15 Unexpectedly Affordable Places To Retire on the Water

Enjoy the great outdoors and water views in these cities that won’t bust your budget.
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
senior couple having fun

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

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.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

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.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

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

Like/Adobe pink peaceful sunset

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.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

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.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards


Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee


Rewards Rate

Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

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.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt