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If watching the sunrise from atop a 10,000-foot volcano, swimming under waterfalls, hiking through craters and luxuriating on white-, red- and even black-sand beaches sounds like paradise, then Maui awaits. Maui is the place to surf and windsurf. Or hop a catamaran to scuba and snorkel on Molokini Island, a crater emerging from the sea that hosts a wealth of marine life. Golf, fine dining, a winery, museums and sipping a mai tai on the beach round out the perfect tropical holiday.
Key West has great nightlife—and a perfect cover story for someone who wants to enjoy it. A Hemingway fan simply must toss back a few at their hero’s favourite bar! You’re not reliving Spring Break, you’re immersing yourself in great American literature. Yeah. That’s the ticket.
Say aloha to tropical breezes, oceanfront luaus and iconic Diamond Head on Oahu, the most populated Hawaiian island. Follow in the footsteps of surfing forefather Duke Kahanamoku on Waikiki Beach, visit the royal quarters of Iolani Palace and tour Pearl Harbor. Sample hot malasadas (local doughnuts) and shaved ice while shopping for vintage floral-print shirts on Honolulu's Kapahulu Avenue. Get off the tourist trail with a hike to Makapuu Lighthouse on the South Shore. You can even learn to hula.
Ecologically diverse and sparsely populated, the Big Island of Hawaii is larger than all the other better-known Hawaiian islands combined. Rental cars allow visitors to discover wonders from snow-capped mountains to rainforests to deserts. Best known for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the longest volcanic eruption in recorded history, the Big Island caters both to those who crave adventure and to those looking for luxury, with the flotilla of decadent mega-resorts dotted along Kohala Coast.
Long known as a golfer's paradise, Hilton Head Island is heaven for any type of sports enthusiast. Tennis, volleyball, polo, championship golf on some of the best fairways in the United States - those are just a few athletic options. In fact, the island plays host to many prestigious sporting events throughout the year. All of it surrounded by sunny beaches and lush greenery. In between games or matches, explore Hilton Head's natural wonders. The Sea Pines Forest Preserve offers a close-up look at a swamp without having to get mucky. Raised boardwalks provide a protected path for pedestrians. And don't miss the colorful Harbourtown Lighthouse, the island's icon. Choose from a number of first-class resorts and hotels to experience it all.
Amelia Island loves a (family-friendly) party! The small Sea Island is particularly well known for two annual festivals: the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. But there’s plenty to do year-round. Hit the beach for some water sports, explore the island on horseback, take in a show at a community theatre or just wander around the charming historic district. The Amelia Island Museum of History offers educational walking tours, including a spooky Ghost Tour that will give you delicious chills.
White beaches, a sparkling sea, a strawberry daiquiri in hand—what more do you need in a holiday? Marco Island brings visitors the best that the Ten Thousand Islands have to offer. Scavenge for seashells or hit the links for a sunny session of golf. Explore the Everglades in a swamp buggy or enjoy a rejuvenating nature hike at the Rookery Bay Reserve.
Wild horses can actually drag you away…to Chincoteague Island. Here, ponies run wild, you can catch or dig up your own seafood, and the beaches bring literal breaths of fresh air. The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a wonderfully unspoiled spot for bird watching, horseback riding, swimming and biking. Every summer since 1925, all of the feral ponies on Assateague are rounded up for the world-famous annual Pony Swim over to Chincoteague.
Charming Mackinac Island is a throwback to old-timey seaside leisure, from the candy-colored facades of downtown shops to the impressive (record-breaking, in fact) front porch of the Victorian-era Grand Hotel. Mackinac is world-famous for its homemade fudge, available in every flavor you can imagine. Work off your sugar high with a round of golf, a bike ride along a seaside trail, or exploring the limestone bluffs of Mackinac Island State Park.