Owner: Ted Turner
Purchase price: $2 million
Media mogul Ted Turner, who is one of the largest private landholders in the U.S., bought St. Phillips Island, off the South Carolina coast in 1979 – a year before he launched CNN.
The 5,512 acre-island of marsh and woodlands was a perfect fit for Turner, who is known for buying land and restoring it to its natural habitat. The purchase also included a 298-acre landing area on neighboring St. Helena island, which is inhabited by a group of Gullah descendants. The area was a communal refuge for this group of African Americans, who have maintained vestiges of African speech and customs, where they could hunt, fish and gather without restrictions. A dispute over the land resulted in a lawsuit by Turner, who eventually dropped the suit and donated 68 acres of the disputed property to the group in 2002.
The St. Phillips island remains private and is under the watch of a caretaker.