The hardest thing about planning an island vacation may be choosing where to go. With so many attractive options around, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the choices. We've gathered information on three very different island getaway locations that should help you find your ideal vacation destination, whether it's mainly beaches you want, or mountains too, as well as carnal red sunsets. From the nearly untouched nature on Hawaii's Big Island, to the idyllic bays and coves of St. Croix, to the gently rolling hills of Prince Edward Island in Canada, you'll find some great ideas to spur you in your search of the perfect island vacation getaway. You can choose to be on a secluded beach or find a party-hearty resort. Whether you're going on honeymoon, planning a solitary beach bum trip, or just getting out of town with some friends, get inspired by our descriptions and deals. Look forward to unwinding on the shore, or tuning out in a hammock with vast stretches of beach and blue sea before you. Hang loose and indulge yourself — what else are island vacations for?
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The least-explored island in the Hawaiian chain, Big Island is a breathtaking place to take an island vacation. Boasting a diverse terrain and climate — volcanoes, stark fields of black lava, snowcapped mountains, black and white-sand beaches, lush tropical rainforests — there's just so much to explore on the aptly-named Big Island. If you love watersports, you can big-game fish here, as well as surf, kayak, snorkel, and swim amidst a stunning array of colorful marine life. If you're feeling active on land, golfers will find a wide variety of great courses, while hikers can explore volcanoes, beaches, and rainforests. If the mood strikes, you can even go down-hill skiing on your island getaway!
The island's land mass is not matched by a large population, so if you're a nature-lover and want to get away from it all, Big Island is a great place to visit because of its relatively unspoiled nature. Its protected forests include the Kau, Kapapala, and Ruu Makaala Reserves in the south and Mauna Kea, Kohala, and Hakalau Reserves in the north. The two towering volcanic peaks, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, are definitely worth a visit. Once atop Mauna Kea, you can stargaze from within a cloud... it's simply spectacular.
Getting away to the U.S. Virgin Islands is like getting away to paradise; it's sure to be one of the most gorgeous vacations you'll ever take — and you don't even need a passport to get there! Visit any or all of the three beautiful islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas that make up the Virgin Islands. St. Thomas has lush, forested green hills and coves filled with turquoise-blue water.
Take a guided tour of the area with amazing views of Magen's Bay and St. John. Or skip the tours and simply sit back and relax in Coki Bay, a lovely spot tucked away on the northeastern coast of St. Thomas. The snorkeling is great, or you can also visit Coral World, an extensive aquarium filled with exotic marine life. Don't miss the Virgin Islands National Park if you're interested in exploring the pristine reefs and tropical birdlife of the area. More than 30 species of tropical birds nest in the park.
The island flora is a mix of introduced species and native plants. Visit the town of Christiansted in St. Croix to see beautiful historic buildings, colorful shops and fine restaurants. Estate Whim Plantation, the Cruzan Rum Factory, and casinos are other popular attractions in St. Croix. Stay in a posh resort, a historic inn, an intimate bed-and-breakfast, or an eco-lodge; whatever option you choose, don't limit yourself to seeing just one island if you have time. St. John is only 20 minutes from St. Thomas by ferry, and there is frequent daily direct service between St. Croix and St. Thomas by small plane.
An island vacation doesn't mean only tropical beaches; plan an island getaway to the serenely beautiful Prince Edward Island in Canada. You can hike around rolling hills, explore dense forests, stroll along white-sand beaches, and see the island's famous red soil. Begin the day with breakfast at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Co. Restaurant where you can sample some delicious blueberry jam.
Then, take a scenic driving tour on the North Cape Coastal Drive. You'll see picturesque fishing and farming communities, secluded beaches, and lively community festivals as you tour the Island's northwest region. Or rent a bike for a quick spin on a loop that includes the Confederation Trail. Prince Edward Island is also home to more than 26 golf courses — the tiny province has earned the distinction of being Canada's Number One Golf Destination by ScoreGolf magazine two years in a row. For real golf fans, it's possible to play more than one course per day. The island's lush landscape is also where author Lucy Mad Montgomery drew inspiration during the late Victorian Era for the setting of her novel Anne of Green Gables. In early August, the L.M. Montgomery Festival is in full swing with special events taking place that are tied to the author and her famous fictional red-headed character.