There are scant better ways to enjoy the great outdoors than to own your own private slice of them, and there are few slices more private than a private island, over which you can wisely rule as a benevolent Philosopher King—or, perhaps, throttle peons in your iron grip as a ruthless tyrant who taxes fruity umbrella drinks to support your profligate island lifestyle. These 10 private islands provide scenery and isolation in equal measures, plus are easily defendable, and, in some cases, (could it be?) affordable.
↑ For a true South Seas experience at a budget price, Moute Iti offers two acres of tropical paradise in the Bora Bora Lagoon for just $742K. With views of Bora Bora's extinct central volcano, the surrounding deep-turquoise waters, and the island nation's famous coconut trees, this tiny isle packs a lot of tropical outdoor living into a small, lushly forested package.
↑ The dramatic volcanic rock spires of the Philippines' densely forested Dumunpalit Island rise out of the ocean like flippers, giving rise to its nickname Turtle Island; and it does seem to float on the ocean like a drowsy terrapin with its shell soaking in the heat of the blistering Pacific sun. The 75-acre, $3.4M island boasts 2,000 feet of white sand beaches, coconut palms as far as the eye can see, and a 300-foot peak at its center that offers 360-degree views of the storied Mindoro Strait. The only lodgings on offer are a caretaker's shack and small guest home, but there's plenty of room to park a mega-yacht just offshore.
↑ There's no better origin story for a private island than a tale of pirates and buried treasure, well, aside from tales of ghost ships crewed by the restless spirits of some old wreck or other, and Black Island has both. It's the natural beauty of the place—rather than legends of undiscovered pirate booty—that is its selling point: the developers of this seven-acre spit of land just off the coast of Florida's panhandle took pains to retain the island's stands of 300-year-old palm trees.
↑ Live like the ancient kings of Greece on this gigantic, 1,100-acre island in the wine dark sea of Homer's Odyssey—assuming you can swing the $61M price tag for this rugged Mediterranean outcropping, while having enough cash leftover to build a palace. Currently home to just a tiny chapel and a flock of sheep, the island towers 1,000 feet above sea level and offers the kind of blue-water and high-cliff vistas that make the Greek Isles such an enduring attraction.
↑ The house on Shelter Island in Montana's Flathead Lake certainly tries to out-grandeur the natural beauty of the area surrounding Glacier National Park, but this pile of stones and chandeliers is hopelessly outclassed by the towering peaks and crystal clear water. With 7,000 feet of shoreline on one of the cleanest lakes in the world, and with two national parks a stone's throw away, the $59M island is perfect for lovers of the outdoors and hulking, neo-Gothic mansions.
↑ Throw another handful of peat on the fire, crack open a cask of 30-year Scotch, and keep a keen eye out for lake monsters in the waters surrounding this private island located in Scotland's Loch Craignish. The site of two Iron Age forts and surrounded by the desolate beauty of the Inner Hebrides, Eilean Rìgh also boasts word-class sailing and 260 acres of open countryside to wander. Just be sure to bring your Wellies and a check for at least $5M.
↑ For aspiring Steve Zissou's searching for a hurricane-proof base of operations from which to explore the warm, clear, blue-green waters of the Caribbean, Bonefish Cay has you covered. This 11-acre island in the Bahamas has two white sand beaches, a network of hiking trails, and its very own coral reef in a snorkel-friendly 15 feet of water. The price is available upon request, but it never hurts to ask your insurance company flunky to foot the bill.
↑ Private islands aren't always in sunny tropical locales—in the winter months Sweden's Kalvön Island transitions from a lush, forested, mushroom gatherer's paradise (just don't eat the red ones!) to a snow-covered Bergman-esque landscape where the only sustenance to be found is pickled fish and existential dread. One person's dread is another's serenity, however, and the 121-acre isle in the Stockholm Archipelago is ruggedly beautiful no matter the season (and no doubt during the winter the ice-fishing is grand).
↑ The only artificial island on this list, Denmark's Middelgrundsfortet is the largest man-made isle in the world, and despite its unnatural origins, its extensive landscaping and dramatic relationship with the water make it an excellent place to enjoy the great outdoors. Plus: castle! Built in the late 1800's as a fort and later converted to a resort hotel, it's now on the market for $13.6M.
↑ Casco Bay Island is quintessentially Maine: craggy, wild, a little weather-beaten, and always incredibly picturesque. The sea here is full of marine mammals, and the 41-acre island itself offers plenty of geographic diversity, including a marsh, coves, bluffs, meadows, beaches, and a huge stand of spruce trees. Makers of DIY fruit preserves may want to bring plenty of mason jars to fill with the island's blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. It's asking $1.495M, but farmers market sales of "Casco Bay's Own" jellies and jams could go a long way to offsetting the sales price.
· All Outdoors Week 2014 posts [Curbed National]
· All Private Islands posts [Curbed National]