Clayton, New York
Travel time: 5.5 hours.
Size: Sleeps 18.
Dates: Most of June and July.
Price: $3,950–$5,950 per week or $14,500–$17,900 per month.
It’ll just be you, a gaggle of Canada geese, and up to seventeen of your friends on Watch Island, a 1.1-acre spit of land in the St. Lawrence River, 60 miles north of Syracuse. Get there via a ten-minute water-taxi ride (Clayton Island Tours; 315-686-4820) that departs from the Clayton Village Docks, or rent your own vessel from Chalk’s Marina (from $100 a week; 18221 Reed Point Rd., Fisher’s Landing; 315-686-4125). The ten-bedroom 1895 Victorian is the former summer home of financier and railroad heir Walter Jerome Green. The current owner, Marilyn Colangelo, bought the place in 1997, spent years restoring it, and has stocked it with anything you could possibly need, including books, movies, beach chairs, bikes, canoes, and paddleboats. For a night on the town, the Clayton Opera House (405 Riverside Dr.; 315-686-2200) is fifteen minutes away by boat.