The Perfect Family Island Getaways (III)
8. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Catalina Island, California— Located 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina Island seems worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A short 75 minute ferry ride (or for the adventurous a 10 minute helicopter trip) makes Catalina an easy getaway for a day trip or short vacation. As there are no cars on the island, the preferred form of transportation is by golf cart. The clear blue waters are ideal for snorkeling and other water sports, while the mountainous terrain of the island make for great hiking and biking excursions. Families can either stay in one of the hotels on the island, rent a vacation home or camp alone of the many campsites. The charming town of Avalon is home to many restaurants and shops. Interesting trivia — there is a herd of wild buffalo that roam the island, which were left behind from a movie shoot in the 1920's.
9. Perfect Family Island Getaways: San Juan Island, Washington — Part of an archipelago of islands off the coast of Washington, San Juan Island is the ideal starting point for exploring all of the nearby islands (there is an inter-island ferry service to Orcas and Lopez Islands). Start out in Friday Harbor, a picturesque island town offering art galleries, antique stores, boutiques and restaurants. To reach San Juan Island by boat, car ferries leave from Anacodes, WA and passenger ferries are available from Seattle. For lodging, choose from in-town hotels, quaint B&B's, seaside cabins or campsites. Family activities include sea kayaking, Orca whale watching and zip lining through the forest canopy. For a truly memorable experience, take a seaplane directly into Friday Harbor
10. Perfect Family Island Getaways: Maui, Hawaii — It pretty much goes without saying that Maui is a wonderful place for a vacation, but many people don't realize just how perfect it is for a family getaway. Whether you bicycle down from the top of the volcano, Haleakala, take a surfing lesson together, or watch the sun set over Lahaina during an authentic Hawaiian luau, any trip to Maui will create lasting family memories. Look for a resort with activities for the keiki (children) such as lei making or hula dancing. Tired of the beach? Ride on a genuine 1890s train, known as the Sugar-Cane Train or visit the Maui Ocean Center. Travel tip: to avoid the long flight from the East Coast, break up your trip with a one-night layover in San Francisco (West Coasters have an easy flight).