How billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson spend their vacations, from cruising on yachts to visiting private islands

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Jeff Bezos
Getty / Scott Olson
  • Vacations look a little different for the nation's billionaire executives.

  • Some own entire islands in Hawaii or the Caribbean, while others visit lavish vacation homes.

  • For Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt, cruising in a luxury yacht may be on the agenda.

Summer is nearly here, which means it's prime vacation season. But for the wealthy and powerful, vacations look a little different.

Take Meta's Mark Zuckerberg, for instance: He spends time surfing near his nearly 1,500 acres in Hawaii and at his super-private retreat on Lake Tahoe.

Or there's Tim Cook, Apple's billionaire CEO, who spends his time away from running the iPhone-maker exploring the national parks.

Take a look at how some of the nation's most high-powered billionaire execs spend their vacations.

When he's not in the San Francisco Bay area running Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg frequently travels to his nearly 1,500-acre estate on the north shore of the Hawaiian island Kauai. He's often spotted surfing or foiling in the waves off Kauai, which he says helps take his mind off work.

Meta's Mark Zuckerberg, a self-made billionaire.
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / Contributor / Getty

Source: Insider, Insider

Zuckerberg first put down roots on the island in 2014, and his presence there has frustrated locals due to what they say is a failure to respect the island's history, Insider has reported. Zuckerberg's representatives say he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, work closely with the community on issues like sustainability and wildlife conservation.

Kauai Hawaii
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Source: Insider

Zuckerberg has also spent tens of millions of dollars on a super-private estate on Lake Tahoe's west shore, just outside Tahoe City. Tahoe is a popular summertime destination for Bay Area residents, including Zuckerberg: He spent last Fourth of July foiling on the lake.

Two tourists paddle board on Lake Tahoe in 2019.
Two tourists paddle board on Lake Tahoe in 2019.AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Source: Insider, Insider

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been building an expensive real estate portfolio over the past few years, and his most recent addition makes for the perfect summer destination: a home in Maui, Hawaii.

Amazon Jeff Bezos spheres
Jeff Bezos at the opening of the Amazon Spheres in Seattle, Washington, in 2018.REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Source: Insider

Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, purchased the home, located in an isolated area on the island's south shore near lava fields, last October for a reported $78 million.

Maui Hawaii
A home in Maui, Hawaii, though not Bezos' property.ejs9/Getty Images

Source: Insider, Pacific Business News, New York Post

But Bezos seems to spend a lot of time vacationing since stepping down as Amazon CEO, and will soon have a new way to travel: a 417-foot mega-yacht that's expected to be one of the most luxurious yachts ever made.

superyacht
A mega-yacht, though not the one belonging to Bezos.3PhotoFilipposFilippou/Getty Images

Source: Insider

Michael Dell, who has a net worth of over $51 billion, has a lavish real estate empire that spans from Texas to New York City. But when it comes to vacation, Dell likely heads to Hawaii, where he owns a palatial estate called the "Raptor Residence."

Michael Dell
Michael DellTony Avelar/AP Images for Dell Inc.

Source: Bloomberg, Insider

Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the retreat is said to be 18,500 square feet and has seven bedrooms, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Akaka Falls
Akaka Falls are on the Big Island of Hawaii.Ted Soqui / Corbis via Getty Images

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin Group, doesn't just have a vacation home — he owns a whole island.

Richard Branson
Paul Kane/Getty Images

Source: Insider

Branson's Necker Island, part of the British Virgin Islands, spans 74 acres. Guests can book a room or rent out the whole island. Guests can partake in water sports, snorkeling, and sailing; play tennis; do yoga; or visit the spa. Branson said in 2013 that he has an office on the island and that "it's easy to attract people to come from all over the world, to plot and plan things."

A view of Necker Island
A view of Necker island.Todd VanSickle/AP

Source: Insider

Much like Branson, Oracle founder Larry Ellison also owns an entire island — or 98% of one anyway. But rather than one in the Caribbean, Ellison bought Lana'i, a small island that's part of Hawaii.

Larry Ellison
AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Source: Insider

Since purchasing Lana'i in 2012 for a reported $300 million, Ellison has worked to turn it into a wellness utopia, albeit for the ultra-wealthy: the island boasts a Four Seasons hotel and a Nobu, a high-end sushi restaurant. But residents of Lana'i have bristled at Ellison's ownership and many say they are now being priced out, according to Bloomberg.

Hawaiian island of Lanai owned by Larry Ellison.
The Hawaiian island of Lana'i, owned by Larry Ellison.Ted Soqui/Getty Images

Source: Insider, Bloomberg

Another billionaire who can't resist a Hawaii vacation is Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.

Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, wearing a sports coat jacket and in front of a blue background on a stage, extends his hands forward during a talk.
Marc BenioffNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Benioff, who's worth over $7 billion, spent $12.5 million on a 5-acre estate on the Big Island in 2000. The property seems to have multiple buildings and was assessed in 2020 at $22.2 million, according to Hawaii County tax records viewed by Pacific Business News.

Waves crash on a black sand beach on the Big Island of Hawaii
Marco Garcia/AP

Source: Bloomberg, Pacific Business News

Eric Schmidt has several options for a summer trip: The former Alphabet chairman has spent big on his yacht and luxury properties over the years, including mansions in California and a penthouse in New York City.

GettyImages 455029788
Eric SchmidtGetty

Source: Insider,  

In 2009, Schmidt bought a 194-foot luxury yacht called Oasis. The yacht reportedly boasts a pool and a gym-turned-nightclub and cost Schmidt $72.3 million.

eric schmidt oasis
Sean Gallup/Getty Images, Y.CO

Source: Insider

When he's not cruising on Oasis, Schmidt has several vacation homes to choose from, including his most recent purchase: a $22.6 million oceanfront retreat in Malibu, California, that he bought in April. The 3,500-square-foot home has floor-to-ceiling glass walls that overlook the beach and plenty of space for entertaining, according to real estate site Dirt.

People walk along the beach from a distance during low tide in Malibu, California
A beach in Malibu, California.Mark J. Terrill/AP

Source: Dirt

Apple CEO Tim Cook is known for being frugal: Despite his roughly $2 billion net worth, he doesn't seem to spend lavishly on yachts or vacation homes.

Tim Cook.JPG
Apple CEO Tim Cook.Reuters

Source: Forbes

Instead, Cook's go-to vacation is a trip to one of the national parks, he said on an episode of the Outside podcast in 2020. "I religiously go to some every year," he said, though he said his planned trip to Glacier National Park in 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic.

Kayaker paddles in lake at Glacier National Park in Montana
A kayaker on Kintla Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana.Matt Volz/AP

Source: Outside

Madeline Stone contributed to an earlier version of this story. 

Read the original article on Business Insider