A Southern summer vacation isn't complete without spending a little time on a warm, sandy beach with clear ocean views. Whether you're partial to the Atlantic or to the Gulf, Southerners love the sea air (and, a little Jimmy Buffett in the background!). On Hilton Head, you'll find tons of family friendly activities. If you're taking a trip to Jekyll Island, you'll see gorgeous hanging Spanish moss. If you're visiting Chincoteague or the Outer Banks – you may spot some horses. The votes are in: here are the ten best islands below the Mason-Dixon.
10. Tybee; Georgia
This barrier island minutes from historic Savannah has three miles of public beach and the option of deep sea fishing.
9. Galveston; Texas
Here, you’ll find amusement rides, restaurants, and Moody Gardens – a giant, glass pyramid that houses an aquarium and museum.
8. Sanibel; Florida
White beaches, coconut palms, and clear, blue water can all be found on Sanibel. Collect pastel seashells while you watch sandpipers play in the surf.
7. Jekyll; Georgia
On Jekyll, Spanish moss hangs from live oaks and sea turtles wander beaches. It was once a playground for the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Pultizer families.
6. Kiawah; South Carolina
This island has resorts and golf courses mixed with preserved forests, sand dunes, and marshes.
5. Chincoteague; Virginia
Known worldwide for its annual wild pony swim, Chincoteague also offers relaxing beaches and plenty of wildlife.
4. Hilton Head; South Carolina
Twelve miles of beaches, 24 golf courses, and 350 tennis courts make this island a great getaway for both relaxation and activity.
3. Florida Keys; Florida
The Florida Keys celebrate the weird, the wonderful, and the warm. Snorkel in crystal clear water and soak in the sun, arts, and rich culture.
2. St. Simons; Georgia
The largest of the Golden Isles, this 18-square-mile island is best explored by bike.
1. Outer Banks; North Carolina
Spanish mustangs, believed to have survived 16th-century shipwrecks, populate this 120-mile string of islands jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.