9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access

9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
© Provided by TravelPulse

By Noreen Kompanik, TravelPulse

It’s already started out as a cold 2022. We’re seeing frigid temperatures, snow, and ice storms in many U.S. locales that aren’t even used to seeing that “white stuff.”

This is the time of year when travelers start thinking of destination escapes where the sun, surf, and sand beckon, and warm ocean breezes whisper through the swaying palms. And the easier it is to get to these islands, the better. Shorter flights and better yet, direct flights to these destinations help get our vacation started a whole lot sooner.

If you’re looking for some island escapes, we’ve got your ticket to paradise with our suggestions for the easiest places to access for a winter getaway. Whether you’re looking for a fun festive atmosphere or plenty of much-needed respites, these islands answer the mail. So, go ahead and start your packing and planning!

Read More: 8 Adventurous Things to Do in Oahu Beyond the Beach


9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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The most popular island in the Dutch Caribbean, Aruba may be only 20-miles long, but it sure packs a punch on good times and fascinating adventures.

Besides the surfing and sunbathing on its pristine white sugary beaches, Aruba sports glitzy casinos, abandoned gold mines, vibrant night entertainment accompanied by the infectious sounds of meringue and salsa, and some incredible seafood.

Snorkeling and diving are some of the top adventures here due to Aruba’s stunning coral reefs teeming with sea life like angelfish, moray eels, and even an occasional octopus. Snorkelers and divers can explore the shipwreck of a 394-foot former German freighter; the Caribbean’s largest. Yes, its proximity to the surface means even snorkelers can peer into the abyss of the fascinating fractured hull.


9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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Barbados is a captivating coral island, sprouting from the sea by volcanic activity eons ago.

The most easterly island in the Caribbean chain, Barbados is known for its fine white sand beaches and magnificent coral reefs. Its vast array of caves and underground lakes are absolutely thrilling to explore, providing even more incredible adventure for snorkelers and divers.

The island abounds with exotic locations and exciting history and culture. Botanical gardens are abundant and beautiful here. And if you’re into rum and good food, this is where you’ll find it. The smiling islanders are warm and friendly, and love engaging with visitors with a “ha it goes?” and sharing their insider tips on some of the best places to visit.


9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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Known as the “real deal” Caribbean Isle, Curacao is an interesting mix of old Dutch Colonial culture and evolving history all portrayed in a painter’s palette of vivid colors. The island, located in the Southern Caribbean just off the coast of Venezuela also sports a vibrant art scene and world-class diving.

Just six miles wide and 37 miles long, this semi-arid landscape is dotted with spiny-leaf aloe, aromatic mesquite, and endemic twisted divi-divi trees.

Curacao has nearly 40 beaches, ranging from tranquil bays to secluded coves. Like many Caribbean islands, snorkeling is extremely popular here due to the island’s clear reefs and shallow calm seas. Floating market vendors hawk their handicrafts, fresh produce, and fresh-caught seafood.

Creole cooking reigns supreme here, and if you’re into creative cuisine, you’ll find delectable delights like iguana soup, goat stew, and of course, fresh fish served with rice and beans. Word of warning here (but not in a bad way), the locals kick back a lot more than the visitors do on Curacao, so, expect a slower pace of life. But again, that’s what makes the island such a real deal!

Read More: The 'Rainbow Island' Most Travelers Are Unaware Of

Dominican Republic

9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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Often in our travels, we find a place that offers unexpected delights. This was the Dominican Republic– occupying half of the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola, and a mere two-hour flight from Miami.

The island is known for its fascinating colonial history, idyllic beaches, outdoor adventure, golf, and ecotourism. But it’s also known for its beloved and rhythmic Meringue, and providing us with a host of talented baseball players.

The food here is tantalizing, and we absolutely loved our cooking class in the historic Colonial Zone where we also got to create our own bean-to bar-chocolates.

Ancient awe-inspiring underwater caverns, Colonial Mediterranean villages, stunning seaside resorts, and idyllic stretches of sand all conspire to make this island very special. And its lovely people only add to its charm.

La vida es buena. Yes, life is good here in the Dominican Republic.


9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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This stunning West Indies isle is filled with an abundance of waterfalls, rainforests, and white-sand beaches. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to tear yourself from its idyllic shores to explore the rest of the island. But you have to. After all, you’re in paradise.

Grenada is filled with plantation houses, sugar cane fields, and distilleries. And of course, everywhere you look there are colorful multi-hued bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers. Visitors here can also see how chocolate is made, and if you detect a familiar spice scent wafting through the air, that would be nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla–all locally grown here. Hence the island’s moniker “The Spice Island.” Grenada even touts a nutmeg ice cream.

The island’s national dish is the "oil down," meat and vegetables lovingly simmered over fire in an enormous pot with spices and coconut milk. You’ll also find plenty of seafood here, especially those savory island crabs.


9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
© Provided by TravelPulse

There was a time when all Hawaiian flights had to land in Honolulu, necessitating an additional time-consuming puddle-jumper to its other islands. But that’s not the case any longer as most flights originating from popular West Coast airports can fly directly into Maui.

We lovingly call Maui the sampler platter of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s as if you took all the islands and threw them into a blender, you’d come up with Maui. There’s the almost-spiritual experience of witnessing Sunrise at Haleakala, the innumerable awe-inspiring “honey stop the car” moments along the Road to Hana, incredible snorkeling and diving, and slurping the famous fruit-flavored “shave ice.” To get the truest sense of aloha and Hawaiian culture, visitors should experience a luau. There isn’t another island that offers such an authentic, magnificent and unforgettable experience as Maui.

Read More: 10 Stunning White Sand Beaches Around the World

Puerto Rico

9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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Though it’s only the size of Connecticut, Puerto Rico is filled with so much to experience in this U.S. territory. And you don’t even need a passport. To boot, it’s so easy to get to here from the mainland.

The locals are upbeat, engaging, and they certainly own the market on how to have fun. This vibrant culture is forged from the island’s own unique blend of Caribbean, Hispanic, and African influences. Add in foodie delights along with the rhythms of the night which include reggae, bomba, and salsa, and it’s the recipe for a perfect party.

History oozes from the pores of San Juan, a town dating back 500 years to the time of Spanish conquistadors. Blessed with towering mountains, rainforests, and white sandy beaches along Caribbean shores, Puerto Rico is a great place for a getaway. But one trip is never enough.

Turks and Caicos

9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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Turks and Caicos are one of the most magically magnificent clusters of island destinations we’ve ever visited. Why? Because its people are delightful, food is incredible, and views are unforgettable.

Comprised of 40 islands and cays, Turks and Caicos at the southwestern tip of the Bahamas chain are less than 600 miles from Miami. The islands, aptly proclaimed “Beautiful by Nature,” were the first landfall of Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the New World.

The ocean reigns supreme which is why watersports are so popular here. The ocean waters are stunningly crystal clear and range from aqua and tourmaline to deep azure blue. Everyone is either sailing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, paddleboarding, or just swimming in its balmy seas. And because the region is blessed with an abundance of nature, kayaking through the mangroves is a must-do experience.

U.S. Virgin Islands

9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
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It’s so easy to hop on a plane and in just a few hours, you’re in St. Thomas. This lovely island has its own special vibe, but it’s also the ideal home base from which to explore the other U.S. Virgin Islands or day sail to the nearby British Virgin Islands.

Our favorite of the three U.S. islands are without a doubt, St. John. And it’s a breeze to get to, by simply hopping a ferry over from St. Thomas’ two major ports.

What makes this picture-perfect island so unique is that venture capitalist, financier, philanthropist, and conservationist Laurance Rockefeller donated 60 percent of St. John to the United States National Park Service, forever preserving its beauty.

In 1962, Congress expanded the boundary of Virgin Islands National Park to include 5,650 acres of submerged lands to protect and conserve the stunning coral gardens, seascapes, and sleepy lagoons.

That means visitors can forever savor a taste of true paradise in this ecological wonder. Its unspoiled sugar-white beaches are some of the world’s most beautiful. St. John’s Underwater Trail of Reefs has breathtaking coral formations and an abundance of colorful sea life. Sea turtles can be found in shallow waters off remote beaches. It’s truly nature’s masterpiece and one incredibly beautiful place.

An unknown author once said, “Dreams are made of sand and sun.”

And there’s no better way of making that dream come true than packing your bathing suit, hat, sunscreen, a good book, and heading to a piece of an island paradise–on a cold winter’s day.

See more at TravelPulse

9 Easy Access Islands to Visit This Winter

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Travel Magazine: 9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
9 Amazing Islands to Visit with Easy Access
If you're searching for some island retreats, we've got you covered with our choices for the easiest spots to get to for a winter break.
Travel Magazine
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