On Monday, in honor of Islands Week, we asked Atlas Obscura readers to draw us a picture of their personal fantasy islands, and boy did they deliver! We received submissions from readers young and old, all full of fun and creative details.
Entries included islands full of cats (there were several of those, in fact), political strongholds, simple sandbar paradises, intricate hidden bases, guinea pig sanctuaries, and poetic dreamscapes. Above, reader Lori Wike drew us her vision for what she calls Elsinore Heron Isle: “The Elsinore Heron is a Danish bird, known for indecisiveness. The isle’s rocky palindrome shoreline warns of tidal dangers. Plus: a kayak.” Pretty cool, Lori.
While we couldn’t include all of the fantasy island maps we received, we’ve compiled our favorites below. Thanks to everyone who participated, and keep those island dreams alive!
I thought about islands as a place to escape to and as safe havens in the middle of dangerous seas. That brought me to thinking about migrants and asylum seekers trying to cross the Mediterranean and I ended up drawing this: Isola di Benvenuto, or “Welcome Island.”
Situated in the middle of the Med, it’s an island where migrants can stop on their way to the European mainland for a while where they are guaranteed safety and comfort. It has facilities for harboring and repairing boats, medical facilities, clean accommodation, educational facilities (I’m an English teacher, so I’m always thinking about that!), offices to help with visas and bureaucracy, and lush gardens that act as peaceful, serene spaces.—James Clayton, Manchester, England
My girlfriend loves cats and when I saw your article about imagining a fantasy island, the first thing I thought of was an island filled with countless happy, carefree cats. Partly inspired by those strange rocky islands you see covered with sea birds, I thought how strange it would be if they were cats instead!—Evan Clark, Los Angeles, California
Alan Rogers’ Island
The North coast would consist of a tall cliff to act as a wind-break. The home would consist of a Quonset hut with glass ends with doors at each end. There would be solar panels covering the entire Southern walls except for the thin windows. I would also have a fairly large garden for fresh veggies and fruits.—Alan Rogers
The Pirate Nebula
Welcome to the Pirate Nebula, a communist nation comprised of multiple small states, each with a speciality and industry. I’ve been working on the Pirate Nebula maps since I was 8 and this specific map is the ninth draft, drawn when I was 13. […] To me, this map is a memento from my childhood, a reminder of times when Vikings, Bolsheviks, and Olympians shared a nation in the middle of the sea.—Bilal Moin, Mumbai, India
It’s purrfect.—Maggie Hugie
We recommend lunch at Chez Guinea (try the pancakes!). Be warned that smugly blabbering about how people in some countries eat guinea pigs is not only rude, but punishable by death. The local currency is obviously the Guinea. If you plan to visit during mating season, bring earplugs to block the enthusiastic squeaks of the thousands of impassioned guinea pigs.—Robin Hollinger, Florida
Plenty of room for me and friends and plenty of room for a small eco-friendly resort with solar, wind, and tidal power sources. I created a mountain named after my father and a lake named after my grandmother. I like go-carts, and pirates. I like bamboo and redwoods. By the way, I am 64 years young.—Paul Warshauer, Minnesota
Be sure and take a guided tour of the Game Preserve and check out the many mythical creatures who are protected on this island. If you are accessing the island by boat, please come in from the north so as to avoid contact with the Isle of the Darned, which is infested with crooked lawyers.—Mark Wolfe
Madi P.’s Island
I read Atlas every day. I am 8. Look at my cool map of my island. I have:
- a town
- a forest
- a castle
- a dock
- a pond with a duck in it
- a pterodactyl
I hope you like it!—Madi P.
Ben P.’s Island
I am 11 and I made an island map! I really like it and I hope you like it too.
- there is skull mountain
- the mystical dancing kitty of wonder is dancing and wondrous
- a small village with a big castle
- I have a gold mine and a swamp too
- there is a mountain range
- the witch’s hut guards the treasure
That is my map. Please put the map on the Atlas. Thanks!—Ben P.
St. Bean’s Island
Fairy Skul Island
It is full of fairies that live in a “skul” rock, which has long teeth and is happy. There are volcanoes next to the rock, and there are many birds flying about.—Sasha Koptev
As the name suggests, the two islands are shaped like a turtle. It has a wealth of features to explore: two volcanoes, a hot springs with a geyser, a swamp featuring the elusive Mokele-mbambe, a central river, hills, caves, beaches, and mangroves. All largely unspoiled!—Whit Durham, Washington, D.C.
—Nancy Douglas, Riverside, California
Ericka Kendall’s Island
It is accessible, but I am the only one who can remember that it exists. I can bring people here, but as soon as they leave, they have no memory of being there, unless I want them to. It may not be my full-time home, but I can teleport there any time. Still, there will be a boat for fun. It’s big enough that I can explore, but small enough that I can get around without a vehicle. Maybe I can teleport between places on the island, even. Animals of all varieties live together in harmony, and they are all friendly with me and my guests. My husband is also part of this island, but he has his own bathroom, and in the A-frame is a double-king-size bed. Since it was suggested, a few ghosts might be nice. Not pirate ghosts, but a few mischievous ones would be cool.—Ericka Kendall
Upside Down Island
It is where the world is turned upside down. It is where men are pregnant, the poor are rich, where fish fish and where even the order of day and night is flipped front to back. —Robert Powell