The Perfect Family Island Getaways (II)

Tag: Family Destinations

The Perfect Family Island Getaways (II)

4. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Hatteras Island, North Carolina — The gorgeous beaches and wild dunes are what attracts most visitors to Hatteras Island, a border island that is part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There is a wide range of lodging available from luxury oceanfront rentals, cottages and hotels. In addition to being a Mecca for surfers, it is known as the "Blue Marlin Capital of the World" and sport fishing is a popular activity. Many people don't realize that the first English settlers in North America originally settled on Hatteras prior to moving to nearby Roanoke Island — a visit to The Lost Colony" is a fun family activity while staying on Hatteras. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is the tallest traditional lighthouse in the United States and was famously moved inland a few years ago. It has now re-opened to the publicand should not be missed when visiting Hatteras.


5. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Kiawah, South Carolina — Renowned for its challenging golf courses, Kiawah Island is also a popular destination for families. With a wide range of accommodations on the island, there is something for everyone on Kiawah. The hard packed sand of the beaches make it one of the few places where you can ride a bike on the beach, something that kids of all ages will enjoy. Look for wildlife in the marshes including egrets, herons and cranes — you may even spot an alligator sunning itself along the bike path. Kiawah also offers a world-class tennis program for all ages. Historic Charleston, with all that it has to offer, is just a short drive away. When driving to Kiawah, do not miss a well hidden but important attraction — on John's Island, turn off to see the Angel Oak, the oldest tree in the United States. This gorgeous tree is well worth the short detour.


6. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Gasparilla Island, Florida— In the Gulf of Mexico, Gasparilla Island and its small village of Boca Grande is a vacation destination that is idyllic for families. The pure white sand beaches and the crystal clear, .Im water of the gulf are perfect for younger children who will enjoy searching for abundant sea shells, particularly sand dollars. Gasparilla is also a known for its tarpon fishing — there are numerous fishing charters available at the marina, many of which allow even quite young children their first fishing experience. The streets of Boca Grande are lined with gorgeous Banyan trees and the village is home to wonderful restaurants and charming boutiques. Children will love going to the Loose Caboose, an old train depot turned ice cream shop. The historic Gasparilla Inn and vacation rentals provide lodging on the island.


The Perfect Family Island Getaways (I)

1. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Mount Desert Island, Maine — The main attraction on Mount Desert Island is Acadia National Park, with spectacular landscape of rocky cliffs falling down into the ocean below. The 27-mile driving loop provides photo-ops at every turn, suit might be wise to park the car and take one of free Island Explorer buses that run through the park. Don't miss the vista from atop Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole. Everyone in the family will enjoy exploring the shoreline and surrounding islands by taking a boat tour where you can see local wildlife such as port seals, puffins and dolphins, and many picturesque lighthouses that dot the harbors. Bar Harbor is the social, cultural and artistic center of Mount Desert Island and where you will be most likely find inns, B&B's, restaurants and shops. Don't miss eating lobster fresh off the boat at one of the local lobster pounds.


2. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Nantucket, Massachusetts — Thirty miles off the coast of Cape Cod, known as "The Far Away Island," Nantucket is the quintessential destination for a family summer vacation. Beachgoers will love the numerous beaches ranging from the wide sandy beach and calm, lapping waves at Jetty's Beach to the punishing surf at Cisco or Madaket. Stroll along the historic cobblestone streets and wharves in town and stop into one of the old fashioned pharmacies for lunch at the counter. There are numerous bike trails all over the island making it a great way to get around. It is worth the dive out to Siasconset (otherwise known as S'conset) to see the rose covered cottages and the imposing lighthouse. When the fog rolls in, be sure to visit the impressive Whaling Museum. There are numerous lodging options available ranging from pricey vacation home rentals to charming small B&B's.


3. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Chincoteague, Virginia — Eternalized by Marguerite Henry's iconic children's book, Misty of Chincoteague, Chincoteague Island is off the coast of Virginia's Eastern Shore. While the wild ponies actually live on nearby Assateague Island, the annual pony swim across the small channel separating the two isles is only one of the many reasons why tourists gather in this area. The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge includes more than 14,000 acres of shores, banks, swamps and forests, much appreciated by beachgoers, kayakers and birdwatchers. A variety of accommodations are available ranging from hotels, inns and campsites. Maddox Avenue makes up the center of town, where boutiques, antique stores and restaurants are plentiful.