Can’t make the long trip to Hawaii for your vacation? Don’t worry, these tropical destinations may be the best-known islands in the U.S., but are not the only ones. From nature havens on the East Coast to sultry islands in the Caribbean, here are 5 of the best U.S. islands that aren’t Hawaii.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island appeals to travelers who want to leave the modern world behind, with no cars, no chain hotels, and 80% of the island designated as a national park. Built in 1870, Fort Mackinac is a top attraction along with the historic downtown. Located in this island is the Arch Rock, which is the most stunning natural marvel along the coast. Also, make sure you visit Murdick’s Fudge. A family-owned business which has been producing the best fudge in the country since 1887.
Key West, Florida
Key West is highly popular for good reason. Known as the southernmost city in the continental U.S., Key West is just 90 miles from the coast of Cuba. This location is teeming with rich history. You can visit Ernest Hemingway’s home (now a museum) where he lived for 30 years in the heart of Old Town Key West. In the evening, take a stroll down funky Duval Street on your way to Mallory Square for the nightly sunset celebration. Duval is home to shopping centers, bars, art galleries and boutiques.
San Juan Island, Washington
San Juan Island boasts a wide range of activities and attractions to check out. Strolling around the historic Friday Harbor is enjoyable for those who like to browse bookstores, art galleries, boutiques, and antique shops. San Juan Island even has its own vineyard/tasting room and whale-watching tours which are common excursion in addition to hiking and kayaking. You can also enjoy scenic view of rolling farmlands, alpaca farms, and sweeping valleys.
Santa Catalina Island, California
This southern California island is suitable for everyone who want to be spoiled and pampered. Catalina has a generous number of luxury, oceanfront boutique hotels. Adventure seekers can take flight on the island’s 1,100-foot-long eco-tour zipline, or go hunting for the island's free-roaming herd of bison. Indulge yourself in scuba diving activities and explore some of the most impressive underwater kelp forest in the country.
Dry Tortugas, Florida
Even though Dry Tortugas isn’t as popular as the Florida Keys, they're some of the absolute gems of the Caribbean. Located 70 miles west of the Keys, Dry Tortugas National Park encompasses all seven islands. This park contains superb coral, abundant marine life, and crystal-clear waters (all of which are surrounded by pristine, protected waters).