The world's best islands of 2016: Maui, Santorini, more
TripAdvisor, a travel review and booking site, recently chose the world's best islands and the best U.S. islands of 2016. This year, Maui, Hawaii, topped both lists.
The Travelers' Choice awards are based on TripAdvisor travelers around the world and on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants, beaches and attractions, gathered over a 12-month period.
Check out the world's 20 best islands of 2016 -- and start packing now.
Maui, Hawaii, topped the list for best islands in the U.S. and best islands around the world, and it's no wonder why. Nature-lovers can visit the bamboo forest and waterfalls in Haleakala National Park while beach-lovers can relax on golden sands or try an exciting activity like windsurfing and snorkeling.
Key West, Florida
Fun awaits for the family in the Florida Keys. According to TripAdvisor, Key West is known as the "Winter White House" because of the appeal it has to visiting U.S. presidents. Escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life at this laid-back island, whether you're looking to enjoy a margarita on the beach or all that nature has to offer at eco-discovery centers and conservatories.
Beauty truly exists everywhere in Santorini. This Cyclades Island located in the Aegean Sea, will have you living the good life as you stroll down black sand beaches or the streets of a provincial village. The sights of cliff-carved homes with their candy-colored coating, sparkling waters and glistening sunsets make it apparent why this destination takes the number two spot on TripAdvisor's best islands in the world list.
Surf's up in Oahu, Hawaii -- literally. This island is home to the Triple Crown of Surfing competition. Beautiful beaches await. Be sure to check out the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. If surf isn't what you're into, you can stick with the turf and check out the annual Hale'iwa Arts Festival or the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
Feel your troubles melt away at this beautiful Caribbean island. From Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, vacation-goers can enjoy everything from nature hikes to snorkeling. Looking for something a little different? Enjoy the culture in "the land of wood and water" by visiting authentic music clubs in Kingston. Whatever it is you're looking for, Jamaica is bound to have it and more.
Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
The Island of Hawaii is the perfect destination for travelers who marvel at the thought of being in the great outdoors. Can't-miss sights include Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Mauna Kea Summit. After a long day of exploring this beautiful island, sightseers can relax at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Hualalai that's well known for its "aloha spirit" and delicious restaurants.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Suit up and get ready for sand and swim at one of the world's top beach destinations and the most populated island of Turks and Caicos. Kids and adults alike can enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking in the stunning waters at this island paradise. Kick back and relax at the end of each day at the upscale resorts of Grace Bay, featuring picturesque views of the beach and more.
Mount Desert Island, Maine
Millions of visitors flock to Mount Desert Island, Maine, each year to visit Acadia National Park, which is packed with beautiful views and incredible wildlife. Mount Desert Island is also home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coast where visitors can hike to watch the sunset. You can make the most of your stay by checking out The Bayview, an oceanfront hotel in the nearby town of Bay Harbor and enjoy continental breakfast and shuttle service to the best hiking spots on the island.
In Bali, Indonesia, you can vacation like a character in a fairytale, an island filled with white sandy beaches, tropical fish, stone temples and more. Still not convinced? Bali is home to Ubud, the perfect landscape to watch cultural dancing, take a silver-smithing workshop or rejuvenate in a yoga class.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sports enthusiasts will love Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Known for being a golfer's paradise, the island plays host to many prestigious sporting events each year. You can also kick back and relax at the many beaches, hike the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, visit the Harbour Town Lighthouse or bike the Hilton Head Island Bike Trails. After exploring, unwind at one of the many first-class resorts and enjoy amenities such as butler service and more.
According to TripAdvisor, Majorca has gained quite the reputation as a spring break beach destination, but if you're traveling with children, there's still plenty to enjoy on this gorgeous island. Marineland draws families to see dolphin and sea lion shows, and no trip to Majorca would be complete if you didn't take the little ones to see the antique train that travels between Palma and Soller.
Amelia Island, Florida
What happens when you mix southern charm with the beauty of an island vacation? You get Amelia Island in Florida. This destination offers a little something for all visitors from uncrowded beaches to historic landmarks, and that's just the beginning. Those looking for a little more adventure can horseback ride on the beach, take a swing on the golf course or go for a kayak ride. Be sure to check out special events like the 8 Flags Shrimp Festival.
Vacation like royalty in Mauritius, Africa's wealthiest area and a true paradise with something for everyone. Visitors are attracted to Port Louis, the capital of the African port, with a revitalized waterfront and market. The majority of travelers head to the resort areas on the island like Mont Choisy, Trou-aux-Biches and Flic en Flac.
Marco Island, Florida
Marco Island in Florida is just one of Florida's Ten Thousand Islands, according to TripAdvisor. Perhaps this connotation is a representation of how much the island truly has to offer visitors. Nature-lovers can go on a hike at the Rookery Bay Reserve or explore the Everglades in a swamp buggy. Thrill seekers can book numerous water sport activities, take a tour with Dreamlander Tours or hit the greens for a round of golf.
The dream-like waters and beaches in Phuket, Thailand, truly make this an incredible vacation destination. You can scuba dive in the Andaman Sea and enjoy a variety of watersports in the island's blue lagoons. Also, be sure to check out the aquariums, gardens and Buddhist temples the island has to offer visitors. Cap off the day with a walk on the beach and the view of a salmon sunset.
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
The charming island of Chincoteague in Virginia allows guests to enjoy the unique experience of watching beautiful horses run wild and the chance to catch their own seafood. The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a must-see spot for those who love thrill and nature. Here you can bird watch, horseback ride, swim and bike.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The island so nice they named it twice! Dive deep into the waters at Coral Gardens or Tupitipiti Point and swim with tropical fish.Take a self-driving tour and explore Mount Otemanu. Bring the kids to the Lagoonarium to see the sharks and even swim with turtles. No trip would be complete to French Polynesia without a delicious meal at one of the fine French restaurants around the island.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Foodies can unite at Mackinac Island, a destination known for it's world-famous homemade fudge, available in just about every flavor you can imagine. Once filled up on sugary sweets, head to Mackinac Island State Park or enjoy a day of shopping at the downtown shops. Visitors can stay at the historic Grand Hotel that broke the record for the largest front porch with a Victorian-era feel.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Truly escape the hustle of everyday life at Fernando de Noronha, Brazil -- an island that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where visitors are restricted but a lucky few get to experience this piece of paradise. Here, you can enjoy warm-water beaches, swim with dolphins and sea turtles at one of the top diving destinations or enjoy the hiking trails of Jardin Elizabeth, the Esmerelda Coast or Sancho Bay.