In 2023, the experts at Realtor.com® have delved into the realm of data to unveil a list of America’s most affordable beach towns. These are not your typical luxury enclaves; they are the hidden gems, the charming corners, and the serene escapes that offer both affordability and the allure of coastal living.
Join us as we embark on a journey to explore these coastal havens that beckon with their sandy shores and promise of affordable beachfront living. It’s time to uncover the sun-soaked opportunities that could transform your vacation fantasies into an everyday reality.
Featured Image Credit: SHUNEVICH /Depositphotos.com.
Gulfport, Mississippi, a city with 26 miles of white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, takes the top spot on our list of affordable beach towns. This medium-sized city offers a blend of small-town charm and city life. You can enjoy shopping centers, casinos, sailing, and water-skiing here. Despite having faced hurricanes, Gulfport continues to be a popular destination, especially for snowbirds looking to escape northern winters. With a median price per square foot of $144, buyers can find a fully renovated condo just a five-minute walk from the beach for $225,000. Biloxi, MS, located nearby, is also a cost-effective option for beach homebuyers.
Newport News, Virginia, offers a rich history and access to both the James River and the Chesapeake Bay. This city, home to the largest shipyard in the nation, has several beaches to choose from. You can enjoy the Atlantic Ocean and James River beaches, along with nearby options like Buckroe Beach and Virginia Beach. Newport News is not just about history and beaches – it offers fishing, boating, and Civil War reenactments. With a median price per square foot of $150, Newport News provides opportunities like a three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo with a private beach for $150,000.
New London, Connecticut, might surprise you with its affordability, considering the state’s reputation for higher housing costs. Ocean Beach Park, a gem of a public beach, is one of the highlights here. Offering miles of sand, a boardwalk, and beachy entertainment, it’s a great spot for families. While Connecticut’s housing market can be pricey, New London offers more accessible options. With a median price per square foot of $175, you can find a four-bedroom home around the corner from Ocean Beach for around $257,000. It’s a true seaport town with a community feel that’s often overlooked.
Grand Isle, Louisiana, a tranquil town on a barrier island, is the smallest on our list, with around 1,000 residents. It’s known for quick beach access and the beautiful Grand Isle State Park, which offers hiking, camping, and fishing. For those seeking remote living, a small beach house on stilts can be found for less than $250,000. While its population might be small, the opportunities for outdoor activities and natural beauty are abundant.
Corpus Christi, Texas, with its 192 square miles of shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico, offers a range of beach options. From Corpus Christi Bay to Padre Island, there’s something for everyone. The city’s affordable prices are partly attributed to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. For around $270,000, you can get an updated, three-bedroom townhome facing a duck pond less than a mile from the bay. Plus, Corpus Christi is a paradise for windsurfing, kite boarding, and kite flying enthusiasts.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, is famous for its casinos and boardwalk, but it’s also a top choice for affordable beach living. With a median price per square foot of $213, it’s surprisingly cost-effective. The city’s homes are small, contributing to their affordability. Despite its past downturns, Atlantic City’s economy is on the rise, and it’s becoming a more attractive place to live. For under $170,000, you can find a relatively small, three-bedroom home just 500 feet from the beach—a great deal for beach living on a budget.
Navarre, Florida, offers pristine white sand beaches on the panhandle. It’s located across the Santa Rosa Sound from Navarre Beach, and residents have access to a fishing pier and scenic bike paths. With median home sizes larger than most on the list, Navarre also has higher home prices. For around $450,000, beach lovers can score a condo on Navarre Beach, or for about $100,000 less, own a home on the inside of the Santa Rosa Sound.
North Beach, Maryland, is nestled on the Chesapeake Bay, offering a laid-back vibe and a boardwalk with shops. For around $310,000, you can find a three-bedroom townhome just a 12-minute walk from the boardwalk. North Beach’s history as a getaway for vacation cottages gives it a unique charm, and its access to both beaches and parks makes it a desirable place to call home.
Crescent City, California, might surprise you with its inclusion on the list. As the northernmost location of any beach town on the list, it showcases the diversity of California’s coastline. Despite the colder waters, Crescent City draws in new residents with its lower prices. For under $300,000, you can find a 100-year-old, four-bedroom home just three blocks from Battery Point Beach.
Shirley, New York, offers affordable beach living on Long Island, with options like Outer Beach at Smith Point within easy reach. With a relatively low median price per square foot of $256, you can get a fully renovated, three-bedroom Cape Cod style home for about $240,000. Shirley might not be the Hamptons, but its beaches and value make it an attractive option.
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