Tropical Tranquility: Island Tour Attractions Unveiled

Do you fancy a tranquil island holiday, with dramatic cliffs, swaying palms and blue ocean as far as the eye can see? no need to travel Far away from the tropics, there are plenty of beautiful islands within easy reach. Your next island trip may be just a short flight from the mainland United States.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Vehicles are not allowed on Mackinac Island

Located on Lake Huron, small and historic Mackinac Island is famous for not allowing motorized vehicles and chain hotels. Here, transportation is in the form of horse-drawn taxis, which you can try if you are not in a hurry.

However, if you are in a hurry, try cycling 2 km around the island. Rent a bike, fuel up at a downtown ice cream shop and then take Route M-185 to explore the Mackinac Island State Park trails. Visit Fort Holmes, the highest point on the island, where you can learn about the War of 1812 and have a picnic with a beautiful view.

Afterwards, stay at The Inn for a game of croquet on the lawns at Stonecliff, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Santa Catalina, California

Relaxation and adventure await on Santa Catalina Island.

An hour’s ferry ride from San Pedro, Catalina offers white sandy beaches, clear blue seas and swaying palm trees. You can spend your vacation relaxing every day, or go on an occasional adventure. Try taking an open-air jeep tour around the island, scuba diving, parasailing, zip-lining or hiking to the botanical gardens. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a roaming buffalo.

Avalon (one of two towns on the island) has some prestigious hotels, such as the Hotel Atwater, a newly renovated building from the 1920s. The room key card can also be used to access the Descanso Beach Club, where you can rent cabanas or chaise lounges.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Wild horses in the sand on the Outer Banks beach

The Outer Banks is a chain of islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina that is rich in history. Visit Roanoke to reenact the first European settlement in the Americas and discover clues to its mysterious story. Or, try an island trip to the Kill Devil Hills and where the Wright brothers first flew their airplane. You can also rent scuba gear to explore the underwater wrecks of World War II German U-boats.

If you prefer to view wildlife from a distance rather than dive straight in, try the town of Corolla. There you can take photos of the ponies on the beach, or take a pony ride straight from Nags Head.

Accommodation prices are quite high in tourist areas, but Surf Side Hotel offers affordable accommodation on the beach with good reviews.

Mount Desert Island, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

This charming little seaside town not only has a variety of charming shops, beautiful architecture and distinctive restaurants, but also a stunning wilderness area that is preserved like no other. Acadia National Park may be the only national park with 26 peaks. Whether you prefer to walk along the beach or hike through the forest, you will enjoy beautiful cliff views.

The area is known for its small B&Bs, so you will have a choice of the best one. The Elmhurst Inn is classic with its floral decor and antique furniture. Enjoy breakfast and home-made coffee on the terrace, and ask the owner for recommendations about interesting things to do that day.

San Juan Islands, Washington

One of the best places to go whale watching with kayaking if you dare.

Located between Canadian and American waters, the San Juan Islands include 172 named islands and reefs, but the three islands most easily visited by boat are San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island.

Orcas Island or the “Jewel of the San Juans” has mountainous terrain and is ideal for backpacking adventures in the wilderness or lakeside relaxation. Lopez Island is flat, making it ideal for bicycling. It is also the starting point for guided whale-watching kayak tours. San Juan Island is the largest and most developed island for tourism. Sample wine in the vineyards, take a leisurely stroll through the lavender fields, visit the lighthouse, or grab a bite to eat at the Saturday farmers market in Friday Harbor.

You will find excellent accommodation on all three islands. ‘Island hopping’ can also be a great strategy for exploration. Start your adventure at the beautiful and modern Friday Harbor House, which overlooks the harbor.