The Most Beautiful Tropical Islands Where Celebrities Vacation

There's never a bad time to plan a vacation to a tropical island. Think of the sun, the sand, the sea, and the serious sessions of serenity that await. Some islands attract large numbers of tourists, either thanks to their size or well-developed facilities. Places like Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, have carved out a name for themselves as dependable, mass-market, tropical destinations, with scores of properties and a fully rounded infrastructure to support the crowds. Other locations manage to pull in globally renowned figures, these include tropical islands that might be exclusive, remote, or just plain irresistible. 


Visiting a tropical island where celebrities vacation is exciting in its own right. It allows travelers that frisson of pleasure, knowing that perhaps their movie, political, or sports idol may have stood in the very same spot as them, a degree-of-separation scenario with a travel kink. Islands all over the world have welcomed celebrities, but some seem to have a knack for consistently attracting them — like the ones listed here.

Anguilla, Caribbean

Situated just north of the Dutch-French island Sint Maarten (St. Martin), Anguilla has gained a reputation as one of the more upscale isles in the Caribbean. Of course, plenty of great beaches are here, with 33 strips of sand dotted all around the island. There are also sea caves and biking and hiking routes to explore. Adding to Anguilla's allure for the rich and famous are the plethora of expensive properties peppered around it, with $500-plus per night room rates being quite common. 


The combination of factors has helped to attract some heavyweights in music, film, and sport. From the silver screen, Denzel Washington and Sandra Bullock have both been spotted here, while basketball legend Michael Jordan came here some years ago to celebrate a birthday. Singer Justin Timberlake was clearly taken by the island's charms, slotting it into the lyrics of his song "My Love" as a place where he chills.

Antigua, Caribbean

Another gem for sand lovers, this Caribbean isle has 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. Part of a twin-island nation along with Barbuda, Antigua has 95 miles of coastline, a heavily indented shore that curves, curls, twists, and bends to form a multitude of coves, bays, and headlands. Among the picks of the beaches are Galley Bay Beach, Long Bay Beach, and Deep Bay Beach, which all yield clear turquoise waters. Beyond the beaches, the island has a number of attractions. Betty's Hope is a former sugar plantation dating to the mid-1600s; today, it features a pair of restored windmills. 


A pretty natural wonder is the Devil's Bridge, a finger of limestone that extends over the water, eroded by the relentless action of wind and salt water. The view from Shirley Heights Lookout, an updated fortification set on a hill, takes in panoramic vistas of the island and some of its harbors. A-listers that have stayed in Antigua include Sir Paul McCartney, Will Smith, and Mariah Carey, who have all booked a room at Jumby Bay Island resort. Soccer icon Lionel Messi even spent his honeymoon at the resort in 2017.

Bali, Indonesia

One of Asia's most popular vacation islands and perhaps the most famous island in Indonesia in terms of tourism, Bali is certainly a tropical hot spot. Celebrity visitors have ranged from Kim Kardashian and Tyra Banks to Millie Bobby Brown and Vanessa Hudgens. There are direct international flights to the island from many countries, including Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Qatar, UAE, India, Turkey, Japan, and Thailand. An island known for its thriving Hindu culture, Bali is a place of temples, processions, verdant fields, and numerous beaches. 


There's also a party vibe in parts of Bali, like Kuta and Seminyak, that draw international visitors. But for some, Bali is a destination with rich spirituality, and yoga retreats are indeed plentiful. The "pray" section of the bestseller "Eat, Pray, Love," for example, takes place in the central town of Ubud, where rice paddies extend as far as the eye can see.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Just say the name of this island in the South Pacific, and the mind will effortlessly wander to images of lazy palm trees rustling in the wind, verdant, steep mountain slopes, and impossibly crystal clear lagoons filled with marine life. This tropical island has long weaved a spell for romance, and our honeymoon guide to Bora Bora shows why it makes for a fine destination for lovers. It's also a place where properties have beautiful overwater bungalows worth booking for a vacation treat or special occasion. 


It's little wonder, then, that the island, which is, in fact, the crater of a former volcano formed millions of years ago, attracts couples looking for some alone time. Many celebrities have holed up in the island's plush properties, including Jennifer Aniston, who vacationed here with Justin Theroux, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, as well as Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello.  What they found was a destination of great beauty and sharp, contrasting colors, from the greens of Mount Otemanu to the blues of the lagoon and ocean.

Cuba, Caribbean

This island sits about 100 miles from the coast of the United States — on a world map, the long, slender finger looks close enough to flick the broad peninsula of Florida. Cuba is a place where you will find unique experiences that you can only have in the Caribbean, an island where 1950s American cars navigate the streets on a daily basis. Visitors will experience historic buildings and expanses of nature. The island is also a fount of culture, from homegrown dances like son and mambo to infectious music like salsa. 


This might be why musical artists like Madonna, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Usher are drawn to the island. Cuba also has great beaches and offers the chance to experience a society that is, in part, still rooted in decades past. Cuba, of course, is famous for its cigars, prized by aficionados around the world and rolled from tobacco grown in specific regions of the island.

Jamaica, Caribbean

This island has brought the world plenty to cheer about, from the world's fastest man — the inimitable Usain Bolt — to the syncopated, melodic beats of reggae. It's a land of great variety, from the undulating Blue Mountains, where coffee grows, to the many fine beaches that line its shores to waterfalls around the island. The country, which gained independence from the British in 1962, is a popular destination for U.S. vacationers. Direct flights to Jamaica via carriers such as American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, and United are available. 


The U.S., in fact, is the main driver of international tourism to the island. The ease of access and a well-developed tourism infrastructure has ensured that visits to Jamaica remain strong. It might help to explain the variety of celebrity vacationers to the country, an eclectic bunch that range from politicians to performers. Justin Trudeau, Janet Yellen, Tracee Ellis Ross, Burna Boy, Dua Lipa, and Chance the Rapper have all visited the island in the last couple of years.

Lord Howe Island, Australia

Even deep into the 1700s, this island off the coast of Australia was largely unknown. Its discovery was thanks to a British naval officer, who stumbled upon it while sailing from Sydney to a remote penal outpost in the South Pacific. The officer named the island after the British admiral at the time, and the name stuck. Lord Howe Island is still remote, and getting here, for many visitors, entails a two-hour flight from Sydney. It's a largely wild destination, shaped vaguely like a boomerang, and consists of peaks and parkland on its southern half.


Lord Howe Island has a handful of resorts, some very plush, and many beaches pepper its coastline. Diving here is intriguing; the island sits at the meeting points of many oceanic currents and lures adventurers with unique endemic species. Guests that have enjoyed the island's many pleasures, both on and off terra firma, are Chris Hemsworth, Blake Lively, and Ryan Reynolds.

The Maldives

Bursting with kid-friendly resorts that make for a perfect family destination, the Maldives aren't actually a single island but an archipelago separated into atolls in the Indian Ocean. More than 1,000 islands across the ocean appear like gems set in a sea of glimmering turquoise, and on many of them, visitors will find island resorts with overwater bungalows hovering about calm water. Some are close to colorful reefs, where marine life includes whales, sharks, turtles, and dolphins. 


The single-island properties have done a fine job of positioning themselves as tropical paradises, one-stop shops where accommodation, dining, entertainment, and activities mean that guests never need to leave. This might be part of the appeal for celebrities, who can unwind away from prying paparazzi (getting to some island resorts requires a seaplane transfer, making it hard for photographers to tail the stars). It could explain why so many celebs have vacationed in the Maldives. Household names like Kate Moss, Rita Ora, Serena Williams, Adrien Brody, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kate Winslet, Gordon Ramsay, Shakira, David Beckham, Idris Elba, and many more have all vacationed here.

Maui, Hawaii, USA

For fans of the great outdoors, Maui has so much to offer. Visitors can soak up rays and cool off in the Pacific at the island's countless beaches. For hikers, there are numerous trails in the fecund, mountainous interiors. Offshore, water sports beckon, from snorkeling and diving to kayaking and boat excursions. Maui is also the home of one of the most beautiful drives anywhere in the world. The Road to Hana might only be 52 miles in length from Kahului to Hana, but it packs plenty into the compact stretch. 


A winding, curling drive, which can take hours to complete, it features more than 600 curves, and almost 60 bridges, some of them only a single lane in width. Along the way, drivers can take in fine coastal views, pulsing waterfalls, and endless expanses of ocean. Celebrity visitors like Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, and Oprah Winfrey might have marveled at such scenery when they vacationed on the island.

Miami Beach, Florida, USA

Technically a barrier island, Miami Beach has long been a magnet for vacationers in search of a little sizzle. Its southern part, logically called South Beach, has some fine Art Deco buildings and even an official Art Deco Historic District. Situated between 5th Street and 23rd Street and a few avenues in width, the district has a deep concentration of sensually curved, stylish structures that celebrate the architectural vernacular from the 1920s and 1930s. 


Miami Beach is also where local homeowners, including Jennifer Lopez, David Beckham, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, as well as celebrities like John Mayer, Hilary Swank, and Kate Hudson, come to take a break. By daytime, the long stretches of beachfront call out to sun-seekers, while nightfall is when Miami Beach really springs to life. Options include clubs that spread across multiple floors, hotel bars with live music, and restaurants where DJ sets inject a bit of oomph into the eating experience.

Mustique, Caribbean

As Caribbean islands go, Mustique might just fly under the radar. That's because this slip of land that's technically part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a private island. It's served by Air Adelphi, a small operation that's owned by The Mustique Company (the island's owners), with flight connections to Barbados, Martinique, and St Lucia. Some visitors also come by boat, but they are in the minority. This air of exclusivity and privacy has led celebrities like Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger to purchase homes here, enjoying the island's green, hilly, trail-filled interior and wealth of beaches on the Atlantic and Caribbean. 


But visitors who don't own property aren't excluded, as there are many rental villas available on the island. Another option is the 17-room Cotton House, drafted in the 1960s by a well-known British theater set designer. Prior celeb guests of Mustique include Johnny Depp, Jon Bon Jovi, and Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, who honeymooned there.

Necker Island, Caribbean

This one is another private island, but this time round, the owner is not a corporate entity. Necker Island belongs to Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur behind the Virgin Group. Its business interests have ranged from a music label and hotels to an airline and space venture. Funnily, Necker Island sits close to Virgin Gorda, which isn't part of the business empire. The private island spreads across 74 acres, and visitors will find a few modest hills, some wind turbines, and a scattering of beaches. 


It's a supremely peaceful place, and for most of the year, the island's 24 rooms are booked completely. For specific days of the year, however, visitors do have the option of reserving rooms, though exclusive luxury doesn't come cheap — expect to pay thousands of dollars per night per room. The sky-high rates make it little wonder that previous guests include the likes of Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Nelson Mandela, and Princess Diana.

Phuket, Thailand

The largest island in Thailand is blessed with some exceptional beaches, great swimming, and lots of opportunities for snorkeling. Lounging on the sand is a big part of the appeal for vacationers there, and Phuket has been enjoyed by Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Naomi Campbell. But the beaches aren't everything on the island. Travelers can take in the sight of a giant Buddha statue, a gleaming white structure that sits atop a hill and comes with fine coastal views. It rises nearly 150 feet in the air and features white marble from Myanmar. 


Phuket is also a launching pad for trips to the islands of the Andaman Sea, where karst cliffs rise out of the water to create a true spectacle. One annual event in Phuket, which is not for the faint-hearted, is the island's annual Vegetarian Festival. Held usually in the last quarter of the year, it features devotees that undertake acts like body piercing and walking over burning coal as marks of spiritual devotion.

St Barts, Caribbean

Also known as St Barths and Saint Barthelemy, this upscale French-Caribbean island has welcomed the likes of Heidi Klum and Ben Affleck as vacationers. As with many Caribbean islands, it's a place with fantastic beaches — travelers can simply unwind or slide into calm turquoise seas. For some, its shopping scene is a big draw. In Gustavia, the capital of St Barts, buildings with red tile roofs are home to luxury brand boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès.


The town itself has a fascinating history, with a French and Scandinavian background and vestiges of once-mighty forts. For visitors looking for some privacy, St Barts supplies a number of posh hotels, often located on some of the island's finest beaches, like Flamands, Pointe Milou, and St Jean. For a greater sense of seclusion, private villas are available for rent, though few sit right by the water.

Turks and Caicos, Caribbean

The list of celebrities that have vacationed here extends across many genres — Bill Gates, Brad Pitt, Katie Couric, Justin Bieber, Shaquille O'Neal, Sofia Vergara, and John Legend are among the well-known names. The islands of this British territory have excellent beaches, as our story on the best beaches of the Turks and Caicos shows. For fans of the sea, they supply a smart choice for rest and relaxation. 


One beach also comes with some bragging rights since it is among the best beaches in the Caribbean (Grace Bay Beach, on the island of Providenciales, actually snags the top spot). As expected in a destination where the water is calm, clear, and sky blue, water sports options are plentiful. Visitors will find it easy to arrange trips for snorkeling, fishing, kite surfing, kayaking, and more. There are also boat trips to the smaller islands, or cays, where the facilities are limited, but the beaches are often refreshingly empty.

Turtle Island, Fiji

Reached by seaplane 30 minutes from Nadi, home to Fiji's international airport, Turtle Island is a private island resort that seems to pull in couples. Its website even promotes honeymoon packages, where newlyweds or betrotheds can secrete themselves in one of the island's 14 thatch-roof bures (bungalows). The recurring message that it's a spot for romance has pulled in musicians in search of some couple time — Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, and Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson have all stayed here during happier times. 


Part of the Yasawa archipelago, the island has 12 beaches and soft sand that cedes turquoise seas and a clear lagoon. The property is all-inclusive, and the curated experience means that meals can be taken on a secluded beach or on a floating dock under a starlit sky. Couples can connect further during beachfront massages, rides on horseback, or snorkeling trips over vibrant reefs.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

An island off the coast of Tanzania, north of the city Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar is a fascinating destination on many fronts. The Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a settlement gradually shaped by centuries of commerce by different races. Here, visitors will be able to see the influence of traders from India, Europe, and Arab nations. Buildings use construction methods that draw on all these strands, while other structures were built atop those from earlier settlers. 


The Anglican Cathedral, for instance, was built where a former slave market once stood, and travelers can learn about the history of the slave trade through displays and photos. The island's narrow winding alleys, lively trading, and fine beaches make it an atmospheric place to explore, as this Zanzibar travel guide detailing where to go and what to do exhibits. Such charm might be why A-listers like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have visited in the last few years.