U.S. Islands Go Beyond the Tropics

When you think of an island getaway, images of faraway tropical beaches, warm sunsets, and umbrella drinks typically come to mind. While that’s certainly accurate, you really don’t have to go somewhere far or tropical to find a refreshing island escape. There are many beautiful U.S. islands that can be experienced independently or as part of guided tours. 
  • Mackinac Island, Michigan: Located in Lake Huron, the car-free island’s most iconic feature is the Grand Hotel where the romantic movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. Here, time stands still while guests linger over afternoon tea or dinner and cap off the evening with an elegant spin around the dance floor. 
  • Nantucket, Massachusetts: Nantucket, along with the smaller islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, make up the Town of Nantucket. This New England destination doesn’t disappoint as the backdrop to some of the nation’s most beautiful — and priciest — homes. 
  • Padre Island, Texas: This island stretches north from Corpus Christi, Texas, and south to the well-known resort town South Padre Island. Nestled in one of the world’s only hypersaline (i.e., saltier than the ocean) lagoons, Padre Island National Seashore is home to 70 miles of coastline, dunes, and prairies. It provides a nesting ground for sea turtles and a haven for 380 bird species. You also can learn about the island’s 1550s Spanish shipwrecks. 
  • San Juan Territories, Washington: San Juan County includes 172 named islands, although only four are served by ferries. Here you’ll find moderate temperatures, clean air, and wildlife galore, including a resident pod of orca whales. 
And if tropical breezes are truly what you had in mind, research these more palm-tree prominent U.S. islands — Molokai, Hawaii; Marco Island, Florida; or St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, which make up the U.S. Virgin Islands.