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Best Islands in the World

Seclusion, sprawling beaches, rolling waves and untouched pockets of wilderness are all credentials for a nod among the best islands in the world. According to experts and U.S. News readers, the islands listed here boast a little something that keeps travelers enchanted. Consider which islands you favor, cast your vote below and help us rank next year's best coastal locales. 

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Belongs on list?
999 185

Why go: This honeymoon spot caters to all sorts of travelers. Beach bums can lounge along Santorini's red sands, foodies can savor aromatic Mediterranean flavors, and history buffs can explore the remains of Thira and Akrotiri Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Santorini

Belongs on list?
779 202

Why go: Bora Bora offers you the chance to lounge on white sands, stretch your legs along the trails to Mount Otemanu's summit and sleep in thatched-roof huts suspended over the turquoise South Pacific. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Bora Bora

Belongs on list?
842 324

Why go: It's no wonder that these islands draw celebs in droves. Who wouldn't want to lie across beautiful beaches or explore Brimstone's ancient fortress? From sands to beach bars, St. Kitts & Nevis give visitors an authentic Caribbean experience. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in St. Kitts & Nevis

Belongs on list?
469 202

Why go: These tiny islands in the Indian Ocean exude seclusion. You can spend your days snorkeling over coral reefs and lounging on the sands. Or you can watch sunset over the waves from your palatial resort. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Maldives

Belongs on list?
744 234

Why go: This half-French, half-Dutch island bursts with activity. The streets of Marigot and Philipsburg are filled with exotic eats and vibrant music. Outside the cities, a gorgeous scene of mountains and shorelines awaits. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in St. Martin - St. Maarten

Belongs on list?
597 192

Why go: Whether you're looking for a new adventure or some peace and quiet, these three islands northwest of Jamaica have everything you need to experience something new. You can scuba dive in vibrant reefs, hike the 200-year-old Mastic Trail or kick back at Seven Mile Beach. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cayman Islands

Belongs on list?
346 166

Why go: These islands' white-sand shores offer fantastic scenery. But there's more to Fiji than what you'll see from your beach towel: Hike the volcanic Mamanuca Mountains or hit the boutiques of Suva.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Fiji

Belongs on list?
407 206

Why go: As far as Hawaiian retreats go, Maui takes the cake. You'll find opulent resorts, dramatic scenery and adventurous activities all in one place. Nothing beats spending a day on Kaihalulu's red beach or Wailea's golden shores. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Maui

Belongs on list?
560 167

Why go: Mykonos is like Santorini's wild sibling: This Greek island pulsates with a party beat nearly 24 hours a day. But there's a peaceful side to this island as well. For a more relaxed environment, watch the sun set over the Mediterranean from The Windmills' high perch. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Mykonos

#10
Belongs on list?
461 143

Why go: With its skyline of gorgeous mountains and pointed pagodas, it's no wonder Bali means "heaven." On this Indonesian island, you can tour ancient temples, play with Sumatran elephants or simply lounge in one of many resplendent oceanfront resorts. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Bali

#11
Belongs on list?
300 144

Why go: Kauai is the oldest and most rugged of the Hawaiian archipelago. Adventure-seekers will love hoofing it along the Kalalau Trail and hiking Waimea Canyon, while the Na Pali Coast beckons to photographers with its gorgeous ocean vistas. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Kauai

#12
Belongs on list?
311 173

Why go: It may not have the luxurious reputation of the Maldives, but Seychelles does have striking scenery. This chain of islands off the eastern coast of Africa will astound you with its fawn-colored sands, massive boulders and calm waters, not to mention its giant tortoises.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Seychelles

#13
Belongs on list?
175 39

Why go: With authentic Greek restaurants, charming waterside villages and excellent beach weather, Crete is a favorite among worldwide travelers. For a dose of history, visit the archaeological sites and museums that bring the island's ancient past to life. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Crete

#14
Belongs on list?
103 56

Why go: The pure versatility of the Big Island's geography is enough to earn it recognition as one of a kind: Black-sand beaches line some shores, while lush rainforests populate nearby areas. Plus, the tropical island's active volcano, Kilauea, makes for a fun adventure.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Hawaii - The Big Island

#15
Belongs on list?
242 141

Why go: Thanks to an embargo on cruise ships, casinos and high-rise hotels, Anguilla is a low-key island. Spend the day sprawled out on Rendezvous Bay, then listen to some home-grown reggae at lounges like Dune Preserve when the sun goes down. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Anguilla

#16
Belongs on list?
270 166

Why go: Darwin's wonderland hasn't lost its magic, and you won't be disappointed by what you find. Massive turtles and bizarre birds wander just feet away. This isn't your typical getaway, but a trip to the Galápagos is one you'll never forget. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Galápagos Islands

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