7 American Islands to Visit ...

I’m making a list of American islands to visit...yep, I’m planning a trip to the States, and I definitely don’t want to leave without having seen some of the gorgeous islands around the USA. Here’s the gorgeous American islands to visit that are topping my list so far – they are well worth spending a weekend visiting!

1. Block Island, Rhode Island…

It’s the history of this place that makes it one of the top American islands to visit – as well as 17 miles of ivory beaches, shimmering ponds and striking Victorian architecture, there’s history dating all the way back to the 1850s. The Block Island Historical Society is well worth a visit, being based in a stunning 1850s farmhouse, and there’s striking hotels and guest houses too. And the best bit? Over half the island is preserved open space, hosting a wide variety of rare and endangered species, and with 32 miles of walks, cycle tracks and trails.

2. Mackinac Island, Michigan…

Mackinac Island is another place that’s packed with history – in fact, this 3.8 square-mile Island is kept as a living Victorian museum. There’s over 300 years of architecture and influence here, from Native American buildings to 18th Century French styles and gorgeous Victorian summer cottages. There’s reenactments, cooking and craft demonstrations from the 18th Century and some stunning meadows and limestone formations, and you’ll see a whole host of birds here. And the best thing? Moto vehicles have been banned here since 1898. Don’t forget to check out the haunted house of wax monsters downtown!

3. Mustang Island, Texas…

This is the perfect blend of nature and modern culture. 18 miles long, the barrier island is accessed by a causeway and a 24-hour ferry, and it’s well worth the trip. There’s homely pubs and upscale galleries, along with some wonderful places to eat, and you’re never more than a few minutes from the gorgeous sand dunes. Every April, 100,000 spectators arrive here to watch the annual sand sculpting competition, and there’s plenty of water sports on offer too. There’s even dolphins in the channel.

4. Orcas Island, Washington…

I’ve always wanted to see an orca, and this seems to be the perfect place to come. The island is full of evergreen forests, sandy beaches and rocky shores, and the sparkling seas are perfect for spotting Orcas and Minke Whales between May and October. There’s even an Orca Island Historical Museum, which documents life on the island, and the Crow Valley Museum, which is set in an 1888 one-room schoolhouse that’s still packed with photographs and memorabilia.

5. Shelter Island, New York…

This gorgeous island is often touted as the lower-key version of the Hamptons, with less celebrities and paparazzi. It’s a protected island, with over one third being owned by the Nature Conservancy, to keep the wetlands pristine. The Stroll Shelter Island Heights are a classic rural residential area, with 141 buildings that show every design from 1872 to 1890, including everything from fanciful folk buildings to Colonial Revival manses and Queen Anne architecture. There’s a whole load of friendly wineries to visit, too.

6. Santa Catalina Island, California…

It’s no wonder that this island has featured in so many films and TV shows – it’s utterly stunning. 22 miles from Los Angeles, it’s packed full of everything from fancy restaurants to Art Deco theatres, and there’s plenty of outdoor activities such as diving, biking, camping and hiking, too. William Wrigley Jr made the island the home of the Chicago Cubs back in 1952, and plenty of memorabilia can be bought inside the now Catalina Country Club and Golf Course. The 1929 Catalina Casino was also built by Wrigley, and it’s well worth a look around. There’s the world’s largest circular ballroom, Deco reliefs and stunning Tiffany chandeliers…it’s the height of luxury. The island even has 150 American bison, which were deserted on the island after the 1924 filming of The Vanishing American.

7. St Simons Island, Georgia…

Want to enjoy some amazing views of the ocean? This is the place to come. The island is full of lively marshes, maritime forests and Mediterranean styled mansions, and there’s plenty of history here, too. The Fort Frederica National Monument highlights where colonists won a major naval battle in the Revolutionary war, and the 1935 Old Coast Guard Station now hosts the Maritime Centre Museum. You can watch dolphins on tour, enjoy the pearly beaches or get on board a shrimp boat…there’s great fun to be had, making this one of the most unique American islands to visit.

I can’t wait to get out and start exploring these places! There’s such a collection of history and amazing wildlife, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than seeking endangered species living happily, or spotting a beautiful orca. These really are the best American islands to visit! Do you have a destination to add to my list? I’d love to hear it!