One of the United State’s best natural resources is the diverse climates and miles of sandy beach.
With more than fifty states and two different coasts, there are many US island destinations that would be perfect for going on vacation. Whether you’re looking to stay mainly on the east coast, the west coast, the “south coast,” or are willing to board a plane to Hawaii, there is a little bit of everything for everyone.
Here is a list of the top ten US island destinations that will help you plan your next getaway.
Sanibel Island, Florida
Sanibel Island is one of the top US island destinations because it’s a tropical getaway just located off the coast of Florida. Its sub-tropical climate is sunny all year long, and is great for outdoor activities or hanging out on the beach.
Things to Do: When it comes to activities, there is a little bit of everything on Sanibel Island. Golf enthusiasts will be happy to find Beach View Golf Club, an 18-hole, Par 70 championship course.
You can also go kayaking, canoeing, water skiing or skiing. There are bike and boat rental shops located all over the island, and different cruises that explore the surrounding areas.
Accommodations: You can live on the beach by renting a cottage through Gulf Breeze Cottages, or stay at South Seas Island Resort. At the resort you’ll find things like a spa, pools and various places for dining.
Best time to visit: The weather is great read round so any time is good. However, if you’re looking for a warm destination during winter, December though February is a nice time to go to Sanibel.
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
A great US island destination that is perfect for families and those that want an island getaway is Isle of Palms.
Isle of Palm is an Atlantic barrier island that is popular place for people to live and to frequently visit. Isle of Palms has about 5,000 full time residents and 50,000 investment owners. This means that the island is a fully functioning municipality and has potential to be a place that you can buy property on.
Things to do: This Island has miles of beach, making it an ideal place to swim, bathe, play volleyball, and sail. It’s also possible to go on eco tours, where you can explore the surrounding barrier islands on private charters and passenger boats.
Accommodations: Wild Dunes Resort is a great place to stay, play golf, tennis, enjoy the spa and to wind down for a couple days.
When to go: During the summer, the beaches of Isle of Palm are less crowded than they are in Myrtle Beach and the weather is great. However, you’ll want to reserve early.
South Padre Island, Texas
One of the top US Island destinations, South Padre Island has the best beaches in Texas.
Located near Mexico, the miles of white sand and warm surf have people coming back every year. South Padre island is the longest barrier island in the world. It also has the most undeveloped ocean beach found anywhere in North America.
Things to do: It’s very common to see kite boarders and windsurfers in the waters, and people just trying to take in the panoramic view that this remote island offers. People can also go surfing, swimming and sun bathing. A great place to go with kids is the Dolphin Research and Sea Life Nature Center, where kids can get up close and personal with the dolphins.
Accommodations: The newly opened Hilton Garden Inn has a large walk in ocean side pool, and is only a five-minute walk to the beach.
Best time to visit: Summer is when the water is warmest, but also the busiest. Spring and fall has moderate temperatures, but the water is a little colder.
Catalina Island, California
This rocky island is a great place to relax and go snorkeling, while only 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
For those living on the west coast of the United States and that just need to get away, Catalina Island is an ideal spot. The sounds of the waves are mesmerizing and the air is clean and tranquil.
Things to do: There is an abundance of things to do, from lying on the beach, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, and playing golf. There is even the Catalina Island Museum that pays tribute to the Native Americans and families that influenced the island.
Accommodations: Hotel Metropole is a great place to stay, with private balconies and a rooftop Jacuzzi that looks over Avalon Bay.
Best time to visit: The best prices for this popular US island destination are between April-May, and September-October.
Orcas Island, Washington
Orcas Island, located in the Pacific Northwest is one of the top island destinations in the US because of its relaxed atmosphere and eclectic taste.
About 2-3 hours away from Seattle, Orcas Island gets less rain and precipitation than Seattle. It’s a favorite place for people trying to get away from Seattle and Portland, and it begins with a leisurely ferry ride up to the San Juan region. It’s also home to some of the most eclectic artists.
Things to do: There are many trails you can take to go bike riding or hiking. Kayaking and diving are also popular things to do, with different places for renting gear. If you’re interested in whale watching, you can go on a wildlife tour with Deer Harbor Charters.
Accommodations: Orcas Hotel is a registered historic site, with a great view of Harney Chanel and has a restaurant that serves prime steak and seafood.
Big Island, Hawaii
The largest of all the Hawaiian Islands, there is plenty of beach and things to explore.
What surprises many people is that this island has a wide range of climate zones. Some mountains are seasonally snow capped, and at the same time there are sandy beaches. As is expected of Hawaii, there is plenty of opportunity to sun bathe and snorkel.
Things to do: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must see on Big Island because its an opportunity to see one of the most active volcanoes on earth.
Accommodations: King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is located on Kailua-Kona. It’s the only place located in middle of the area and on white sandy beaches.
Best time to visit: If you’re staying on the west side, it’s good year round because the rainfall isn’t very heavy.
Kauai is only 20 minutes away form Honolulu by air and is a great US Island destination.
Kauai is known as the Garden Isle. It’s an appropriate name for an island destination with a lot tropical greenery, tropical mountains and very long stretches of sandy beaches.
Things to do: Just like the rest of the Hawaii, there is a lot of room for scuba diving, hiking and swimming. With so many things to do on Kauai, one suggestion would be to visit the Smith Family Garden Luau. They take you through a tour of the 30-acre botanical garden and luau grounds, and they give you a chance to learn about Hawaiian cuisine.
Accommodations: Aston Hotels and Resorts is a great oceanfront experience and is only a short walk from the Coconut Marketplace.
Best time to visit: Mid April to Mid June is off-season and is actually when the weather is most reliable. Most people go during high season in order to avoid winter weather at home.
Lanai is a great island destination for those looking for a place to getaway from everything.
Given the name “Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island,” there isn’t a single traffic light located on the island. It’s also the smallest island that is inhabited in Hawaii; there are plenty of beaches for bathing and swimming.
Things to do: For those that like more rugged activities, there are back roads that are great for 4-wheel driving. Lanai is also a golfers paradise. The Experience of Koele is an 18-hole championship golf course, and Challenge at Manele has three holes located on the seaside cliffs.
Accommodations: When it comes to getting away from everything, Hotel Lanai helps with the experience. A historic landmark in Lanai, there is ten plantation styled rooms. One of the best restaurants on Lanai also happens to be the in house restaurant at the hotel.
Best time to visit: Mid April to Mid June when prices are better and there are less people.
One of the top US island destinations is Maui because of the diverse things it offers while maintaining a sense of seclusion.
Maui is one of the two biggest islands in Hawaii, but also has a small population and is made up of several small towns. Maui is a favorite destinations for people looking for intimate getaways and for families looking for an excursion.
Things to do: Maui offers so many activities, from sitting on sandy beaches, surfing, whale watching and snorkeling. A great activity for families is visiting the Maui Ocean Center, which was nominated by Zagat as Hawaii’s top family attraction. It’s an aquarium that has everything from sharks, eels and exotic fish.
Accommodations: Grand Wailea Hotel and Spa has over 40 acres that are beautifully landscaped and is located on Waile Beach, one of the best beaches in America.
Best time to visit: Mid April to Mid June.
Oahu is one of the best US island destinations because of its “town and country” experience and is one of the best surf destinations in the world.
Oahu is home to Honolulu, one of the most active metropolitan areas in the US and happens to be situated next to the beach. It’s known for its world class shopping, great restaurants and nightlife.
Things to do: There is a lot of time to shop and dine in Honolulu and to visit the surrounding smaller towns. However, it would definitely be worthwhile to see the North Shore. It’s known for having perfect waves and hosting the Super Bowl of surfing. On the North Shore you’ll find the world’s best surfers riding out the waves.
Also, stop by Lanikai Beach, which is known by the locals as being the best swimming beach in Hawaii.
Accommodations: The New Otani Beach Hotel is located away from a lot of the commotion and busyness of Honolulu, but is still located on Waikik Beachi.
Best time to visit: Mid April to Mid June is when it’s less crowded. However, people tend to swarm Oahu when its winter at home and they’re trying to getaway.
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Sanibel Island
Top Ten US Island Destinations: City of Palms
Top Ten US Island Destinations: San Padre Island
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Catalina Island
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Orcas Island
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Big Island
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Kauai
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Lanai
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Maui
Top Ten US Island Destinations: Oahu
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