There is no denying it: Americans love the beach. From Miami Beach to Venice Beach to Coney Island, we love to sit in the sand next to the sea and soak up the sun. We love listening to the waves roll in and we love to watch the sun rise (or set) over the ocean. We have songs about the beach, movies about the beach and clothing designed specifically for the beach.

Americans love the beach so much, more than a third of us live near one. Although coastal areas account for just 10% of U.S. landmass, they hold 39% of the population according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s more than 123 million people.

If there’s a downside to our affection for the beach, it’s that those same coastal areas are in high demand and therefore expensive. The U.S. cities with the highest cost of living (Miami, New York and Los Angeles, to name a few) are all located near the ocean, while inland cities are generally more affordable. The same holds true for smaller towns. Median home values in popular beach towns like Santa Barbara, California and Naples, Florida are more than $700,000.

There are some exceptions, however. SmartAsset analyzed U.S. Census Data on home values, taxes, insurance and other costs to find beach towns that offer affordable real estate near the ocean. In each of the most affordable beach towns, the median home value is below the national average and the beach is just a short walk away.

Key Findings

The Gulf Coast. Seven of the top ten most affordable beach towns in America are located along the Gulf Coast, five of which are in Texas and Mississippi. These states have some prime coastal real estate for relatively low prices.

Florida. The other five beach towns are in Florida, which has more coastline than any state south of Alaska. While many of Florida’s beach towns are fairly expensive, places like Weeki Wachee are a bargain.

Communities on the Gulf Coast, like GlenLakes in Hernando County, near Manatee and Sarasota counties are attracting homebuyers with affordable large home sites paired with an outstanding portfolio of home designs, resulting in excellent home value. Where To Retire Magazine consistently names GlenLakes “One of the Best Places to Retire.” In addition, Ideal-Living magazine calls them a “Top 50 Community.”

For nature lovers, fitness aficionados, golfers and those who love an action-packed social life—GlenLakes is it. Adjoining the 85,000-acre Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, which borders the Gulf of Mexico, GlenLakes captures everything to love about a Florida retirement lifestyle: stunning views, championship golf, country club amenities, a secure, immaculately maintained community and captivating home designs, perfect for entertaining and relaxation starting in the $200’s.

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