17 Affordable Beach Towns in the U.S. Where You Can Actually Live

updated Apr 9, 2024
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Whether you’re looking to retire, start a remote job in a beautiful, sunny destination, or raise your family by the water, many of us dream of moving to the beach for a year-round vacation and warm winter climes. Thankfully, you don’t have to shell out half a million dollars (or more!) to achieve this goal as there are plenty of affordable coastal cities around the country to call home. Here, we’ve collected 17  of the cheapest beach towns to live in throughout the U.S., based on median home values under $400K.  and We’ve ordered each town from cheapest to most expensive so you can start planning your move ASAP.

1. Port Arthur, Texas

Cajun flavor infuses this Southeast Texas town, which is  equal parts history, culture, and nature. Between Lake Sabine, Sea Rim State Park, and Pleasure Island (a manmade island and entertainment hub), aquatic activities abound, including windsurfing, fishing, and boating. The Museum of the Gulf Coast displays items like a replica of Port Arthur native Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche and other quirky pieces.

2. Freeport, Texas

Outdoorsy types will love the simple life in Freeport, Texas, which is about 50 miles south of Houston. The town offers ample fishing opportunities, including charters and tours, and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, comprising 40,000 acres of wetlands and a huge variety of flora and fauna. Walk the boardwalks, hike the trails, or take a car tour of the preserve. Plus, you’re a short drive from  big-city living when you need it. 

3. Grand Isle, Louisiana

Grand Isle is located on a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s known for its state parks, fishing piers, and trail hiking. Although Hurricane Ida damaged much of this town, it has since rebuilt and is ready for tourists, visitors, and future home buyers.  

4. Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport is Mississippi’s second largest city after the capital, and it’s all about fun. In the waterfront entertainment district, people stroll with cocktails in to-go cups while taking in the diverse public art. Tourists can’t resist activities like zip-lining through the coastal canopies or boating to the scenic Ship Island. At the town’s picturesque harbor, you can charter a fishing boat and  toss a line into the Gulf to  guarantee a fresh catch for dinner. 

5. Brunswick, Georgia

Population: 14,629

Brunswick offers lowcountry living at an affordable price plus  the small town charm of a coastal Southern city. Considered  the gateway to Georgia’s famed Golden Isles, Brunswick is home to both Jekyll and Sea Islands, and  a charming historic district  with Victorian-era homes. The close-knit community gathers often to celebrate the area’s rich cultural history, cuisine, arts, and music, offering plenty of ways to get involved. 

6. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Another city known for its casino culture, Atlantic City is also famous for its wide beaches and classic boardwalk lined with souvenir shops, rides, arcades, and all the greasy food your heart desires. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but AC isn’t far behind. Gambling outposts, nightclubs, and lounges regularly host concerts, comedy acts, and other live entertainment.

7. Biloxi, Mississippi

Try your luck in Biloxi, a Gulf Coast city known for its  casinos and coastal cuisine. Locals and visitors alike let the good times roll in two entertainment districts. Those inclined to quieter pursuits may prefer to lounge on the white-sand beaches, hit the links on a championship golf course, or take a sunset sail on a schooner. You can even embark on a shrimping trip in Biloxi, once known as the Seafood Capital of the World.

8. Jacksonville, North Carolina

Jacksonville is a military town through and through, thanks to the presence of Camp Lejeune, the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast. Memorials and sites around town honor troops, including the Freedom Fountain, Lejeune Memorial Gardens, the Montford Point Marine Museum, and more. Outdoor activities like fishing and paddling are popular pastimes in addition to local sporting tournaments and events. 

9. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Nope, not that St. Louis. This is Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, a quaint seaside town with nautical character to spare. In addition to its alluring beaches, warm waters, and first-rate fishing, the town offers land-bound pleasures like art galleries, Creole cottages, and 19th-century abodes.

10. Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Ocean Springs oozes small town Southern charm. Its quaint main street is lined with old oak trees and  brick buildings sporting wrought-iron detailing, while three entertainment districts offer plenty of diversions. The town is also known for its artistic vibe and festivals, including Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival, Mississippi’s largest fine arts festival.

11. Pensacola, Florida

Located on the Florida panhandle, Pensacola is a popular vacation destination, thanks in large part to its gorgeous white-sand beaches and warm waters. History buffs are intrigued by its origins as a Spanish settlement, as illustrated at the Historic Pensacola Village, while aviation enthusiasts thrive in the local flying culture. Navy pilots train at  the Blue Angels Naval aerobatics team and the National Naval Aviation Museum.

12. Aberdeen, Washington

The  only West Coast contender, Aberdeen, is located at the mouth of Grays Harbor, formed by the Chehalis, Wishkah, and Hoquiam rivers in Washington. It offers a variety of parks; a popular spot is the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park, named in memory of the late Nirvana musician who was born here. After a day outside, stop into one of the town’s many coffee shops for a pick-me-up.

13. Daytona Beach, Florida

Population: 74,437

Famous for being the eponymous hosting site for one of NASCAR’s most famous races each winter and summer, Daytona Beach offers a prime location for plenty of adventures. It’s home to the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, one of the oldest in the U.S., one of the world’s most famous beaches, and close proximity to Orlando for Disney fanatics as well as the Kennedy Space Center for space aficionados. 

14. New London, Connecticut

Population: 27,635

Yes, it is possible to find your dream beach home in New England! Check out New London, located on the Thames River. This charming seaport city, previously the second-largest whaling port in the world,  opens out to Long Island Sound. Here you’ll find a range of amenities that contribute to the town’s unique culture and livability, such as the region’s major performing arts center, one of the country’s top liberal arts colleges, idyllic homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and wonderful beaches. 

15. Deerfield Beach, Florida

Population: 86,339

Get to Deerfield Beach while you can —  South Florida real estate is getting more competitive by the day. Located halfway between Miami and Palm Beach, this coastal city is home to an excellent pier for fishing, killer beaches for surfing and swimming, a popular boardwalk, and plenty of local bars and restaurants for kicking back after work. Plus, the city is home to numerous festivals, parades, and other celebrations year-round that keep its residents close. 

16. Crescent City, California

This Northern California beach town sits near the Oregon border and offers the same stunning views that more popular destinations like Orange County have. However, with a $1,700 price tag, you can afford to live out your beach house dreams here. 

17. Mastic Beach, New York

Population: $15,333

Southampton may not exactly fit the budget, but nearby Mastic Beach could be the perfect place to land. Located just 40 minutes away, this charming beach town is just as  family-friendly and picturesque . The city is home to an array of great restaurants, historical landmarks, and a national wildlife refuge to help you make the most of Atlantic coastal living.