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Need to Get Away from the Crowds? Here Are 6 Islands in the US to Visit in the Offseason

Written by Dave Odegard

There’s nothing quite like taking a break from society. Whether it’s from the grind of everyday life or a particularly stressful period, anyone can end up feeling tired and overwhelmed just by being around other people. That’s when it’s best to take a trip or vacation that gets you away from crowds. It breaks the monotony and can reset your mind and help you re-energize. Most travelers tend to go on such trips alone, but they don’t have to. Heading off together to a destination that’s away from crowds can be a memorable and relaxing way to catch up with a close friend or bond with family. The whole point is to find a place that’s interesting to visit with things to do and comfortable places to stay, but can also be a peaceful environment without large groups of people.

An island destination in the offseason is perfect for such a remote getaway. There’s infrastructure and establishments so your vacation isn’t a Castaway cosplay, but no tourists around to aggravate you. And while it’s understandable to think that an island vacation requires using a passport, there are actually quite a lot of islands within the United States where you can enjoy your time away from crowds.

Here are just 6 islands in the US to visit in the offseason:

Plum Island, Massachusetts

Located off the coast of northeastern Massachusetts, Plum Island is an ideal destination for the next vacation where you need to get away from others. The whole island offers a panorama of scenic views, mostly along its 11 miles long shoreline and which are famously breathtaking with the setting sun. Visitors can go to the beach and take in some local New England culture, though the best activities to be alone on Plum Island are hiking and bird watching. Trips to the island during weekdays are probably the best chance to avoid a lot of other people since it is a popular destination for weekend visitors. Summer is when most people visit the island, so any trip after or before the summer season will likely be crowd-free.

Islamorada Island, Florida

About a 90-minute drive from Miami lies the beautiful Islamorada Island. 150 miles wide and 20 miles long, it’s part of the famous Florida Keys and is considered less popular and quieter compared to other destinations in the archipelago. But even with its small-town feel, Islamorada is famous for sportfishing, which is the most common activity for those who visit the island. But there are also lots of parks and reserves to explore by hiking and kayaking. No visit to the island is complete without going to the beach. Anne’s Beach is a local favorite for swimming and catching some sun. October and November are usually the best times in the offseason to visit the island when there are no crowds of people, but that’s also the tail-end of the hurricane season in the region.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

One of the oldest vacation destinations in Michigan, Mackinac Island has maintained its appeal over the years. Located in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas, the island is mostly made up of a state park. If you want to get away and enjoy your time off, Mackinac Island is an ideal place. The island offers a wide range of activities you can do, including touring historical sites, hiking, riding horse-drawn carriages, golfing,  and more. Boating is also a big activity, as well as fishing in the clear waters all along the island. Mackinac draws people from all over the world, but mostly in the summer. So the best time to visit the island is during the spring months when there aren’t many tourists or seasonal residents around.

RELATED: 4 Islands to Visit Off the Coast of Portland, Maine 

Deer Isle, Maine

A trip to Deer Isle is a unique spin on the quaint New England getaway  Located just south of Bangor, Maine, Deer Isle can be reached fairly easily with some cheap domestic flights. It’s close to the more popular Blue Hill and Mount Desert Island destinations. The island, which is home to a couple of small towns, including one also named Dear Isle, is known for its history and quirky art scene. Like many places in the area, it does see quite a bit of tourism during the peak summer season — though not as much as others. Dear Isle can be used as a base for exploring nearby reserves and parks, most notably Barred Island Preserve (which can actually be reached by walking along a sandbar at low tide) and Arcadia National Park (parts of which can be reached by boat)  On the island, there are small art galleries and restaurants to enjoy and explore. The best time to visit is in May and September when the places for visitors are still open but the number of tourists is reduced. If you don’t mind the cold, visiting in the winter is an option that many locals swear by.

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Georgia has a lot of fun and cool destinations to visit, and Cumberland Island is one of them. A barrier island just off Georgia’s southeast coast, Cumberland Island is home to protected and of the most extensive maritime forests in the country. All the protected areas mean that hasn’t been much development since the middle of the 20th century and there are parts that are quite isolated with many people around. The only real way that visitors can stay overnight on the island seems to be by camping.  There’s plenty of trails for hiking and the island is well-known for horseriding.  Visitors can also enjoy the beach and explore the historical structures on the island, including the ruins of a mansion built by a member of the Carnegie family.  Visitors can probably avoid crowds year-round on the island but it sees the least amount of people between December and January.

Lana’i, Hawaii

If you need a tropical destination to get away from people for a while, then Lana’i is the place for you. Nine miles off the coast of Maui, Lana’i is Hawaii’s sixth-largest island but the smallest of the inhabited islands that are publicly accessible. In fact, most of the island is owned by a single person (Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle) and there’s only really one town, Lana’i City. For years, Lana’i’s main industry was pineapple agriculture, which is why it’s known as the “pineapple island”. All these factors add up to explain why tourism isn’t that big in Lana’i compared to the rest of Hawaii and it sees the second least amount of visitors per year out of all the Hawaiian islands. There are only two resorts and a few golf courses, but the island also offers beautiful beaches (including one with a shipwreck), hiking, horseback riding, helicopter tours, water sports, and more. Lana’i receives visitors throughout the year, but early December is usually when the least amount of people are there.

Do you know of any other islands in the US to visit in the offseason? Tell us about them in the comments below!

About the author

Dave Odegard

Dave Odegard is an ex-army brat turned internet word person, whose work has been published on Maxim Online, USAToday, Buzzfeed, and more. He is currently the Senior Content Writer at Fareportal (CheapOair's parent company) and spends his free time exploring the wilds of Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Sweden.

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