The siren call of privacy is getting more and more high pitched. And while there are plenty of private travel experiences to try, the allure of having a private island all to yourself may just be the most exclusive, most personal, most private experience out there.
And guess what? You don’t even have to leave the country to find it (although if you want to, there are plenty of options for that, as you'll see below). Private island rentals range from a small splotch of land with a no-frills house, to a massive compound with a private chef, to an extravagant resort buyout with a complete staff and all the amenities you could ever want—and the prices rise accordingly.
So gather your squad and check out these private islands that can be all yours.
Little Torch Key (Florida)
The United States has only one private island resort and it’s the Little Palm Island Resort and Spa, located on Little Torch Key in the Florida Keys. The luxe resort is offering buyouts for up to 30 people (from $250,000 for three nights, inclusive of meals). Guests have access to 30 different suites including several recently refreshed bungalows; the brand new spa where they can get massages, facials, baths, and salon services; and water sport amenities like paddle boards, kayaks, day sailors, motor boats, fishing gear, and snorkel equipment—and there’s room for 10 yachts if you got ’em. If not, you’ll still arrive in style via yacht transfers to the island and find cocktails and Champagne waiting to welcome you.
Private Islands in Fiji
If you’re ready to hop on a long plane ride—and can fly or sail privately—Fiji might be the ticket. The government recently announced that the country is open to private planes and yachts only if you buy out a private island resort for 14 days. Otherwise, Fiji’s borders are closed. But with 333 islands that make up the country, it’s easy to imagine the number and variety of private island resorts to choose from (as long as money is no object!).
Kokomo Private Island Fiji in the Kadavu region is cradled by the world’s fourth largest reef, the Great Astrolabe. There are 21 ultra-luxe villas, each with its own private pool, tropical walled garden, expansive ocean view, and direct beach access, as well as five larger residences. Kokomo also has a 5.5-acre farm and incredible spa.
Vatavura, in the lesser traveled Lau Group of islands in Fiji’s east, has villas situated across 800 acres. Each villa has its own private beach, infinity edge pool, private outdoor massage bure (hut), and expansive views. The resort has its own private jet airstrip, top-of-the-line amenities, and organic cuisine grown right on the island.
Laucala is set on 3,500 acres, and if you do a buyout, you’ll have access to 10 of its 25 luxurious villas, each individually designed and all with private pools. Play a round of golf on the island’s 18-hole course, go horseback riding on the beach, or check out the multitude of water activities. There are five restaurants and bars to choose from and an impressive wine cellar.
Twin Lakes Island (Maine)
Turns out, Maine is rife with private islands, and many are bookable on Airbnb. The award for most affordable private island has to go to this rustic getaway on the fifth largest lake in the state. Starting from just $150 a night, this small island is for those who really want to rough it. All it has is a simple two-bedroom cabin with three beds (BYOB linens), a basic kitchen (a grill is outside), and small living area. There’s no electricity (read no heat, air conditioning, lights, or refrigeration) but there are LED lanterns and a solar panel to charge cell phones. One more thing: the bathroom is an outhouse.
Mnemba Island (Zanzibar)
Just off the coast of Zanzibar (which is currently open to all travelers) is andBeyond Mnemba Island, a tiny private island resort less than a mile in circumference that offers full buyouts (from $30,506 per night). When you get to the dock on the Zanzibar mainland for your short boat ride to Mnemba, you’ll be instructed to take your shoes off, with no need to put them back on until you leave, giving all new meaning to the term barefoot luxury.
You and your crew will then move into the 12 spacious, thatched-roof indoor-outdoor bungalows (think no doors, plenty of outdoor seating in various places, and open air showers), each complete with its own stretch of beach, loungers included. The clear turquoise waters offer a host of activities beyond taking a dip, including snorkeling on the coral reefs and sunset cruises on a dhow, a traditional Swahili-style sailboat. You can easily walk the whole island and while you do, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and sea turtles in the Indian Ocean and adorable suni and Ader’s duiker antelope species on land, endangered species that are being protected on the island.
Hawkins and Oswego Islands (Bermuda)
Just off the coast of South Carolina, Bermuda is a short flight away from anywhere on the East Coast of the U.S., making it a good option for an escape. And thankfully, there are two private islands you can take over. Hawkins Island is 25 acres of lush woodland reserve and a tranquil private beach on the Great Sound. A buyout includes full use of the four-bedroom main villa and the guardhouse, which can sleep eight more; airport transfers by boat; a private chef; and a dedicated water sports team.
Smaller Oswego Island is a three-acre island that’s home to the Oswego House (from $1,250 per night, including boat service to the island), designed by award-winning architect Jacob Hocking. There are three bedrooms, a massive open-kitchen, and a spacious outdoor porch area. Also on the island are deepwater docks, a boat shed, and garden paths that navigate the whole island.
Give your family an adventure that feels off-the-grid but really isn’t at this Airbnb gem (from $307 per night) on a petite tree-filled private island just 1.5 hours away from Seattle. Guests get to the island via a short ride on an electric raft ferry and once there can use the three-bedroom lake house with large deck, two kayaks, a fire pit, and a swimming hole, as well as another small cabin for stays of more than four nights.
Tetiaroa and Vahine Islands (French Polynesia)
French Polynesia is made up of hundreds of islands, the largest and most populous of which is Tahiti (borders reopened July 15), but there are several privately owned islands as well. Tetiaroa, an atoll of about a dozen small islands 30 miles northeast of Tahiti, is home to The Brando resort, while Vahine Island is a resort and spa on a private island just north of Tahaa. The Brando (from $105,058 per night) has 35 villas, a spa, and two restaurants set on white-sand beaches frequented by sea turtles, manta rays, and exotic birds, while Vahine has just nine bungalows, including several over water and one massive 20-peson villa, a restaurant, and spa situated around one of Polynesia’s most beautiful lagoons. Both offer various nature excursions and water sports, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with either Tahitian haven.
Shungimbili Island (Tanzania)
Located between the mainland of Tanzania and Mafia Island, Thanda Island is a luxury Leading Hotels of the World resort on the tiny Shungimbili that’s always only available as a full buyout (from $25,000 per night). You’ll have use of a five-suite villa with a pool and two traditional Tanzanian bandas (double-story open-air beach huts). All meals and drinks are included, as well as spa treatments, yoga sessions, dive charters, sailing, deep-sea fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming with whale sharks (October to March).
Private Islands in the Maldives
Perched in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is made up of 1,192 islands and dozens are home to luxury resort hotels. The Maldives reopened their borders to all international travelers on July 15 and many of its private island resorts are offering full buyouts—as long as you’ve got tens of thousands of dollars lying around. A few options include the 73-villa Joali (from $90,000 per night); the Maldive’s only Relais & Chatueax member, The Nautilus Maldives, with 26 houses and residences, each with a personal butler (buyouts can book either all 26 residences or just 14 houses); a three-villa private island for up to 25 people belonging to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi (from $65,000 per night); Velaa Private Island (from $1 million per night), which has 47 villas and residences, including 18 over-water bungalows and one on its own separate island accessible only by boat; the 63-villa (including eight new over-water retreats) Soneva Fushi on the Baa Atoll (from $100,000 per night), the three-villa (plus 62-foot yacht) Four Seasons Maldives at Private Island Voavah (from $40,000 per night), which is the world’s first exclusive-use resort on a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and Naladhu Private Island Maldives and its 20 houses with private pools and personal butlers (from $35,000 per night).
Jicaro Island (Nicaragua)
Jicaro Island, Nicaragua, is a small mound of land on the Lake Nicaragua, a short boat ride away from the colonial city Granada. On it lies Jicaro Island Lodge (from $4,900 per night), a luxurious all-inclusive property that is one of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. It has nine two-story casitas, each with spacious master bedrooms, living areas, waterfront decks, and sweeping views of Mombacho Volcano and the lake. There’s also a restaurant, pool, yoga deck, and wellness center.
Lake Winter Island (Wisconsin)
Midwesterners have access to private islands, too. And thanks to Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes, there are plenty of islands to choose from. Lake Winter, in northern Wisconsin, is home to this five-acre VRBO private island (from $395 per night), which has a four-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot home with spacious living areas and outdoor decks. The tree-filled island is only accessed by boat (you can rent their pontoon boat for the day or week if you need it), and is ideal for hiking and fishing.
Petit St. Vincent (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
Petit St. Vincent (from $30,000 per night) is a 115-acre private island resort in the southern Grenadines island chain that has stood the test of time: it’s been around for more than 50 years. There are 22 one-bedroom cottages and two-bedroom villas, a treetop spa, two restaurants and bars, seven beaches, tennis courts, a dive center, and sailing charters. What’s missing are televisions and a wireless signal (but if you really need it, you’ll find one near the main office).
Fowl Cay and Musha Cay (Bahamas)
The Bahamas is open to U.S. citizens arriving via private jet or boat and there are two private island resorts to choose from. Fowl Cay Resort (from $117,000 per week) in the stunning Exumas island chain has six private one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas that you can take over. There’s also a powerboat to visit neighboring islands, a golf cart to navigate the island in, a fresh water pool, tennis and bocce courts, kayaks, Hobie Cats, snorkeling, three private beaches, and all meals included.
If one island just isn’t enough, Musha Cay (from $45,000 a night) is actually 11 islands spread across Copperfield Bay, so named for owner David Copperfield, the famous illusionist. Available for exclusive rental only, you and up to 24 guests will have the run of 700 lush acres, five villas, 40 sugar sand beaches, an outdoor movie theater, and a private chef that will serve your meals anywhere you like, from the Balinese-style pavilion to the thin, three-mile-long sandbar that disappears during high tide. Details like fireworks, karaoke, and toucans, parrots, and tortoises complete the adventure.
Necker and Guana Islands (British Virgin Islands)
One of the most storied private islands in the Caribbean has to be the Richard Branson-owned Necker Island (from $102,500 per night), part of the British Virgin Islands. Now its 74 acres can be all yours—plus up to 39 of your friends who can spread out among three complexes. The staff are at your beck and call and can organize anything from a gala dinner to beach Olympics. And be on the lookout for lemurs, flamingos, and giant tortoises. Guana Island (from $23,500 per night) is an 850-acre island with its own orchard and farm, 12 miles of hiking trails, tennis courts, snorkel and dive equipment, boat charters, and room for up to 32 guests. Please note, the British Virgin Islands are still closed to tourists as of publication, so these islands are temporarily closed.
Private Islands in Belize
Although Belize is still closed to U.S. citizens, it has several private islands that can be taken over when it fully reopens its borders, including some that are resorts and some that are privately owned.
Turneffe Island Resort (from $100,000 for seven nights) on the Turneffe Atoll off the coast of Central Belize is a 14-acre oasis with 22 villas and suites, all with screened-in terraces, outdoor showers, and beachfront views. Hammocks and loungers dot the island, there are kayaks, paddle boards, and Hobie Cats and guests can go snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.
Cayo Espanto (from $14,995 per night), is a private island resort three miles off the coast of San Pedro that has six villas (each with private plunge pool and dock) and one overwater bungalow. Island activities include non-motorized water experiences, fishing, snorkeling, and movie nights on the beach. Guests can also take out the private yacht for the day or go on a helicopter tour over the Blue Hole.
If you’re looking for your own vacation rental that’s not a resort, there’s 1.5-acre Little Harvest Caye off the coast of Placencia, which is bookable on VRBO (from $2,770 per night). It includes a five detached villas plus a pool, boat, and golf cart. Best of all, it comes with a staff (who sleep in separate housing) so you can still be pampered.
More affordable is Bird Island, bookable on Airbnb (from $638 per night), a small island also off Placencia that’s taken over by four casitas, an open air kitchen and bar, various decks, and an enclosed swimming area.