10 best islands in the USA

Updated:
By David Em
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From the west coast to the east coast, find out what the best islands are in the USA. By not traveling abroad, you don’t need a passport.

Aerial view of mountains and the ocean in Hawaii.

1. Maui, Hawaii

Maui has a great reputation for being one of the top destinations in the world. It’s also the second-largest island in Hawaii.

Related: 10 best resorts in Hawaii

There are so many things to see and do in Maui. Haleakala National Park and Molokini Crater are two of the many things you must see.

It also has more swimmable beaches than any other Hawaiian island. The beaches are gorgeous, and they’re perfect for snorkeling, swimming, and surfing.

Lush greenery, volcanic beaches, water sports, food, rich history, and culture are some of the reasons that make Maui an amazing island in the United States.

2. Santa Catalina Island, California

Santa Catalina Island is located off the coast of Southern California. It’s southwest of Los Angeles, and most locals call it Catalina.

To get to Catalina, take the ferry from Long Beach. It’s a one hour ferry ride.

It’s an amazing place to spend a day because the views are incredible, and there are plenty of restaurants. You can rent a golf cart and drive it around.

During your visit, check out the iconic Catalina Island Casino. It’s a beautiful building, and you can take a tour to learn more about the history.

3. San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands are a group of 172 islands between Washington and Victoria BC. It’s known for the orcas, kayaking, hiking, biking, and beautiful views of the Pacific Northwest.

While you’re there, visit Lime Kiln Point State Park. It’s the lighthouse that you see in many photos of the San Juan Islands. It’s great for whale watching and enjoying the scenic views.

Also, be sure to check out Pelindaba Lavender Farm, which is one of the largest in the country. Aside from lavender, you’ll be able to see views of the lake and the Olympic Mountains.

4. Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is about half an hour southwest of Fort Myers. The beautiful beaches that are covered with seashells attract people from all over the world.

Captiva Island, Bowman’s Beach, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Lighthouse Beach Park, and Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum are a few of the most popular sights on Sanibel Island.

There are also many delicious dining options that range from seafood to dessert. Bleu Rendez-Vous Bistro, Cips Place, and Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille are some of the best places to eat.

5. Marco Island, Florida

Marco Island is half an hour south of Naples, and it’s known for the white sand beaches. There are resorts, beautiful beaches, golf courses, restaurants, shopping centers, and marinas.

There are many activities and sights to see. Be sure to take a paddleboard or kayak out to Tigertail Beach Park. Overall, it’s an excellent place to soak in the sunshine and hang out at the beach.

6. Mount Desert Island, Maine

Mount Desert Island is the largest island off the coast of Maine. It’s home to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. It’s also filled with wildlife, nature, and scenic views.

Aside from Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, check out Cadillac Mountain for captivating panoramic views. Sand Beach is another must-visit spot, and it’s in a secluded cove.

There are many outdoor activities and sights to see on Mount Desert Island. It’s not the easiest place to get to as it’s about a 5-hour drive from Boston and 3 hours from Portland. However, it’s worth visiting.

7. Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island is a popular destination for outdoor activities in the summer. It’s directly south of mainland Rhode Island and accessible by ferry from Point Judith.

One of the best sights is Mohegan Bluffs. There are large cliffs about 150 feet high and located on the southern end of Block Island.

Make sure you bring your swimsuit to enjoy the privacy and large waves at Mansion Beach. It’s also a great place for water sports.

8. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island is 2 hours south of Charleston and faces the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for the amazing beaches and top-notch golf courses.

Whether you’re traveling with your family or by yourself, there are many things to see and do. Explore the island by biking, go bird watching, sail the Atlantic, find a spot to relax on the 12 miles of beaches.

Not all of the best parts are outdoors. Hilton Head Island offers a great art and culture scene. Learn about history, watch a play, visit an art gallery, or attend a concert. You can also shop at the boutiques.

9. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Martha’s Vineyard features sandy beaches, lighthouses, and traditional New England cottages. It’s south of Cape Cod and accessible by a 45-minute ferry ride or by air.

Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Aquinnah, West Tisbury, and Menemsha are some of the most popular spots on Martha’s Vineyard.

Overall, it’s a laid-back island that offers scenic views. It’s a great place to spend a weekend.

10. Golden Isles, Georgia

The Golden Isles of Georgia consist of Jekyll Island, Sea Island, St. Simons Island, and Little St. Simons Island. It covers 100 miles along the coast of Georgia and is known for the beaches and marshes.

The group of islands is majestic, and the views of the coast are scenic. From shopping and spa services to outdoor activities and historical tours, there are many things to do.

During your visit, go to Driftwood Beach, which is on the north end of Jekyll Island. It’s a result of years of erosion and makes for an amazing photo.

Conclusion

The U.S. has many great islands to visit. Places like Florida offer more of a tropical feel while the Pacific Northwest is filled with evergreen trees. If you want to escape to an island without a passport, check out an island in the U.S.

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Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola & Luna Travel, the destination for travel advice and inspiration. He launched Nola & Luna Travel to share expert advice, useful tips, unbiased reviews, and inspiration about destinations across the globe.