Longing for a holiday on a serene island, with dramatic cliffs, waving palms and blue seas as far as the eye can see? No need to go far to the tropics, there are many beautiful islands within easy reach. Your next island getaway may be a short flight from the mainland United States.
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Located on Lake Huron, historic small Mackinac Island is renowned for its non-motorized and chain hotels. Here the means of transportation are horse taxis, which you can try if you don’t need to rush.
However, if you’re in a hurry, try cycling around the island for 2 km. Rent a bike, recharge at an ice cream shop downtown, then take the M-185 route to explore the Mackinac Island State Park trail. Visit Fort Holmes, the island’s highest point where you can learn about the War of 1812 while having a picnic with beautiful views.
After that, stay at The Inn at Stonecliffe to play croquet in the courtyard, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
An hour’s ferry ride from San Pedro, Catalina offers white sand beaches, clear blue sea and waving palm trees. You can spend your vacation relaxing every day, or while on an occasional adventure. Go around the island in an open-air Jeep, scuba diving, parasailing, zipline, or go hiking to the botanical gardens. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll see buffalo roaming around.
There are several prestigious hotels in Avalon (one of only two cities on the island), such as the Hotel Atwater, a newly renovated 1920s building. The room key card can also be used to access the Descanso Beach Club, where you can rent a cabana or chaise lounge.
The Outer Banks are a chain of islands off the edge of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean that are rich in history. Visit Roanoke for a reenactment of America’s first European settlement and find clues to its mysterious story. Or, try island hopping to Kill Devil Hills and where the Wright brothers flew their plane for the first time. You can also rent scuba gear to explore the underwater wreck of a German U-Boat from World War II.
If you prefer to observe wildlife from afar rather than dive directly, try visiting the town of Corolla. There you can take photos of the ponies on the beach, or ride them straight from Nags Head.
Accommodation prices are quite high in touristy areas, but Surf Side Hotel offers affordable beachfront accommodations and great reviews.
This charming little seaside town has not only beautiful shops, beautiful architecture, and signature restaurants, but also a wonderfully preserved wilderness area that is second to none. Acadia National Park is probably the only national park that has 26 peaks to explore. If you prefer to walk along the beach or climb the forest, you will be treated to beautiful cliff views.
This area is known for its variety of tiny B&Bs, so you can choose the best one. The Elmhurst Inn is so classic with its floral decor and antique furniture. Enjoy breakfast and homemade coffee on the terrace, and ask the owner for recommendations on interesting activities to do that day.
Situated between Canadian and US waters, the San Juan Islands are made up of 172 named islands and reefs, but the three easiest to visit by ferry are San Juan Island, Orcas Island and Lopez Island.
Orcas Island or the “Jewel of San Juan” has rugged terrain and is ideal for either backpacking adventures in the jungle or lakeside relaxation. Lopez Island is flatter making it ideal for cycling. It is also the starting point for a guided whale-seeing kayak tour. San Juan Island is the largest and most developed for tourism. Taste wine in the vineyard, take a stroll through the lavender fields, visit the lighthouse, or grab a bite to eat at the farmer’s market on Saturday at Friday Harbour.
On these three islands you will be able to find excellent accommodation. ‘Island hopping’ can also be a great strategy for exploring. Start your adventure at the elegant and modern Friday Harbor House with an outdoor area overlooking the harbor.
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