10 Beach Towns You Can Actually Afford to Buy a House In
St. Marys, Georgia
Median listing price: $109,000
Small-town appeal makes this Southern city a sure thing for those looking for a more relaxed way of life. Stay close and hang out at locally owned restaurants, boutiques, and museums that showcase St. Marys spirit and soul. If you get the itch to explore, hop on the ferry to neighboring Cumberland Island National Seashore or head to Jacksonville, Florida, which is a quick 45-minute drive.
Median listing price: $280,000
With a choice position on the Columbia River, just a few miles from the Pacific, Astoria has a confluence of factors that add up to major Pacific Northwestern appeal. Think: outdoor recreating galore, nearby mountains and dense woods, Victorian- and Arts and Crafts- style architecture, authentic fishing industry grit — and, of course, craft beer.
Median listing price: $160,000
Want a spot where you can splash in the water year-round? This Gulf Coast town is the answer. Caribbean-quality beaches with calm waters and plenty of historical and cultural attractions make Pensacola an accessible gem along Florida's panhandle.
Median listing price: $299,000
Don't let its reputation as a tropical vacation paradise fool you – parts of Hawaii are actually surprisingly affordable. The natural wonders within short driving distance of Hilo, including state and national parks, and its conveniently located international airport make this cultured and bustling – but not too busy – Big Island town truly accessible.
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Median listing price: $36,000
This character-loaded Gulf Coast town was tested when Hurricane Katrina tore through more than a decade ago, but it's since bounced back with all its Southern charm. Bordered by water on three sides (marsh, Bay, and Gulf), the city boasts gorgeous historic architecture in addition to a compact yet robust downtown – and it earns major brownie points for its day-trip proximity to New Orleans.
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Median listing price: $290,000
A solid stretch of December through, say, April in Old Orchard Beach might be rough, but come summertime, the town has the stuff of New England coastal dreams, with a pier that comes to life both day and night and a seven-mile-long beach. Bonus: It's a stop along the Amtrak Downeaster line, meaning getaways from Brunswick to Boston are always at your fingertips.
Beaufort, North Carolina
Median listing price: $149,000
North Carolina's third oldest town certainly has much to brag about in the history department (it was founded in 1709 as a fishing hub and was once a frequent haunt of Blackbeard). But it's also the quaint old homes, charming boardwalk, and environmental assets – Beaufort is home to the North Carolina Maritime Museum and the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center – that have us pining for a piece of real estate to call home.
Median listing price: $187,000
In a part of the world not known for its clear skies, Sequim (pronounced "skwim") breaks the typical climactic mold, thanks to its position in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Come for the famed lavender fields, stay for the local Dungeness crab and summer berries.
Median listing price: $499,000
It's a stretch to describe nearly any part of the California coast as affordable. But the town of Oxnard has listings that make the location between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara practical and well worth the investment. Plus, despite its quieter existence, Oxnard doesn't lack for seaside activity: a bustling harbor (with Channel Islands access), coastal bike path, and winery trail all add to its West Coast appeal.
Median listing price: $225,000
It might be the 32 miles of pristine beachfront and lively Pleasure Pier amusement park that attract tourists to this Gulf Coast barrier island, but it's the fresh Gulf seafood, storied industrial past, and quiet streets lined with pastel-colored Victorian homes that will make you want to stay forever.