The Florida Keys are a string of islands that divide the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. They begin south of Miami and carry on into the ocean. The Keys are home to countless islands, a large portion of them being uninhabited.
Many people travel to the Florida Keys to enjoy the tropical and sub-tropical environment. The islands are surrounded by sandy beaches and have an average temperature of 90 degrees throughout the year. The population of the Florida Keys is 77,136 as of 2014.
The Florida Keys is known for its tourist industry and fishing. In almost all of Florida, the state relies on tourism for its revenue and jobs. With the Florida Keys being a string of islands, these islands are no different.
The cost of living in the Florida Keys is higher than the Florida average, where a 2 bedroom apartment can be rented out for around 1,700 dollars a month. If you decide to visit the Florida Keys, the average cost of a hotel is about 449 dollars per night.
1. Sanibel, Florida
Sanibel, Florida is similar to the Florida Keys as it is an island off the coast of Florida. The island resides in the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida.
The island of Sanibel is known for its beaches with shells and its native wildlife. Similar to the Florida Keys, its main industries are fishing and tourism. The Lighthouse Beach is home to the Sanibel Lighthouse. Lighthouse beach also has a boardwalk and a fishing pier.
The other beaches known as the Causeway Beaches are home to activities like water sports and enjoying the outdoors. The J.N. Darling National Wildlife refuge covers almost half of the island. Many people can hike and explore these areas through hiking trails.
Sanibel is a smaller island with a population of about 7,219 as of 2019. If someone would like to stay at Sanibel, it would cost about 447 dollars per night.
2. Captiva, Florida
If you drive further north past Sanibel, Florida, you will eventually reach Captiva, Florida. It is much smaller than Sanibel, Florida, and the Florida Keys, with a population of 175 as of 2019.
The number one industry of Captiva Island is its tourism and hospitality industry. It is home to guest cottages that are known as historical monuments. It has many sandy beaches for guests to explore.
People can also go to Captiva to kayak through the mangroves and explore the waterways of the island. If someone wants to stay in Captiva, lodging averages 332 dollars per night.
3. Siesta Key, Florida
Siesta Key, Florida is another barrier island off the coast of Florida. The island resides in the Gulf of Mexico, sitting outside of Sarasota, Florida, located in southwest Florida.
Like the Florida Keys, many people come to Siesta Key each year to explore its sandy beaches. Siesta Key is known for having shallow waters and has other activities for its guests, like tennis. Guests can also explore the shops in Siesta Key Village.
Tourists and locals can also explore coral reefs and limestone outcroppings by visiting Crescent Beach. Another beach on Siesta Key is Turtle Beach with access to boat ramps and picnic areas for family activities.
Siesta Key is home to 5,573 people as of 2019. If someone wants to stay in Siesta Key, on average, hotels or lodging costs around 312 dollars per night.
4. St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida resides on the east coast of Florida. It is one of the oldest towns in the state and is home to Spanish colonial architecture.
Similar to the Florida Keys, it is known for its sandy beaches. St. Augustine has multiple beaches including St. Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach. It is home to a wildlife sanctuary known as Anastasia State Park.
Many tourists come to St. Augustine to explore the historical architecture and enjoy the beaches. Its main industry is tourism, just like the Florida Keys.
St. Augustine, Florida is home to 14,515 people and it costs an average of 200 dollars per night to travel there.
5. Miami Beach, Florida
Similar to the Florida Keys, Miami Beach resides in the southeast corner of Florida. Miami Beach resides within the Atlantic ocean and is an island city connected to Miami by multiple bridges.
Tourists from all over the world find themselves on Miami Beach to explore the stretch of beaches and enjoy the sun. The stretch of beaches is vast and is home to many celebrities.
Miami Beach is known for its pastel-colored buildings and architecture. Many people visit to take in the beach city atmosphere and enjoy the town filled with shops and bars.
Miami Beach is a larger city with a population of 90,108 people. To stay, it costs 223 dollars per night on average.
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana resides in the southern region of Louisiana on the coast of the Mississippi River connected to the Gulf of Mexico.
Tourists travel to New Orleans to explore the music scene, nightlife, and food. It is home to multiple different cultures, including French and African cultures. The town is known for its Mardi Gras parades and parties.
The town itself is a little different from the Keys as it has multiple important industries including energy, manufacturing, trade, and tourism. It is a large city with a population of 390,845 people as of 2019.
Similar to the Florida Keys, it is known for its sunny weather and its location along the Gulf of Mexico. To visit New Orleans, a hotel costs around 200 dollars per night.
7. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Unlike the Florida Keys, Cape Cod, Massachusetts is known for its cold weather. However, they are much more alike than they are different. Cape Cod is a hook-shaped peninsula with a string of islands on the coast of Massachusetts.
Cape Cod has a tourist season that is heightened in the summer. It is known for its quiet villages, great seafood, lighthouses, and beaches. It is home to the John F. Kennedy Museum along the Kennedy Legacy Trail in the town of Hyannis on Cape Cod.
The islands of Cape Cod have bustling fishing and tourist industries similar to the Florida Keys. It is a large group of cities with a population of 220,000 people.
Lodging on Cape Cod costs an average of 162 dollars per night.
8. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Off the coast of Cape Cod is Nantucket, Massachusetts. Nantucket is an isolated island filled with dunes and sandy beaches.
Similar to the Florida Keys, Nantucket’s main industry is fishing and tourism. Its town is lined with cobblestone roads where guests can explore the shops and restaurants of the city.
Nantucket is also known for its historical architecture. In the 19th century, it was a whaling hub and now has a Whaling Museum for tourists and locals to visit. At the Whaling Museum, guests can learn more about Nantucket’s whaling history.
11,327 people reside in Nantucket. If you want to travel, it costs an average of 215 dollars per night to stay.
9. Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island, Michigan is home to 470 people but the population changes during the summer due to visitors and seasonal workers.
Similar to the Florida Keys, it is home to beaches that tourists have during the summer. The city, however, prohibits any use of motor vehicles. People can only walk or bicycle to get around. They can rollerskate, but that is also prohibited in the downtown area.
Mackinac Island is also part of the Hiawatha National Forest, which makes up most of the area. The city’s main industry is its tourist industry. Many people visit it for its rich history and sweet treats like fudge.
It costs 338 dollars per night to stay on Mackinac Island.
10. O’ahu, Hawaii
Within the state of Hawaii in the Atlantic Ocean is O’ahu, Hawaii. Like the Florida Keys, the town of O’ahu is known for its sandy beaches. The island is home to Honolulu, Hawaii, the state capital.
Tourists and locals enjoy the nightlife that O’ahu has to offer along with the historical Chinatown. Waikiki is its most popular beach. Tourists can also visit the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor.
O’ahu’s popular industries are tourism and fishing. The island is quite large and is home to a total of 1,016,508 people.
Visiting O’ahu costs, on average, 200 dollars per night.
11. Lanai, Hawaii
Lanai, Hawaii is another island within the state of Hawaii within the Pacific Ocean. It is known for its beaches along with its rich history and wildlife. Similar to the Florida Keys, it can be quite warm. However, tourists enjoy the sandy beaches and the wildlife the island has to offer.
Visitors can view Maui and Molokai islands from the north side of the island and can also visit Shipwreck Beach. Shipwreck Beach is the location of a WWII tanker wreck.
Lanai is home to Polihua Beach, which is home to many green turtles and humpback whales. The island is also known for its rock towers and boulders within the Garden of the Gods.
The island has one school, one small hospital, and also no traffic lights.
Lanai, Hawaii is home to about 2,705 people. To visit, it costs an average of 515 dollars per night, which is notably pricier than the Florida Keys.
12. Whidbey Island, Washington
On the northeast corner of the United States resides Whidbey Island, Washington. Whidbey is north of Seattle and relies on tourism, like the Florida Keys.
Whidbey Island, however, is not sunny all year round and is surrounded by forest and farms. The island is known for its cliffs next to the Pacific Ocean.
It also has a lighthouse for guests and locals to visit and hiking trails throughout the forest. The island has art galleries and shops for people to explore outside of recreation.
Whidbey Island is home to a total of 69,480 people. It costs an average of 177 dollars per night to visit.
13. Cumberland Island, Georgia
Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest barrier island off its coast. Its beaches are nationally protected and are secluded from the public. The only way to get to the island is by ferry.
Similar to the Florida Keys, its sandy beaches are the reason for many people to visit. However, Cumberland island also has historic architecture known as the “Dungeness Ruins.” The Dungeness Ruins are what remains of a mansion built by Thomas and Andrew Carnegie.
Many people travel to Cumberland Island to also see the wildlife that inhabits the island. Feral horses occupy the island, along with turtles, deer, and other animals.
Less than 50 people live as permanent residents on Cumberland Island. To stay, it costs an average of 190 per night.
14. Madeline Island, Wisconsin
In Lake Superior is Madeline Island, Wisconsin. The island is the largest of the Apostle Islands but resides as its own entity, separate from the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Similar to the Florida Keys, Madeline Island’s main industry is tourism. The island has very warm summers and very cold winters. However, Madeline Island is surrounded by forest.
Madeline Island is home to Big Bay State Park, where tourists and residents can hike, camp, and take in the cliffs and large forests. In the past, Madeline Island was a fur trading post and now has its own historical museum to learn about the history of the island.
The island has a permanent population of 302 but the population heightens during the summer. To visit the island, it costs an average of 175 per night.
15. Kodiak Island, Alaska
Kodiak Island, Alaska is home to the Kodiak Archipelago, the second largest island in the United States. The string of islands is off the coast of Alaska, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.
The island’s main industries are similar to the Florida Keys; fishing and tourism. However, Kodiak Island is known for its mountainous views and is surrounded by forests. The island can have quite warm summers but is known for being cold.
Almost two-thirds of the island is a protected wildlife refuge known as the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. These parts of the island have no road access. The Buskin River State Recreation site is within the refuge and allows for camping and fishing, and has beaches.
Around 13,101 people live on Kodiak Island. It costs an average of 130 per night to visit.