Gilligan's Island is a typical South Pacific tropical Island with beaches, mountains, jungles, and a lagoon. It was where the seven passengers aboard the S.S. Minnow were marooned. It is also in the target line of the United States Air Force experimental missile range. The neighboring islands are inhabited by Natives that practice rites similar to Voodoo (a Caribbean religion from Africa) and collect the heads of rival tribes. There are a few friendly tribes often visited by sailors who explore the islands in the area. Gilligan saves a female native from one tribe while a local chieftain appears on the island in search of a White Goddess.
Gilligan's island is said to be "a tiny island somewhere in the South Pacific." Though, throughout the series, such features as quick-sand, an active volcano, staggering mountains, and not to mention extensive jungles add to it all. It's unexplained how all these landmarks fit on such a small island. However, it does have the trappings of paradise, even Ginger at one point calls it a great place to film a movie in Goodbye Island. Although it is described as "a tiny island," it probably ranges in size somewhere between 200 to 400 square miles (500 to 1000 square kilometers) or the size of a typical South Pacific Island.
The island's position is also uncertain as the Skipper and the Professor have different ideas on its position. In the X Marks the Spot, the island's position is said to be about 140 longitude by 10 latitude as according to the Professor. However, in the episode Big Man on a Little Stick, the Skipper tells surfer Duke Williams that their position is approximately 110 longitude by 10 latitude. Furthermore, in It's a Bird, It's a Plane, when the US Navy see Gilligan flying over the island, the location is reported as 250 miles south of Hawaii; so possibly, during their time on the island, the Skipper and Professor are constantly refining and recalculating their position based on storm reports through the radio. Despite being reportedly "uncharted," it is known the island was used as a temporary landing field and air field for the Army Air Corp during World War Two, due to the Quonset hut and Air Force planes found much later on the island. In Gilligan Goes Gung-Ho, at least one Coast Guard pilot mentions that he knows about the island not being on the map and convinces the other pilot to fly over it. During his time on the island, Mr. Howell repeatedly mentions his plans and intentions to make the island a resort; he finally succeeds at this with the creation of The Castaways Resort.
Different real-life islands are also portrayed as being the island in the first season's theme song and that of the second season as well as in different shots in different episodes. The photo at upper left from Forward March and Man With a Net episode show approximate maps of the Island; although in Splashdown, it shows a different map of the island from space which leaves out the mountains and clearings. Apparently, there is a small lagoon a short walk from the hut area and a wide beach where the S.S. Minnow was shown wrecked in the First Season; a continuity error for the Second and Third episode opening credits scenes that show the wreck of the SS Minnow on the lagoon.
- crows in The Sound of Quacking
- fruit bats
- orangutan in Our Vines Have Tender Apes
- parrots in New Neighbor Sam, Don't Bug the Mosquitoes and Voodoo
- six-foot spider
- wild boar in Where There's a Will
- woodpecker in Two on a Raft and Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
- big rock on north side near a hollow log in The Kidnapper
- Caves in numerous episodes
- cliffs in Take A Dare, Man With a Net and Agonized Labor
- a gold mine in The Big Gold Strike
- the lagoon
- a mountain range in Man With a Net
- a mud bog in High Man on the Totem Pole
- a quicksand pit in Where There's a Will and Man With a Net
- statue of a wooden idol on south end in The Kidnapper
- volcano in Operation: Steam Heat and Man With a Net (mentioned only)
- the waterfall
- freshwater (Water Water Everywhere)
- keptiburra/captivora berries (Topsy-Turvy)
- mind-reading seeds (Seer Gilligan)
- natural gas (Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy and Sorry, You've Been Disconnected)
- oleander (Not Guilty)
- rubber trees (Sorry, You've Been Disconnected)
- scheelite phosphorescent rocks (Gilligan Goes Gung-Ho)
- wasubi berries (Agonized Labor)
- Two separate islands were used in the opening credits of the series. One was Sandy Cay, a 3-acre island near the Bahamas in the Caribbean. It is now one of the many destinations featured on Disney Cruise Lines, most likely being Castaway Cay, but it is unknown which of the islands were filmed. The island seen from a distance during the color episodes was Mokuoloe ("Coconut Island") near Oahu which covers 28-acres in size.
- The beach scenes in Two on a Raft were filmed at Zuma Beach near Malibu, California.