The Hawaiian Islands are one of the most geographically isolated places on earth, over 2,400 miles and nearly 4,000 km to the closest landmass, which is California, USA. Born of a volcanic hotspot rising from the sea floor of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian archipelago formed nearly 75 million years ago, with the eldest islands of the chain long since eroded and submerged beneath the sea’s surface to the northwest and the youngest of the islands still forming beneath the sea’s surface to the south east.

A group of 27 coral islands that form two atolls in the Indian Ocean, the Cocos Keeling Islands were virtually unheard of until beach activists Brad Farmer and Andrew Short named Cocos Keeling’s Cossies Beach as the best in Australia for 2017. Called the continent’s last unspoiled paradise, the remote destination is as special for what’s not there (high-rise resorts, chain restaurants, crowds, traffic) as what is — pristine white sand and a turquoise lagoon that’s home to 30,000 sea turtles.

The Seychelles’ towering beach boulders are a mainstay on computer desktops, but they’re more than merely aesthetic — they also fascinate geologists, who have identified the Seychelles as the only mid-ocean islands formed of granite. Other superlatives: The archipelago is the oldest on the planet, and it has the cleanest air. Naturally, celebrities flock here; if you want to vacation a la British royalty, stay on North Island, where Prince William and Kate Middleton spent their 2011 honeymoon.

Glass-bottom boats with thatched canopies ply shimmering lagoons. Tanned locals in pareus (sarongs) play ukuleles. Ridged velvet-green mountains punctuate the skyline. Palm trees reach higher than any roof. This is reality in the Cook Islands, a 15-isle archipelago marooned in the South Pacific. Go on a mountain safari on the main island of Rarotonga, or head to Aitutaki to stay in an overwater bungalow and motu-hop to deserted sugar beaches that beg to be Instagrammed.

Lord Howe is way out in the middle of the Tasman Sea, a two-and-a-half-hour plane ride from Sydney. It takes days by boat. However you get there, the journey is worth it.Named after a British admiral, Lord Howe is the world’s most southerly coral island. About 350 people call it home, many descended from families who settled there in the 18th century.


Found Places Boston Fenway Inn $28+ The Farrington Inn $50+ Hi Boston $52+ Ramada by Wyndham Boston $79+ Comfort Inn Boston $96+ DoubleTree by Hilton Boston Bayside $100+ Best Western Plus Boston Hotel $102+ Boston Lodge and Suites $107+ Hampton Inn & Suites Boston Crosstown Center $122+ Boston Omni Parker House Hotel $125+ Boston Hotel Buckminster $126+ Yotel Boston $136+ The Boxer $138+ Aloft Boston Seaport District $141+
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