4 Island Vacations for the Perfect Summer Getaway

Summer vacations and island destinations go hand in hand. If you’ve got your heart set on an island getaway this summer, there are plenty of options to choose from. To get your imagination going, here’s a list of some of the best island vacation destinations from around the globe you could visit this summer.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Indonesia’s 17,507 islands contain some hidden gems, perfect for adventure-seekers exploring the archipelago’s natural beauty and avoiding crowds. The cluster of small rainforest islands called Raja Ampat are such gems.

Located northwest of New Guinea, Raja Ampat comprises some 1,500 islands surrounded by turquoise waters and coral reefs. According to National Geographic, Raja Ampat’s coral reefs are the most biodiverse in the world. Among the more than 600 species of hard coral and 1,700 species of tropical fish that dwell in the region, divers and snorkelers can also spot rare and endangered marine mammals such as dugongs, Frasier’s dolphins, and pygmy blue whales.

To reach Raja Ampat, you can fly from Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, to the regional capital of Waisai or take a ferry from Sorong’s port city in the Southwest Papua region. In Waisai, visitors can arrange diving and snorkeling trips or transportation to one of the numerous eco-resorts scattered throughout the archipelago. Be sure not to miss a trip to the conical limestone tufts of the Wayag Islands for a glimpse into a unique island landscape and ecosystem.

Santorini, Greece

Some 3,600 years ago, the eastern Mediterranean experienced one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded history—the Minoan Eruption. Today, the remnants of the eruption site form the crescent moon-shaped island of Santorini.

Santorini is hard to beat for a summer trip to the islands of Europe. The crescent’s outer shores rise to steep bluffs overlooking the caldera on the inner side, topped with a handful of Greek villages whose sun-bleached white houses are punctuated with the blue domes of small Orthodox churches. On the windswept hillsides, locals have grown vineyards for more than two millennia and have accommodated the grapevines to the island’s rough winds by weaving them into living baskets.

For a better aerial view, charter a helicopter or hot air balloon ride over the island. Private photography tours are also available for those who want to capture shots of the unique scenery and architecture. For dinner, make a reservation at Metaxi Mas for its shrimp saganaki or roasted lamb shank.

Visitors can get to Santorini by direct flights from Athens or ferry or hydroplane from several other islands in the Cyclades. Once there, you can decide just how long to explore the volcanic red and black sand beaches, visit the ruins of Akrotiri, or tour a local vineyard.


Often confused with its similarly named neighbor to the North, the small Caribbean country of Dominica is a great choice for travelers seeking the best islands to vacation. Dominica is a paradise for beachgoers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts, featuring rugged mountains, pristine rainforests, and beautiful waterfalls packed into an improbably vertical landscape.

Ringed almost entirely with white sand beaches, Dominica doesn’t leave visitors wanting for a spot to soak up the sun. In the island’s interior, you can hike to Boiling Lake, one of the largest hot springs in the world, or visit Trafalgar Falls, a beautiful twin waterfall that cascades down a steep green mountainside.

Multiple Caribbean airlines operate regular flights to Dominica from Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Martin. If you’re coming for more than an extended weekend and are passionate about the outdoors, take on a section of the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail that spans the island’s length, passing through jungle, mountains, and numerous beaches.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Off the coast of Tanzania, the balmy island of Zanzibar hosts a vibrant culture with deep historical roots in the intercontinental premodern spice trade. If you want to vacation on an island with something for everyone in your party—family, friends, or just your partner—Zanzibar’s unforgettable aesthetic will exceed your expectations.

Outside the narrow streets of the island’s old capital, Stone Town, visitors can spend the day on Nungwi Beach relaxing, watching for hatching sea turtles or exploring the coral reefs—occasionally in the company of passing dolphin pods. Alternatively, you can visit spice farms across the island and learn about the region’s unique cultural and economic history. In the evenings, be sure to find a restaurant on the beach for a sunset dinner of octopus and cassava, calamari curry, or prawn pilau.

You can get to Zanzibar—Unguja or Pemba—by ferry, take a 15-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, or take international flights from Doha or Johannesburg. However you arrive, make sure to stay long enough to catch a sunset from the bow of a traditional dhow boat.

Are you ready to visit one of these incredible islands? Let’s get started today!

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