4 Places Where You Can Live by the Beach on a Budget

Coastal cities can be notoriously expensive, but we found four beach towns with surprisingly affordable home prices.
Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Fla.

Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Fla.

The Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, is one of several historic landmarks in the coastal city of St. Augustine.

Photo by: Kenneth Wiedemann/iStock/Thinkstock

Kenneth Wiedemann/iStock/Thinkstock

If you’ve ever dreamed of moving to the beach – where swimming, sunbathing, fishing and boating are mere steps away – you may have also assumed that this lifestyle is financially out of reach. Many coastal towns are quite expensive, but from coast to coast, we’ve found four places where your dream can become a reality – even on a fairly modest housing budget.

According to Zillow, each of these towns has a median listing price of less than $250,000 for homes currently on the market.  To put those prices to the test, we went hunting for houses under $300,000 in each location, looking specifically for homes with easy access to the water. Check out our findings and get inspired to shop for your own budget beach getaway.

St. Augustine, Fla.

Median Price of Homes Currently Listed: $245,000
Often called the “Nation’s Oldest City” (it’s the longest continually inhabited European-founded city in the United States), St. Augustine is ideal for the beach lover and history buff. Founded in 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain, the city is brimming with fascinating landmarks like Castillo de San Marcos, Ponce de Leon's "Fountain of Youth" and the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse – plus, 40 miles of beautiful coastline. The median price of homes currently listed in Saint Augustine is $245,000.

Fishing Pier in Rockport Texas

Fishing Pier in Rockport Texas

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Rockport is a popular destination for fishing and birding.

Photo by: jerryhopman/iStock/Thinkstock


Rockport, Texas

Median Price of Homes Currently Listed: $229,900
Located near the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (which hosts a rare flock of the endangered whooping crane), this laid-back town attracts an eclectic mix of birdwatchers, fishermen and artists. Rockport Beach offers family-friendly amenities like picnic pavilions, playgrounds and volleyball courts, while the downtown district boasts art galleries, seafood restaurants and unique shops. 

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine

The West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec is set on the easternmost point of the contiguous United States.

Photo by: lightphoto/iStock/Thinkstock


Lubec, Maine

Median Price of Homes Currently Listed: $179,000
The easternmost town in the continental United States, Lubec offers a peaceful atmosphere and 97 miles of scenic, rugged shoreline. The town prides itself on its lack of shopping malls, fast food restaurants and movie theaters, making it the perfect spot for beach-goers who want to get away from it all. The median price of homes currently listed in Lubec is $179,000, and you may even be able to snag a waterfront property under $200,000.

Beach in Westport, Wash.

Beach in Westport, Wash.

Westport has become one of the most popular surfing destinations in the Pacific Northwest.

Photo by: Gary Foster/iStock/Thinkstock

Gary Foster/iStock/Thinkstock

Westport, Wash.

Median Price of Homes Currently Listed: $157,000
Located at the northern end of the Olympic peninsula (so you can enjoy both bay and ocean views), this Washington town is a hot spot for sports fishing, and it’s also become one of the most popular surfing destinations in the Pacific Northwest. The Westport Marina is one of the largest commercial fishing ports on the West Coast, but it also has a large charter fleet available for fishing trips and whale watching adventures. 

Next Up

What It's Like to Live in a Beach Town

Locals share the perks and drawbacks of living in five beach-side cities.

How to Find Free Campsites and Keep Costs Down on a Road Trip

Don’t let a tight budget hold you back from traveling. Learn the secrets for finding free places to camp and tips for saving money on the road.

Top 10 Romantic Places to Live

Spice up your love life in these 10 romantic cities on Valentine’s Day or any day of the year.

Million Dollar Homes in Atlanta

If you've got a million-dollar house-hunting budget, you can find a lot to choose from in Atlanta.

Atlanta Mansions

Buckhead and Ansley Park are home to the city's largest mansions.

Places to Go and Things to Do in Williamsburg

Check out our list of top spots for locals and tourists in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Luxury Apartments in Atlanta

If luxurious amenities like pools, gyms, doormen and a full-service concierge are what you seek, you've come to the right town.

Holiday Historic Home Tours

Sure, you know about wonderfully decorated historic home tours in cities like Boston, New Orleans and Chicago. But they're not the only Christmas homes worth seeing. Check out these historic gems that open seasonally to the public.

Top 4 Reasons to Shop Handmade

Rediscover the best reasons to decorate your home with handmade items.

What It's Like to Live in the Chesapeake Bay Area

Explore what life is like on Virginia and Maryland's coast.