The Most Affordable Coastal Towns In America
Whether you love hitting the beach at the peak of summer or are more of a snowbird opting for a beach trip in the cooler months, most of us can agree that the beach is the perfect destination for a getaway any time of the year. And, when you think back on all of your trips to the beach with family or friends, chances are that you were bunking up together in a beach rental, rather than staying at a hotel. The Homes.com team loves a fun, relaxing trip to the beach as much as the next person, and wanted to see where people could find the best value for their next beach getaway. To find these figures, we looked at and pulled in data from the 25 most-reviewed listings on VRBO, a top vacation rental service, for beach towns in the US with populations between 5K and 13K. It’s important to note that any cost metrics are not tied to a specific time frame or set of dates, with the intention of providing an annual average for each beach town.
What beach can you get the most bang for your buck? We’ve got some answers that may surprise you!
We first took a look at which beach towns have the best value overall on a scale of 1-100. We ranked the cities based on the specs of the beach houses – the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they have, the square footage, and the number of people it sleeps – combined with cost per night and the average proximity to the beach. The city that has the best overall value based on our scale is Brigantine, New Jersey, which scored an impressive 87. In fact, the top four cities on our list are all located in New Jersey. New Jersey isn’t the most traditional beach destination for much of the country, but clearly it should be. Rounding out the top five is Grayton Beach, FL, which scored a respectable 68.
We also wanted to look at which cities charged the least per night for their beach rentals. With an average cost of $126 per night, Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina topped our lists. In second place was Siesta Key Beach, Florida at $148 per night on average, and in third was Gulf Shores, AL with $151 per night. These cities are incredibly affordable, especially considering that if you decided to stay in Nantucket, Massachusetts, you would have to pay a whopping average cost of $626 per night! Since we’re now entering into the winter months, it’s likely you’ll be able to snag a below average price in many of these beach towns.
Next, we took a look at which cities had rentals closest to the beach. Surprisingly, the first place contender isn’t in Florida, but in one of its neighbors to the north. Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina had an average distance of .01 of a mile, or about 50 feet, from their steps to the beach. On the other end of the spectrum is Ocean City, New Jersey, where beach houses are an average of over half a mile from the beach.
The last metric we tracked was where the best value is based on the daily price per person. Again, Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina came out on top with an affordable $54 per person per night. Next on the list is Lincoln, Oregon, which would only set you back $58 a night. Surprisingly, the first 31 cities on our list all came in under $100 per day. After that, the figures jump up pretty quickly and end up with a pretty hefty $209 per person per day total in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Going on a beach vacation is a fun way to relax any time of the year. If you want to plan a vacation that gets you the most value, you might want to consider looking at our list to find the best-priced cities in your area. And, if you love beach living, we have plenty of beach homes that are up for sale – take a look today!