With the glorious sun shining, where do you travel to for a romantic summer getaway? While a trip to your nearest beach is a no-brainer, the US is home to a variety of gorgeous, adventure filled islands that are begging to be explored. Here is a list of idyllic, dreamy island vacations for your romantic escape.
Catalina Island, California
Located southwest of Los Angeles, Catalina is full of picturesque harbors, a vast array of wildlife, and colorful dive sites. Home to both the hilly city of Avalon in the east and the rustic village, Two Harbors, in the west, it boasts both Mediterranean-style charm and natural wonder. Hike to the highest peak on Mt. Orizaba, take a zip line eco tour from the hills of Avalon down to Descanso Beach, relax in a romantic cabana on the shore, or see a movie at the historic Avalon Theater. Whatever your mood or interests, travel here for lasting, wonderful memories.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Named after Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, who charted the island in 1614, Block Island is located 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Blanketed in serene New England charm, an impressive 40% of the land is set aside for conservation. Popular activities for travel lovers include hiking up the Mohegan Bluffs for a supreme view of the Atlantic, touring the 143-year-old Southeast Lighthouse, exploring on bikes, browsing through the art galleries and gift shops, and dining al fresco at one of the many amazing restaurants. For a dreamy, nautical vacation, this is the place to travel to.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Recognized as one of the premiere golf destinations on the East Coast, Kiawah is a lush beach paradise with true Southern charm. Located 21 miles south of Charleston, and laced with stunning marshes and waterways, this resort town also brimming with stunning wildlife. Bobcats, American alligators, loggerhead sea turtles, and 200 species of birds, from the ruby-throated hummingbird to the bald eagle, can be found here. For an upscale, romantic retreat into adventure and luxury, travel to Kiawah!
Mount Desert Island, Maine
Home to the beautiful Acadia National Park, this large island off the coast of Maine, full of distinctive boulders, rounded mountain tops, and many ponds and lakes, was created by a slow-moving, continental glacier. The beautiful nature practically begs to be explored, so outdoor activities are extremely popular here. Stroll on the paved 7.4 mile shore path for a stunning view of the rocky shoreline, travel to the unspoiled Schoodic Peninsula, and immerse yourself in the thriving restaurant scene through a food tour. With celebrity visitors including Susan Sarandon and Martha Stewart, you can rest assured that Mount Desert is one of the best romantic vacations travel lovers can take.
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
Renowned for its herds of majestic feral horses and pristine beaches, Chincoteague is truly unique. Off the coast bordering Maryland and Virginia, it is thought to have gained its famous four-legged inhabitants from the wreck of the Spanish ship La Galga in 1750. In addition to nature tours and water sports, travel lovers can enjoy shopping in the specialty shops in historic downtown. Lovely Inns, unique mom and pop shops, and wildlife unlike anywhere else, travel to Chincoteague for a wonderful mix of small town charm and unparalleled nature.
San Juan Islands, Washington
Located between Seattle and Vancouver, this archipelago is composed of three main islands accessible by ferry, with each island illustrating unique scenery and offerings. San Juan hosts vibrant yet charming nightlife, unique shopping, and a gourmet restaurant scene, Lopez Island is composed of rolling farmland and beaches, and Orcas is full of plush mountains and glassy lakes. With strained access to commercial farming due to the location, the San Juan Islands are abundant in restaurants sourcing foods from farms within the archipelago. With an amazing, sustainable food scene, and outdoor activities from zip lining to whale watching, travel here for the perfect eco-friendly and adventurous vacation.
Nicknamed the “Garden Island” due to the colorful rainforest that comprises much of the land, Kauai may be the most undeveloped of the Hawaiian islands, but that’s exactly what makes it so special. This paradise, full of arguably the most incredible natural wonders in the world, is everything a nature lover could want. Swim in the crystal clear water, hike the rugged cliffs of the Nā Pali Coast, visit the Waimea Canyon (dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain), and be sure to participate in a traditional Hawaiian luau. Kauai’s insane beauty, sense of romance and ample opportunity for adventure makes it a dream vacation for travel lovers.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Magnificent oak trees adorned with Spanish moss, driftwood filled white sand beaches, and incredible historical sites make Jekyll more than worth a visit. The grand Jekyll Island Club, the island’s most remarkable historic site, served as an exclusive, luxurious playground for the nation’s most elite, including J.P Morgan, William Rockefeller, and Joseph Pulitzer, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, the club serves as an elegant, Gatsby-esque hotel and resort for visitors. Whether you prefer to bask in the gorgeous landscape and Victorian buildings, take a dolphin tour, or paddleboard through the calm marsh inlets, travel here for a one-of-a-kind adventure.
Galveston Island, Texas
Full of eccentric artistic allure, and beautiful beaches, Galveston is a unique blend of Texas big-city charm and coastal ease. An impressive arts scene makes it home to many talented artists, with galleries and art spaces open late every Saturday night during the summer – attracting travel and culture lovers. Galveston is also home to many Victorian historical structures, including the Grand 1894 Opera House, which still hosts a variety of musical and theatrical events. Kayak through the bayous, bird watch in the lagoons, and end your days immersing yourself in the arts; a Galveston vacation will perfectly blend the sandy outdoors with art and history.
Off the coast of Fort Myers in the Gulf of Mexico, and full of palm trees and native flowers, Sanibel is famous for the colorful, abundant sea shells that decorate the beaches. Half of Sanibel’s acreage has been preserved against development, and few buildings are taller than the palm trees, which enables the rich array of wildlife to continue thriving. In addition to unmatched eco tours and watersports, Sanibel’s artisan shops, luxury jewelers, and fantastic dining scene make it an amazing travel destination. Can it get more romantic than this?
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