Fire Island is most definitely not car free.
They must be old memories.There are cars there for the residents,all 3000 of them but you hardly ever see one.It's mostly golf carts and bicycles and mopeds.There is a 10 year waiting list to bring a car over for residents.
Close as I will ever get to no cars anyway,being in L.A. and all.
We've been to Zermatt. :)
(click for lots more photos)
We've been to various places in Hong Kong, but all the places we went had motorised vehicles.
Within Australia ...
We've cycled on French Island (and spotted several koalas there).
I had a bit of a chuckle about Rundle Mall, Adelaide. I'm not sure why they would include it ... it's a mall. Same with the other malls mentioned, like the one(s) in Melbourne and Brisbane. And if you're going to include malls, why not include Elizabath Mall in Hobart?
Rundle Mall, Adelaide ... from a visit in 2011 ...
(click for lots more photos)
Here we go with the daily bump and grind!
IMO, places like Mackinac and Santa Catalina Islands, while maybe “totally” car free, though ultimately dependent on an automotive civilization, are destinations. Nice places to visit, though I would not want to live there.
My personal experiences with exciting and interesting places to live that are reasonably possible for a car-free (or at least car-lite) lifestyle, are Ann Arbor, MI and Boston, MA. I have visited Chicago, Washington, DC and NYC, and they seem possible too (though I am an urban, year-round cycle commuter, so weather and traffic are not deal-breakers for me).
The closest I've come is visiting China in 1973. There were no privately owned automobiles, and the cities were seas of bicycles. We, however, were driven around Beijing in a big black Soviet Volga, and in other places in a van or some such. This made us seriously privileged. People would stop in the street and applaud when we went buy, as our vehicle apparently clearly contained some important personage (really important people were driven around in Chinese made Red Flag cars). I can't say much more about the car-free aspect of the experience.
I was in Cuba in the 1990s during the hard times known as the período especial caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union and COMECON, as well as a tightening of the American economic blockade. There was a severe shortage of gasoline and very few vehicles were to be seen on the roads. People got by riding overcrowded buses, walking more and cycling. The government had imported thousands of bikes--I think they were Flying Pigeons--from the Chinese, which helped to alleviate the hardship.
That's about the closest I've been to experiencing a car-light society other than on small islands, like Caye Caulker in Belize. It's wonderful to get away from cars. The calm and quiet are truly amazing in these places.
I suppose there are still countries that are practically carfree for the reason that few people can afford car ownership. Even China and India, despite publicized massive traffic jams, have very low ownership rates compared to more developed countries. I imagine there are places in the villages and countrysides of many nations where you could go a long time without hearing a car engine.
Has anybody been to places that are not listed as carfree places, but cars are very rare? What was that like for you as a visitor? What was the carfree lifestyle of the local people like?
Bald Head Island, off the NC coast, is car-free. There is a ferry boat to get to the island. But once there, your choices are electric golf cart or bicycle. I'm not sure if gas-powered golf carts are banned or not. But the last time I visited, I didn't see any, except the one used to ferry tourists to their rental properties from the ferry landing.
Daufuskie Island, off the SC coast, is also car-free. It is very nearly human-free, too. There is a ferry. But visiting by non-residents is by appointment only.
Someone already mentioned Venice, IT. While the city itself is without cars, there are many, many boats. And a bicycle would be of limited use there, because almost none of the canal bridges are without steps. Also, most of the "roads" are so narrow, and have so many doors opening onto them, I'd worry about hitting pedestrians.
So that, in a nutshell, is what I remember from the trip.
We visited Brugge, Belgium about ten years ago. Old city center is car-free. Tourists and shop owners love it. This is why I balk when US retailers scream bloody murder any time someone suggests a car-free downtown or less parking in favor of wider lanes to accommodate non-motorized road users--in Europe, seems like everyone prospers from car-free arrangements.
I don't remember a lot of motorized traffic in downtown Amsterdam, either. I was not under the impression that any of it was designated car-free, but the whole place definitely seemed car-lite.
I went to ambergris caye in Belize. I believe there were a few cars, but LOTS of golf carts. It sucked. There was a lot of golf cart traffic, and I felt like I was the only one walking around.
I went to Caye Caulker, also in Belize. No cars, and less golf carts. Everyone walked everywhere, plus a few bikes but the streets were sandy. (cargo bike for the baker, transport services (moving tourist luggage etc). It was awesome.
A lot has changed in 40 years ...
Think about computers, for example ... 40 years ago, computers filled rooms. Now we hold much more powerful computers in our hands.
Ward's island in Toronto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwTBuBJO-QU
I've been to Harrington Harbour, which is car-free. The "streets" are large wooden boardwalks and people use quads and snowmobiles in the winter so it isn't quite motor-free.
The French spent wisely during the GFC, and renewed a lot of city centres so they removed cars and opened them up to pedestrians.
Another interesting city centre was Luxembourg. And Nancy in eastern France had a stunning city square with history oozing out of every crevice.
Most of these towns and cities historically had a commercial trading centre, and that was the focal point of the town with the market square. These seem to have evolved into the centrepieces for these cities, and they essentially have continued to be car-free.
In addition to Venice Italy ..
Anchor out on your Boat, in the bay or by an Island, and there are no cars ..