Deserted Island Day Trips
Want to play castaway for a day? From the Caribbean to California, these nine islands offer pristine beaches and abundant wildlife.
Be sure to: Explore the white-sand beach—home to endangered leather back turtles—and snorkel in the waters around Sandy Spit (pictured) for the ultimate escape.
How to get there: By private boat, or schedule a day sail out of Tortola or Jost Van Dyke. For more info, visit bviwelcome.com.
Be sure to: Look for endangered gopher tortoises while beachcombing.
Be sure to: Snorkel from the soft sandbar and explore the surrounding coral reef.
How to get there: Travel by private boat, or take a day sail from Antigua on Treasure Island Cruises; treasureislandcruises.ag.
Be sure to: Check out the Sea Lion Rookery overlook to see the barking behemoths sun themselves on the rocks and swim through kelp-filled-waters.
Be sure to: Suit up in your scuba gear and spend hours exploring the still-intact hull of the sunken 1886 schooner Lucerne.
How to get there: Via private boat or with Adventure Vacations water taxi service (requires advance notice); 715/747-2100 or adv-vac.com. For diving information, contact the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; 715/779-3397 or nps.gov/apis.
Be sure to: Visit Boneyard Beach, a sandy stretch spiked with salt-washed skeletons of cedars and oaks.
How to get there: Drive 20 miles east of downtown Jacksonville on A1A North. For guided paddle tours, contact Kayak Amelia; 904/251-0016 or kayakamelia.com. For more info, call 904/251-2320 or visit floridastateparks.org.
Be sure to: Scan the shore for black oystercatcher birds prying open mollusks with their vibrant orange-red bills.
How to get there: Take a private boat from San Juan Island's Friday Harbor or Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island; you can also kayak from Deer Harbor on Orcas Island. For more info, call 206/343-4344 or visit nature.org.
Be sure to: Trek through towering mangroves toward the center of the island, where you'll find a small, serene lagoon.
Be sure to: Paddle through Cueva Grande, or "Big Cave," where you can see the north and south points of the island. Watch for birds; blue- and orange-footed boobies call this secret spot home.