15 Unexpectedly Affordable Places To Retire on the Water

NEWS & TRENDING - RETIREMENT NEWS
Enjoy the great outdoors and water views in these cities that won’t bust your budget.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Many of us would love to retire early and enjoy adventures on the water or relaxing on the beach watching the sunset. But living on the water can be expensive.

The good news is there are still affordable places with water views. Here are a few options you might want to consider. All median sale price figures come from Redfin.

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Pensacola, Florida

Laura/Adobe colorful sunset in pensacola florida

Florida can be hit or miss when it comes to affordability. That is especially true when you are looking for something on the coast.

Pensacola is one affordable option. The median sale price for a home in Pensacola is $299,900, compared to $415,300 for the state of Florida during the same period.

The extra savings mean you can spend time enjoying the Gulf Coast beaches as you continue to build wealth.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Fotoluminate LLC/Adobe gulf coast beach in mississippi

Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is another Gulf Coast town you may want to check out. The median home price here is $283,500.

The town has plenty to offer. There are restaurants and shops to explore, or you can rent a golf cart to explore the roads and beaches on sunny days.

Wilmington, Delaware

Jin/Adobe aerial of wilmington delaware

It may not be as warm as some other cities, but Wilmington can get you close to the Delaware River while also offering an affordable place to live. Enjoy museums, gardens, and music venues, or check out the city’s historic sites.

Houses sell for a median of $285,000.

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Augusta, Georgia

Kevin Ruck/Adobe augusta georgia

Augusta is well-known for hosting the annual Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Course. However, you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy the city.

The city sits on the Savannah River, giving residents the chance to get out on the water or take in a riverwalk on the banks. You can also check out other nearby waterways and lakes.

The median home in Augusta sells for $192,750.

Duluth, Minnesota

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Duluth isn’t the place if you want to sit on a warm, sandy beach throughout the year. However, it has some great options for retirees who want to be on the water.

You can spend summers boating on Lake Superior or take some time during the winter to go ice fishing on the many lakes in northern Minnesota. The median home price is a bit on the higher side, at $361,000.

Lake Ozark, Missouri

jeanpierre/Adobe lake at sunset peachtree city

Lake Ozark is part of the Lake of the Ozarks region in mid-Missouri that was created by impounding the Osage River almost a century ago.

The area can be an affordable option for retirees that also offers plenty of water activities. The median sale price for a home in the city is $357,000.

Galveston, Texas

BJ Ray/Adobe galveston sunrise on beach with rides

You may not think of Texas as being beachy, but the state’s access to the Gulf of Mexico can be a great option to consider if you don’t want to live on the East Coast or West Coast.

There are plenty of outdoor activities available on the water. You can also sit and enjoy a day on the beach. The median home price is $365,000.

Hampton, Virginia

sherryvsmith/Adobe buckroe beach in hampton virginia

In Hampton, you can walk along the banks of the Hampton River or get on the water and enjoy sailing and fishing.

It’s also a more affordable choice than other cities in the area. The median sale price for a home is $271,250, which is around $100,000 less than in nearby Virginia Beach.

New London, Connecticut

TomR/Adobe lighthouse on long island sound

Not all places along the water in New England are expensive. Connecticut, for example, has some affordable options, including New London.

The historic town offers sailing, fishing, and other water sports. Foxwoods Resort Casino is only about a half-hour's drive away. The median home price in New London is $272,000.

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Eureka, California

Diana Vyshniakova/Adobe beach near eureka california

You don’t have to give up your California dreams simply because cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco are too expensive.

Check out Eureka in northern California. It offers plenty of access to nature and water. Enjoy the beach and easy access to Redwood National and State Parks.

The median home price is $380,000, which is actually low by Golden State standards.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Chansak Joe A./Adobe johnnie mercers fishing pier

Wilmington is a great North Carolina city along the Atlantic Ocean. The city gives you access to the ocean, beaches, and beautiful barrier islands.

The median sale price for a home in Wilmington is $400,000, which could be tough if you are on a tight budget. However, it is still more affordable than the national median sale price.

Mobile, Alabama

BJ Ray/Adobe reflections of sunset

If you're looking for an affordable option along the Gulf Coast that isn’t in Florida, check out Alabama.

Mobile has plenty of history to explore, including the USS Alabama, which now serves as a museum in Mobile Bay. The median sale price in Mobile is just $170,000.

Traverse City, Michigan

SNEHIT PHOTO/Adobe traverse city marina with docked boats

Take in the beauty of northern Michigan when you retire in Traverse City, which was named one of the top 10 best small towns in the Midwest by USA Today.

The median sale price for a home in the city on Lake Michigan is $300,000.

Kennewick, Washington

David G. Rigg/Adobe cable bridge kennewick washington

It may not be on the coast, but Kennewick still has plenty to offer residents who decide to move to the city to enjoy the Columbia and Snake rivers.

In addition to water activities along the river banks, the city also has a median sale price of $401,205. If that sounds expensive, note that it is more than $200,000 lower than the median sale price for the entire state of Washington.

Coos Bay, Oregon

Sundry Photography/Adobe protected cove near cape arago

Another West Coast city to check out is Coos Bay on the Oregon coast. Here, you will find a smaller town and access to the wilderness of the state.

Coos Bay’s median sale price for a home is $279,000, a 12.5% decline from a year earlier. If prices continue to fall, this could be a great place to buy and get ahead financially.

Bottom line

Halfpoint/Adobe senior couple hiking

Financing a retirement can be daunting, but you can find affordable places to live on the water that will allow you to enjoy a stress-free retirement.

Put together an estimated budget now so you will know how much it costs to retire in various places. Then, choose some good, affordable cities that are on the water and visit them to find the one that will be your forever home.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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