The 10 Most Romantic Island Destinations in the United States
Romantic islands perfect for a couple's getaway, a special celebration, or even a wedding ceremony are closer than you think. All of these island oases are all part of our amazing 50 states, no passport required.
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For many travelers, Maui is synonymous with romance. It’s a testament to the miles of beaches, the gorgeous scenery, and the myriad activities built for romance around the island destination, including sunset whale watching cruises, authentic luaus, and watching the sunrise over the clouds at Haleakalā National Park. Among our top picks for romance, the Travaasa Hāna at the end of the highway to Hāna feels like a remote tropical oasis. Among the popular dining and beach options of Ka’anapali, the Westin Nanea takes the top prize for its contemporary suites and easy access to soft sand and the aqua ocean. Here are 20 reasons Maui is the best Hawaiian island for any vacation.
Just a 45-minute ferry ride from Maui, Lanai is the largest private island destination in the world. With just 3,300 permanent residents, it never feels crowded, and you can always find a secluded beach for the two of you. It’s also the location of the amazingly romantic Four Seasons Lanai resort, filled with waterfalls, lush tropical gardens, flower-filled walkways, and plenty of secret spots for two. The beach in front of the resort is home to frolicking dolphins and some of the best snorkeling in the world, and the resort’s restaurants all have outdoor dining under the stars.
Located in Florida’s tropical keys, halfway between Miami and Key West, Islamorada boasts access to America’s only living coral barrier reef which is home to more than 500 species of fish. Ideal for couples, The Moorings Village here offers the ultimate in romantic seclusion at its private villas surrounded by lush gardens and views of one of the largest private white sand beaches in the Florida Keys. Couples can treat themselves to a private chef to whip up dinner in their villa kitchen, or take advantage of the property’s Sunset Cruise Package to watch the sun setting while sipping champagne from a private boat with a personal captain. When you’re ready to leave your villa, The Moorings provides complimentary paddle boards, kayaks, and bikes for the two of you to explore.
Catalina Island, California
The clear blue waters and warm sunny weather of California’s Catalina Island will make you feel like you’re in the Mediterranean, but you’ll also be able to enjoy a laid-back West Coast vibe while you soak up the sun. Catalina is full of charming spots to eat, drink, and shop. Plus, there’s plenty to do both on the water and off, from eco-tours to zip lines, rock climbing to undersea adventures. Of course, you could just kick back at the beach or sail along the coastline and enjoy the European flavor and Cali breezes. Catalina is also one of our best island vacations in the United States.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Located just 12 miles off the coast of mainland Rhode Island, charming Block Island is the quintessential island destination escape for lovebirds. Getting to the island is half the fun, whether by the scenic ferry or a quick 20-minute plane ride with an incredible birds-eye view over the island. Located steps away from the Ferry Landing, the elegant boutique Hotel Manisses has wide porches and glorious views, the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset. The best way to experience the island is by bike following an 8.5-mile route, taking in some rolling sand dunes and some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes. In the summer, stroll along the greenways and beaches to search for the hundreds of glass orbs hidden around the island created by artist Eben Horton—if you find one, you can keep it, a perfect souvenir of your Block Island getaway.
Lovers Key, Florida
How can you not feel romantic on an island called Lovers Key? The 1,600-acre preserve is a barrier island off the Fort Myers coast in Florida. Similar to neighboring Sanibel Island, for years Lovers Key was only accessible by boat, and it was said only lovers traveled to the island to enjoy its solitary beaches. The island is now a protected state park, and a haven for native wildlife such as West Indian Manatees, bottlenose dolphins, and bald eagles. A large portion of the two-mile beach is left natural (with no facilities) except for the intimate Gazebo overlooking the water where couples can get married. Or you can simply go shelling, swimming, or explore the rest of the quiet island on five miles of hiking and biking trails.
Known as Hawaii’s Garden Island, Kauai’s landscape is green and lush, filled with flora from mountain to ocean. You’ll find more than 50 miles of white sand beach on Kauai, more beaches per mile than any other island in Hawaii. The island’s natural wonders also include the 3,567-foot-deep Waimea Canyon—which is often called The Grand Canyon of the Pacific—and the towering 3,000-plus-foot sea cliffs of the Nā Pali Coast. Stay along the beautiful beaches of the south shore at The Lodge at Kukui’ula, where you can cozy up in a luxury vacation home and watch the whales from your private lānai.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
The Midwest’s best kept secret might just be the tiny, charming island of Mackinac Island in Lake Huron, where a ban on cars encourages foot and bike traffic only and the entire island retains a quaint Victorian charm. During summer, you can plunge into the clear (although chilly) lake waters; during fall, there’s a virtual autumnal rainbow of colors. Set on 18 acres of lakefront property is the seasonal Mission Point, where couples can cozy up on a carriage tour, pedal around with bike rentals, or splurge on dinner at Chianti restaurant. This would be a great getaway for couples.
Channel Islands, California
For couples who love the outdoors, California’s Channel Islands National Park, five remote islands off the Southern California coast known as the “Galapagos of North America,” are tailor-made for a romantic getaway. Only reachable by boat or small plane, the national park has no stores, hotels, or restaurants. Instead, it’s a pitch-your-own-tent kind of getaway, where the only crowds consist of seals and sea lions. On this ocean sanctuary, it’s all about beauty, solitude, and the chance to totally and completely unplug.
Heart Island, New York
A real-life valentine to romance, this tiny five-acre island is a sweet spot in the Thousand Island region of New York State. It’s home to Boldt Castle, an extravagant Gilded Age estate designed in the style of a Rhineland castle. The 127-room turn-of-the-century stone mansion was built by hotel magnate George Boldt as a memorial to his beloved wife, Louise. Take a boat to get to the island, bring a picnic lunch, and stroll around the manicured grounds for a romantic afternoon island escape. (It’s also a fabulous spot to tie the knot!)