Expect a “Key West vibe at a Costco price.”
Thanks to tony, McMansion-dotted enclaves like Malibu and East Hampton, beachfront living sometimes gets an elites-only rep. But, in reality, that’s not often the case. (Here are 10 wallet-friendly towns and real-life listings as proof!)
And if the laid-back vibes of a tiny beach town sounds like your perfect speed, AARP just wrangled up a list of cities across America where you can survive (and thrive!) for less than $40,000 per year—and Florida’s adorable Gulfport made the cut.
Related: The 10 Best Little Beach Towns in Florida
Situated just east of St. Pete Beach on an aquatic preserve, this small town of just over 12,000 offers residents a “Key West vibe at a Costco price,” according to AARP. Like its island cousin, Gulfport strikes a balance between charming and slightly offbeat, with white-sand beaches and brightly painted cottages sharing streets with quirky art shops and funky beach bars. (And as its answer to Key West’s famed Fantasy Fest, Gulfport proudly hosts its end-of-summer Geckofest—a hippie-themed celebration with street performers, art vendors, live music, and costume contests.)
But even on a practical level, Gulfport thrives with the retiree community, with median housing prices coming in at a reasonable $191,300. Just 10 minutes from the heart of St. Petersburg and 25 minutes to Tampa, access to healthcare is easy and quick. And, on a local level, volunteer-run organizations offer goods and services such as food, home repairs, and free rides around town—in addition to hosting regular community-wide street and beach cleanups.
Sounds like paradise to us, whether you’re looking to retire or not.