7 Easy Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take

Editor’s Note: Some of the information below may be out-of-date. The Florida Keys and the U.S. Virgin Islands were heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Please visit caribbeantravelupdate.com, fla-keys.com or the specific hotel’s website for updates.

Close to home? Yes. Feels like home? No way. For the price of one vacation day, you’re in paradise by lunch.

7 Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take | Easy and Exotic Vacations | Affordable Island Destinations | Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii

Why It's Easy Nonstop flights from San Fran, LA and Oakland make it possible to go tropical for a long weekend. Even better? No currency swaps or Customs. Why It's Exotic This is a side of Oahu few know exist. At the Byodo-In Temple, peacocks roam and koi swim in a setting so foreign it's been used as a Korea stand-in on Lost. The replica of a Japanese Buddhist temple was built at the base of the Ko'olau Mountains to honor the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. And the Japanese influence doesn't stop there. A 30-minute drive to Waikiki leads to Asian travelers queuing up at Marukame Udon for a taste of home. One slurp of the fresh noodles and the next stop may as well be Mount Fuji. Traveler Beware Byodo-In rests inside a memorial park, so road delays from funeral processions can happen. Also, Oahu has about six times the population of Maui on a smaller landmass, so dig deeper to find the real Hawaii, like plate lunches at Rainbow Drive-In and canoe paddling at Ala Wai Park. — Lori Barbely Stay: sheraton-waikiki.com Rates: $325+Lori Barbely
7 Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take | Easy and Exotic Vacations | Affordable Island Destinations | Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Scoop Does TripAdvisor lie? We sent four editors to Punta Cana all-inclusives for two weeks to find out. They'll tell all in our ultimate all-inclusive guide (coming soon to Islands.com). For now, here's a glimpse of what they found. Why All the Fuss For starters, a weeklong trip, flights included, can ring in for less than $1,000 at resorts like The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical. And with over 35,000 rooms, this all-inc mecca has thousands of options for those with a taste for convenience and bottomless cocktails. Low maintenance? Definitely. But predictable? Not a chance. Why It's Exotic These megaresorts are growing up: Hand-pressed tortillas at Barcelo Bavaro and Paradisus' mixologist-crafted drinks have us nodding in unexpected approval (so does Barcelo's less-than-$100-a-night per-person room rate). A personal butler on speed dial has us halfway to a fist pump. And trapeze lessons? Thanks for the offer, Club Med, but we'll stick to a seat at the swim-up bar. Do Bring your own insulated mug. Don't Assume everything is included. Premium alcohol, Wi-Fi, private beach areas and spa treatments aren't always covered in the upfront price. Booking Tip Use a travel agent to get as much as a third off.**** Favorites Sanctuary Cap Cana for its boutique feel; Excellence for its standout service.Zach Stovall
7 Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take | Easy and Exotic Vacations | Affordable Island Destinations | St. John, USVI

St. John, USVI

Why It's Easy Daily nonstop flights from 10 U.S. cities travel to St. Thomas. From there, it's a breezy (literally and figuratively) 20-minute ferry ride from the Red Hook dock to St. John. Why It's Exotic This Virgin isle is small on development (only four hotels) and big on nature: Its national parkland covers two-thirds of the island. Jungle trails wend past petroglyphs and hermit crabs unfazed by curious guests. The park even extends underwater for 5,600 acres — see 225 yards of it on Trunk Bay's snorkeling trail, where damselfish slide through sea fans and parrotfish glow almost neon. Afterward, nearby Cruz Bay awaits with coconut shrimp and mango coladas (made with local Cruzan rum) at Morgan's Mango. Traveler Beware Topside, the ranger-guided Reef Bay Trail is the way to do the park, but the 3-mile hike fills up fast, so call far in advance to reserve a spot. Crowds of cruisers also swarm Trunk Bay; visit vinow.com for up-to-date cruise schedules to plan around port days. — Erika Hueneke Stay: westinresort​stjohn.com Rates: $229+Shutterstock
7 Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take | Easy and Exotic Vacations | Affordable Island Destinations | Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard

Why It's Easy It's 25 minutes from Providence by air. Why It's Exotic Different season, different scene: Autumn calls for pumpkin ale at Black Dog and riding the country's oldest carousel. Beware Booze sold in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs only. Stay: harbor-view​.com Rates: $109+Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
7 Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take | Easy and Exotic Vacations | Affordable Island Destinations | Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Why It's Easy No boat required. Do 42 bridges in a drop-top. Why It's Exotic Take three hours or three days. Find stone crabs off the virgin beach. Overnight in a bungalow. Be steps from a Key deer. Beware Get off Duval Street in Key West for cheaper beer and quicker liquor. Stay: cheeca​.com Rates: $179+Shutterstock
7 Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take | Easy and Exotic Vacations | Affordable Island Destinations | Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Why It's Easy It's no surprise all the major East Coast hubs offer nonstop flights to Mo' Bay, but from Denver? Actually, yes. Thanks, Frontier. Fly nonstop from Indy, Dallas and Minneapolis too. The Jamaican dollar is the official currency, but the U.S. dollar is widely accepted, especially at resorts and for tourist taxis (different from route taxis, which are mostly used by locals and make more stops). Why It's Exotic Outside the all-incs and beyond the overpriced tchotchkes on Gloucester Avenue is Doctor's Cave Beach, the best nonresort option for a day at the beach. Six bucks and one step inside the beach club later, it's like being on a private island. Traveler Beware That $6 just mentioned is needed to get onto the beach itself, not just into the club, so bring cash. — Audrey St. Clair Stay: halfmoon.com Rates: $289+Shutterstock
7 Three-Day Getaways Every Traveler Needs to Take | Easy and Exotic Vacations | Affordable Island Destinations | Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia

Why It's Easy Book three nights, period. No more, no less. Having a butler is easy too. Why It's Exotic Where else do you have a private infinity pool and living art instead of a wall? (Nearby Ladera Resort has this too.) It means sleeping, showering, brushing teeth and ... doing whatever else you do in private, in fresh Caribbean air. Traveler Beware Little birds fly in and out. They're cute for 72 hours. The novelty fades just in time for checkout. — Robert Stephens Stay: jademountain​.com Rates: $1,025+Shutterstock