Owning waterfront property doesn’t have to be an account-depleting endeavor. While places around major U.S. cities might be out of reach for most, there are plenty of affordable options out there. If you know where to look, of course.
For some help on that front, GOBankingRates furnished rankings provided by Zillow to highlight the most affordable locations to buy a beach house in 2023. Here’s a look at what we found.
Lake Erie City, New York
- Median Home Price: $245,377
Located in far west New York state on the eastern border of Lake Erie, as the name suggests, Lake Erie City is a picturesque community. Filled with wineries, craft beer, and nature trails, not to mention sitting on the edge of the lake’s 700 miles of coastline, Lake Erie City is also incredibly affordable. There’s also enough to do that it would take weeks, if not years, to uncover all of the area’s hidden gems.
- Median Home Price: $182,183
A suburb of Mobile, Alabama, this relaxed area bills itself as a nature lover’s paradise. It’s part of the Alabama Coasting Birding Trail, a system of eight different trails that offer bird-watchers opportunities year-round to catch any of the more than 400 species of birds that consider the Gulf Coast home. Along with the abundance of parks and museums, the port city is also home to some of the country’s oldest Mardi Gras celebrations, saving you a trip to New Orleans.
- Median Home Price: $367,244
Kelseyville is a quintessential small California town located in the heart of wine country. It’s located on the shores of Clear Lake, the state’s largest freshwater body of water, and is surrounded by views of both serene farmlands and the majesty of Mt. Konocti. The latter offers plenty of hiking opportunities, including a six-mile summit flanked by old oak and manzanita trees, with the tight-knit community reinforcing its small-town charm.
- Median Home Price: $247,364
A city with more than five centuries of history, Pensacola offers some of Florida’s most unique shopping and culture in addition to its sugar-sand beaches. It’s also home to the National Naval Aviation Museum, the Blue Angels Naval aerobatics team and where all naval pilots train. This Gulf Coast town, known as the ‘City of Five Flags,’ is well-known for its family friendly, laid-back vibe.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
- Median Home Price: $129,080
Known as a sportsman’s paradise, this semi-remote enclave along Louisiana’s sprawling coastline is a world-class fishing and birding habitat. Along with a clear view of the Gulf of Mexico, it’s home to the state’s only inhabited barrier island. Combined with the delectable cuisine and trademark southern hospitality, Grand Isle has been appealing to visitors and residents for more than 250 years.
Fishing Creek, Maryland
- Median Home Price: $269,235
This tiny community is located on the narrow Hooper’s Island on Maryland’s largest inland lake and is largely supported by a seasonal crab fishing industry. Known as the Heart of Chesapeake Bay, it also boasts cycling trails, plenty of boutique shopping and loads of fresh seafood.
Aurora, North Carolina
- Median Home Price: $129,510
A waterfront town on the Pamlico River, Aurora, North Carolina, is just miles from sandy beaches, though the town itself has plenty to offer. There’s the Aurora Fossil Museum and its memorial day Fossil Festival, along with everything from local wineries, golf courses and yacht clubs. The winter months turn it into a skiing and snowboarding paradise, not to mention plenty of ice skating when the water freezes over.
- Median Home Price: $353,726
Home to the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, this Ohio town that bears the same name is a pristine destination located in an area known as Vacationland. While tourists flock to the area for its views of Lake Erie, the city also has wineries, restaurants, live music and some sizable parks for locals.
Port Orford, Oregon
- Median Home Price: $360,380
Both the oldest town and the Oregon coast and the western-most down in the continental U.S., Port Orford is a working fishing port with a thriving art community. A town that’s known for taking pride in its unique identity, there are no stop signs, fast food restaurants or strip malls. Instead, it aims for a leisurely, laid-back lifestyle with plenty of wilderness to explore.
- Median Home Price: $244,999
This local beach getaway has been a longtime favorite for people in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to its sprawling shoreline and abundance of beaches. Along with fresh seafood, local wine, quirky shopping districts and hundreds of acres of marine camping available. While things pick up significantly in the summer, the rest of the year the town returns to its quaint, oceanfront vibe.
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Disclaimer: All Median Home Prices were sourced via Zillow.com and are accurate as of April 13, 2023. Please note photos are for representational purposes only and may not reflect the exact places mentioned.