With summer in full swing, and many of us hitting the beach, we’re highlighting some beach towns where you can buy a house for less than $300,000. That said, it’s important to note the risk of hurricanes and flooding — and the associated insurance costs — when buying beach real estate. (You can see the lowest mortgage rates you may qualify for here.) But if sandy shores are in your future on a tight budget, here are some spots you might want to think about.
If you want a quaint town on the beach: St. Augustine, Florida
Founded in 1565 by Spanish colonists, St. Augustine is known for its architecture, including buildings spanning from the 18th century to the present. Attractions include the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, which is located on the reputed site where the Spanish explorer Ponce de León landed in 1513, as well as the Accord Civil Rights Museum, which commemorates 1964 protests in St. Augustine that were led by Martin Luther King Jr.
Great for both kids and adults, the city boasts white sand beaches and a fishing pier along with a rich history. Named the number one food town in the South by Southern Living magazine in 2019, exemplary restaurants include The Floridian, which serves southern comfort food, and the Ice Plant, which serves farm-to-table fare along with specialty cocktails. Although the typical value of a home in St. Augustine is currently about $450,000, there are still plenty of nice properties to buy for less than $300,000, including this recently renovated two-bedroom home in the historic downtown; this newly constructed three-bedroom in a planned community near the outlet malls; and this three bedroom home just a ten minute drive away from the beach.
Median home value: $454,109
Cost of Living: 1.9% higher than the U.S. average
Sources: Zillow; Sperling’s Best Places
If you want that Texas vibe: Port Isabel, Texas
Just north of the border between the United States and Mexico, Port Isabel is located at the end of the causeway that leads to South Padre Island, the only tropical island in the state of Texas. The town has plenty of access to white sand beaches on the Gulf, as well as the lagoons, wildlife refuges and canals that make up the geography of the area. For less than $300,000, you can buy a home on one of the town’s many deep-water canals, including this one-bedroom with a spacious covered patio, and this recently updated one-bedroom. Along with a plethora of golf courses, beaches, boating activities and waterfront restaurants, the town also offers a historic lighthouse, as well as a flea market and a history museum. Enjoy local seafood at Los Tortugo’s Seafood Market and Joe’s Oyster Bar but beware that the area is prone to hurricanes.
Median home value: $238,724
Cost of Living: 24.5% lower than the national average
If you want to fish and golf: Sneads Ferry, North Carolina
Once a fishing village, Sneads Ferry area has grown in recent years due to the expansion of the nearby Marine Forces Special Operations Command. Located at the mouth of North Carolina’s New River, just before it runs into the Atlantic Ocean, Sneads Ferry is a ten minute drive from Topsail Island, a barrier island with 26 miles of beaches. Along with taking your boat out, spend your days visiting nearby attractions including the Turtle Factory, which offers painting classes as well as turtle-themed gifts, as well as the North Shore Golf Course, which is located on the Intracoastal Waterway. Notable restaurants include the Riverview Cafe, a seafood restaurant with water views, and Salty Sistas, which serves traditional North Carolina seafood. But like many beach towns, Sneads Ferry’s is in a high risk hurricane zone. For less than $300,000, you can buy a well maintained three-bedroom home like this.
Median home value: $326,898
Cost of Living: 11.3% lower than the U.S. average
If you want to be Hamptons-adjacent: Mastic Beach, New York
Located on the south shore of Long Island, roughly a two hour drive from Manhattan, and 30 minute drive to Southampton, Mastic Beach boasts the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, a 2,500-acre complex full of wildlife habitats, as well as the William Floyd Estate, which was inhabited over 250 years ago by the first delegate from New York to sign the Declaration of Independence. One of the gateways to Fire Island, a collection of barrier islands that separate Long Island from the Atlantic Ocean, Mastic Beach has its own beaches on the bay, as well as a yacht club that was founded in 1930. The town offers many casual dining spots, including Nino’s Pizzeria & Cucina and Empanada Ville. The town is prone to flooding, which keeps housing prices low. For less than $300,000, you can buy a two-bedroom home on a creek with access to the bay.
Median home value: $366,794
Cost of Living: 5.9% higher than the U.S. average