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The 17 Best US Islands in the South

By: Lisa Singh and Jeff Stafford
August 26, 2021

Longing for a tropical vacation, but a little closer to home? Look no further than our definitive list of the best islands in the South.

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Photo: Courtesy of Omni Amelia Island Plantation

Southern Islands Worth Visiting

From North Carolina to Texas, America’s coastline is home to hundreds of islands. Pack your sunscreen and your swimsuit — we’ve tallied a list of the best islands for a tropical island getaway.

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Photo: Little St. Simons Island

Little St. Simons Island

Of Georgia’s 4 barrier islands, the Golden Isles comes closest to an unspoiled paradise. The island has been privately owned longer than the United States has been a country. Today, the descendants of the most recent owner oversee the maintenance of the island’s 100,000 acres.

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Photo: Visit Florida

Sanibel Island

A young visitor does the “Sanibel Stoop.” Sanibel Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast attracts travelers with its large number of seashells that wash up on the beach (peak shell-collecting season is May to September). The island is also home to more than 6,000 residents, but don’t expect any stoplights here. Locals are fiercely protective of the island; more than half the island is composed of wildlife refuges.

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Photo: Ritz-Carlton

Amelia Island

In northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget, so says the local tourism bureau. Thirteen miles of breathtaking beaches, abundant wildlife and clear blue waters make this a beloved - yet not overtouristed - destination for visitors and residents alike. Explore artifacts and uncover maritime history at the Marine Welcome Center & Shrimping Museum.

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