Unfasten Your Seat Belts!
Gas prices, traffic, kids screaming in the backseat.... It's enough to make you want to get out and walk. So why not do just that? At these 10 spots, there are no cars at all (unless you count a golf cart or two).
The island also welcomes plenty of day-trippers, who fill up the ferry from Southport (910/457-5003, baldheadisland.com, $15 round trip). Lodging options include a few B&Bs, such as the Marsh Harbour Inn (910/454-0495, marshharbourinn.com, from $190), and beach-house rentals (800/432-7368, baldheadisland.com, from $135).
Over 80 percent of the island's 12,000 acres is conservation land. The Bald Head Island Conservancy leads nature hikes and special walks to sea-turtle nesting sites (910/457-0089, bhic.org, from $7). –Diane Daniel See photo
The guy across from you at the backwoods bar could be a Fortune 500 CEO or a shrimper fresh from a day at sea. That's life on this small wooded isle about 45 minutes by ferry from Hilton Head Island (843/341-4870, daufuskiefrontporch.com, $30 round trip). Golf carts are the only form of transportation, available through the Daufuskie Island Resort (800/648-6778, daufuskieislandresort.com, rooms from $169). The resort's plantation-style mansion and oceanfront cottages are spread across 1,200 of the island's 5,000 acres.
What makes Daufuskie Island unique is its Gullah population. They're descendants of African slaves who brought with them such traditions as sweetgrass basket weaving; baskets and other local art are on display at the Daufuskie Gallery (843/842-3300, daufuskiegallery.com). The gallery is among the few modern developments (there are also two golf courses) on an island that doesn't change much. The live-and-let-live vibe is on full display at Marshside Mama's, which serves a delicious low-country gumbo to whoever traipses in—locals, visitors, even the occasional dog (843/785-4755, from $9). –Jennifer Wilson See photo
The three-mile-long island in the center of the Chesapeake Bay feels like a world of its own. Residents—who speak with a distinctive Cockneyish accent—navigate the narrow lanes either on golf carts or on bikes to visit neighbors and chat over the ubiquitous white picket fences.
The new Tangier History Museum provides a closer look at island life, including Tangier's role in the War of 1812, when British forces used it as a staging ground (gotangierisland.com). Complimentary kayaks are available for paddling along the water trails. Or try your hand catching peeler crabs on an overnight Honorary Waterman's Tour (757/891-2331, $175 with lodging).
Ferries to Tangier are operated out of Reedville, Va., by Tangier & Chesapeake Cruises (804/453-2628, tangiercruise.com, $25 round trip) and out of Crisfield, Md., by Tangier Island Cruises (410/968-2338, tangierislandcruises.com, $25 round trip). –Jeanine Barone See photo
The boardwalk along Halibut Cove, about six miles from Homer, is lined with stores and art galleries, and more than half of the 23 residents are artists. But there's nothing snooty about this scene—the artists often mingle with out-of-towners at Nardelli's, the cove's floating espresso bar.