Strand Island, Minnesota
The perfect retreat for a family reunion or an intimate wedding, this 45-acre private island on Pelican Lake features a 2,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom main cabin and a smaller log cabin, all available for $669 per night. When you’re not soaking your cares away in the sauna house with 19 of your best friends, rent a 21-foot pontoon for $700 a week and cast your line in the well-stocked lake for bass or crappie.
Melody Key, Florida
A one-and-a-half-mile boat trip away from Summerland Key, this six-acre sanctuary hosts the largest villa of any private Florida Key island. For $9,495 for six nights, up to eight elite travelers can sleep in at the 3,500-square-foot villa or venture across the island’s majestic terrain and look out over the turquoise waters.
East Sister Rock Island, Florida
Seasick at the prospect of a long boat ride? Stay close to the mainland by paddling to this $8,500-per-week island in the Florida Keys. Surrounded by a majestic rock ring, the secluded 1.4 acre isle hosts a three-bedroom, two-bathroom property where you and up to five friends can hole up and await sightings of dolphins, manatees, and other wildlife.
Holly Bluff Island, Virginia
Only a handful of in-the-know travelers have ever set foot on this private marsh-bound island. For $400 a night, hole up in Holly Bluff Guest House, a 109-year-old, propane-powered property that now sleeps 12 but originally served as a hunting and fishing camp. Go screen-free and soak in the simple pleasures, like the outdoor shower, while keeping an eye open for migratory birds and butterflies.
Spruce Island, Maine
A mere $650 a night grants you and 17 travel buddies the keys to the seven-bed, seven-bath Stone House, the sole dwelling on this sprawling 80-acre, spruce-covered private island off of Deer Isle. But the island’s true attractions lie outdoors. So, swim in the freshwater quarry, go island hopping on an amphibious boat, or sneak peeks at soaring bald eagles and ospreys. Nature awaits.
Cherry Island, Canada
For $2,874 per night, you and 17 guests can take a load off in this little piece of heaven in the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario. While the spring-fed lake on which the four-acre isle sits seldom sees boat traffic, water worshippers can make waves swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving, or take a five-minute boat trip back to the mainland. Aside from the 5,000-square-foot island cottage, there are no other dwellings in sight—only 100-year-old pine trees and clear, calm waters you can take in from the dockside couches and lounge chairs.
Over Yonder Cay, Bahamas
Located in the Exuma Chain, not far from Bahamas’ capital of Nassau, this former fishing outpost is now a destination for cutting-edge architecture and green technology. The 72-acre island, available for $44,000 per day, boasts four villas equipped with a hybrid energy system, satellite TV, and Wi-Fi. As high-tech as the island's amenities may be, its beaches and bonefishing-friendly waters ensure that your strongest connection will be to nature itself.
Brother Island, Philippines
“Surreal” is the only word most people can muster when they disembark from the two-hour boat trip from El Nido onto this breathtaking island situated in the Palawan province, rife with white sand beaches, coconut trees, and a lush rainforest. For those looking for the ultimate retreat, the island hosts a seven-bedroom, $479-per-night house complete with a housekeeper, caretaker, and chef ready to spoil you and 15 of your friends.
Bird Island, Belize
To call this island secluded is an understatement. From Belize’s Placencia Village, it takes 40 minutes by plane and three hours by taxi, rental car, or shuttle to reach the island nestled inside a ring-shaped coral reef. Your reward for making landfall will be crystal clear views of protected waters and lodging at the main cabin or one of two cabanas, available for $595 per night. If you plan to partake in beach walks, snorkeling, or kayaking, slip on a pair of tough-soled wading slippers to avoid painful run-ins with the island’s hard sand flats.
Little Harvest Caye, Belize
When you set foot on this 1.5 acre island located less than a mile from Placencia Village, you’ll join the island’s only other inhabitants: the staff of the local accommodations. While they occupy a separate dwelling, for $2,450 a night, you too can call the island home for a night at one of five villas complete with a private chef, maid, and concierge. Wake up in the morning to panoramic views of blue waters, and beyond them, the larger-than-life Maya Mountains.
Royal Belize, Belize
For $5,600 per night, you can make this 7.5-acre island in Central Belize’s World Heritage Marine Reserve your personal stomping ground. While water sports enthusiasts never tire of going kayaking, paddle boarding, or snorkeling, land lovers can let loose by zip lining, cave tubing, or hiking near waterfalls. Retire after the day’s activities to one of the island’s three villas, which sleep up to 10, and delight in made-to-order meals and housekeeping services.
Little Peter Oasis, Belize
Eight miles from Hopkins in central Belize sits this three-acre island that you can rent for yourself and up to three guests for $5,800 for four days. Travelers will get unfettered access to the island’s 30-foot deep private blue lagoon and protected swimming hole, and can retreat to the two-bedroom overwater thatch bungalow, go ziplining or horseback riding, or take a 15-minute boat ride to the second-largest barrier reef in the world.
Pink Pearl Island, Nicaragua
Turtles and discerning tourists alike opt to nest on the shores of this 2.5-acre tropical island located in the Pearl Cays archipelago off of the Atlantic Coast. One glimpse of the white sand beaches, azure waters, and swaying coconut-palm trees, and it’s easy to see why. For $530 per person per two days, you can rent the island and admire its wildlife up close while basking in the luxuries of the five-bedroom, five-bath Pink Pearl Island Resort.
Coco Prive Kuda Hithi, Maldives
While the guestbook of the Palm Residence might read like a who’s who of Hollywood, you don’t need big-screen credits to live like a star on this Maldivian island in the North Male Atoll. If you can swing the $45,000 per night price tag, check into one of the island’s six ultra-secure and secluded lodgings, go picnicking or stargazing on the pristine white sands, or make a splash snorkeling or windsurfing.
Urraca Private Island, Panama
As you approach this two-acre island on the northern coast of the Caribbean, the six pink bungalows that make up the local Urraca Eco-lodge pop out from the cerulean water as if to welcome you. You can vacation in any one of them for $195 per night. By day, swim or snorkel, get to know the island’s 12 resident monkeys, or roam various ecosystems, from mangrove forests and seagrass fields to coral reefs.
Malvanua Island, Vanuatu
Whether you’re strolling the sand beach, kicking back in a hammock, or watching turtles or fish play, the tip-to-toe tree cover of this 25-acre island set off the east coast of Santo in Vanuatu immerses you in cool shade. Beyond the shores, the sheltered waters of Peterson Bay coax you to swim, snorkel, and enjoy unlimited use of an on-site kayak when you pay $229 a night for you and up to three guests to stay at the Malvanua Island Beach House.
Norway’s Hvaler archipelago is known for its spirit of adventure, and this 26-acre island with private beaches and bare rock formations is no exception. For $219 per night, up to five outdoor enthusiasts can check into a two-bedroom off-grid cabin with an attached privy and playhouse. While there’s no running water indoors, there’s plenty of the wet stuff outside for recreational use in swimming, fishing, or traversing with the on-site motor boat.
Flying above the Adriatic Sea, you can’t miss this 70,000-square-meter island sandwiched between Korcula and Hvar, shaped like a World-War-II aircraft carrier. The rocky seabed on the island’s south side is ideal for casual strolls, while the sandy lagoon at the north end is ripe for boat excursions. Staying in the island’s 132-year-old Plocica Lighthouse with up to 13 guests is an illuminating experience unto itself, and at $1,600 per week, it’s an affordable splurge.
Ilha Grande, Brazil
Snag two islands for the price of one by renting this $720-per-night refuge off the coast of Angra dos Reis, comprising a large island and small island connected by bridge. Each island boasts its own separate accommodation, and with a total of 193 square kilometers and six bedrooms between them, up to 15 guests can join you on your getaway. Outside the lodgings, sprawling decks, cozy hammocks, and kayaks beckon you to soak in the sun and surf.
Thanda Island, Tanzania
Encircled by coral reef, this 20-acre island situated between mainland Tanzania and Mafia Island is home to the protected Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve, filled with sea turtles and gentle, non-predatory whale sharks. $10,000 per night grants you free rein over the island, its five-suite villa, and exclusive access to its staff for 10 adults and up to nine children.
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