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9 idyllic places like Hawaii where you can work on that tan

Or just bum on the beach. We don't judge.

Tropical island getaway on your mind? While you toss over Hawaii, here are numerous alternate destinations that offer travellers all the beauty that is synonymous with the US state, from the pristine beaches, technicolor coral reefs and geological wonders all well worth visiting. Some may even get you there and back for the fraction of the price of that Hawaii trip.

So whether you are looking for an underwater encounter with marine life or want to chill by the beach while enjoying perfect sunsets, these destinations have got you covered.

1. Best for traditional culture: Samoa

Sitting roughly half-way between Hawaii and New Zealand, Samoa boasts lush mountains, waterfalls you can swim under and impossibly blue waters.

  • Top five beaches: Aganoa Beach, Lalomanu, Manase, Tanu, Aggie Grey’s
  • Must do/see: Afu Aau Waterfall, To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa Cultural Village, diving and snorkelling
  • Cost: Low-Mid Range
  • Stay at: Coconuts Beach Club. Offering the ultimate South Pacific island experience of over-water bungalows, this resort also has a restaurant, spa and a fun, gecko-shaped swimming pool. It also hosts a Samoan culture day every Saturday that’s free for guests. Over-water bungalows start at US$599 per night including breakfast or minibar, kayaks and snorkel gear, bus to the city.

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2. Best for honeymooners: Fiji

If you’re looking for beautiful beaches, lush islands and perfect snorkel spots, Fiji’s got it.

  • Top five islands: Yasawa, Vomo, Malolo, Tokoriki, Wakaya
  • Must do/see: Visit temples, stay in an overwater bungalow, go snorkelling
  • Cost: Mid-High End
  • Stay at: Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. Treat yourself to a 5-star stay in an overwater bungalow at this new Fijian resort from a big brand with a boutique feel.

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3. Best for families: Whitsundays

The Whitsundays is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and comes surrounded by emerald green forests.

Hawaiian holiday? Pffft. Choose the Whitsundays instead.

  • Top five beaches: Whitehaven Beach, Daydream Island, Turtle Bay, Catseye Beach, Airlie Beach Lagoon
  • Must do/see: The Great Barrier Reef, Indigenous rock paintings, scenic drives, rainforest walks
  • Cost: Low-Mid Range
  • Stay: at the Daydream Island Resort. Located within minutes of Daydream reef and featuring its own private beachfront, this resort is just what the doctor ordered to help you de-stress, relax and rewind. Prices start from $230 per night.

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4. Best for solo travellers: Bali

What’s not to love about Bali? With its enviable beaches and its relaxed vibe you wouldn’t have to stretch your imagination too far to think you’re lying on a Hawaiian beach with a cocktail in hand.

  • Top five beaches: Nihiwatu, Canggu, Derawan, Peucang, Dreamland
  • Must do/see: Temples, mosques and national parks
  • Cost: Mid-High End
  • Stay: At the Padma Resort Legian. 5-star luxury for a fraction of the price? Yes, please. Prices start at $401 per room per night here.

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5. Best for beaches: Florida

America’s Sunshine State is known for its beaches, theme parks and parties on the upscale South Beach, but don’t miss out on its rich arts and culture or dining scene while in a resort.

  • Top five beaches: Palm Beach, South Beach, Clearwater, Miami Beach, Siesta Key
  • Must do/see: Amusement parks, night life, Everglades National Park, art museums
  • Cost: Mid-High End
  • Stay at: Riviere South Beach Hotel. Located in Miami’s trendy Art-Deco district, The Riviere is just a short stroll from the beach. Rooms start at $420 per night.

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6. Best for all-inclusive resorts: Jamaica

Famed as the birthplace of reggae, Jamaica is a Caribbean jewel that draws in tourists with its lush rainforests and reef-lined beaches.

  • Top five beaches: Seven Mile Beach, Boston Bay Beach, Doctor’s Cave Beach, Reggae Beach and Cornwall Beach
  • Must do/see: Nightlife, beaches, Bob Marley Museum, Negril, Caribbean food
  • Cost: Mid-High End
  • Stay at: Whispering Seas. Enjoy self contained luxury apartments with a beach and stunning views of the Caribbean Sea that’s close to Dunns River Falls with apartments starting at $450 per night.

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7. Best for young couples: Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is rich in history and natural beauty. This lush tropical paradise offers magnificent rainforests, savannahs and some of the world’s best beaches.

  • Top five beaches: Playa Dorada, Playa Boca Chica, Playa Punta Cana and Playa Juanillo
  • Must do/see: Watersports, Pico Duarte, Santiago, smoke a cigar, Colonial City and golfing
  • Cost: Low-Mid Range
  • Stay at: Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino. Located on Santo Domingo waterfront boulevard, this luxury hotel has lavish amenities and world-class service. Rooms start at $276 per night.

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8. Best for snorkelling: Barbados

Stunning coral reefs and warm waters may make Barbados a divers’ paradise but this tropical island also tempts travellers with its art museums, dining scene and friendly people.

  • Top five beaches: Crane Beach, Silver Sands, Bathsheba, Dover, Bath Beach
  • Must do/see: Beaches, Bridgetown, nightlife, Flower Forest, snorkelling and scuba diving
  • Cost: Low-Mid Range
  • Stay at: Bougainvillea Barbados. Sitting right on the beach, this 4-star resort has private terraces and features a golf course. It’s an easy walk to Oistins Bay and St Lawrence Gap. Rooms start at $220 per night.

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9. Best for festivities and nightlife: St Martin

Whether you’re into watersports or relaxing on the beach, you’ll be spoiled for choice by St Martin’s 37 beaches.

  • Top five beaches: Red Bay, Nettle Bay, Friars’ Bay Beach, Pinel Island, Orient Bay
  • Must do/see: Visit the French town of Marigot, Forts at Philipsburg and laze on beaches galore
  • Cost: Luxury
  • Stay at: Green Cay Villas. This luxury villa is perfect for big groups or families looking for privacy and exclusive services. It might not be cheap, but it is beautiful. Villas start at $711 per night.

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