If you’d like to explore some of the nicest Islands in the world by foot, bicycle, ore horseback without having to worry about all of the auto traffic, then these destinations are for you. Some of them are car-free while the others have very little auto traffic.
1. The San Juan Islands, Washington, USA
(photo credit: kitby)
These wonderful Islands lie in the Puget Sound between the Canadian province of British Columbia and the Western American state of Washington. There are over 400 Islands in the archipelago, but just a handful of them are actually inhabited. The only ways to reach them are by water or air. You can take autos on the ferry and leave them there or just walk on.
The Islands are very popular with nature lovers, boaters, and cyclists. Orca whales are common in the nearby waters and you’ll be able to camp out, sleep in bed and breakfast or find a luxury resort.
2. Koh Lipe, Thailand
(photo credit: chrisgusen)
This gorgeous Island is located about 30 miles off of Thailand’s Southwest coast. It’s one of many Islands in the area that are well known for their amazing beaches and friendly residents. There are many resorts by the beach. Search the Expedia website to compare prices.
You can explore the different beaches by boat. There are plenty of rustic bungalows for accommodation and a day trip to Ko Tarutao National Marine Park is a great idea. You’ll be able to see colourful coral reefs and tropical fish as well as other types of interesting marine life. It’s a superb spot for snorkeling due to the crystal-clear waters.
3. Hydra, Greece
(photo credit: mascardo)
This fantastic piece of land is about two hours by hydrofoil from the mainland city of Athens. It’s car-free and beautiful. The harbour and whitewashed buildings are inspiring and the way of life is simple. If you’d like to explore the countryside just make your way from the bustling waterfront. It’s an ideal location for exploring, swimming, and just relaxing.
4. Molokai, Hawaii
(photo credit: patrickmcnally)
This is probably the most peaceful major Island in Hawaii. It’s filled with rural charm and excellent deserted beaches. It’s an ideal destination for horseback riding journeys alongside the Island’s rugged coastline. You’ll also be able to go whale-watching, fishing, and snorkelling in the pristine waters.
5. Monhegan, Maine, USA
(photo credit: patrick_dockens)
This small and rocky Island lies off of the coast of Maine. It’s quite small and is an ideal isolated retreat with less than 100 permanent citizens. Most of the Island is uninhabited and is filled with some excellent hiking trails. It’s also a fine destination for fishing. The local catch of seafood and lobster usually finds its way to Maine’s nearby restaurants each day. It’s also been known as artists’ colony since the late 1800s.
6. Fire Island, New York, USA
(photo credit: nydiscovery)
Fire Island was originally used by whale hunters as a lookout spot in the 1600s. It sits just off of Long Island’s coast and is a popular retreat in the summertime for New Yorkers and visitors. There are miles of beautiful sandy beaches as well as marshes, woodlands, and over 300 different bird species. This makes it a super spot for bird watching and the 30 miles of coastline are perfect for hikers.
The Island’s historic lighthouse dates back to 1825 and was usually the first thing European settlers saw while sailing over to this region of America.
7. Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA
(photo credit: odalaigh)
This Island is car-free and sits in Lake Huron in the northern region of Michigan. You can explore the fantastic Island by foot, horseback, and bicycle. It’s quite a popular spot in the summers, especially with sailors. The Island is the where the annual sailboat race from Chicago-to-Mackinac finishes. This is known as the world’s longest freshwater boat race at a distance of over 300 miles.