When you think of an island getaway in the USA, the island of Hawaii is likely to be the first that springs to mind. But while Hawaii is a beautiful destination for vacations and honeymoons, there are plenty of other islands in this diverse country that are worth exploring. For a unique island experience, make sure to check out the following 10 destinations.
This small island off the coast of Virginia is famous for its population of wild ponies and quiet beaches. Yes, you read that right — ponies. When you visit, you can set sail out on the sea or take an island tour, where you’ll come across wildlife including dolphins and over 320 different species of birds. Aside from the natural sights all around the island, you can also make your way to the main street to experience the quaint downtown life of the island, filled with charming shops and art galleries.
On the south coast of Alaska, is a large island known as Kodiak Island. Not quite what you would expect an island in Alaska to look like, it's home to beaches, vast forests, king crabs, and even a family of bears. During your visit, you can explore the island on land by hiking, biking or ATVing and head out to the sea by boating or kayaking. With tons of outdoor excursions to keep you busy, you’ll also discover plenty of wildlife in plain sight. From bear sightings to whale watching, the possibilities are endless.
Mount Desert Island
Home to Acadia National Park and the town of Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, is a breathtaking east coast island that brings in thousands of visitors each year. Known as a summer getaway for the wealthy, Mount Desert Island has plenty of outdoor excursions and delightful indoor attractions, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds in one destination. At the National Park, you can hike, bike or camp, while spotting wildlife such as moose, bears, and whales. For the exact opposite experience, visit the town of Bar Harbor for fine dining, boutiques and art galleries.
The San Juan Islands
Off the coast of Washington state, lay the beautiful tiny islands that make up San Juan County. While there are 172 islands in this area, the San Juan Island is one of the four islands worth visiting. It’s a relatively small island but there’s plenty to discover, including an alpaca ranch, a valley filled with cows and sheep, a lavender farm, multiple vineyards, lighthouses and of course a pod of whales. San Juan Island is also home to Friday Harbour, the walkable core of the island, filled with antique shops, galleries and cafes.
Famous for its stunning sunsets, beaches, and luxurious resorts, this island south of Florida makes for a perfect getaway any time of year. Whether you want to spend your days relaxing while sunbathing or venturing out to do some exploring, this island has plenty to satisfy both the chilled out traveller and the thrill seeking adventurer. During the day, you can visit the beaches, go fishing on the pier, or discover the 19th century lighthouse. In the evening, you can enjoy the fun nightlife at the funky bars or have a romantic night out at sea on a sunset dolphin and wildlife cruise.
Just off the coast of Los Angeles, is a destination fit for a short but sweet vacation. Filled with a rich old Hollywood history, Catalina Island brings in thousands of tourists (and celebrities) each year by ferry. The Island, known for its art deco-inspired Casino, charming hotels, and boutique restaurants, is also known for its wildlife and natural habitat. You can easily spend multiple days on this island trying out a new activity, including camping, hiking, diving or snorkeling. For a more relaxed approached, take some time out of your busy day and sip some booze right on the beach at Descanso Beach. For the most breathtaking views of the island, make sure to head out to Mt. Orizaba to see the highest peak of the island.
Located south of Rhode Island, Block Island is an island known for its sandy beaches, clay cliffs, and 1800s redbrick lighthouse. The charming and small-town vibes will have you feeling inspired, especially when you come across the breathtaking Mohegan Bluffs. Aside from visiting the must-see lighthouse, Block Island is also home to some of the best seafood trucks around and a few relaxing beaches such as Ballard’s Beach, Mansion Beach and Crescent Beach.
One of the most remote and magical national parks is the Channel Islands, just off the coast of Southern California. Known for its water-based activities and wonderful wildlife, these islands have it all — breathtaking sights, boutiques and plenty of adventure. You can visit a lighthouse, go whale watching, kayak around the Channel, or make friends with the island’s natural cohabitants including an island fox and various marine species. It’s also one of the least-visited national parks, which means it is still a best-kept secret — so go now before word gets out!
Just off the coast of Cape Cod is an island of Massachusetts known as Martha’s Vineyard. Filled with tiny towns, lighthouses, farmland and sandy beaches, the island makes for a lovely getaway with the family, friends or with your romantic bae. There are two main towns on the island known as Vineyard Haven — which has the island’s downtown center, and Oak Bluffs — which has gorgeous gothic cottages and a magical carousel named Flying Horses. On the island, there’s plenty of shopping, dining, relaxation, and activities to do. You can head out on a wine tour at the various wineries the island as to offer, visit the Gay Head Lighthouse, or simply take it easy on Inkwell Beach.
Across the bridge from downtown San Diego is a breathtakingly beautiful island known as Coronado Island. A friendly beach town you surely don’t want to miss, it's filled with boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and tonnes of outdoor activities, making this a hot spot for locals and tourists. You can easily spend a day relaxing on the beach or exploring the entire the island on land via bike or out at sea via paddleboarding. To get a dose of history, you can visit the historic Hotel Del Coronado, which has been open since 1888. Whether you crave arts and history or adventurous activities, this island surely has something for everyone.