Special Report

Places Where Cars Are Not Allowed

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Rottnest Island, Australia

Located off the western coast of Australia, Rottnest Island is easily accessed by ferry from Perth. Visitors mainly enjoy biking on excellent roads, but also snorkeling, sight-seeing, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities, including lying on a pristine beach. Though a highly protected preserve, the island has restaurants and a variety of accommodations, from campsites to hostels to upscale hotels. Though cars are not allowed, bus tours are available.

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Governor’s Island, New York

A short ferry ride from Battery Park in Manhattan, Governor’s Island is a revelation — an immense new park in a city that has little opportunity for expansion. The island is a former army and Coast Guard base with a military history dating from the late 18th well into the 20th century. Historic buildings are being maintained as a national monument, leaving the rest of the 172-acre island for a still-developing public park, wonderful for biking, picnicking, exploring, and enjoying many special events. Cars, motorcycles, and other motorized vehicles are banned.

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Halibut Cove, Alaska

The remote village of Halibut Cove, located on an island off the coast of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, is accessible only by seaplane or boat, and, once in the village, travel is by foot or ATV. There is only one restaurant, but several rustic accommodations are available for overnight visits. The island is known for bird-watching and other wildlife viewing, and there are also opportunities for kayaking.

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Sark, Channel Islands, United Kingdom

Sark is the smallest of the Channel Islands, in the North Sea between England and France. Accessible only by boat, it is quiet, agricultural island, belying the turbulent history attending its strategic location. Its modern-day tranquility and scenic beauty make it a pleasant vacation spot for relaxing, hiking, and touring by horse-drawn carriage — the only kind of vehicle allowed on Sark other than farm machinery. Because there are no streetlights, the island is also perfect for star-gazing.

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Venice, Italy

Notable for its crowds of tourists, sinking buildings, and vulnerability to a rising sea, Venice is the world’s most famous car-free destination. It is also quintessentially picturesque. Where other cities have roads, traffic circles, and parking lots, Venice has canals and bridges, and relies on boats for public and private transportation.