9 Great Places to Retire by the Beach

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Happy retiree on a beach
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If thoughts of the beach send you into a dreamy state, consider the following U.S. cities and towns when you’re ready to retire.

Offering everything from affordable housing to an excellent quality of life, they prove that seaside living can be attainable with a bit of planning.

And moving near the ocean doesn’t have to mean heading south to Florida, either (although the state does have some affordable oceanside locales). The following retirement destinations stretch from Oregon and Hawaii to South Carolina and Florida.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida
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Home to miles of beaches and affordable housing, Daytona Beach is a great place to retire. The U.S. Census Bureau reports its median monthly rental cost and homeownership costs are all below the national median.

With Major League Baseball’s Jackie Robinson Ballpark and NASCAR’s Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach offers much more than just beautiful beaches. What’s more, 20% of the population is age 65 and older, compared with the national rate of about 17%.

Hilo, Hawaii

Rainbow Falls in Hilo, Hawaii
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If you’re looking to retire on an island where you can hike through a rainforest or surf the local beach, look no further than Hilo, on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. Other great activities in Hilo include the Imiloa Astronomy Center and Pana’wea Rainforest Zoo, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park isn’t far away.

Although the cost of living in Hilo is higher than the national average, Hilo is still cheaper than many other places in the state. The median home cost of about $400,000 is a bargain compared to the state median of more than $700,000.

Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi
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If you enjoy fishing, casinos and golf, Gulfport offers these and much more. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median home value in Gulfport is more than $100,000 less than the national median.

A large military presence in the area, thanks in part to nearby Keesler Air Force Base, make Gulfport an attractive option for military retirees, too. Gulfport also is home to one of only two Armed Forces Retirement Home locations in the country.

Lincoln City, Oregon

Beach in Lincoln City, Oregon
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Lincoln City is another retiree-friendly destination that boasts rental and homeownership costs below the national median, in addition to a small population — around 10,000 — according to the Census Bureau. About 30% of the population is age 65 or older, too; that’s nearly twice the national rate of about 17%.

Lincoln City may be especially attractive to retirees who enjoy the great outdoors, as it’s home to the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve. This part of Oregon also features Devil’s Lake, which offers a number of watersports, and Salmon River, which is nationally designated as a wild and scenic river.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island South Carolina homes
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This barrier-island town is not the cheapest retirement spot, with a median home value that is roughly twice the national median. But it boasts 12 miles of beaches, golf courses galore and outdoor water activities like dolphin tours.

An added bonus is the possibility of a great social life, with about 38% of the population age 65 or older, according to the Census Bureau.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Ocean Springs Mississippi
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Ocean Springs boasts a thriving arts community, more than 100 restaurants, and French and Native American influences. Located on the Gulf of Mexico’s Biloxi Bay, the city is home to multiple parks and green spaces and isn’t far from Gulf Islands National Seashore.

With the median monthly rent, homeownership costs and home value all below the national median, Ocean Springs is an affordable place to live. The overall cost of living is about 16% lower than the national average, too.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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This South Carolina city offers similar activities and weather as Hilton Head Island but for less money.

With dozens of golf courses, Myrtle Beach is a great place to retire if you love the game. State parks, water parks and amusement parks are just a few of the other activities to enjoy as well — not to mention 60 miles of Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

And with an overall cost of living that’s 8% below the national average, according to PayScale, Myrtle Beach is an affordable place to live and play. Housing costs are 32% lower than the national average, and health care costs are 9% lower as well.

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
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Deepwater fishing and boating down the St. Johns River make Jacksonville a prime retirement spot for water enthusiasts. No wonder U.S. News & World Report ranks Jacksonville as one of Florida’s top places to retire in.

In addition, Jacksonville offers health care options like the Mayo Clinic Florida and Naval Hospital.

If Jacksonville’s population of around 1 million makes it too big of a city for you, try nearby Neptune Beach, which has less than 10,000 residents.

Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola Florida
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Located near Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola offers both warm waters and a relatively low cost of living. The median monthly rent, homeownership costs and home values are all below the national median, which is part of why U.S. News ranks Pensacola as the best place to retire in Florida.

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