You’re aware of the allure of the aloha of the Hawaiian Islands and you’re familiar with the not-so-modest charms of Martha’s Vineyard. These notable island getaways offer amazing restaurants, pretty parks and beaches, and an oh-so-appealing vibe.
But what does it cost to live on an island? For you. Yes, you! We surveyed the prices on 10 islands across the country, and learned what you can expect to pay for a home or condo on these idyllic isles.
Some locales surrounded by water are surprisingly affordable while other island homes might leave you swimming in debt. Come island hopping with us, and see if you’re ready to take the leap into full-time island life…
Median list price: $1,224,000
Do you plan to have family visiting the Gulf Coast as soon as the first snowflakes begin to fall in the North? Then you’d better spring for this five-bedroom, four-bath home on the island’s north end. Built in 1967—but it’s not dated—the $1.5 million home comes with a pool. Prices hover under a million if you opt to live small, like in this two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,752-square-foot home listed for $799,900 and across the street from the beach. Check out the pond in the backyard!
Median list price: $469,000
This island is way more populated in summer, which means you have the trails (for hiking or skiing) to yourself the rest of the year. You can achieve your innkeeper dreams with this 10-bedroom, six-bath Victorian dating to the 1880s (listing for $2.95 million), or downsize to a darling three-bedroom condo for $399,900 near the famous Grand Hotel and boasting water views. Just don’t put a garage on your wish list: The island is car-free.
Median list price: $2 million
Summer is when this island off the coast of Hyannis heats up, but locals will tell you that the offseason is magic. That’s when you get beaches and restaurants all to yourself. While it isn’t cheap to call Nantucket home, listing prices can vary. Spread out in a five-bedroom, Federal-style mansion (listed for $5.12 million) on highly desirable India Street (a short walk to Main Street’s shops and restaurants), or live near the island’s South Shore beaches for $1.43 million in this cozy newer home with four bedrooms, a wide deck, and a finished basement.
Median list price: $1,149,000
If you desire a Mediterranean climate and nightlife and access to the big city—Los Angeles County is a 22-mile ferry ride away—then the most populated of the Channel Islands might be your utopia. Try a one-bedroom villa in Hamilton Cove—which boasts a private beach—in Avalon, listed for $599,950. Or snap up this 1929 Spanish-style abode, also in Avalon, with a newly remodeled kitchen for $1.29 million. You can use the in-law suite to host all your jealous L.A. friends.
Median list price: $692,500
Maine’s largest island has just 10,000 residents and is anchored by Bar Harbor (where half of the locals live) and Acadia National Park. In Bar Harbor, this Victorian-era, five-bedroom beauty runs $695,000 and includes a Scandinavian wood stove and a sauna. For a perfect weekend getaway, this two-bedroom cottage in Bar Harbor will run you $249,900. It comes with a cedar-shake outbuilding and garden shed.
Median list price: $1.2 million
With Manhattan housing prices on the march, it’s tempting to put all your money into a Fire Island cottage. This four-bedroom home listed for $510,000—and new to the market—flaunts a private boardwalk to the beach plus multiple decks for grilling. There’s also this contemporary home, which comes with a pool. Listed for $1,150,000, it features a floating staircase and beamed ceilings.
Median list price: $610,000
The housing stock on the largest of the San Juan Islands skews both cute and contemporary. A perfect example is this three-bedroom, yellow Craftsman with a farmhouse sink and vaulted ceilings, listed for $629,000. You could also make a statement with this octagonal four-bedroom home on a 10-acre lot, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Hank Schubart. It’s on the market for $4.98 million.
Median list price: $275,000
Fifty miles southeast of Houston lies this barrier island hugging the Gulf of Mexico. A two-bedroom midcentury modern in Fish Village listed for $167,900 comes with updates in the bath and kitchen, and a fenced yard that’s perfect for a dog. This two-bedroom condo with water views—built in 1996—and across from Babe’s Beach is already plugged into a vacation rental program. It’s on the market for $265,000.
Median list price: $1.2 million
Many homes on this island—with just 1,000 residents—feature cedar-shake shingle, including this darling three-bedroom home (listed for $2.3 million) hugging Cormorant Cove. Or you can realize all your design ambitions with this former church, on the market for $939,000. Five bedrooms are already carved out, and architectural details like the stained-glass windows have been thoughtfully preserved.
Median list price: $489,000
Condos are affordable here. There’s a one-bedroom unit across the street from South Forest Beach listed for $210,000. Or you could go glam with this 4,214-square-foot property with four bedrooms, listed for $875,000. Located on Ribaut Island, and built in 1995, it features fireplaces, an elegant entryway, custom cabinetry, and a soaking tub in the master suite.