The Most Affordable Beach Towns in America
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10. Portland, Maine
Median home price: $357,682
While it might not seem like your traditional sun-kissed and barefoot beach town, picturesque Portland has tons to offer in the way of culture, bars, restaurants, and beautiful scenery. The city’s southern end is a draw for water lovers, with a small beach and easy access to paddleboarding and kayaking. But those searching for true beachy bliss can also set down roots in nearby Scarborough, a classic summer escape with wide beaches and loads of nature trails. Median listing prices here come in at $410K (slightly higher than Portland metro), but quaint Cape Cods or Colonials can also be snagged in the high 300s, according to a local realtor.
9. Morehead City, North Carolina
Median home price: $327,589
Located just west of Cape Lookout National Seashore on the Bogue Sound, Morehead City is a mainland gem with easy access to the Atlantic. Protected by a barrier island, the town boasts pristine beaches and calm waters perfect for launching a paddleboard or simply toddling around in the shallow surf with little ones. If a boat is part of your life-on-the-beach plans, waterfront properties with docks included are easy to find here—and all for a rather reasonable median list price of $327K.
8. Salisbury, Maryland
Median home price: $314,396
For many, the Eastern Shore is the paradigm for perfect living. Between the crab shacks and culture, the history and wildlife, there’s plenty to love about this stretch of land between the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay. In Salisbury—the largest city on the Maryland Eastern Shore—residents enjoy all that plus museums, nationally recognized festivals, and a solid brew scene. If the classic beach scene is more your thing, venture out into the Salisbury metro area to Ocean City, where a two-bedroom condo with ocean views can be scored for around $250K.
7. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Median home price: $284,873
With wide beaches, a three-mile boardwalk, and a growing restaurant and bar scene, Virginia Beach hits the perfect balance between laid-back beach town and bustling city. As a whole, the region is blessed with plenty of water, from the Atlantic to the Chesapeake Bay and its multiple river offshoots. So, while beachfront homes in the heart of Virginia Beach can cost upwards of $500K, deals can be found on waterfront homes easily in nearby communities. In Sandbridge, a community just north of the city, bargain hunters can find three-bedroom beachside condos for less than $300k.
6. Port St. Lucie, Florida
Median home price: $279,696
Thanks to the Sunshine State’s miles of coastline and variety of affordable beachfront towns, retiring to paradise has become much more than a pipe dream for many in the 65-and-up set. According to the U.S. Census, one-fifth of the population of Port St. Lucie—a tiny Atlantic Coast getaway halfway between Miami and Orlando—fall into that age bracket. And with stunning beaches, golf courses, and state parks, we can see why the town would be a popular choice for living out the best years of one’s life. Median list prices here hover in the mid-$200Ks, and that includes one- and two-bedroom condos right on the beach.
5. Palm Bay, Florida
Median home price: $269,393
Just north of Port St. Lucie, Palm Bay is another Florida fave and home to one of the southernmost surf beaches in the state. (New hobby, anyone?) With vacation hot spot Cocoa Beach just a short drive away, Palm Bay has all the laid-back charm of its Space Coast cousins, minus the summer traffic. Median list prices in town fall just under $270K, though venture north or south along the barrier island and you can wake up to the sound of the waves for less than $200K.
4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Median home price: $245,233
Millions of visitors flock to Myrtle Beach’s sunny shores every year, but full-time (and even part-time) residence here comes with its own pleasures, like access to the area’s 60 miles of sandy beaches during non-peak seasons. (The Myrtle Beach area does enjoy 215 sunny days each year, on average, after all.)
3. Atlantic City, New Jersey
Median home price: $241,655
For a city once devastated by a sinking economy and a powerful hurricane, Atlantic City seems to be finding its stride again, with a rebuilt boardwalk, revamped resorts, and a burgeoning food scene. Just quick drives from both Philadelphia and New York City, the beach town is a natural escape for city slickers—and with a median list price in the mid-$200Ks, it's a welcome vacation from exorbitant real estate costs, too.
2. Aberdeen, Washington
Median home price: $229,564
As the only West coast town to make the list, Aberdeen is a solid choice for those who prefer cooler Pacific Northwest climates and gorgeous green scenery. Known as the “gateway to the Olympic Peninsula,” the town sits directly on a bay that opens up to the Pacific. Direct beachfront beckons nearby in the community of Westport, where single-family homes go for $150K - $200K (though they might not be right on the sand).
1. Jacksonville, North Carolina
Median home price: $198,846
If what you value most in life are great values, point your real estate search to none other than this town just north of Wilmington. With a median list price coming in below $200K, the city ranked first in Realtor.com’s list of the most affordable beach towns for 2019. As for what you get for that bargain? The Jacksonville metro area, a popular escape for second homeowners and snowbirds, boasts an especially long beach season (you can enjoy the water from late March through October), a sea turtle rescue center, and some of the most beautiful sunrise and sunset views around.