7 special islands to visit this spring without leaving the US Lifestyle
The last two years have seemed like two decades. This spring you desperately need a light and fresh island to relieve the accumulated stress from the coronavirus and mental anguish. It is clear that you still do not decide to leave the country, not wanting to deal with possible quarantine or consequences if you become infected abroad. Don’t worry: there are many memorable islands in the United States where you can disconnect and relax. Not all of them boast sun, sand and surf, but they all offer a beachfront atmosphere, plenty of outdoor activities and a chance to alleviate pandemic PTSD.
If you want to get away from it all, this remote national park is your place. Dry Tortugas stretches for 100 square miles, and its seven coral islands are dotted with the turquoise blue of the Gulf of Mexico about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. The daily ferry from Key West sends visitors to Garden Key, the archipelago’s second largest island. . (Alternatively, you can book a private boat or seaplane.) The small island has rustic campsites with minimal amenities, and no cellular or Wi-Fi. Don’t expect restaurants or shops either; visitors should bring enough food and water (park officials recommend two gallons a day per person) to last the entire vacation. The main attraction is the Civil War-era Jefferson Fort, a grand structure full of history and surrounded by underwater docks flickering with marine populations, creating great places for scuba diving. To get epic underwater landscapes and even more water candies, book a private scuba tour at your local diving company.
In the Algonquin language, Manhegan is 10 miles off the coast of Maine, and can only be reached by ferry from Port Clyde, New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor, meaning “islands in the sea.” Since the late 19th century, the isolated island has been a colony for artists. Today, more than a dozen creative individuals have working studios (open to the public on certain days and times), while many others come for the silence and inspiring views of the island. Although the island is less than one square mile, 12 miles of trails cross its mostly wilderness with hilarious stops such as a selfie-ready rusty tugboat hull on the beach, an operating lighthouse adjacent to the Museum of Art and History Manhattan, and the picturesque cliffs in the northern part of the island. Cars of visitors to the island are prohibited, although people with medical needs can rent a golf cart to travel. For housing – hotels, boarding houses and rental cottages; camping is prohibited.
Although the island belongs to the high-risk category of coronavirus transmission, there are no travel restrictions. Visitors should watch out monheganplantation.com/covid-19-resources.html for updates.
Cumberland feels remote from the modern world. The 17-mile-long barrier island near the southeast corner of Georgia can only be reached by ferry from St. Mary’s. (Reservations are highly recommended because it is quickly booked.) Once you land on this national coast, your only transportation will be your feet or bike; warn that the roads are uneven in places. Most visitors choose to pitch a tent at one of the five campsites, but those looking for a more uplifting holiday can book a room at the Greyfield Inn, which offers private ferries, gourmet food and naturalistic guided island tours. There is something to do here. Untamed forests and swamps are teeming with wildlife – alligators, armadillos, wild boars, wild horses – while the surrounding waters are home to dolphins and whales, as well as sea turtles that nest on beaches. Along the coast and in freshwater ponds and streams filled with trout, there are many fishing opportunities.
– San Juan Islands, Yours.
This archipelago of 172 islands and reefs extends over the Salish Sea between the coast of Washington and the island of Vancouver in Canada. Its three main islands – San Juan, Orcas and Lopez – are accessible by ferry or flight and are popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Sea kayakers are involved in rowing along the cut shoreline; more individual adventures include night expeditions to see radiant, radiant bioluminescence and gourmet-friendly long trips with Discovery Sea Kayak Tours, which are based on organic produce of local origin and fresh seafood. Tourists admire the many trails that run through rocky beaches, golden prairies and lush forests. Naturalists can bet on finding killer whales, humpback whales and seals on the water, and sea lions are installations on the shoreline. Housing options have a wide choice, including campsites and rental homes, as well as resorts and boutique hotels.
Located between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan on the northwestern edge of Lake Huron, the emerald island is rich in history. Its name is a modified version of the indigenous word adava, meaning “big turtle,” inspired by the shape of the coastline. Mackinac may feel as if he is frozen in the past. It can be reached only by ferry or plane, and cars are prohibited (except for ambulances), so instead of taxis there are horse-drawn carriages at hand. The island is dotted with historical sites: Fort Makinka during the War of Independence; restored, about 1820 family home; the current blacksmith of the end of the XIX century; and a cave of skulls, once a refuge. Learn about the region’s first inhabitants by cycling or hiking the Indian Cultural History Trail along an eight-mile, mostly flat highway that surrounds the island. There are many housing options, including hotels, guesthouses and cottages.
The island of charm is just a 212-hour flight from Miami, providing easy access to the Caribbean without leaving U.S. territory. Leave the capital of San Juan to spend time outdoors, exploring the natural beauty of the magnificent island. There are three bioluminescent bays – Mosquito Bay, Laguna Grande and La Parguera – where you can paddle or swim through the shimmering, shimmering microorganisms. Stroll through the rainforests of the El Junque National Forest, which is connected by hiking trails of all abilities, including the observation tower on Mount Britton, which offers magnificent views of the village to the sea. (You need to book El Yunque seats; they can be made a month in advance in recreation.gov/camping/gateways/14487.) Thrill seekers rush to the epic ziplines at Taraverde Adventure Park, including some that can be ridden on custom bikes. Relax and recharge after your adventures in the hot springs of Coamo, where thermally heated water soothes muscle aches.
Despite the distance and cost, the tropical archipelago has been a popular vacation spot throughout the pandemic. For a comprehensive experience, book your vacation on Hawaii’s multi-faceted 4,000-square-mile island (also known as the Big Island), home to lush rainforests, snow-capped mountains, active volcanoes and black sand beaches. The opportunities in the fresh air are many: horseback riding in the deep magnificent valley of Vaipio; monitoring whale migration (the season lasts from November to May, and in February you can observe the peak); climb lava fields in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park; and watching the stars on top of Mauna Kea, the world’s highest sea mountain. Looking for unforgettable hikes? Take as many as you like the 175-mile Royal Trail, which stretches along the coast of Kona. Depending on where you go, you’ll pass on reminders of the island’s rich history, including petroglyphs, fishponds and temples.