Island

10 Islands Currently for Sale—And How Much They Cost

by Rob Leane

Private islands—they’re the ideal retreat/permanent living arrangement for mega-wealthy, reclusive folk. They’re also good fun for having a nosy poke around online, while fantasizing about that perfect alternate reality where you just happen to win the lottery without ever entering.

Regardless of whether you’re genuinely capable of putting a deposit down or just a hopeless daydreamer, here are some stunning islands on the market right now.

1. BERRIEN SPRINGS ISLAND, MICHIGAN // $125,000

While the phrase “private island” likely conjures up an ocean locale, some lake and river islands are cheaper than the price of an average house in the United States. This three-acre island in the St. Joseph River comes complete with two cabins, one of which is move-in ready and self-sufficient with solar power and generator; the other is about 75 percent complete. Avid fishermen are especially encouraged to apply.

2. CHARLES ISLAND, CANADA // $224,170

If you’ve been considering Canada lately but don’t quite want to make the jump to the mainland itself, Charles Island in Nova Scotia could be your dream property. The wooded island is in a calm portion of the Atlantic, and if you need supplies, there’s a small town about 25 minutes away.

3. TAHIFEHIFA ISLAND, TONGA // $319,885

This pristine retreat in the Vava’u island group of Tonga would be “ideal for an eco-tourism bungalow resort development,” according to its listing. The white sand beaches (popular with nesting turtles) are well-shaded by trees, which helps keep things cool, and the island is encircled by a coral reef that offers excellent diving and snorkeling.

4. KIISKI-SAARI ISLAND GROUP, FINLAND // $365,279

Why buy one island when you could have three? Especially when they’re cheaper than many single-island deals out there. Together, the three islands in the Kiiski-Saari Island Group include 4.9 acres of land, located near Helsinki, Finland. The area is popular with sailors, anglers, and local holiday-makers, and the…

Name That American Island

The following article is from the new book Uncle John’s Uncanny Bathroom Reader.

(Image credit: Ken Curtis)

Did you know that there are 18,617 named islands in the U.S. and its territories? Neither did we! Here are some interesting stories behind the names of some of those islands.

STATEN ISLAND

In 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson, sailing under a Dutch flag, sailed into New York Bay. (He wasn’t the first European to explore the region; that honor goes to Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who discovered it in 1524.) Hudson named the large island on the southwest side of the bay Staaten Eylandt, literally “States Island,” after the Dutch parliament, known as the Staaten-Generaal. When the English took over the region in 1667, and made it part of their New York Colony, the name was anglicized to Staten Island.

(Image credit: Dan Dugan Sound Design)

Bonus fact: Staten Island wasn’t its official name until 1975. In 1683, the British divided the New York Colony into ten counties, and designated Staten Island as Richmond County, after Charles Lennox, the son of England’s King Charles II, and first Duke of Richmond. When Staten Island was incorporated into New York City in 1898 as one of its five boroughs, its official name was the Borough of Richmond—and that remained its name until 1975, when the city council finally changed it to the Borough of Staten Island.

LONG ISLAND

(Image credit: Jsayre64)

Just east of Staten Island, across a channel known as the Narrows that separates Lower New York Bay from Upper New York Bay (where the Statue of Liberty is located), lies Long Island. Like Staten Island, it was named by the Dutch in the early 17th century. They called it Lange Eylandt, meaning, of course, “Long Island.” It’s 118 miles long by 23 miles wide at its widest point, making it the longest (and largest) island in the contiguous United States. It’s also the most populous island in any state or territory, with more than 7.8 million residents.

KODIAK

(Image credit: James Brooks)

Kodiak Island is about 250 miles southeast of Anchorage, off the east coast of Alaska’s Aleutian Peninsula. It’s been home to the Alutiiq people for more than 3,000 years. And it’s huge. At 3,595 square miles, Kodiak is the second-largest island in the United States (after Hawaii), and the 80th largest in the world. The island was first encountered by Europeans in 1763, when Russian fur trader Stephan Glotov arrived there. He called it Kad’yak, a derivation of kikhtak, the native Aleut word for “island.” The island became the center of the Russian fur trade, but the name didn’t spread beyond the Russian trading community until 1778, when English explorer Captain James Cook arrived and made the first known written notation of the word “Kodiak.”

HAWAII

(Image credit: Diego Delso)

According to traditional folklore, the largest of the Hawaiian islands was named after Hawai’iloa, a legendary seafaring hero who discovered and then colonized them. (He was from a land called Ka-aina-kaimelemele-a-Kane, meaning “the land of the yellow sea of Kane.”) According to the same folklore, the names of the next three largest islands in the Hawaiian chain—Kauai, Oahu, and Maui—come from the names of Hawai’iloa’s sons. But according to linguists, “Hawaii” is similar to words found in other Polynesian languages—including Maori and Samoan—that mean something along the lines of “homeland,” and “Hawaii” probably once had that same meaning.

Bonus Fact: The Hawaiian word lulu means “calm,” and the name of Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu, means “calm port.”

MARTHA’S VINEYARD

(Image credit: Arwcheek)

Martha’s Vineyard is a small island (25 miles…