An island vacation is the perfect way to leave the everyday stress of urban life behind -- but you don't have to head halfway around the world to Fiji or Bali to enjoy a tranquil beachside getaway.
Take advantage of the stress-relieving benefits of some of the U.S.'s best islands, from the tropical beaches of southern Florida to the beautiful Northern Islands. With white sand beaches, nature preserves and quaint island towns, visitors can enjoy a slower pace of life at these tranquil coastal escapes. From Key West, Florida to Kodiak Island, Alaska, click through the slideshow below for 10 relaxing U.S. island getaways.
Tell us: Would you plan a trip to any of these destinations? Which other islands would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments or tweet @HuffPostTravel.
Cumberland Island, Georgia
The pristine white sand beaches of <a href="http://www.nps.gov/cuis/index.htm" target="_blank">Cumberland Island National Seashore </a>draw many visitors to Cumberland Island, the southernmost and largest coastal island in Georgia. In addition to the some of the most undeveloped beaches in the country, visitors to the 18-mile-long Golden Isles destination can enjoy the historic <a href="http://www.greyfieldinn.com/" target="_blank">Greyfield Inn</a> (the only lodging on the island besides campsites), thousands of acres of marshland, nature reserves, and slow pace of life.
Sanibel Island, Florida
World-famous for its shelling beaches and coconut palms, <a href="http://www.sanibelisland.com/" target="_blank">Sanibel Island </a>is a beautiful tropical escape located conveniently off the coast of Fort Myers in southern Florida. Visitors take advantage of the island's many recreational and adventure activities, historic lighthouse and boardwalk, and the J.N. "Ding Darling" National Wildlife Refuge & Bird Sanctuary. Both romantic and family-friendly, Sanibel is a popular spot for weddings and honeymoons.
Quieter than its neighbor Martha's Vineyard, the small island of <a href="http://www.nantucket-ma.gov/pages/index" target="_blank">Nantucket</a> -- located 30 miles south of Cape Cod -- is the perfect destination for a relaxing New England getaway. With a charming mix of colonial homes, quaint downtown areas, and beautiful sand dunes and beaches, the summer colony attracts thousands of tourists each year. Although Nantucket has become an upscale vacation spot comparable to the Hamptons, the island has maintained much of its original charm.
Orcas Island, Washington
Deemed the "gem of the San Juan Islands," <a href="http://www.visitsanjuans.com/the-islands/orcas-island" target="_blank">Orcas Island</a> is known for its miles of wilderness, winding coastal roads and endless outdoor activities. Visitors can get their fix with hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, whale-watching and more. Located in the Salish Sea off the coast of Washington, the group of islands remains largely untouched. Fly into Seattle-Tacoma and make a trip of exploring the archipelago on your way to Orcas to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Mount Desert Island, Maine
The natural beauty of the Maine coastline attracts regular visitors to <a href="http://www.visitmaine.com/attractions/state_national_parks/acadia_national_park/mount_desert_island/" target="_blank">Mount Desert Island</a>, part of Acadia National Park and home to the popular vacation town of Bar Harbor. The <a href="http://www.visitmaine.com/attractions/state_national_parks/acadia_national_park/mount_desert_island/" target="_blank">sixth-largest island in the country</a>, Mt. Desert offers miles of hiking trails and virtually untouched forests and beaches, including Cadillac Mountain, the first place in the continental U.S. that the sunrise hits each day. Rent one of the island's many summer cottages and enjoy fresh Maine lobster for the full experience.
Key West, Florida
If you can manage to avoid the tourists, the Southern Florida artists' colony of <a href="http://www.keywestcity.com/" target="_blank">Key West </a>(formerly home to Ernest Hemingway) can be a relaxing island getaway. Just 90 miles from Cuba, the bohemian island is full of local color, from the vibrant cottages and inns to local cultural events to the turquoise water. Try the local seafood, bike around the island, and be sure to stop at the beautiful <a href="http://www.hemingwayhome.com/" target="_blank">Hemingway Home & Museum.</a>
Shelter Island, New York
Time seems to slow down on <a href="http://shelterislandchamber.org/" target="_blank">Shelter Island</a>, a tiny island nestled in (and "sheltered" by) the other islands of the Hamptons. The island has been well-preserved to maintain a rural, small-town feel -- roughly one-third of the island is owned by the Nature Conservancy and kept in its original, undeveloped state. The island is accessible from nearby Sag Harbor by car ferry.
To enjoy the serene beauty of the Hawaiian island without the crowded beaches and tourist traps, head to the secluded coasts of <a href="http://www.kauai-hawaii.com/" target="_blank">Kaua'i</a>, known for its <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2011/11/28/7-reasons-kauai-is-the-best-hawaiian-island/" target="_blank">stunning sunsets </a>and pristine nature reserves. Until three decades ago, the island was still a sugar plantation -- and it remains the least touched of all the destinations in the state. Hike through coasts and canyons, or get some R&R on one of the island's many uncrowded beaches.
Kodiak Island, Alaska
Separated from the mainland by the Shelikof Strait, <a href="http://www.kodiak.org/" target="_blank">Kodiak Island</a> is apart of a 5,000 square mile archipelago off the southern coast of Alaska. Visitors can experience incredible natural beauty of the Gulf of Alaska -- and a true wilderness experience -- with outdoor adventures like boating, fishing and bear-watching. Kodiak is a far cry from a relaxing tropical destination, but the stunning scenery and pristine natural landscapes make it the perfect getaway from a stressful urban lifestyle.
Bald Head Island, North Carolina
Take a trip to "Old Baldy," the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina, when you visit <a href="http://www.baldheadisland.com/" target="_blank">Bald Head Island</a>, located across the Cape Fear River from Southport, NC. Hop on the ferry to the small, southernmost Cape Island, and enjoy 10,000 acres of quiet, serene beaches, marshlands and maritime forests. At the island's marina, take a break from beaching with shops, restaurants, spas and island clubs.