Lonely Planet Writer

Planning to 'switch off'? 5 private islands to rent in 2019

Switching off and relocating to your own private island sounds like a typical daydream cliché but it can become reality. There are a host of beauty spots around the world offering island seclusion for guests who want to zone out and switch off without worrying about the neighbours.

Gadden Private Island is a slice of paradise just four hours from Miami. Image by HomeAway

Gladden Private Island, Belize

The interior of Gladden Private Island’s vacation property.

You’ll find your own pocket of paradise at Gladden Private Island in the heart of Belize’s Barrier Reserve System, the second-largest reef in the world. The mangrove-fringed island is home to an elegant villa, designed to accommodate up to four people and surrounded by the turquoise and aquamarine lagoons of Gladden Caye. It has the all-inclusive luxury of a resort with staff (a personal chef and a concierge) residing at a smaller island behind Gladden, which is just a two-minute boat ride away. Rates average at US$3073 (€2733/£2391) per night with a minimum four-night stay.

Strand Island, Minnesota

Strand Island is home to a 108-year-old rustic cabin. Image by HomeAway

Strand Island is a 45-acre private island located in Pelican Lake in Orr, Minnesota. There’s only one main residence on the island, a 108-year-old cabin with eight bedrooms (each has its own antique sink), two bathrooms, a fully remodelled kitchen, a sunroom, a stone fireplace, living room with an Apple TV (loaded with movies for rainy days) and a massive porch with swinging beds suspended from the ceiling. Behind the main cabin is a wood-burning sauna building and a log cabin that sleeps up to four people. With all that space (the island can sleep up to 20 people), it’s the ideal place for an extended family getaway. Average rates are US$930 (€827/£724) per night.

Crescent Island, Florida

Crescent Island is a private island in south Florida.

Across from Florida’s Sanibel Island and the JN ‘Ding’ Darling Nature Reserve is Crescent Island, a four-acre private island with its own self-contained property. Built in 2003, this three-bedroom, three-storey home, built in a Key West style, boasts sea views from every level. It has its own swimming pool and a deep-water boat dock where you can fish for dinner or boat to any one of the nearby islands to visit your neighbours. The property sleeps up to ten people and average rates are US$786 (€699/£612) per night.

East Island, Canada

You won’t have to worry about the neighbours at East Island, Sans Souci. Image by HomeAway

Located just outside Sans Souci in the pristine waters of Spider Bay is another private island paradise, East Island. It’s part of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, designated by Unesco, in 2004. The island is located 30 minutes south of Parry Sound by boat and just ten minutes to Henry’s Fish Restaurant. The private island is home to just one cottage which comfortably sleeps up to five people. You can enjoy sunsets from the deck while enjoying a late dinner or a spot of stargazing by the fire pit or in the hot tub. Average rates are US$262 (€233/£204) per night with a minimum three-night stay.

Tikehau Fafarua Lodge, French Polynesia

Tikehau Fafarua Lodge is on a private island in French Polynesia. Image by HomeAway

Tikehau Fafarua Lodge is a vacation property on a private island on the eastern side of Tikehau. Located just 30 minutes by boat from the airport, this large home is surrounded by coconut groves and white and pink coral sand beaches. The home has three bedrooms and can sleep up to eight people. Catering and housekeeping will be provided by staff staying on the island. Kayaks and paddle boards are available to use, as well as masks and palms for exploring the beach and waters. Average rates are US$1059 (€942/£824) per night with a minimum three-night stay.

All properties are available to rent through HomeAway, see here for more details and island escapes.