5 Quaint, Non-Tropical Islands

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We could all use an escape these days, and islands are perfect for relaxing and resetting our minds. But not all islands are tropical, palm tree-lined beaches. Here’s a look at some of the most charming island destinations in North America.


Nantucket is right off the coast of Cape Cod in New England. In the summertime, it’s an ideal place to get some fresh salty air and a little seaside tan. Nantucket houses are built in a traditional New England style, which complements the classic wharves and cobblestone streets. Head to the Whaling Museum to learn about Nantucket’s prominent role as a whaling hub in the 19th century.

Catalina Island

If you’re looking to take a break from L.A., Catalina Island is just off the coast of California. Instead of models and movie stars, you’ll encounter wildlife and hiking trails. There are plenty of scenic beaches for relaxing, but we highly suggest Moonstone Beach. Spend a few hours reading a book while listening to the waves crash on the rocks. It’s the perfect way to wash away all those city worries.

Vancouver Island

Parks, castles, a botanical garden—Vancouver Island has everything if you seek culture, history, and tranquility. The island is accessible through mainland Canada via car, bus, or ferry. You can even take a 35-minute flight from Vancouver if you’re desperate to begin your island time.


Looking to do some hunting and fishing in the Alaskan wilderness? Then head to Kodiak Island, south of mainland Alaska. Larsen Bay is a popular destination, but don’t be surprised if you see a few bears. Large parts of the island are designated wildlife refuges, so be sure to abide by local laws, and to carry proper permits when hunting.

Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island in northern Oregon is a rare river island. This means that it is separated from the mainland by a river on either side. Just outside of Portland, Sauvie Island is a great getaway for a day trip out of the city. Sauvie is perfect for birdwatchers, particularly those hoping to see waterfowl. You can also do some berry picking at the local farms.

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