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7 Places in the U.S. Where Cars Aren’t Allowed

Bustling streets of downtown Mackinac Island during tourist season
Michael Deemer/Shutterstock

Whether you want to get some time away from the air pollution of cars for a few days, or you’re just looking to slow down your pace for a bit, these seven vacation destinations offer you vehicle-free luxury.

Arcosanti, Arizona

The Italian architect Paolo Soleri wanted an urban laboratory where people could settle in a community of like-minded folks. It was to be a place of environmental living, but with plenty of social interaction. There were, also, to be no cars in this 80-person town.

Soleri’s designs are magnificent. The project, which was never fully completed, started in 1970. While you may not have a chance to become part of the settlement, there are tours of Arcosanti, and they offer a myriad of events throughout the year.

Supai, Arizona

If you dream of vacationing in one of the most remote places possible, at least in the US, Supai might be your next vacation spot. If the towering waterfalls don’t pull you in, maybe the fact that there are no vehicles allowed will win you over.

Supai is located near the Grand Canyon. You can only reach this remote destination by foot or pack animal. If you want a quicker route, you can get there by helicopter. One neat fact about Supai is that they still get regular mail delivery—it comes by mule!

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Located just off the entrance to the upper peninsula of Michigan, a quick trek across the Mighty Mac and then via ferry, there is an island folks all over Michigan (and probably far beyond) talk about often. That place is Mackinac Island—home of a Grand Hotel, and lots to see, as long as you’re willing to see it by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn buggy.

A national landmark, this grand island offers beaches galore, many sites to see, a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and you can even go on ghost tours!

Fire Island, New York

While you can find islands where you’re able to ferry your car over and enjoy driving, who can pass up a chance to leave those vehicles behind for a quieter and quaint atmosphere? Fire Island is another chance to get away from it all. No cabs, no buses. Your options are to walk or ride a bike (note that places such as these always have bike rentals available, so don’t let not owning a bicycle keep you from visiting).

Fire island is home to more than a dozen car-free communities where you can enjoy beaches, parks, a lighthouse, bars, food, and more. There are plenty of chances for shopping and sightseeing. You may just fall in love and want to live there.

Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Aerial view of beach and residential neighborhood at Bald Head Island, North Carolina
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Bald Head Island is located across the Cape Fear River when leaving from Southport, North Carolina. It is home to the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, which offers an added benefit to the already beautiful views. You can only get to Bald Head Island by ferry or boat, and once you’re there, the only means of transportation, once you’re on the island, is by walking, biking, or golf cart.

The island is 12,000 acres, with 10,000 untouched acres of forest, beach, and marsh. The other 2,000 acres leave you a place to vacation, visit with the locals, and enjoy your vacation. You can enjoy fishing from the marinas, and lots of time relaxing and shopping.

Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

This resort community, accessible by ferry, is another place that seems to be lost in a time long ago. A visit here will give you a chance to unplug. While there are golf cart taxi services, if you’ve had enough walking, your own two feet are the primary way of travel once you’re on Daufuskie Island. You can take a trail and beach rides on horses, rent kayaks, and have an all-around diverse vacation.

Other fun things to do on Daufuskie Island include golfing, shopping, eating, and enjoying an artful community.

Rock Island, Wisconsin

Rock Island is a park, accessible only by ferry or boat. You can camp there, but there are no residents. They also don’t allow bikes, unlike the other car-free communities we’ve covered. You must walk the island, but it’s not even a two-mile walk around the circumference! There’s no shopping here—just lots of sights to see, swimming to enjoy, and even lighthouse tours.

Be sure to do a little research on the island before visiting. You need to take two separate ferry rides to get to the island, and going in your own boat is potentially hazardous. You can take bikes and vehicles on the first ferry to Washinton Island, but you need to leave them behind when you hop the passenger-only ferry the rest of the way to Rock Island.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »