15 Hidden Islands Across America That Most People Have No Clue Exist

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Amidst the noise and chaos that dominate much of the world, there are still places where nature breezes in a unified harmony. America hides some of its best-kept secrets in the form of mysterious islands, accessible only by ferry, private boat, or small aircraft. Protected by strict visitor controls and dedicated preservation efforts, these hidden gems remain untouched sanctuaries of natural beauty and unique cultures. Let’s explore the charm of these 15 hidden islands and discover the peaceful retreats that most people have no clue about.

Cumberland Island, Georgia


Cumberland Island is a national treasure known for its untouched beaches and wild horses. This island is also home to historic ruins, including the Shingle Beach mansion, which adds a sense of mystery and history to its natural beauty. Limited ferry services and restricted visitor numbers keep it quiet and secluded, making it a perfect destination for those seeking solitude. The island’s maritime forests and salt marshes provide habitats for diverse wildlife, enhancing its appeal for nature lovers.

Sapelo Island, Georgia

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Accessible only by ferry, the island showcases a vibrant Gullah-Geechee culture and pristine marshlands. The R.J. Reynolds Mansion and the Hog Hammock community offer insights into its distinct cultural legacy. A serene sanctuary where visitors can discover untouched beaches and observe abundant wildlife, the secluded setting contributes to preserving the island’s peaceful ambiance.

Santa Catalina Island, California

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Just a few miles off the coast of Los Angeles is a Mediterranean-like escape that many tourists overlook. It has beautiful coves, crystal-clear waters, and the charming town of Avalon, with quaint shops and restaurants. Activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking on scenic trails are available for enthusiasts. Despite its proximity to the mainland, Catalina’s laid-back nature and beauty make it a hidden gem worth discovering.

Block Island, Rhode Island

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Although famed for its gorgeous rolling hills, the island is less frequented due to its distance from the mainland and limited transportation options. Here, you can find a mix of beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, and picturesque landscapes that remain preserved. With over 30 miles of hiking trails, including the beautiful Mohegan Bluffs, it offers ample exploration opportunities.

Beaver Island, Michigan


This is Lake Michigan’s largest island, home to untouched forests and a small welcoming community that is accessible only by a small plane, thus preserving its environment. Adding to its fascinating atmosphere, Beaver Island’s past as a former Mormon kingdom introduces a unique historical intrigue.

San Juan Islands, Washington


The San Juan Islands’ dramatic coastlines and rich marine life remain a secret paradise due to their remote location and limited population. The archipelago is comprised of 172 islands and is known for its spectacular scenery and outdoor activities. The protected waters are perfect for kayaking and sailing, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts.

Dry Tortugas, Florida


At a 70-mile distance west of Key West,  this locale is famed for Fort Jefferson and crystal-clear waters. The remote location is only reachable by boat or seaplane, preserving its untouched beauty. Exploring the historic fort, snorkeling in vibrant coral reefs, and observing abundant birdlife are sure to leave a lasting memory in the hearts of its visitors.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

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The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent place for bird-watching and nature walks, and it’s also known for its wild pony sightings. This charming town offers a great experience with its quaint shops, seafood restaurants, and historic sites, while its protected status helps preserve a peaceful and natural environment.

Tangier Island, Virginia


Tangier Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, presents a unique glimpse into the past with its crab-fishing community and isolation from the mainland. Their way of life and dialect have been preserved for centuries, providing visitors with a fascinating experience. Exploring the island by foot or bike, visitors can enjoy its scenic beauty and small-town charm. 

South Manitou Island, Michigan

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South Manitou Island, a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,  features shipwrecks and dunes and is accessible by seasonal ferries. The island presents a list of outdoor activities, ranging from hiking, camping, and exploring historical sites. The limited accessibility to its natural and rich history ensures that it remains a peaceful retreat for those who seek adventure and solitude.

Mackinac Island, Michigan


Prestigious for its ban on motor vehicles, Mackinac Island is a step back in time with horse-drawn carriages and Victorian architecture. The island offers a wealth of time-honored sites, including Fort Mackinac and the Grand Hotel. Mackinac’s unique charm and preserved heritage create a unique environment for history buffs and romantics alike.

Fire Island, New York


Just a short ride from Long Island, Fire Island grants a car-free living, scenic beaches, and a relaxed atmosphere. Made up of small communities, each with its unique character–from lively nightlife to quiet seclusion. Visitors can enjoy activities like beachcombing and water sports on Fire Island. 

Little St. Simons Island, Georgia

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Privately owned, Little St. Simons Island is an exclusive eco-resort that keeps visitor numbers low to nurture its natural environment, while its beaches and maritime forest serve as a natural habitat to wildlife. Guests can enjoy guided nature tours, fishing, and kayaking in serene surroundings. Embracing conservation and sustainable tourism creates a hidden paradise for eco-conscious travelers visiting the destination.

Monhegan Island, Maine


Artists’ haven Monhegan Island is prominent for its rugged cliffs, scenic trails, and vibrant art community. Accessible only by boat, the island has inspired generations of artists with its stunning landscapes. Visitors get to explore art galleries, hike along picturesque coastal trails, and enjoy the island’s peaceful ambiance. Far from the mainland, it offers a warm welcome to art enthusiasts of its rich artistic heritage.

Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

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This archipelago in Lake Superior features sea caves, lighthouses, and old-growth forests, accessible primarily by boat. The Apostle Islands provide various outdoor activities, comprising kayaking, hiking, and exploring historic sites. Explore the stunning scenery of the sea caves, particularly during winter when they transform into ice caves.

Written by grayson