You’re getting ready to retire, and you want to go to the beach — possibly every day. Since you don’t currently live in a coastal community, this means you’re going to need to pack up and move.
Living near the beach has been your dream for years. However, since you’ll be on a fixed income, you need to find an affordable spot.
In February, the median home listing price in the U.S. was $386,721, according to Redfin. You might be willing to pay to live by the beach, but you don’t want to stretch your budget too far.
Thankfully, there are plenty of beach towns that offer the best of both worlds — affordable living and a large population of seniors.
Choosing one of these retirement hot spots will offer plenty of opportunities to make friends while living within your means. Here’s a look at affordable U.S. beach towns for retirees, so you can start planning your new life on the beach.
Garden City, South Carolina
Located approximately 10 miles south of Myrtle Beach, Garden City, South Carolina, is a small resort town with a population of 10,600 — and 38% of residents are 65 years old and up.
Covering about 5.5 square miles, Garden City offers easy access to the beach from anywhere you choose to live. The median home selling price is $232,450, as of February 2023, which is notably less than the national average.
You’ll also enjoy South Carolina’s low taxes. This involves no tax on Social Security benefits, minimal property taxes and a notable retirement-income deduction from your state income tax.
Vero Beach, Florida
Situated along the Atlantic Ocean, Vero Beach, Florida, is a quiet coastal town where you can enjoy your golden years. In fact, it was named the second-best city in the U.S. for senior health by The Mesothelioma Center in 2023.
The median home sale price was $340,000, as of February 2023, allowing you to live by the beach for less than the national average. Florida is also one of nine states that doesn’t have an income tax or a tax on certain kinds of unearned income, meaning you’ll keep more of your money in your pocket.
A relatively small community, Vero Beach has a population of approximately 16,707. Nearly 30% of residents are age 65 and up, creating plenty of opportunities for socializing.
A retirement haven, Venice, Florida, has a population of just over 26,000 — 61% are age 65 and up. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the city was named the top destination for snowbirds in 2021-22 by StorageCafe.
Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the city offers plenty of entertainment, including concerts in the park, festivals and community theater. As of 2023, the median home sale price was $461,400.
Since Florida doesn’t have income tax or a tax on certain kinds of unearned income, this can offset the slightly higher than average — but still affordable — cost of living.
Cape Carteret, North Carolina
A Certified Retirement Community by RetireNC, Carteret County, North Carolina, is a great place for active retirees. Part of the state’s southern outer banks, Cape Carteret is located in the Western Crystal Coast region, known for stunning beaches and tranquil living.
Carteret County has a population of roughly 68,500, with just over 26% age 65 and up. As of February 2023, homes had a median selling price of $435,000, making beach living cheaper than the national average.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Home of the Daytona 500 and so much more, Daytona Beach, Florida, offers 23 miles of white-sand beaches. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, home sales averaged $221,100, as of February 2023, making beach living seriously affordable.
Daytona Beach has a population of nearly 75,000 — and 20% of people are age 65 and up. The city is so retiree-friendly, it’s even home to Latitude Margaritaville, a Jimmy Buffet-inspired 55-plus community.
Plus, you’ll enjoy low taxes, since Florida doesn’t have an income tax or a tax on certain kinds of unearned income.
Please note: Photos are for representational purposes only. Unless otherwise noted, all data was sourced from Redfin and the U.S. Census Bureau. All information is accurate as of March 21, 2023 and is subject to change.
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