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Incredible American Islands! Planning Ahead – Even During Covid19 Cloud-Cover!

February 9, 2021 Headline News, Visit USA No Comments Email Email

The United States of America is a massive bit of brilliant real estate, and a big chuck of its most marvellous places are, ‘surrounded by water’. To cross the bridge, or put an oar in the water for all of them would take ages, so we’ve culled the crop for our readers, selecting our most-pleasing pick of Islands on offer in America. Life jackets for the ‘crossing’ to our top-pick Islands are, optional!

“You’re GIVING US, The Entire Island?!”

Yes! It’s true, some of the USA’s best-loved islands were gifts from very generous, and very-well-heeled Americans. And ‘Never wanting to look a gift-island in the mouth’, we’ve highlighted just two for you:

Santa Catalina Island, California

Imagine having your own private island off the California coast; ok, so its ONLY 28 miles (45kms) long, and 8 miles (12.8kms) across, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? That’s about 75 square miles of playground. The Island was once the sole property of the Wrigley chewing gum family fortune, and was purchased as a hideaway for the gum-grinding firm’s founder.  For years the island has been the getaway of moguls and movie stars galore. The rich and famous set love the place for avoiding the limelight.

Today the island is mostly protected by The National Park Service of the USA, a small token of the previous owner’s appreciation to the American people for chewing all that gum. Movies are filmed here, golf carts and bikes are the way to get about, and the island boasts a lovable herd of Bison, abandon on the isle after the shooting of an over-budgeted western flick. The island boasts a solo casino, and two deep-water harbors. Daily ferry service takes visitors back and forth by fast-cat. Yep: There’s a Bar on Board. Stay overnight, the bed and breakfasts along the Avalon waterfront are fabulous! Or tote the tent and do some Island camping, and stay… in ‘Strawberry Bay’.

 

The Island of St. John, US Virgin Islands

What a Christmas gift to get! Get this, in 1956 one of the well-heeled Rockefeller family members gave a massive chuck of the Island to the US Forest Service for a skinny dollar, provided the entire area was protected from the developer’s bull-dozers. The only exception is the discreet and luxurious Caneel Bay Resort. Yes, that IS Brad Pitt and Oprah at the buffet! Some visitors simply book a site and camp on the beautiful beachfront. Plan to share with mongoose and care-free, dine-on-your-stuff- donkeys. Ferries run daily, and the school kids catch a ride to and from class across the ‘passage’ to St. Thomas. Catch one when the kids are all-aboard! Simply fabulous. 

Fire Island, Anybody?

Very few International visitor to the ‘Big Apple’ of New York visit Fire Island; please plan to change this on your next visit. Fire Island is only a softball toss from Manhattan, and boasts some of the very best beaches on the Eastern Seaboard. Boardwalks abound, and fire-engine red kiddie carts tote the clan’s necessitates of the day (champagne, prawns, deli delights) to and from the dunes. Atlantic Oceanfront homes rent by the week, and Inns, petite low-profile resorts and Bed & Breakfasts are plentiful. The year-round population is under 500 folks, but in summer, a tad over 800,000 visitors enjoy the 31 miles of beachfront.  There are no paved roads on the Island, white-tailed deer are protected and appear everywhere. For decompressing after a Manhattan invasion, there’s simply no better place to cool off than Fire Island, NY! BUT if you’re in need of yet another nearby New York island to try? Row over the inlet to Long Island too!

Hemmingway’s Haunts – Hand-Over the Florida Keys! You won’t be driving…

Key West is known as the diamond in the Florida Key’s head-dress for good reasons. Where else can you pet over 40, 6-toed cats, descendants of the great writer Earnest Hemmingway while loading up on local artistry from the village’s curb-side vendors? We dare you to name another village city, which officially boasts 9 a.m. as the starting time for ‘Happy Hour’?  Rent a car in Miami, and meander the 120 miles south across 42 bridges to Key West and then park the puppy-up. No need to drive, because Conch bicycles, scooters and flip-flop footwear are the way to get about in town. EVERYONE invades Mallory Square nightly for the famous Sunsets, and local jokesters and musicos entertain, street vendors vend, and the atmosphere is most festive.  The beach sand is imported from other Caribbean Islands by barge as the atoll is mostly coral, but everything else is authentic. There are museums, and galleries, night-spots and watering holes made famous by writers, movie stars and buccaneers. Try fishing, and diving (they sunk the famous “Vandenberg” spy ship here to create a man-made-reef). Attend church when you visit: Key West hosts the highest concentration of churches per capita in the USA.

The Handsome Hawaiian Isles! You’ve got 8 Big Ones to Pick From!

We’ve elected to highlight the most-widely known Isle as our example: Oahu Island is the gateway for International cruise lines and guests who jet in for the all-round, one stop, Polynesian holiday experience. Surfing, swimming, scuba diving, big game fishing, actually… anything to do with the water is a safe bet for the Island of Oahu. Tote along sunglasses, swimmers, sunscreen…or better yet, buy them all on the Island. Shopping ranks right up there as the number One activity enjoyed by International visitors. Load up the suitcases to bursting, without having to go all the way to mainland USA. Grab a MACYS International shopper’s card at the Ala Moana Mall and enjoy additional massive discounts. Golfers tee-up at more than 30 courses open to the public, and don’t go home until you enjoy a Luau and learn how to strum a Ukulele at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

 

Grab the Bucket and Head to Nantucket!

Only 30 miles (48.2kms) off-shore from Cape Cod on the car ferry, Nantucket has turned back the clock. Over 800 historically ‘registered’ structures on the Island were built before the American Civil War. Evidence of Whaling History, well beyond Herman Melville’s Moby Dick appear everywhere and the entire Island, part of Massachusetts, lovingly preserves it past. Shopping from local vendors and sighting Cranberry ‘bogs’ or Celebrities is easy; Both Presidents Bush, all of the Kennedy kids, and Bill Clinton have decompressed on the Island. Bill Gates has a tiny, getaway ‘cape cottage’ estate near ‘town’. Keep your binoculars on the coastline for whales by the pod-full. Musical legends like Carley Simon, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell to name-drop only a few for fans of Woodstock often linger here, popping in from nearby Martha’s Vineyard.

If you thought the purchase of Manhattan Inland was a good buy get this: In 1659, nine blokes bellied-up the princely sum of 30 British pounds and tossed in two beaver caps to buy Nantucket.

Golfers Galore & More! Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The Island of Hilton Head is connected by bridges so visitors no longer have to board the boat. Or swim.

Although the Island is only 42 square miles (109 sq. kms)  in size, it packs an extraordinary helping of 24 championship golf courses, and then, adding 40-more golfing options for enthusiasts of the game. Not to be outdone though, tennis plays a massive part on ‘Hilton Head’ Island with over 350 tennis courts at beck and call, many under the ‘lights’ and open 24/7. Fifty miles (80.4 km) of public pathways and nature trails in the well-kept semi-tropical landscape add to the lure to get out of doors.

Over one million visitors a year can’t be wrong, and all ‘manor’ (manner) of accommodation is on offer to tick the ‘scorecard’ for vacationers. Amusement parks, historic lighthouses, art galleries, great eateries and even, the 10-pin bowling alleys rank high with out of town visitors.

Everything About Texas IS BIG! Padre Island Proves It

Padre Island is the worlds’ longest barrier island, bar none.  (it IS, a very Long sand-BAR!) Over 110 miles (180 kilometres) long from top to bottom, and boasting over 80 square miles (208 square kilometres) in size the Island packs a whopping BIG punch for visitors. In keeping with the BIG scheme of things, the largest Sandcastle on the planet lives on the island, and free maps to other sandcastle artworks are available for the asking.

Naturally, Padre Island IS the Sandcastle Capital of The World’ with many of the granular exhibits of sand located inside the Pelican Islands Nature Reserves and sanctuaries. Sea Turtles from the Gulf of Mexico flourish here. Towns and Villages along the Island offer curb-side culture and wall murals such as the ‘whaling wall’ decorating the side of a local bank. Jet skis, off-shore fishing, sunset cruises, and creative cuisine are plentiful on Padre. If you’re a bird-lover Padre Island is already on the bucket list.

Did We Mention, Manhattan IS an Island?

OK, we lobbed this one in here, for the fun of it. Reams of good copy are already in place about the marvellous isle of Manhattan so we won’t go on and on. Manhattan Island has got to be the best real estate deal ever made for America, purchased from the ‘locals’ for about 24 bucks in trinkets and tools. Amazing when today, it costs over US$ 900 dollars a month to keep a single car in the garage. Don’t leave the planet without visiting! Home to the largest concentration of Billionaires, Broadway shows, art galleries galore and more… “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

Times Square

 

It’s a Wrap!

Ours is only the very skinny tip of the Islands on offer in America!  To tell the full story would take ions about Its Islands so we’ve elected to at least, get you started. Move the mouse about, put your own oar-in-the-water and do, send a postcard as you Island-hop on holiday around the great US of A.

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Mark William Sheehan would like to thank Air Tahiti Nui & VIRGIN-Delta Airlines for toting him to many of the Islands he invaded for this feature.

Brand USA provided much of the source materials to the writer; thanks again for the support.

CONTACT Box

Santa Catalina Island, CA https://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/island-info

U.S Virgin Islands St. John https://www.visitusvi.com/stjohn/homepage

Fire Island New York https://www.fireisland.com/

Long Island New York  https://www.nycgo.com/articles/long-island-makes-a-great-addition-to-nyc-trips

Manhattan Island http://www.nycandcompany.org/

Key West, Florida Keys http://www.fla-keys.com/key-west/

Oahu, Hawaiian Islands https://www.gohawaii.com/islands/oahu

Nantucket, Massachusetts http://nantucket.net/

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina https://www.hiltonheadisland.org/

Padre Island, Texas https://www.visittheusa.com.au/destination/south-padre-island

Air Tahiti Nui https://www.airtahitinui.com/au-en

Virgin-Delta Airlines https://www.delta.com/us/en/airline-partners/virgin-australia

Brand USA  https://www.thebrandusa.com/about/global-offices/office-region/67?tab-order=0

Written by: Mark William Sheehan

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