6 Best Islands To Visit For Secluded Family Vacations In The United States

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Every island to a child is a treasure island.

~P.D. James.

As schedules get crazier, busy Moms are searching for the best islands to visit that offer family-friendly fun that comes at the best price. Am I right, Mamas? To us, the best islands of the world are laid-back family vacation destinations that aren’t as well-known. Secluded island getaways are the way to go! Whether you are looking for all inclusive vacations, modest resorts and activities, or nature-inspired ones, these are our top 6 picks for the best island vacations for families. No passport needed!

BEST ISLANDS TO VISIT

I know I’m not the only one that has a thing for secluded islands! There’s something about leaving the mainland to travel by bridge, causeway, or ferry to another world that reduces stress in so many ways. You can literally be separated from the hustle and bustle of normal life to fully relax.

But not all islands are created equal.

The six I’m sharing today are low-key and high beauty. Several of them are virtually untouched and removed from society. The others have just the right amount of luxuries while maintaining a private beach vibe.

HUNTING ISLAND

The name of the game on Hunting Island is nature, nature, nature. Although only 15 minutes away from Beaufort, South Carolina, you’ll feel as if you are driving to the ends of the continent. And you are – sort of. Hunting Island is on the very edge of the eastern Atlantic Seaboard.

Talk about seclusion!

Did you know that Hunting Island, South Carolina doesn’t have a hotel or restaurant in sight? Nope, the island is technically a state park, so camping in tents, RV spots, or one lone cabin are the only lodging options. BUT the shaded and woodsy campground is beachside and perfect for true beach hunters.

Long wooden Hunting Island Pier with several people fishing on the sides.
Hunting Island Pier, goinglikesixty.com, cc

HUNTING ISLAND LODGING

insider tip: Of all the lighthouses in South Carolina, the Hunting Island Lighthouse is the only one in the state that is publicly accessible. Be sure to take a hike from the beach through the maritime forest to the lighthouse!

JEKYLL ISLAND

A surprising little island tucked away along the Atlantic Coast is Jekyll Island Georgia. It’s part of a string of several remote, luxurious and beautiful islands known as the Golden Isles.

Once a private 1800s winter playground for America’s elite rich and famous, Jekyll Island is now a charming and secluded vacation spot to literally step back in time. You don’t even have to drive your car! An electric red bug is a fun way to discover why this unique “Georgia Jewel” is known as Georgia’s best-kept secret!

WHERE TO STAY ON JEKYLL ISLAND

insider tip: don’t leave the island without taking a Jekyll Island Dolphin Tour!

KIAWAH ISLAND

Just 25 miles west of Downtown Charleston is an upscale residential community with a world-class luxury resort and unique shopping village tucked into the maritime forest and marshes. A must-see step on a Charleston South Carolina bucket list is to visit this natural isle.

There are ten miles of private beaches with distinctively tranquil natural surroundings. I first heard of the island in 2013 when it was chosen as the destination of the HGTV Dream House! And there’s a golf venue that just so happens to be hosting the PGA Championship in 2021.

KIAWAH ISLAND HOTELS

insider tip: for a family-friendly vibe, visit East Beach that has a basketball court, soccer field, a small grill/picnic area, and a beautiful lagoon.


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ST GEORGE ISLAND

On the Florida Panhandle, there is one area on the Gulf of Mexico that is still unspoiled that most people have forgotten about or never knew about in the first place. A perfect mix of “tiny Cape Cod community meets all-natural barrier island.” Hence its nickname, The Forgotten Coast.

St. George Island Florida is a beautiful 22-mile barrier island with no high rises and a laid-back attitude. Families can choose from fishing, kayaking, boating, shelling, or swimming in the clear gulf waters. Or sunbathing on the sugar-white sand. There’s a beautiful historic lighthouse, ice cream shop, and a campground as well.

St George Lighthouse and Museum behind palm tree and colorful blooming bushes - best islands to visit.
St. George LightHouse, pete g, cc

HOTELS NEAR ST GEORGE ISLAND

insider tips: If you want to visit shops and restaurants, visit the nearby fishing village known as Apalachicola.

CUMBERLAND ISLAND

The farthest thing from a typical island, Cumberland Island is chockful of lesser-known history from native, African American, war hero, and wealthy inhabitants over the years (anyone heard of the Carnegies?). Only thirty visitors per day via ferry boat can discover the 18-miles of nearly-isolated beaches, 300-year-old live oaks draped with Spanish moss, and scores of wildlife like wild horses!

One all inclusive inn and primitive camping are the only lodging choices so that families can connect with nature on one of the best islands to visit in the U.S. It’s a one-of-a-kind vacation that every family should do at least once – it’s the perfect family trip.

Two wild horses grazing in the sea oats and beach of Cumberland Island, Georgia.
Cumberland Island Georgia wild horses, rob bixby, cc

HOTELS NEAR CUMBERLAND ISLAND

insider tips: prepare for a unique vacation to Cumberland Island with the National Park Service (for food, ferry, etc)

DRY TORTUGAS

67 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida you’ll find the brightest turquoise water and white-sand beaches with views that seem to stretch on into eternity. Known for the best snorkeling in the U.S. islands, it’s true seclusion.

Contrary to what many believe, there are many Key West Vacation ideas for families. Stay in Key West and take a day trip to to the 100-square mile park that is only accessible by boat or seaplane.

insider tip: plan your trip and be sure to spend some time at Fort Jefferson, checking out the marine life, and the birds that visit too.

Dry Tortugas, FL, fwc photo by Zoe Goozner, cc

Let me know if I can help in any way with your fun vacay! Just by leave me a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram.

Related:

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ISLANDS TO VISIT IN THE SOUTH?  I’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR IDEAS BELOW!

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Shan
Shan

Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️

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