In the Caribbean, While in North Carolina or California, When traveling to Nicaragua, Scotland or Australia…
These Island Getaways are for everyone who wants to enjoy a day-trip and discover someplace new…
We all love island getaways, and not everyone wants to plan their entire vacation around a remote resort. However, there are plenty of islands that make day trips a breeze so that travelers can easily enjoy a day on a secluded beach amid an urban vacation.
Even when Cruising in the Caribbean, Sandals Resorts offers day trips to their resorts for around $100 per person. There you can enjoy All the amenities: all the water sports – including diving, snorkeling, cruising on a catamaran; all the land sports – golfing, tennis, beach volleyball; all the Global Gourmet dining; all the white, sandy beaches; all the private islands; or the Red Lane Spa while visiting one of the Caribbean-famous Island resorts all day long – while everyone else on the ship are literally pouring into the local port of call…If you are cruising with your family, visit the Beaches Resorts and enjoy all the same amenities as you would at Sandals; with the additional fun at the fantastic Pirates Island Waterpark or the Caribbeans only Surf Simulator!
Here are seven additional spots around the world that are only an hour away from the mainland, but feel completely cut off from civilization. They are:
Bald Head Island, North Carolina: Home to N. Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, Bald Head Island is just two miles from Southport, N.C. Bald Head Island and its surrounding waters were once a refuge for infamous pirates such as Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet, nicknamed the “Gentleman Pirate” for his relatively refined ways. Today the 12,000-acre island — between the Cape Fear River on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Southport — is more than 80% nature preserve, not to mention one of N. Carolina’s most bucolic seaside escapes. Beyond the car-free island’s main village lie miles of coastal sand dunes, salt marshes ripe for canoeing, and trail-filled maritime forests bursting with live oak trees and long-leaf pines — all easily accessible via bicycle or golf cart. Bald Head is also home to one of the state’s largest communities of nesting sea turtles.
Angel Island, San Francisco: Alcatraz may be San Francisco Bay’s most notorious island, but nearby Angel Island has a controversial history all its own. Now a California State Park, the island served as the “Ellis Island of the West” for millions of immigrants from 1910 to 1940. It also served as a detention center where many of those immigrants — primarily those arriving from China after the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act — were detained. Today a US Immigration Station Museum keeps the stories of its past alive, while the island itself is a refuge for Bay Area dwellers looking for a local escape. There’s a paved, six-mile path around the island’s perimeter that’s ideal for cycling (bring your own or rent one on arrival), a five-mile hiking trail resulting in 360-degree views from its highest point at 788-foot tall Mount Livermore and another hiking trail that includes access to a former US Civil War-era camp. Ferries run from San Francisco to the island’s Ayala Cove daily throughout summer. Once on the island, tram tours are also available.
Ometepe Island, Nicaragua: Nicaragua’s indigenous people recognized Ometepe Island’s appeal long before travelers started discovering it, something that’s apparent in the plethora of primitive rock art still found scattered about. Later, even Mark Twain was drawn to this patch of land located amid Lake Nicaragua’s fresh waters, describing the island’s two prominent volcanoes — one active and cone-shaped, the other covered in cloud forest and extinct, with a crater lagoon for swimming — as “…magnificent pyramids, clad in the softest and richest green…” in his collected musings, “Travels with Mr. Brown.” Somehow, it’s only recently that the island has found its way onto outside radars — a good thing as you can still have a patch of black sand beach or rainforest trail largely to yourself (save for a few howler monkeys). The 10.5-mile boat ride from the mainland’s San Jorge to the island’s Moyogalpa takes about an hour.
Isle of Arran, Scotland: Isle of Arran is known as “Scotland in miniature” and sits just a 55-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Scotland is known for its heather-clad mountains, forests, vast lochs and wild coastlines that would take weeks to explore. Thankfully, 167-square mile Arran Island — a 55-minute ride by car ferry from the mainland’s west coast — can be enjoyed largely in a day. A diagonal fault line separates the laid-back isle, creating a more rugged north that’s home to several Corbetts (peaks between 2,500-3,000 feet tall), including the island’s highest summit — 2,867-feet tall Goat Fell — as well as open moorland and a 16th-century castle. Like the mainland, its south is warmer and more verdant with broad valleys and woodland. Numerous beaches include the village of Kildonan’s Silver Sands, a sandy expanse dotted with boulders and sunbathing seals. Of course, Scotland of any size wouldn’t be completed without a whisky distillery tour.
Rottnest Island, Western Australia: Western Australia’s Rottnest Island is a car-free A-class nature reserve. Eleven miles west of Western Australia, Rottnest beckons day-trippers with its azure waters and protected coves. Ferries cover the 11-mile distance from the mainland’s Fremantle (or “Freo,” as it’s known locally) to the island’s Thompson Bay, where rental bicycles are readily on hand for exploring all seven square miles of the island. Visitors can snorkel shallow reefs among Western Buffalo Bream and spotted Red Lipped Morwong, sip a beer al fresco while basking in waterfront views, or snap a selfie with photogenic little marsupials that exist primarily on Rottnest and whose perceived grins have earned them a name as the “happiest animals on Earth.” One of the island’s main allures is the ease of finding your own quiet spot, even during the summer peak season — when visitors reach 15,000-plus a day.
Before visiting these location, give TravelKatz a call and we can arrange your transportation to and from these island getaways. Sandals requires a reservation. 352-277-7300