Not ready to buy? You can rent an island for a memorable vacation.
For the definitive family reunion or romantic escape, consider renting an island. Rentals start at about $4,000 per week for two. About 30 island rentals are located within a day's flying time of major U.S. cities.
For 15 years, Mike and Robin Bommer of Avon, Ohio, have rented a series of private islands in Lake Erie, the Florida Keys and the Bahamas with another couple. (Both couples leave the kids at home.) This spring, they stayed for two weeks on Channel Cay, a 25-acre private island in the Abaco islands, Bahamas, in a three-bedroom, three-bath house. Channel Cay is about a half-hour boat ride from Marsh Harbour, the nearest major town. On that trip, Mike and Robin particularly enjoyed scuba diving in the turquoise-blue water. "Our island trips are the one thing we most look forward to every year," says Mike.
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Their idyll cost $4,300 per week (see details at www.channelcay.com), with airfare from Ohio about $550 per person.
Like many island rentals, a boat was not included. Boat-rental rates vary by season, marina and boat size. During their stay, the Bommers rented a 26-foot bareboat (a craft without a crew) for about $1,700 a week, including fuel and taxes.
You'll find listings for island rentals at PrivateIslandsOnline.com. Island owners usually require a deposit of up to 50% to hold your reservation. If you cancel, you may lose your deposit.
Note, too, that many island rentals, including Channel Cay, do not come with hotel amenities such as daily housecleaning and room service. For island resorts with those amenities, see listings at real estate broker Vladi Private Islands' site, www.vladi.de.
Next: See our slide show of ten private islands for sale.