Dreamy Island Getaways in the US

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Do you dream of traveling to an island with rugged cliffs, swaying palm trees, and sparkling waters? Traveling to a tropical destination may seem difficult, but paradise might be closer than you think. A short flight from the mainland can take you on your next island getaway.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island does not allow cars

Located on Lake Huron, Mackinac Island is a small historic island known for its ban on motor vehicles and a string of hotels. However, there are horse-drawn carriages for those in a hurry.

If you want to move faster, you can consider cycling within the island’s 8-mile range. Rent a bike, fuel up at a bakery in the town center, and follow the M-185 route to explore the trails of Mackinac Island State Park. Reach the island’s highest point, Fort Holmes, to learn about the War of 1812 and enjoy a great hike.

Then, spend the night at The Inn at Stonecliffe, where you can play a gentle game of croquet on the lawn, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city.

Santa Catalina Island, California

Relax and Explore around Santa Catalina Island

Just an hour ferry ride from San Pedro, Catalina stands out with its white sand beachessparkling blue waters, and swaying palm trees. You can spend the entire trip relaxing, or if you want an adventure, there are plenty of things for you to explore. You can tour the island in an open-air Jeep, try your hand at scuba diving, parasailing, zip-lining, or simply take a long walk to the botanical garden. Don’t forget to watch out for the bison on Catalina.

You will find a good number of highly-rated hotels in Avalon (one of only two towns on the island), including the Hotel Atwater, a building from the 1920s that has recently been refurbished. You can also use your room key to access the nearby Descanso Beach Club, where you can rent a cabana or lounge chair.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Wild horses roam on the beaches of Outer Banks

Outer Banks is a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. Visit Roanoke and walk through the scenery that recreates the first European settlement in America while following clues to unravel the mysterious disappearance of the colony. Otherwise, head to another island to visit Kill Devil Hills and see where the Wright Brothers made their first successful flight. Additionally, tourists can rent equipment and scuba dive to explore a German U-Boat from World War II.

If you find watching wild animals from afar more exciting than swimming, head to the town of Corolla. There, you can capture images of foals running on the beach or visit Nags Head, where you can even ride horses on the beach.

Accommodation prices may be a bit expensive at this popular destination, but Surf Side Hotel is an affordable and highly-rated option located right on the beach.

Mount Desert Island, Maine

Acadia National Park in Maine

This charming coastal destination has many beautiful shops, historic architecture, and famous restaurants, but there is something you will not find on other islands in the area: a stunningly preserved wilderness area. Acadia National Park boasts 26 mountain peaks to explore, something that only a few islands can offer. If you enjoy walking on the beach and hiking in the woods, you will be rewarded with unforgettable views of beautiful cliffs.

This region of the U.S. is known for its cozyB&Bs, and you will find many great options. Elmhurst Inn is a typical B&B with antique decor and floral patterns. Wake up to a simple yet sumptuous breakfast on the porch, then enjoy a cup of coffee and chat with the innkeeper for more activity ideas.

San Juan Islands, Washington

One of the top whale watching spots – more adventurous by kayaking

Located in the sea between Canada and the U.S., the San Juan Islands are a collection of 172 islands and coral reefs, but the three easiest to visit by ferry are San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez.

Orcas Island, sometimes called the “gemstone of the San Juans,” is the hilliest island, ideal for a forest trek or relaxing on the lakefront beaches. Lopez Island is flat, perfect for cycling. It’s also a great starting point for a whale watching kayak tour with a guide. San Juan Island is the largest and most popular of the three islands. Try wine tasting at the vineyard, take a leisurely stroll through the lavender fields, stop by the lighthouse, or indulge in local produce at the farmer’s market held on Saturdays in Friday Harbor.

You will find many great accommodations on all three islands. In fact, hopping from one island to another can be a great idea. Why not start at Friday Harbor House, an elegant and modern accommodation with an outdoor area that offers a spectacular view of the harbor.

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