8 Island Vacations You Can Take Without Leaving the Country

We love jetting off to a remote island for the week. But the whole standing in line at customs thing? Not so much. Plan a low-maintenance vacation to one of these eight gorgeous islands in the U.S. You don’t even need one of those little adapter thingies for your hair dryer.

CAPTIVA, FLORIDA

Sometimes you just want to kick back on a beach chair and relax with your new book for a week straight. Check out the soft, sandy beaches of Captiva, a quiet island in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s so laid back, there aren’t even any traffic lights.

JEKYLL ISLAND, GEORGIA

What was once a haven for America’s wealthiest families (what’s up, Morgans, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts?), this island off the Georgia coast is a fascinating mash-up of historic mansions, amazing nature and wildlife (check out Driftwood Beach above) and new-school resorts.

CHINCOTEAGUE ISLAND, VIRGINIA

If you somehow missed reading Misty of Chincoteague in middle school, you owe yourself a trip to see the wild ponies, which have lived on the island for centuries, in action. Yep, the beach on this island is part of a 14,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge, so a random horse might wander past you while you’re sunbathing. Just go with it.

ST. JOHN, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

This stunning Caribbean paradise is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, so you can get there without even pulling out your passport. Over half of the island is preserved by a national park, so even popular beaches like Trunk Bay are sparkling clean.

SAN JUAN ISLANDS, WASHINGTON

OK, this is technically an archipelago, or group of islands, and if you’re looking for white sand beaches, you won’t find them here. But once you go whale watching at Lime Kiln Point State Park and get a whiff of the massive Pelindaba Lavender Farm, you won’t be missing that piña colada one bit. 

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MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN

Located in the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, this tiny island doesn’t allow cars, but you’ll see plenty of tourists and residents traveling the 18-mile island by bike or horseback. If you need us, we’ll be at the Pink Pony.

HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA

It’s a popular destination for golfers, but even if you don’t know the difference between a putter and a wedge, there’s a ton to do in this sleepy Southern island draped with Spanish moss. Hang out on picturesque Coligny Beach, then go for a sunset bike ride along the surf.

NANTUCKET, MASSACHUSETTS

This charming 30-mile island off of Cape Cod is a popular destination for vacationing celebs and presidents (the Clintons, Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore and Sharon Stone, just to name a few), but we love it because it’s like being inside a living postcard, with breathtaking photo ops at every turn. New Instagram profile photo, here we come.