Is­land hop­ping

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IS­LANDS of all shapes and sizes lie in the oceans and lakes touch­ing the shores of the U.s. At times just a short hop from the coun­try’s cities, th­ese is­land es­capes can still feel like a world away, al­low­ing time and space to kick back and dream. On the U.s. is­lands

of Hawai‘i and Guam, there are vi­brant cul­tures to ex­plore, while closer to home,

laid-back isles of­fer old-style charm.

DOUBLE UP

Travel back in time, then have some fun at the beach by com­bin­ing a visit to his­toric Charleston in South Carolina with a stay on the beau­ti­ful bar­rier is­land of Ki­awah, just 25 miles south. Ex­plore Charleston’s colo­nial man­sions and mu­se­ums, be­fore head­ing to Ki­awah for kayak­ing, stand-up pad­dle board­ing, surf­ing and ten miles of pic­turesque sandy beaches.

SINK A SUN­DOWNER

Alabama’s Dauphin Is­land, a short drive from the Gulf Coast, of­fers white-sand beaches, wa­ter sports, his­toric Fort Gaines and the Audubon Bird Sanc­tu­ary, with wood­lands, board­walks and dunes. Visit an ocean­front bar for sun­down­ers and see why this laid-back isle is known as the ‘Sun­set Cap­i­tal of Alabama’.

TUCK IN ON NAN­TUCKET

A raft of eater­ies have sprung up on the is­land of Nan­tucket, Mas­sachusetts, in­clud­ing The Af­ter House Wine & Raw Bar, sis­ter bistro to pop­u­lar Gal­ley Beach; a ca­sual neigh­bour­hood res­tau­rant, Keep­ers; and The Char­lie No­ble, serv­ing clas­sic and pro­gres­sive New Eng­land dishes.

HAWAI­IAN FEAST

The an­nual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Fes­ti­val takes place over three week­ends in au­tumn on the is­lands of Hawai‘i, Maui and Oahu. Show­cas­ing the best in sus­tain­able lo­cal pro­duce, fine din­ing and wine, there are also cook­ing demon­stra­tions from in­ter­na­tional chefs, set against stun­ning Poly­ne­sian land­scapes.

DIV­ING IN

Take a trip to the Cal­i­for­nian Chan­nel Is­land of Santa Catalina, served by pas­sen­ger fer­ries from the Los An­ge­les area. Well-known for its re­ward­ing dive sites and rich marine life, vis­i­tors can also view its un­der­wa­ter won­ders from the com­fort of a glass­bot­tom boat as they glide over reefs and wrecks.

PIC­TURED Main im­age: the lush, green shores of Hawai‘i;

Above: pick your board and catch a wave; Right: Bo­hicket Ma­rina, Ki­awah Is­land; Op­po­site page: meet the lo­cals on Machias Seal Is­land

MACHIAS SEAL IS­LAND is home to New Eng­land’s

largest nest­ing colony of At­lantic puffins, which visit Maine’s rugged, coastal isles each sum­mer. Take a boat tour be­tween May and Au­gust for an up-close en­counter with

thou­sands of th­ese dis­tinc­tive, colour­fully billed,

unique birds.

Step back in time on MACKINAC IS­LAND, a Na­tional His­toric Mon­u­ment

where horse­drawn car­riages are the pre­ferred means of trans­port. Lo­cated on Lake Huron, be­tween

Michi­gan's Up­per and Lower Penin­su­las, the is­land can be reached by ferry and light air­craft or, in win­ter, by snow­mo­bile across the frozen wa­ters.

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