The 15 best islands in the US for stunning beaches, food, and activities
While many vacation plans have been interrupted as a result of the coronavirus, some may still be planning a socially distant getaway to one of the country’s most beautiful coastline destinations.
Travel + Leisure released its ranking of the top 15 islands in the continental US, according to readers, earlier this summer. The ranking was based on a number of factors including activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Here are the 15 best islands in the US.
Martha’s Vineyard in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, ranked as the 15th best island in the continental US.
Martha’s Vineyard is a popular destination for New England-based beach-goers and is famous for its spectacular beaches, quaint villages, and fishing community, as well as its restaurants, shops, and more.
The Outer Banks in North Carolina are famous nationwide as a premier beach destination.
Sea-facing beaches, state parks, and shipwreck diving sites make this series of barrier islands an extremely popular vacation destination.
Longboat Key, Florida, is located south of Anna Maria Island, between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
On top of the 12 stunning public beaches visitors to Longboat Key, Florida, can make use of, visitors can also visit the nearby Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium or stop by one of the island’s dining destinations.
Nantucket, a historic island off the coast of Massachusetts, was ranked 12th by Travel + Leisure.
Not only does the island boast gorgeous, near-private beaches, but visitors can stroll through the town’s downtown area lined with historic cobblestones, stop into one of the many boutiques, or grab an ice cream cone from local favorite, The Juice Bar.
Sanibel Island, Florida, earned the No. 11 spot on Travel + Leisure’s survey of the best islands in the continental US.
Located west of Fort Myers, Florida, Sanibel Island is famous for its shell-covered beaches, boardwalks, marshes, and 19th-century Sanibel Lighthouse.
Block Island, Rhode Island, earned the No. 10 spot.
This New England island is a popular summer destination known for its sandy beaches, hiking, sailing, fishing, and historic lighthouses.
Captiva Island, Florida, is a 5-mile-long island near Fort Myers off Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Popular things to do on Captiva Island include everything from seashell-collecting to fishing, parasailing, and scuba diving.
The Florida Keys in Florida are best known for mouthwatering seafood, scuba diving, and other exciting activities.
Visitors to the Florida Keys can also take part in once-in-a-lifetime activities like swimming with dolphins or grabbing a slice of key lime pie, which the islands are famous for.
Mackinac Island, Michigan, has a small year-round population but attracts thousands of vacationers in the summer months.
Known as the “jewel of the Great Lakes,” Mackinac Island offers everything from fine dining restaurants to horse-drawn carriage rides and stunning luxury resorts.
Amelia Island, Florida, is located just off the coast of northeast Florida and landed the No. 6 spot on Travel + Leisure’s ranking.
The island has 13 miles of beautiful beaches, and visitors will never grow bored of its stunning coastlines, abundant wildlife population, kayaking, and more.
Kiawah Island is 25 miles southwest of Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina.
The No. 5 best island in the continental US is primarily known as a luxurious beach and golf resort.
Mount Desert Island, Maine, is the largest island off the coast of Maine and the 52nd-largest island in the United States.
The island is most notably the home of Acadia National Park and the town of Bar Harbor. The island has a small year-round population of about 10,000 residents but draws millions of tourists each year to enjoy the island’s gorgeous shoreline beaches and natural beauty.
Hilton Head, South Carolina, was ranked the third best island in the continental US by Travel + Leisure readers.
This island in South Carolina is best known for its stunning beaches, golf courses, and restaurants.
The San Juan Islands in Washington offer everything from whale-watching to kayaking.
Other popular activities for vacationers include boating, fishing, and shopping. Visitors can also tour one of the island group’s breweries and vineyards, or grab dinner at one of the area’s restaurants.
The Golden Isles in Georgia are comprised of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island.
Visitors to this popular Southern tourist destination may find it no surprise that this island group ranked as the No. 1 destination in the continental US for an island getaway.
Wildlife lovers can engage in activities ranging from swimming with loggerhead turtles to whale-watching, while the island group’s impressive beaches and restaurants bring visitors of all kinds back year after year.
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