If your ideal place to retire in America is by the beach, you’re in luck — many beach cities have affordable housing options and a sizable 65 and older population.
To find the most affordable places to retire near the beach, GOBankingRates looked at 59 beach cities and narrowed down a list of locations where people ages 65 and older made up at least 10 percent of the population. The study analyzed factors such as home values and healthcare expenses, both of which can help you determine your retirement costs.
- Home Value Index: None
Gulfport has the cheapest homes on this list as well as the fifth-lowest healthcare costs, with the average annual cost at $6,554. It’s also home to a number of senior-friendly leisure sites, including 31 parks, seven walking tracks, fishing piers and a scenic marina.
Fair Haven, New York
- Home Value Index: $133,200
Fair Haven is a charming beach town you can visit on a budget, and it’s also an affordable place to retire. This quiet community is located along the shores of Lake Ontario, and it’s an idyllic place for boating, fishing and shopping. Not only does Fair Haven have affordable housing, but it’s also the place with the fifth-highest percentage of retirees compared to the other areas on this list: 20 percent of the population is 65 and older. It also has the third-most affordable healthcare, with annual costs averaging $6,355.
- Home Value Index: $147,700
There’s no shortage of beautiful white sand beaches in this affordable locale. If you don’t want to buy a home, Pensacola is also a great place to retire where rent is less than $1,000 a month. Retirees can save on healthcare costs in this Florida city too; with annual costs averaging $6,289, it has the second-most affordable healthcare of all the places on this list.
Daytona Beach, Florida
- Home Value Index: $145,500
Daytona Beach is one of the best beach towns to retire. Healthcare costs in Daytona Beach average $6,554 annually — it’s tied with one other place on this list for the fifth-most affordable healthcare. And, retirees can enjoy a great quality of life here, with easily accessible beaches and plenty of opportunities for golfing, fishing and more.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Home Value Index: $152,000
Myrtle Beach is a picturesque coastal town you can visit for less than you think, but it’s also a good spot for a permanent vacation. Southern hospitality — and cuisine — are part of Myrtle Beach’s charm. Retirees in this city and resort area can expect to pay $6,686 in annual healthcare costs.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
- Home Value Index: $158,600
One of the most affordable beach towns on this list is Ocean Springs. With an annual healthcare cost of $6,421, it’s tied with two other places on this list for the fourth-cheapest healthcare. Ocean Springs was named a “dream town” by Coastal Living thanks to its Southern charm, the variety of local businesses and thriving art and music scene.
Blue Hill, Maine
- Home Value Index: None
Over a fifth of the population in Blue Hill is 65 and older. The seaside village is known for its slow pace of life and scenic beauty.
Coos Bay, Oregon
- Home Value Index: $195,000
Coos Bay is the largest community on the Oregon Coast, and it’s one of the best places to retire near the beach. The area is surrounded by sand dunes and beaches, and it offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activity, as well as a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Residents 65 and older make up 19.1 percent of the area’s population.
Long Beach, Washington
- Home Value Index: $238,100
Long Beach is one of the best beach retirement cities: It has the fourth-highest percentage of retirees of all the places on this list, with about a quarter of its residents ages 65 or older. The area is full of history, including the Lewis and Clark trail, scenic coastal paths and lots of fresh seafood.
- Home Value Index: $212,800
Clearwater is one of the best places to retire in Florida. It’s tied with two other places on this list for the fourth-most affordable healthcare, with an average annual cost of $6,421, and its beaches have been recognized among the best beaches in America by both TripAdvisor and USA Today.
West Palm Beach, Florida
- Home Value Index: $240,900
In addition to its namesake beaches, West Palm Beach is home to four retail and entertainment districts, an outlet mall, a museum, a zoo and a performing arts center, so there’s plenty to keep you busy during your beach retirement. Sixteen percent of the area’s population is 65 and older, and the cost of living in the luxurious beach town is significantly cheaper than living in New York City, a separate GOBankingRates study found.
Southport, North Carolina
- Home Value Index: $237,500
Southport has the largest population of retirees of all the places on this list, with 31.2 percent of the population ages 65 and over. The small coastal community has served as the backdrop for numerous TV shows and movies because of its mix of historic homes and scenic waterfronts.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
- Home Value Index: $258,300
Whether you want to take a beachside stroll, play a round of golf, hike on a nature trail or savor fine dining, you can do it in Gulf Shores. In this Gulf Coast area, the average annual cost of healthcare is $6,620.
If you don’t want to retire there full-time, it also makes for one of the best places to get a vacation home.
Ocean City, Maryland
- Home Value Index: $273,500
Ocean City has the third-largest retiree community of all the places on this list, with 29.6 percent of the population ages 65 and older. It’s also tied for the fourth-most affordable healthcare, with annual costs averaging $6,421. The area is home to free beaches, miles of boardwalk and over 200 restaurants.
- Home Value Index: $276,300
Bandon’s 65-and-older residents make up 30 percent of the total population — the second-greatest percentage of all the places on this list. Retirees are likely attracted to the area because of its year-round activities, including fishing, cycling, playing golf and hiking.
- Home Value Index: $309,200
Roughly a fifth of the population in Rockport is 65 and older. The small town located in mid-coast Maine has a laid-back atmosphere, perfect for people seeking a peaceful retirement.
Port Aransas, Texas
- Home Value Index: None
Although home values are on the higher end in Port Aransas compared to other places on this list, its annual healthcare costs are the lowest at $6,024. Port Aransas is located on Mustang Island, where there’s plenty to do, from golfing to fishing to birding.
Bar Harbor, Maine
- Home Value Index: None
As the gateway to Acadia National Park, there’s an abundance of scenic beauty to be found in Bar Harbor, which is a winter wonderland worth your money during colder months. About 18 percent of the area’s population is 65 and older.
- Home Value Index: $339,100
Saugatuck is known as “the art coast of Michigan” because of the numerous creatives that call the area home. In addition to its thriving art scene, Saugatuck is home to 10 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline as well as some of the best restaurants in the state. Healthcare costs in Saugatuck average $7,017 annually.
More on Retirement Planning
- Best and Worst States to Retire Rich
- How Much It Costs to Live in the Best Suburbs for Retirees
- Here’s Why These 20 Cities Are the Worst for Retirees
Methodology: GOBankingRates found the most affordable places to retire near the beach by compiling a list of beach cities from the U.S. Census Bureau. Then, GOBankingRates found (1) home values for these cities using Zillow’s FactFinder tool, (2) the percentage of the population ages 65 and over using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and (3) healthcare and housing data using Sperling’s Best Places. Fifty-nine beach cities were examined in this study, and the cities were ranked by their home value index, with a lower home value index resulting in a higher rank. In all 20 cities included in the final ranking, people ages 65 and older made up at least 10 percent of the population.
About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.