When you think of warm-weather cities that are great to live in, your mind likely goes to such places as Miami or Los Angeles. While it’s true you can typically bank on great weather in those cities, they are decidedly not the most affordable places for warm-weather lovers to go.
If winter is not your jam, and you’re living on a budget, you’re going to want to look to spots less traveled, many of which happen to be in the South. Using data from Sperling’s Best Places, Zumper and more, we determined the most underrated (and affordable) cities to live this winter if you are not a fan of traditional winters.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores may be one of the warmest cities on this list in winter, according to MoneyInc. They report that the average temperature in January is 57 degrees Fahrenheit, and daily highs are usually in the low 60s. Gulf Shores sits on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, which brings all the lovely beaches, seafood and places to dine and walk as you’d imagine.
Here, the median home price is the highest of any on this list, but still almost $60,000 lower than the national average at $339,100. An average 1-bedroom apartment rents for $1,622, which is a bit more pricey than other spots on this list, but still far less than big-name beach towns.
Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson is not only a place where you can get away from freezing winter weather, it’s a thriving college town about two hours from Atlanta. This allows for a small-town feeling with access to all you can hope for in a bigger metropolitan area.
In addition to being a great place for younger folks to live with its temperate climate, it remains quite affordable compared to other warmer cities. The median home price is $270,600, which is low compared to the national average of $398,500. The cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment is just $800, and the general cost of living is 6.1% lower than the rest of the U.S.
Bella Vista, Arkansas
Bella Vista caters to warm-weather lovers and those who love the feeling of a small town, as its population is less than 30,000. The town is a temperate, forested beauty with seven lakes and great walking trails, according to MoneyInc.
It’s affordable, too. The median home price is $242,300, and a one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,100. General cost of living is also 7.1% lower than the rest of the U.S.
Port Charlotte, Florida
Warm-weather lovers have always flocked to Florida, but most people go to the big popular cities like Orlando, Miami or Tampa, which are definitely not the most affordable. Instead, consider Port Charlotte.
This Gulf Coast city has just as many beautiful beaches and fun things to do, but it’s more affordable than those cities. Port Charlotte has a median housing price of $235,600 and a cost of living that is 11.1% below the rest of the U.S. A 1-bedroom apartment rents for $1,119. If you like a warm, humid climate and a waterfront locale for less than the rest of America, this is your place to go.
For people who don’t love winter weather, you can’t really go wrong in Arizona. Yuma is a town with a toasty summer climate and mild winters. It’s also one of the sunniest places in the entire U.S., according to MoneyInc. It’s sunny 90% of the year.
It’s also affordable. The median home price is $219,500, and general cost of living is 8.5% lower than the rest of the U.S. according to Sperling’s Best Places. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,000, according to Zumper.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
The Southwest attracts many visitors with its rich natural beauty and even richer cultural heritage. Las Cruces is no exception.
This Southwestern town is temperate in the winters, though summers can get quite hot. Enjoy its lower cost of living as well, with the median home price at $209,600, and a one-bedroom apartment renting for $1,045. The cost of living here is also 16.5% lower than the rest of the U.S.
Lake Charles, Louisiana
The southern town of Lake Charles, situated on a freshwater lake with a white-sand inland beach, is a gorgeous town to call home if you hate winter weather. This Gulf Coast town, said to be founded by pirate Jean Lafitte, offers a mild climate with more days of sun than not, according to MoneyInc, and is infused with Cajun culture.
As far as affordability goes, the median home price is still a decent $181,800, and a one-bedroom apartment rents for just $795. The cost of living is 16.9% lower than the rest of the country as well.
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