by Rob Leane
Private islands—they’re the ideal retreat/permanent living arrangement for mega-wealthy, reclusive folk. They’re also good fun for having a nosy poke around online, while fantasizing about that perfect alternate reality where you just happen to win the lottery without ever entering.
Regardless of whether you’re genuinely capable of putting a deposit down or just a hopeless daydreamer, here are some stunning islands on the market right now.
1. BERRIEN SPRINGS ISLAND, MICHIGAN // $125,000
While the phrase “private island” likely conjures up an ocean locale, some lake and river islands are cheaper than the price of an average house in the United States. This three-acre island in the St. Joseph River comes complete with two cabins, one of which is move-in ready and self-sufficient with solar power and generator; the other is about 75 percent complete. Avid fishermen are especially encouraged to apply.
2. CHARLES ISLAND, CANADA // $224,170
If you've been considering Canada lately but don't quite want to make the jump to the mainland itself, Charles Island in Nova Scotia could be your dream property. The wooded island is in a calm portion of the Atlantic, and if you need supplies, there's a small town about 25 minutes away.
3. TAHIFEHIFA ISLAND, TONGA // $319,885
This pristine retreat in the Vava'u island group of Tonga would be “ideal for an eco-tourism bungalow resort development,” according to its listing. The white sand beaches (popular with nesting turtles) are well-shaded by trees, which helps keep things cool, and the island is encircled by a coral reef that offers excellent diving and snorkeling.
4. KIISKI-SAARI ISLAND GROUP, FINLAND // $365,279
Why buy one island when you could have three? Especially when they’re cheaper than many single-island deals out there. Together, the three islands in the Kiiski-Saari Island Group include 4.9 acres of land, located near Helsinki, Finland. The area is popular with sailors, anglers, and local holiday-makers, and the islands sport some lovely-looking barns. If you wanted to develop anything bigger, you’d need to undertake some serious deforestation first.
5. PRIVATE CAY IN THE ANDROS ISLANDS, BAHAMAS // $720,000
The Caribbean is where things start to get expensive, but this private cay (a low, sandy, smaller island) is about as reasonable as it gets in the area. Plus, it comes with views of “turquoise waters as far as the eye can see.” There are no buildings there yet, but there are some pathways made by a previous owner, a concrete pad left from a previous cottage, and the remnants of a stone dock.
6. JOE’S CAY, BAHAMAS // $2,900,000
Not all cays come cheap though, as this price tag confirms. To take this slice of sun, sand, and swimming possibilities off Joe’s hands, you’d need close to 3 million dollars.
And what would you get for it? Thirty acres of bliss somewhere in the Bahamas. It’s a blank canvas for development, too, if you have any leftover cash.
7. PUMPKIN KEY, FLORIDA // $95,000,000
Over in Florida, you’d be paying a lot more for that kind of land. The price of this particular 26 acres of isolated retreat is a whopper. And no, that isn’t a typo. On the other hand, you’re only a 10-minute helicopter ride from Miami's South Beach.
This developed island features a main home, two caretakers' cottages, a marina with space for 20 ships, a dock-master’s apartment, golf cart-sized tracks around the property, and a host of tennis courts—which handily double as helicopter parking spaces.
8. LUXURY ISLAND RESORT, MALDIVES // $85,500,000
These 38 acres and 100 villas in the Shaviyani Atoll would cost you over 85 million dollars, but they also present the opportunity to make some cash back. The luxury villas—each with private pool and wine cellar—are ready to be rented out to discerning travelers, who can also enjoy the island’s spa and the stunning sights of the Indian Ocean.
9. CAVE CAY, BAHAMAS // $90,000,000
In a similar but upsized vein, Cave Cay is a 222-acre island with a main house, deep-water harbor, 35 dock slips, a 2800-foot runway, and its own water and power supplied by diesel generators. The island is ready for development as a resort, and includes “a vast excess of compacted sand that can be sold to nearby islands," in case you want to make a little extra on the side.
10. SPECTABILIS ISLAND, BAHAMAS // $62,000,000
Here’s one that essentially comes with a "don’t even bother thinking about it" warning: “this island sanctuary is offered only to the discerning buyers who reached the apogee in society,” the listing says. Located in the sought-after Exuma Cays, this 460 acres of tranquility would cost you over 60 million dollars if you’re up for it—and happen to be Richard Branson.