The allure of the Caribbean -- it's hard to resist, especially if you’re looking for a quick escape from the cold weather at home or just need some new scenery for a while. There’s a certain magic about these islands, which are as little as 50 miles from the U.S. coast, that seems to instantly cause a person to transition into vacation mode from the moment they set foot off the plane.
Maybe it's the beautiful beaches, the chill ambiance, or the perfect weather. Perhaps it's the pull of luxury on island shores, or the invitation to relax. Whatever it is, it just makes you want to get to your vacation destination that much sooner! If you want a getaway and want to get there fast, we’ve listed six of the Caribbean islands that are the closest to the U.S. With these destinations, a long weekend trip will totally be possible after traveling two hours or less by plane!
Flight duration from Miami: 50 minutes.
Several major U.S. cities provide direct flights to The Bahamas, making it one of the most convenient island destinations. The islands of this territory are popular not just with newlyweds but also with families in search of exciting activities and plenty of beach time. Hundreds of beaches can be found across the islands of this territory and many of them are easily accessible by car or boat. Nassau, the capital of New Providence, is a great place to find amazing beaches and a whole lot more during a Bahamas vacation.
Nassau is loved by travelers for many reasons. For starters, it is beautiful, convenient, and makes for easy access to go island-hopping in The Bahamas. Nassau also has great weather year-round (average temperatures of around 82 degrees). Plus, the isla+nd boasts some of the best all-inclusive resorts, museums, shopping malls, bars, and restaurants in The Bahamas.
Couples can expect to find the perfect mix of nightlife and luxury in Nassau. Beach time will also be totally up to you, particularly if you choose to stay at a beachfront resort like Sandals Royal Bahamian. This resort also has its own private island with two additional beaches, just off the coast of Nassau. On the exclusive private island, you can find everything you’ve probably always dreamt would be involved in a romantic castaway experience, with luxury add-ons including a seafood restaurant, pool, swim-up bar, whirlpool and so much more.
Good to know: Bimini, the westernmost island of The Bahamas is the nearest of these islands to Miami, Florida.
Flight duration from Miami: 1 hour, 9 minutes.
Many people planning a Caribbean vacation will put a visit to The Bahamas very high on their wish list. Among the more than 700 islands and cays that make up this area are New Providence, where the capital of Nassau is located, and the incredibly beautiful islands of Exuma. While Nassau is known for its duty-free shopping, prestigious casinos, and opulent all-inclusive resorts, The Exumas are** a calmer and more tranquil part** of The Bahamas, perfect for couples looking to get away from it all.
The Exumas have some of the most beautiful beaches in The Bahamas, including Coco Plum Beach and Tropic of Cancer Beach. There are around 365 islands and cays in the Exumas, most uninhabited, that are rimmed with powdery white sand and surrounded by crystal-clear waters. A few of the more populated islands in the area include Great Exuma and Little Exuma.
Sandals Emerald Bay is located on Great Exuma. This is a couples-only resort that is known for its luxury accommodation and wide-ranging, quality inclusions. This resort is loved by special occasion travelers, particularly couples celebrating destination weddings, anniversaries, and honeymoons, or those who just want to rekindle their love. There aren't as many airlines that fly directly to the Exumas from the U.S. as there are flying directly to Nassau, but you'll still be able to find some decent flights to get you there.
Good to know: The Exumas are home to the famous swimming pigs. You might want to take a boat tour to Pig Island where you can see these animals in their natural habitat and overall just enjoy some time out on the ocean and in the sunshine.
Flight duration from Miami: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Beach bums, foodies, and culture vultures will have a ball in Cuba. This Caribbean island isn't necessarily as modern as others in the region, but that just makes it more genuine. Cuba is a great option if you're looking for a destination close to the U.S. since it is only around 3 hours from New York, and about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Miami.
The best time to visit Cuba is between December to May. This is the kind of place that sticks out in your mind forever because of how stunning it is. When you arrive in Cuba, you can take a spin around the block in a classic American vehicle from the 1950s or earlier. Cuba is filled with classic cars and there can even take private guided tours in these cars. We’d say that this is certainly one of the best ways to explore this country.
In Cuba, you can choose between hotels and homestays, both of which are enjoyable in their own ways. English is not commonly spoken on this island so you might need to polish up your Spanish a bit before you visit. Spend some time in Havana, the Cuban capital, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. All in all, a vacation in this destination is sure to be filled with history, adventure, and vibrancy.
Good to know: In terms of Caribbean islands that are US territories, that would be Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Both of these destinations can be interesting places to visit.
Flight duration from Miami: 1 hour, 29 minutes.
Three islands—Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman—make up the British Overseas territory known as the Cayman Islands. Those seeking a romantic getaway that also has some excitement should visit these islands.
In the Cayman Islands, you can spend as much time as you like lounging on one of the many beautiful white sand beaches, enjoying the crystal blue seas. The Cayman Islands are a popular diving destination due to the abundance of shipwrecks and diverse marine life. In addition to its beautiful beaches and abundant wildlife, the Cayman Islands is also home to some excellent restaurants and luxurious hotels.
Grand Cayman is the largest island in this territory. You can go shopping at the many unique stores and enjoy the warmth of the many interesting eateries. Take a taste tour of Grand Cayman to see why the island is considered the Caribbean's gastronomic capital. It's not hard to make your way to the other islands in this territory from Grand Cayman, so you’ll be able to visit more than one island during your vacation.
Flight duration from Miami: 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Direct flights from several major cities and quick flight times are only two of the reasons why Jamaica is such a popular island destination for U.S. travelers. This island is a dream destination for anybody wishing to explore, relax, and experience a blend of nature and luxury. About an hour and a half away from some U.S. cities, Jamaica can provide you with the tropical break you've always wanted.
The first thing you'll notice when you arrive in Jamaica is the lush landscape. Beaches with swaying palm trees, as well as refreshingly clean waterfalls that you can jump straight into, are a reality here. If you like reggae music (think Bob Marley) or you want to move and groove to the latest dancehall threads, you can dance the night away at any of the local clubs or pubs on this island. Sandals Resorts in Jamaica have day and night entertainment including themed events, which couples will love. Beaches Resorts in Jamaica offer water parks, Kids Camps, and tons of family-friendly vacation activities to keep kids of all ages entertained.
Experience the adventurous side of Jamaica … you can go rafting down the Martha Brae, sign up for an ATV safari, explore and climb the famous Dunn's River Falls, stroll along Seven Mile Beach in Negril, visit the world-renowned Blue Mountains where Blue Mountain Coffee is cultivated and even go bobsledding down Mystic Mountain.
On the north coast of Jamaica, you'll find the town of Ocho Rios, home to resorts like Beaches Ocho Rios. Negril is on the western side of the island and home to another family-friendly resort, Beaches Negril. Overall, whether you’ll be traveling to Jamaica as a couple, with friends or family, or even solo, you’ll be able to find something to love about this island.
Expert tip: There are lots of amazing things to do in Negril lots of unique Negril excursions for couples and families. If you’ll be staying in Ocho Rios, there are plenty of things to do in Ocho Rios as well. You can start with the Ocho Rios Blue Hole and Turtle River Falls & Gardens.
Flight duration from Miami: 1 hour, 50 minutes.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a hop and a skip away from Miami. It literally takes under two hours to get to this destination by plane. If that isn't enough incentive to book a vacation, then the fact that this is one of the most beautiful island chains in the Caribbean should be. Turks & Caicos, particularly the multiple islands that make up this territory and the amazing beaches therein, are what a Caribbean vacation in paradise is all about.
Providenciales, also known as Provo, is the most popular island in the Turks & Caicos archipelago. This island is known for its postcard-worthy beaches and crystal-clear water. Grace Bay Beach has been voted one of the best beaches in the Caribbean numerous times, so you can be assured that any experience you have there will be memorable.
There are some amazing all-inclusive resorts in Provo including Beaches Turks & Caicos, which is on the famous Grace Bay Beach. Beaches Turks & Caicos is an action-packed resort with its own water park that kids and adults will love. There are also lots of things to do in Turks & Caicos that you can book from this resort. Additionally, Beaches Resorts guests can benefit from having snorkeling, scuba diving, and a range of land sports and water sports included in their vacation packages. If you’ll be traveling with kids, our best of Turks & Caicos for kids article can help you get the planning started!
Good to know: There are several direct flights available from major U.S. cities to Turks & Caicos which will be super convenient for your family vacation! Once your flight is booked, you can take a look at these amazing family vacation packages.
A vacation without the long-haul flight —that could be your reality if you decide to vacation in any of the destinations listed in this post. From The Bahamas to Turks & Caicos, you’ll have plenty of options, but ultimately, the choice depends on the type of experience you're looking for and how quickly you want to get there.
The closest Caribbean and easiest Caribbean territory to fly to from the U.S. is The Bahamas. This is part of the reason this island chain has been so popular with U.S. visitors over the years. Of course, as we’ve described above, all of these other incredible destinations near the U.S. have a lot more to offer than just being conveniently located. Their beauty is second to none!
Now that you're familiar with the islands and what you can expect, the next step will be looking into an amazing all-inclusive vacation at luxury Caribbean resorts in your destination of choice.