bustling modern energy and rich history. Visit the famous Panama Canal or stroll through the charming Casco Viejo district for a taste of local culture and cuisine.

Cool places to stay in Panama:

10/ Belize

Explore the clear waters and hidden islands, known as cayes, along Belize’s coast. These miniature paradises boast powdery white sand and pristine coral reefs, perfect for diving and snorkeling. Similar to the Maldives, Belize offers luxurious overwater bungalows where you can relax and soak in the stunning scenery.


But Belize’s appeal goes beyond its beaches, with a rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes to discover. Explore ancient Maya ruins or venture into the dense jungle for a chance to spot exotic wildlife. And don’t forget to indulge in delicious Belizean cuisine, blending Caribbean and Latin American flavors for a truly unique experience.

Cool places to stay in Belize:

11/ Jamaica

Jamaica is a vibrant and colorful alternative to the Maldives, near the US, but full of culture and music that stand out. From reggae vibes to lively streets in Ocho Rios, Jamaica offers unique experiences and beautiful scenery. Discover turquoise waters, the stunning beaches like Seven Mile Beach, and relax in overwater bungalows for a touch of luxury.


I enlisted Jamaica here also because of its relaxed atmosphere, similar to the Maldives. You can kick back and soak up the sun on some of the world’s best beaches or take a dip in Dunn’s River Falls for an exciting adventure. And don’t forget to sample traditional Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken, and ackee and saltfish for a taste of island flavor.

Cool places to stay in Jamaica:

12/ Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is the perfect alternative to the Maldives for those seeking a luxurious and tranquil island experience closer to home. With over 40 islands and cays, you’ll find plenty of secluded beaches to enjoy. Relax in upscale resorts with private beach access or venture out to explore stunning coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Turks and Caicos

Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos offers a tropical paradise with white sands and turquoise waters perfect for water activities. Enjoy overwater bungalows, a blend of cultural influences, and vibrant marine life. And you must explore Providenciales for lively attractions and restaurants.

Cool places to stay in Turks & Caicos:

13/ Roatan

Dreaming of a peaceful island getaway not too far from the US? You got to visit Roatan! This hidden gem off the coast of Honduras boasts some of the best Caribbean beaches and a relaxed atmosphere like the Maldives. Dive into crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful fish or relax on white-sand beaches fringed with palm trees.

Roatan offers more than just stunning coastlines; it boasts lush tropical forests teeming with exotic wildlife. Dive into turquoise waters surrounding vibrant coral reefs and relax in luxurious overwater bungalows. The island’s rich cultural heritage, influenced by Garifuna settlers and Mayan history, sets it apart. Explore West End’s bustling shops and eateries or marvel at the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the world’s second-largest.

Cool places to stay in Roatan:

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