Let’s face it, private-island ownership is typically the realm of movie stars, music legends and mega-millionaires. Virgin tycoon Richard Branson owns 74-acre Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, which he famously rents out for around $30,000 per couple for weeklong stays. A decade ago, Leonardo DiCaprio purchased Belize’s 104-acre Blackadore Caye and is now in the process of developing an eco-resort on the island, scheduled to open in 2018. Not all private-island living denotes trouble-free paradise, however. The illusionist David Copperfield, who purchased a string of 11 Bahamian islands in 2006 for $50 million, noted about island land ownership in this interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “It’s like when you see Fred Astaire dance, and you say you want to dance like Fred Astaire. It looks effortless on the outside, but there are bleeding toes and sprained ankles.” The realities of private-island living and ownership aside, however, we thought these private islands for sale on Lands of America have a certain get-your-own-slice-of-paradise potential.
CHENANGO COUNTY | NEW YORK | $599,000 | PROPERTY ID: 2711326
Ball Island is a time capsule of a private island located in New York’s Chenango County, about 90 minutes east of Ithaca. The seven-acre wooded island sits in a bend of the Susquehanna River and is only accessible by flat-bottomed boat or aerial tramway built by the property’s original owner, Frank Ball (in fact, his homemade cable car was featured in a July 1950 National Geographic article on canoeing the Susquehanna). On land, step back in time into the original three-bedroom, Sears-Roebuck Catalog home—then throw open the windows and experience the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era.
MONROE COUNTY | FLORIDA | $95,000,000 | PROPERTY ID: 2851011
A world away from Frank Ball’s humble rural getaway, 26-acre Pumpkin Key is the closest we could get to Branson’s celebrity-graced Caribbean enclave without needing a passport. On the market since 2014, this island in the Florida Keys holds promise for everyone from the privacy-seeking Hollywood A-lister to a developer looking to create the next exclusive Florida vacation getaway. A boat or helicopter ride from Key Largo, the island comes with membership to the mainland’s ultra-ritzy Ocean Reef Club, complete with its own private airstrip. Pumpkin Key—recently discounted at $15 million off its original list price—comes with turnkey private-island necessities including a 20-slip marina and tennis courts that double as a helipad.
CAYUGA COUNTY | NEW YORK | $328,900 | PROPERTY ID: 1009550
Hickory Island was created not by the sands of time but the earth-shifting mechanics of the Industrial Age. This 53-acre island sits in the channel of the Erie Canal and was formed during construction of the historic waterway connecting Buffalo and Albany in the early 1800s. On the market for the first time in 30 years, the undeveloped island offers the opportunity to build the dream Upstate New York escape, with acreage for hunting as well as grazing, not to mention access through the canal to Finger Lakes waterways like Seneca Lake and the Great Lakes to the north.