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Top Ten Most Amazing Suntan Islands in America

(No Particular Order):

 

1. Block Island in Rhode Island is considered to be the most remote of all islands between New York City and Boston. The population of about 800 civic minded year-round residents gathered together and raised funds to move a 125 year old lighthouse back from the bluff to save it from toppling over. If you want peace and quiet to relax and get back to nature, Block Island is the place to come. Spend some time on the island exploring the amazingly beautiful lighthouses, visit one or two of 350 freshwater ponds all from natural springs, or just enjoy the clean air at the beach jumping the surf or building a sandcastle. More than a third of the island is conserved land.

 

2. Kodiak Island is part of an archipelago which is a closely guarded treasure in Alaska. With 2/3rds of the island designated as a conservation area you will find a lot of wildlife, particularly Kodiak bears. You will also be able to see seals, puffins, sea lions, eagles and foxes here in their natural habitat. The bay town of Larsen Bay is the center for good fishing while many villages nearby offer tourists lodging and wildlife viewing. With no bridge to Kodiak Island, this bay town can only be accessed by air or water.

 

3. Smith Island is Maryland’s only inhabited off-shore island in the Chesapeake Bay with a population of about 365 and over 4,000 acres of marshland. It is actually a collection of small islands, most of which are not inhabited. Be aware traveling to Smith Island is by boat only. While many of the residents harvest fresh seafood, mostly crabs, clams and oysters, it is also the home of the State Dessert of Maryland. Originally a cake with as many as a dozen wafer thin layers of spongy yellow cake with fudge like cooked frosting, it has evolved into many more tasty varieties. Before exploring other parts of the island, be sure to visit the Smith Island Center to tour the museum.

 

4. Isle Royale in Michigan can only be reached by a 30-minute plane ride or a 3-hour ferry ride, but if it’s isolation and primitive wilderness you’re looking for, Isle Royale is the place. Once here, you can hit the hiking trails, paddle through the inland waterways in a canoe or kayak, explore the rugged coast line or venture into the water in search of shipwrecks. If you want to camp at this National Park you need to make a reservation for a campsite, anchorage or dock space. Geologists say that Greenstone Ridge, which forms the backbone of Isle Royale, is a portion of the largest lava flow on earth. You may even spot a moose or wolf on your treks so be alert.

 

5. St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The island’s calm waters are ideal for snorkeling, diving and windsurfing. Because of the duty-free status this is the place for shopping. You may want to take advantage of the breathtaking view from the highest point on the island, Mountain Top. Touted as the home of the Banana Daiquiri, which was created here over 60 years ago, you can catch an open air safari bus for the 1000ft climb through a tropical wonderland. If you yearn for a quieter place, try the far side of the island, Red Hook, which some say has the feel of the French countryside.

 

6. Santa Cruz Island in California wasn’t open to the public until it changed ownership from primarily private ranch ownership to the US Park System. Multiple conservation and government agencies share control of this island. You can travel to the island as a day trip or there are campgrounds if you wish to stay longer. Camping is primitive with only pit toilets and picnic tables available. You must be able to transport your gear up to a mile from the beach inland to the designated camping areas. The largest of all the channel islands, it is over 96 square miles in size and contains two mountain ranges, deep canyons with year-round springs and streams, 77 miles of craggy cliffs, pristine tide pools and expansive beaches. Painted cave, on the northwest coastline, is nearly ¼ mile long and 100 feet wide with a waterfall over the entrance in the spring, making it one of the largest sea caves in the world. There are remnants from the 1500’s and of later sheep and cattle ranches. Adobe ranch houses, barns, blacksmith and saddle shops, wineries and a chapel from the 1800’s and 1900’s are open to the public. All of the Scorpion Ranch adobe and the massive bread oven are still intact. The beaches offer surfing, kayaking, diving and snorkeling, as well as, fishing. An abundant variety of land and marine wildlife make this a fascinating place to visit.

 

7. Sapelo Island is 99% owned by the state of Georgia which includes a hunting reserve, a research station and a public state park. A tiny community of Hog Hammock is home to 50 individuals, ancestors of African slaves. Another island accessible only by ferry, it has a bed and breakfast in the Reynolds Mansion, a mansion in the Victorian style. Camping is also available for those of a more natural style.You won’t find boutiques, golf courses or chain restaurants on this island. The wonderful lighthouse was built in 1820 and was recently restored in 1998. Visitors can see virtually every facet of the barrier island’s natural community, from the forested uplands, to the vast salt marsh, and the complex beach and dunes systems.

 

8. Orcas Island in Washington is the largest of the five San Juan Islands found in Puget Sound. The island was named after a Spanish explorer who landed there during his travels. This island has something for everyone! You can kayak in the Puget Sound, climb a mountain trail to enjoy the vistas, see Orca whales and marine wildlife, stroll through Eastsound village, explore the small town shops or just sit back and enjoy the surrounding beauty of the island. The accommodations are so varied, from B&B’s to vacation rental homes. There are island tours, fishing, marinas, museums, parks, and much more.

 

9. Daufuskie Island in South Carolina has five miles of pristine and secluded beaches, ancient forests, hidden lagoons, wildlife and serenity. In 1969 author Pat Conroy taught in the school here and wrote his book The Water is Wide telling of this experience. Come by ferry from Hilton Head to this island and you are escaping to a lush subtropical island paradise. The island has several championship golf courses between two resorts and a private community.

 

10. Little Torch Key is one of the lesser known and smallest islands that comprise what in what is known as the Florida Keys. It feels like it is in another world, but in fact it is just 28 miles from the Key West Airport and 120 miles from Miami International Airport. Little Palm Island Resort covers the whole key with huge Jamaican palm trees, powder soft sand and thatch-roof bungalows almost hidden in the lush foliage. Dive down to look at local ship wrecks, explore the surrounding waters by canoe, kayak or hop on a water bike. Or try your hand or body at a life size game of chess. A small library is set up with couches and chairs for your reading pleasure. Cell phones and lap tops are banned from the island and you won’t find televisions, telephones or alarm clocks in your rooms!

 

-Ms. Suntan

 

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