Whether you’re a crazy cat person, a dog lover, or wish you could be Old McDonald on the farm, there is an island out there with your favorite animal roaming around, just waiting for you to play with them.
However, when deciding where to go, you must also keep in mind that it’s important to be respectful of animals’ natural habitats and research how to visit these places responsibly. Sure, a selfie with a penguin might be your dream come true, but as tourists, we need to remember that there is a living thing behind that photo. With that in mind, here are the best islands to visit to see some adorable creatures.
Phillip Island, Australia
Lying just off Australia’s southern coast, Phillip Island is a quick and popular day trip from Melbourne. At the island’s Summerland Beach, you can gather with other visitors at sunset each day to watch the Penguin Parade, when hundreds of Little penguins, the smallest species of penguin (averaging just 13 inches in height), come ashore from the water and waddle into their burrows for the night. Is that not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?!
Pig Beach, Bahamas
About 82 miles south of Nassau in the Bahamas lies Big Major Cay, aka Pig Beach. It’s one of the 365 islands in Exuma. Tourists flock here to swim in crystal clear water with adorable pigs, who are more than happy to befriend you if you feed them. This white-sand beach is only accessible by boat, so you’ll need to sign up for a tour or charter a boat. Just remember to stick to veggies, pitted fruits, and fresh water when feeding your porky friends.
Ainoshima Island, Japan
For some of us, we can get our cat fix at the local cate cafe, which are becoming ever more popular. However, if that’s not enough for you, you could take your cat obsession to the next level by traveling to Ainshoma Island in Japan to visit the hundreds of free-roaming cats living there. A 20-minute ferry ride from Shingu Port in Fukuoka, this is one of Japan’s 11 cat islands. Fishermen brought them over to ward off mice that prayed on the silkworms that they needed to make their fishing nets.