World's Smallest Islands

Benguerra Island, off the coast of Mozambique. Photo by Azura Retreats
By Carrie Havranek

The world is full of tiny islands you've never heard of. Though it may require a little extra effort to reach one of these remote islands by ferry, charter plane, or helicopter, the worry-free pace is worth the trek.

Some of these islands don't permit cars, so you won't have to fret about any traffic jams. And once you check into your hotel, your feet -- or a golf car, a bike, or a kayak -- can take you around most of the island.

Photo Caption: Benguerra Island, off the coast of Mozambique
Little St. Simons Island, off the coast of Georgia. Photo by The Lodge at Little St. Simons Island
Where: Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Georgia
How Big: 10,000 acres with seven miles of beaches, and not much wider than 3 miles at its widest point
Why Go: This barrier island, with its big cedar trees and Spanish moss, is geared toward those who enjoy the beach as much as fishing, boating, canoeing, or swimming. Go on nightly owl prowls or rescue eggs of endangered birds with the on-staff naturalists. Only 25 people work at the resort, and they're the only other people you'll encounter on the island.
When to Go: High season is spring and fall
How to Get There: Take the 15-minute boat ride from St. Simons Island, about an hour's drive from Savannah.
Where to Stay: The only place to stay on this private island is the
Lodge on Little St. Simons Island
, a Select Registry Inn comprised of six cottages that can house up to 32 people.
How Much: From $450 per person, including round-trip ferry transportation, all meals, activities, and use of recreational gear
More Info: Lodge on Little St. Simon Island, (tel. 888/734-5774; www.littlessi.com)

Photo Caption: Little St. Simons Island, off the coast of Georgia
Benguerra Island, off the coast of Mozambique. Photo by Dugong Lodge by Legend Lodges (Pty) Ltd
Where: The Indian Ocean, about 8½ miles off the coast of Mozambique
How Big: 6 miles by about 3½ miles
Why Go: With crystal-clear turquoise waters, white-sand beaches and some 1,000 residents, the island is a national park that provides privacy and solitude. Sea turtles, migrating whales and dolphins, and the endangered dugong are all on display.
When to Go: Year-round
How to Get There: A boat ride takes between 30-45 minutes, or a 10-minute helicopter ride from Vilanculos; or book a trip with Great Safaris, a tour provider with extensive knowledge of Mozambique and Benguerra Island.
Where to Stay: Book one of the three boutique beach resorts. Azura Lodge (www.azura-retreats.com) consists of 14 private beachfront villas.
How Much: Rates start at $695 per person per night for an all-inclusive stay at Azura Lodge; the rate includes round-trip air transportation to the island.
More Info: Mozambique Tourism (www.visitmozambique.net/uk); Great Safaris (www.greatsafaris.com)

Photo Caption: Benguerra Island, off the coast of Mozambique
Sea Lion Lodge on Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands. Photo by Falkland Islands Tourist Board
Where: South Atlantic Ocean, about 300 miles off the coast of South America
How Big: 5 miles by 1½ miles
Why Go: You'll see elephant seals, orcas, and five species of penguins -- and very little else (the island only has seven permanent residents).
When to Go: October through April
How To Get There: Fly from Santiago to Stanley, in the Falklands archipelago, and then take a 40-minute flight to Sea Lion Island
Where to Stay: Sea Lion Lodge ( www.sealionisland.com), where a night in one of the lodge's 13 rooms includes three meals a day
How Much: From $144 per person
More Info: www.falklandislands.com

Photo Caption: Sea Lion Lodge on Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
The beach at Fox Island, Alaska. Photo by Frank Flavin
Where: Resurrection Bay, off the coast of Seward, Alaska
How Big: 3 miles by 1 mile
Why Go: The protected coves and pebble beaches provide shelter for a variety of marine life. Sea kayaking, wildlife viewing, nature hikes, and beachcombing present opportunities to spot seabirds, sea lions, and whales.
When to Go: June through August
How to Get There: A one-hour boat ride from Seward
Where to Stay: Choose among eight cabins at the green Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge (www.kenaifjordslodge.com), which is powered by wind and solar generators.
How Much: From $349 per person per night, which includes the boat ride through Resurrection Bay to the lodge, and all meals cooked by a private chef
More Info: Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau (www.anchorage.net)

Photo Caption: The beach at Fox Island, Alaska
Caye Caulker, Belize. Photo by Katie Nodland
Where: The Caribbean Sea, about 20 miles off the coast of Belize
How Big: 5 miles by ½ mile
Why Go: Fun, funky, and laid-back, Caye Caulker is known for its diving and snorkeling -- you'll find the Western Hemisphere's largest barrier reef here. Hang out beachside, and swim in the warm waters. Fewer than 1,500 full-time residents get around in golf carts along this former fishing village's three sandy roads.
When to Go: During Belize's dry season (December to May)
How to Get There: Take a 10-minute flight (from $70 round-trip) or a 45-to 60-minute water taxi from Belize City ($20 round-trip)
Where to Stay: Air-conditioned backpacker lodges such as Popeye's (www.popeyesbeachresort.com) start at $35 per person per night; Island Magic Resort (www.islandmagicbelize.com) starts at $130 per room per night.
More Info: Belize Tourism Board (tel. 501/227-2420; www.travelbelize.org)

Photo Caption: Caye Caulker, Belize
Madeline Island, Wisconsin. Photo by Madeline Island Chamber of Commerce
Where: Lake Superior, about 2½ miles off the northern tip of Wisconsin
How Big: 14 miles by 3 miles
Why Go: With just 300 permanent year-round residents, Madeline is the only one of the 22 Apostle islands in Lake Superior that is developed. Activities include golf, kayaking, hiking, or biking. Sign up for a workshop at Madeline Island School of Arts for writing, painting, quilting, and other activities. In the winter, enjoy dogsledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
When to Go: High season is May through October
How to Get There: You can take a half-hour ferry ride ($12 round-trip for adults; $24 for your car) from Bayfield, which is a little over three hours from Eau Claire.
Where to Stay: Camp at Big Bay State Park or Big Pay Town Park, or stay at the five-room Island Inn (www.ontheisland.com; from $98 per room per night) or the waterfront Lightkeeper's Lodge (www.madisland.com; from $95 per room per night)
More Info: Madeline Island Chamber of Commerce (www.madelineisland.com)

Photo Caption: Madeline Island, Wisconsin
Yap, Micronesia. Photo by Aimee Cebulski
Where: Federated States of Micronesia, in the South Pacific
How Big: 13 miles by 3 miles
Why Go: Yap is remote and infrequently photographed, but it's one of the best places to go diving and see giant manta rays. The island is partly developed and partly rural with only about 1,200 permanent residents. In the main city of Colonia and villages scattered throughout, locals historically have used what's colloquially referred to as giant stone money as currency.
When to Go: December to February for manta ray viewing
How to Get There: An 8½-hour flight from Honolulu (which stops in Guam) to Yap.
Where to Stay: O'Keefe's Waterfront Inn ( www.okeefesyap.com; from $155 per room per night); Manta Ray Beach Resort (www.mantaray.com); from $165 per room per night)
More Info: Yap Visitors Bureau (tel. 691/350-2298; www.visit-fsm.org)

Photo Caption: Yap, Micronesia
Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, Ohio. Photo by Lake Erie Shores & Islands
Where: Lake Erie, off the coast of northeastern Ohio
How Big: 4 miles by 2 miles
Why Go: A 45-minute ferry ride from Sandusky, Ohio, lands you in Put-In-Bay, the only village on South Bass Island. Home to fewer than 400 residents, this island offers a bit of everything: boating, camping, and a popular nightlife. The island has its own brewpub, Put-in-Bay Brewery, plus its own winery at Heineman's, which dates to 1888.
When to Go: Spring through fall
How to Get There: Jet express ferry from Sandusky ($36 round-trip)
Where to Stay: Camp, rent a house for a week, stay in a hotel with a swim-up bar such as Commodore Resort (www.commodoreresort.com; from $65 per room per night), or check into a charming inn such as the Anchor Inn Bed and Breakfast (http://anchorinn.info; from $79 per room per night).
More Info: Lake Erie Shores and Islands (www.shoresandislands.com); Put-in-Bay Visitors Bureau (www.visitputinbay.org)

Photo Caption: Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, Ohio
Cliffs at Queen's Gardens Resort, Saba. Photo by Queen's Gardens Resort
Where: The Caribbean Sea, west of St. Maarten
How Big: 5 square miles
Why Go: Saba (population 1,200) is one of the Caribbean Islands that most travelers seem to overlook. Though there are no beaches, diving is a big attraction, as is hiking the rain forest of Mount Scenery, a dormant volcano.
When to Go: January through March
How to Get There: A one-hour ferry ride from Simpson Bay ($100 round-trip); 12-minute flights ($140 round-trip) land on the world's shortest runway -- it's only 1,300 feet long.
Where to Stay: Queen's Gardens Resort (www.queensaba.com; from $230 per room per night), a luxury mountainside property 1,200 feet above sea level.
More Info: www.sabatourism.com

Photo Caption: Cliffs at Queen's Gardens Resort, Saba
Corvo Island, Azores. Photo by Associacao de Turismo dos Acores
Where: Atlantic Ocean, part of the Azores archipelago about 800 miles west of the Portugal coast.
How Big: 3 miles by 2 miles
Why Go: Enjoy scuba diving and fishing, fresh seafood, and opportunities for solitary hikes with views of the sky and sea -- Corvo is home to only 300 Azoreans. Oh, and there's the 500-foot crater in the center of town.
When to Go: Year-round; Corvo is temperate (60°F to 80°F)
How to Get There: SATA Air Azores flight to São Miguel, followed by a 10-minute flight to Corvo (€125 per person round-trip)
Where to Stay: Book one of the few guest houses on the island, such as the Commodore Guesthouse (www.azoreschoice.com; €35 per person)
More Info: Portugal National Tourist Office (www.visitportugal.com)

Photo Caption: Corvo Island, Azores
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