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JUST THE FACTS

10 Best Islands in America

June 01, 1997

Which North American islands make the best retreats? It's a matter of opinion, but here are Getaways magazine's picks:

NANTUCKET, MASS.

Sea, sand, meadow and a handsomely preserved whaling town. To best appreciate it, rent a house for a week.

CUMBERLAND ISLAND, GA.

An almost tropically languid, secluded national park with a moss-draped forest. Scene of the JFK Jr. wedding last fall.

VANCOUVER ISLAND, CANADA

Temperate, mountains-meet-the-sea playground. City of Victoria has ancient, shop-lined streets and Empress Hotel.

SHELTER ISLAND, N.Y.

Snug between the flared pincers of eastern Long Island, wrapped in serenity. Ram's Head Inn is recommended.

GASPARILLA, FLA.

A Margaritaville atmosphere between Sarasota and Fort Meyers. Soak up sun, stroll streets of Boca Grande, go fishing.

ISLE AU HAUT, MAINE

Craggy, pine-topped and rugged. Accommodations consist of five backwoods campsites and romantic Keeper's House.

OCRACOKE, N.C.

Prized for its seclusion, near southern end of the Outer Banks. A low-key fishing hamlet with a wildlife sanctuary.

BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. (above)

Old-fashioned fun, with dark-rum-and-ginger-beer, wicker rockers, seaside pleasures, Victorian hotels.

SANTA CATALINA, CALIF.

Visit in October, when tourist traffic thins. Hike, golf, view kelp forests from a semi-submersible ship.

NORTH HERO, VT.

Located in Lake Champlain. The familiar Vermont of farmland, country stores and mountains, only with miles of waterfront.

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