Affordable Places to Retire on the Coast – Part 2

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

April 15, 2014 — Retiring near the coast is many people’s dream. Visions of beautiful sunrises or sunsets over the water, boating, swimming, fishing, walks on the beach – it sounds great. But one practical thing that often gets in the way is the price of real estate. Those great views and proximity to the water usually come with a price tag that reflects marketplace demand. Fortunately, not every town on the water is out of reach. Some of these places to retire might not be as chichi as Naples, FL, but there are surprisingly nice places to retire priced below the national median cost of a home. In this, Part 2 of our Affordable Places to Retire on the Water series, we’ve reviewed 10 coastal towns that are reasonably affordable. Part 1, “Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront“, came out in 2010 (it included some towns where the waterfront was on a lake, this one does not).

Prices have gone up
The first thing we noticed when compiling this article is that home prices have really gone up since the 2007 recession started hammering real estate. Most of the towns we featured in Part 1 are still affordable, but are not always as inexpensive as they were then.

The other observation we would make is that your best chance of finding an affordable coastal place to retire is in Florida. Perhaps it is the sheer size of its coast and all of the possible places to retire there, or maybe it is a result of the overbuilding in the lead up to the recession, but Florida has many affordable coastal towns.

10 Affordable Towns Near the Coast
The towns profiled here are not all bargains on an absolute basis. But we think they are relatively affordable, considering they are at or below the national median home price, and on or very near a coast. For the record, Zillow.com reports the median at $169,200, while the National Association of Realtors says it was $196,900 at the end of 2013.

New Bern, North Carolina is a historic town located where 2 rivers join to meet the Pamlico Sound on the Southeastern coast of North Carolina. This city of nearly 29,000 has a 56 square block tree lined historic district. According to City-Data.com, the median selling price of a home here was $160,000 in late 2013.

Apalachicola is a small town of a few thousand people on the Gulf Coast of Florida, about an hour south of Tallahassee. This old and wealthy fishing town has a long history due to its location on the rich fishing and oystering areas of the Gulf Coast. The interesting downtown with many restored buildings reminiscent of the Old South. Median home sold between $100,000 – $150,000 in 2013.

Shrimper at dock in Apalachicola

View from Astoria

Astoria, located on the northwest tip of Oregon, is at the mouth of the Columbia River and just a few miles away from the Pacific. It is the oldest permanent American settlement West of the Rockies – Lewis and Clark stayed here for the winter of 1806. With pretty, scenic backgrounds and a redone 1920s downtown, this relatively un-commercialized community is laid-back. It attracts tourists and retirees because of its location and stock of Victorian homes that date back to the town’s heyday a wealthy salmon fishing/processing location. West coast real estate tends to be expensive, so the early 2014 Zillow Home Value Index of $185,000 makes this relatively affordable.

Biloxi, Mississippi is on the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Sound. This old town has miles and miles (26) of white sandy beaches and at least 7 major casinos, including the Hard Rock, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and Beau Rivage. Biloxi has a small town feel with low-key neighborhoods spreading out away from the water. Median home value is about $170,000.

Cambridge, Maryland, is a historic waterfront community on the Chesapeake peninsula of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. One of the oldest colonial cities in Maryland, it is named after the English colonist who settled it in 1684. The city’s population is just over 12,000, the median home value was $150,000 in late 2013.



Laguna Vista is a small residential community on the southernmost Texas coast near beautiful South Padre Island, Harlingen and Port Isabel, Texas. This popular resort area has a very warm winter climate and is increasingly home to many retirees as well as vacationers. Median home sale is at about $150,000.

Although Englewood‘s population is 18,000 it swells to several times that in the winter. Rotonda West and Placida are 2 smaller communities just to the south. All are located on Manasota Key, a barrier island on southwest Florida’s coastline. Englewood Beach (previously known as Chadwick Beach) is one of four beaches here. Prices ranged from about $120,000 to $140,000 in 2013.

View from a canal in Cape Coral

Cape Coral, Florida is a relaxed town just north of Ft. Myers along the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico. Cape Coral was named one of the top 25 places to retire by Fortune in 2012. One of the most unusual things about Cape Coral is its access to the water, since it is surrounded by it on 2 sides. It has more than 400 miles of canals; many homes have boats tied up behind them. City-Data.com says the median home sold for $140,000 in late 2013.

The City of Palm Coast is an enormous planned community of 77,000 located on Florida’s northeast coast, equidistant from Jacksonville and Orlando. Many of its residents are active adults living here in retirement. Palm Coast is one of the more interesting planned communities anywhere, with businesses, retail, and residential combined. The median home sale was for $140,000 in 2013’s 4th quarter.

Port Angeles, Washington is a busy port on the northern portion of the Olympic Peninsula. It offers spectacular scenery and recreational opportunities. Port Angeles is home to Peninsula College. Population is about 18,000. This coastal town is tucked between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca with a panoramic view of Victoria and southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is surrounded the by the million acre Olympic National Park. Port Angeles’ median home price was between $150,000 and $160,000 in late 2013

Want more affordable places to retire?
Use the Retirement Ranger, our free, 10 question quiz to find more inexpensive communities. To help research this article we just specified 1 environmental selection – “coastal”, and “lower than average” cost of living. If you expand your search to find affordable cities near “lakes” you will find many many more possibilities.

Drawbacks of Living Near the Water
There are always 2 sides to any story. And living near the waterfront is not a total picnic. Consider these drawbacks:
High insurance costs. Particularly in Florida and anywhere near the coast, hurricane and flood insurance can be very costly and hard to get. In some cases there is only 1 insurance provider.
Natural disasters. Being in a hurricane is no picnic either – they are a very real threat anywhere near the coast. Having to evacuate your home can be very traumatic; worse if it is damaged or destroyed. Some towns have been hit over and over again.
Man made disasters. The oil spill in the Gulf points out the type of disaster that might await many owners of waterfront property in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Taxes. Waterfront properties tend to be worth a lot and appraised accordingly for taxes, so your property taxes will be higher than comparable homes inland.

For further reading:
For further reference:
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2
10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire – Part 2
20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire
8 More Affordable Places to Retire
Most Tax-Friendly Places to Retire
AffordableRetirements.com

Comments? Do you know of a great retirement town on the water that is still affordable? Or do you have some comments about the towns we’ve profiled here? Please share your thoughts and discussion in the “Comments” section below.



Posted by Admin on April 15th, 2014

70 Comments »

  1. […] We wrote Part 2 of this article in April, 2014. See “Part 2: 10 Affordable Places to Retire on the Coast“ June 15, 2010 — What’s not to like about retiring to a place on or near the […]

    by » 11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront Topretirements — April 15, 2014

  2. Coastal dreamers should also be aware of the higher maintenance costs of living near the ocean. Any exposed metal rusts almost overnight due to the salt air and humidity. Anything that isn’t made of aluminum or plastic is toast in no time. Bugs are everywhere, especially mosquitos. During most of the year, the humidity is oppressive and violent storms can happen at any time. New construction has to be elevated above the storm surge level which means walking up a flight of stairs all the time. There are also the vagrants and college spring breakers to deal with. I once thought that having a place on the ocean would be a great idea. However, after owning a vacation rental for 6 years and going through Ike, I don’t know what I was thinking. Yes, the view of the sun rising and setting over the ocean is nice. However, once you’ve seen is couple of hundred times, so what. My ideal retirement place will be overlooking a lake or a golf course and well inland

    by LS — April 16, 2014

  3. Once again we are thrilled with retirment town of florence oregon, no humidity and no extreme weather , . Rain Vut su shines too and everything is gloriously green , housing for 200 or less is avaialble and volunteer opportuntites and likeminded Retirees are in majority , town has nice hospital , library , thrift and antique stores and only an hour or so from eugene and coos bay for more shopping etc . Lovely parks , ocean and hiking Fishing etc , town is small enough and very senior friendly With an great events center and a nice old town Area with reataurants etc . We love it !!!!

    by Susan — April 16, 2014

  4. Any articles of where to live need to include the cost of flood insurance.

    by Skyrocketing Flood Insurance — April 19, 2014

  5. I agree with LS comment. I had a beach house for about 10 years and maintenance was a nightmare. Now we are retiring to Muscle Shoals, AL, in a lovely subdivision, Eagle View Estates, on Wilson Lake on the Tennessee River where we will be building our dream home. Taxes, insurance and the cost of living are very affordable and the people are very friendly. There is a beautiful view of the lake, which is a mile + wide, a RTJ golf course practically next door, shopping, hospital, airport, theater, colleges, art galleries, parks, fishing, hunting, camping, and just about anything you could ask for close by. We love it here. It’s an ideal affordable retirement community, and only a few hours drive to the beaches on the Gulf.

    by PL — April 21, 2014

  6. […] Bottom line The happy fact is that among the 1000′s of active adult and 55+ communities that there are to choose from, the majority offer homes for sale below $200,000. In fact there are many communities where the average home is closer to $100,000. Use the tools we have provided in this article to find a community that works for you. Comments: Do you live in a lower cost community, or do you have ideas for others that Topretirements members should consider? What do you consider affordable? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below. For further reading: Affordable Places to Retire on the Coast […]

    by » How to Find an Affordable 55+ Community Topretirements — April 21, 2014

  7. A factor often overlooked in many popular retirement areas is the availability of good services. Maybe your community is responsible for exterior home maintenance but it becomes a problem you have to suffer with when repairs are shoddy or materials are unavailable. Same thing for appliances–if your HVAC, dishwasher, washing machine, etc, goes on the fritz, are there good technicians in the area with access to nearby parts suppliers? Every place gets analyzed for the availability of good doctors and medical facilities, but can your car also get good care without having to drive (or get towed) two or three counties away? There are many reasons why “affordable” places are affordable.

    by Steve B — April 22, 2014

  8. LS, thanks. Never thought of those issues. We want to retire in Fl and inland. I was asked the question “you don’t want to be near the beach”. My response was no because of potential hurricanes. Now I have more to say with your input. I also know a young couple who bought their first house and wishes they would of checked out the neighborhood in the evening after dark. Not what they thought.

    by Vickie — April 24, 2014

  9. This question came in from Cynthia:

    Would like to know what cities in florida are similar to venice for retirement.
    (Can anyone help.)

    by Admin — April 24, 2014

  10. Interesting comments about coastal living. After some research, we found insurance to be much higher at the coast, and will be looking inland (FL).
    We also initially made an offer at a 55+ community, but had a bit of a harsh wake up call once we read through the list of “don’t do this and don’t do that”.
    We haven’t been responsible people all our lives just to be told what we can or cannot do, not to mention giving up our much treasured privacy.
    One may find more ( pay more for) amenities and a bit more security at a 55+ community, but please read all the fine print before you sign.
    I don’t mean to sound negative, and surely don’t want to discourage anyone who loves this type of lifestyle. Its just food for though.

    by Godsgirl — April 25, 2014

  11. I am a west coast girl. Many of the problems ired by LS above are not issues on the west coast. No storm surge as we don’t have hurricanes. No late night party problems as spring break isn’t an issue. There are other problems.,,coastline erodes (everywhere) and can cause foundations to become unstable, salt water corrodes everywhere. But there are wonderful communities all over the west where people have lived happily on the coast for many years. Florence, OR comes to mind. Little beach towns throughout Washington, Oregon and Northern California, sone of them pricier than others. This has always been such an eastern focused forum I thought perhaps you guys forgot there is a west coast.

    by Ginger — April 25, 2014

  12. I am interested in finding out peoples opinions of retiring to either Cape Coral and Port Charlotte, Florida. Does the area present the qualities of life that we retirees seek? Of particular interest is whether homes in Cape Coral are required to have flood insurance. If you live in this area or have considered and rejected it as a place you would want to live, please share whatever information you feel might be helpful. Thank you!

    by Tom — June 16, 2014

  13. Ginger, I haven’t forgotten about the west coast, I just can’t afford to live there! Absolutely adore the west coast.

    by Linda — June 17, 2014

  14. Tom, I too am looking at homes in Cape Coral. If you get the strap number of the property you’re considering, you can check out what flood zone the home is in. If it’s in zone 1, you must have flood insurance.

    by Linda — June 17, 2014

  15. Years ago we lived in Naples Florida – had to move due to mother-in-law sickness. We visited Cape Coral a few times. We did not like anything about it. Just our opinion and that was about 8 years ago. Had some friends that bought property there as an investment – they couldn’t give it away – actually almost true because by the time they finally got rid of it (He died)the wife sold it back to some realtor.

    May be different now – just passing on our experience.

    by Robert — June 18, 2014

  16. Well, Robert, you probably wouldn’t recognize Naples now. Eight years is a long time. Naples is one big traffic jam during snowbird season. And everything there is vastly overpriced. Don’t know how it is when the snowbirds aren’t there, but will get to find out this year as I’m going down early.

    Cape Coral is small and I love the homes on the canals–especially the wider ones. The prices still seem to be within reason for a second home.

    by Linda — June 18, 2014

  17. Linda, in case you missed my point – we did not like Cape Coral, the community or anything else about it. It was run down, houses and property depreciated etc. You could have one great house and next door a dump.

    Naples was okay but way over priced and most of the people that live in the codo’s and homes have much deeper pockets than ours (jealous) but not resentful.

    During the “snowbird” season traffic is horrible in Naples and Ft Myers. Not going back to that area.

    I would really do my homework on Cape Coral – Good luck with your decisions.

    Robert

    by Robert — June 19, 2014

  18. Robert, I got you point that you did not like Cape Coral. I don’t think that requires that I not like it too.

    I have spent some time there in the past several years and will be renting for 6 months this winter while I look at homes. I may or may not purchase something.

    by Linda — June 20, 2014

  19. I loved living in Southern California-when I worked, now that I am retired, I cannot afford it. So, we chose South Carolina; we love it!!We live in Murrells Inlet which is close to Myrtle Beach and butts up against Pawleys Island. The medical care is excellent, the taxes are wonderful, the state is run well and the weather agrees with us.

    by diandto — June 21, 2014

  20. Hi Linda, Never thought for a moment that because I didn’t like it (Cape Coral) – you shouldn’t also!!!!! I do know that “haste makes waste” and am suffering from that that old adage by not doing my proper and diligent home work before purchasing where we presently live. As “seasoned citizens” we are at a point in our lives at which we want to settle into a final living location and stop moving around – except for some well deserved vacation/lol.

    Later we are promised a Mansion in “Our Fathers house”. Be well and don’t make our mistake.

    Reminds me of someone who never admits they make mistakes = “I made a mistake ONCE – but found out I was really RIGHT!” / LOL = know some people like that.
    Not u. Good luck

    Robert

    by Robert — June 21, 2014

  21. Diandto – we have not ruled out Myrtle Beach and years ago we use to visit Murrells inlet quite a bit. Did u buy, rent? Any tips would be appreciated because we would certainly not rule out Murrells Inlet providing we can afford it. Your right about the taxes – as is NE TN. We are struggling with trying to make a decision = DUH! Certainly quite a bit to do in that are – if only walk on the beach which I love to do and did so for many years in Daytona.

    If you know a good realtor or place to investigate let me know.

    tks, Robert

    by Robert — June 22, 2014

  22. The entire area south of Myrtle Beach, from Murrells Inlet to Georgetown, is worthy of consideration (I’ve owned a condo in a Pawleys Island golf community for 14 years.) It is nothing like Myrtle Beach proper, which is to say less traffic, no neon/honky tonk, better restaurants per capita, the best public beaches on the Grand Strand, and real estate prices that are very reasonable. If you wind up at the south end of the south end of the Strand, you have the extra benefit of being within 60 minutes or so of Charleston airport; flights to C’ton are between $100 and $200 cheaper from the northeast than to Myrtle Beach International (I will never understand why the difference, but it is consistent). Decent to nice condos in Pawleys area golf communuties start in the low $100s, and you can find single-family homes beginning around $200k. The Pawleys Island area, which is about to get its 5th supermarket within six miles, is definitely worth a look.

    by Larry — June 22, 2014

  23. Has anyone checked out New Bern NC?

    by easilyamused — June 22, 2014

  24. I love all these comments but does anyone have an opinion of Athens Ga where UGA is? My wile and I live in SW Florida and need to find a place that is more affordable and with friendly people. SW Florida has turned into gated communicates, strip malls,and self absorbed arrogant people. We both work in the service industry so we are a little biased but tired of being treated like servants.

    by Jeffrey Gilfoy — June 23, 2014

  25. I agree with Larry…been to Pawleys Island…very laid back and pretty area.

    by sunlovingal — June 23, 2014

  26. Does anyone have an opinion and knowledge of cost of living in Galveston, TX? Thank you

    by angelina — November 19, 2014

  27. […] The Affordable and More Best Places to Retire List 11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront Affordable Places to Retire on the Coast 10 Affordable, and Highly Livable, Places to Retire 8 More Affordable Places to Retire 2 New lists […]

    by » Disconnect: Most Affordable Places to Retire Are Not Where Retirees Are Moving - Topretirements — December 2, 2014

  28. My parents retired to New Bern NC and it is a wonderful place. They really love it! There is a very large retirement community (mostly of northerners). The New Bern country club is wonderful – right on the river and lots of social activities in addition to golfing, tennis and pool. NB is a boaters paradise if you are into boating and fishing. Not much by way of shopping, but there are good restaurants and the downtown area is very historic and charming. New Bern was the original capital of North Carolina and also Pepsi was invented in NB. You can very easily find a house for $100,000, but if you want to be on the water then it will obviously be significantly more ($300k). Both rivers in NB run to the intracoastal and eventually the ocean, so you can get from NB straight to the beach by boat, but it takes several hours (on boat). If you’d like to drive, the beach is about 40 minutes away. Very easy for a day trip. Good medical care and there is an airport with daily flights to Atlantic and Charlotte. You are only 2 hours from Raleigh where there is a major airport and all the shopping one would ever need. You are also 2.5 hours to Wilmington. You should definitely check if out if you’re looking into retiring. I hope to inherit my parent’s house eventually!
    Other towns nearby to consider: Beaufort NC, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and Pine Knoll Shores. Steer clear of Havelock (military town).

    by Andrea — January 19, 2015

  29. I am looking for a warm climate near the water where there are small communities where small dogs are the family. I am a mobile pet groomer and I need a mature clientele. My means are modest. I need a fenced yard for two beloved pets. I will be retiring April 1 2016 and would like any recommendations.

    by Linda Schlauch — February 6, 2015

  30. I wish, I wish upon a star: I wish I had not had to look so far! Tired…. Goodnight, Peter & Wendy

    by Debbey Cox — May 21, 2015

  31. I did so, Sam. I would not “spam”. My comment is on this site, So, if you take the time to see, you will find me, I guarantee!

    by Debbey Cox — May 21, 2015

  32. […] further reference: For further reference: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2 10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire – Part 2 20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire […]

    by » 20 Great Affordable Towns for Retirement - Topretirements — July 21, 2015

  33. […] our previous lists! For further reference: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2 10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire – Part 2 20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire […]

    by » 10 Affordable…and Highly Livable… Places to Retire - Topretirements — July 21, 2015

  34. […] further reading: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2 10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire 20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire 8 More […]

    by » More Affordable Places to Retire – A Reading List - Topretirements — July 21, 2015

  35. I read this blog and the comments with interest. Most of my friends are well over 60 and are always seeking information about “where to retire.” Those in S. CA and OR are happy where they are if they are sure they will be able to afford to keep up with the costs of living. I have lived in different parts of the country — in large cities and small towns. I love the ocean and prefer to live in a coastal area. I also love New England and would rather live there than any other place aside from S. CA.

    BUT: I don’t care whether one believes in climate change, but just ask people who live in states like ME, NH, MA, CT, NY, and RI. The winters were always cold, but not frozen by blizzards and increased worries and costs of keeping one’s abode warm and the pipes not solid ice. A few years ago, I would have moved to the oceanfront in ME if I had found “the perfect little house.” Now, I am so glad I didn’t. Unless one is a hardy soul who loves to chop wood for a needed woodstove, it’s a loooong winter and if any disability re walking on slippery ground, not a good choice.

    I am very knowledgeable about a Mid Atlantic state. I have noticed the mention of Cambridge and Easton, MD as good places to retire. They are very small cities and not unpleasant as far as climate goes: mild winters, less horror-storms, and not as hot and muggy as FL and southern states. However, if one plans for any events similar to a city on the mainland, forget about this area. First, you are trapped on the large peninsula by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is old, “crumbling,” and is now a traffic nightmare if needing to get to work, department stores, excellent restaurants, or cultural events such as the ballet, live theatre, opera, or even ethnic festivals. You will be at least 50 miles or more from that one bridge to the mainland, so don’t pay any attention to maps which tell fibs about distances.

    Second, a very important issue: as a senior, you will need more than family practice M.D.s and one small hospital with the same M.D.s. The specialists come and almost all go; they miss city life. Third, chicken plants and hog farms make up the major industries on the Eastern Shore of MD (which includes a large part of attached DE). Their run-offs are responsible for major problems with an already polluted Chesapeake Bay. Tap water is bad and no filter destroys arsenic. Locals know not to eat the crabs and fish, and the watermen are on their way out as a way of life. Farms, long the tradition along with the Bay’s use, are being sold for housing developments. The houses are not actually cheap, not particularly attractive, and with no dept. stores, your choices are Walmart, Target, and possibly a KMart. The few expensive clothing shops are not adequate for people used to any upscale dept. store. This is still mostly rural, but the future is lower-cost housing developments and no upgrade in shopping or eating out other than fast food and mid-cost restaurant chains.

    In case of an emergency weather threat, such as a hurricane, your evacuation route is the Atlantic Ocean — right into the worst of the storm. If you have enough money and are positive you won’t need a specialist M.D., this is for you. There are a couple of good golf clubs, but unless that is your obsession, ignore that feature. If you are a yacht or sailboat owner, you might be happy with just that as your future activity. The marinas are already stuffed with boats, and some company will have to build more.

    I haven’t mentioned churches. If you are a Methodist, they are plentiful. Other religions have some representation, but you might have to travel to find your choice.

    If I had to choose a place to retire, I’d spend at least two months renting before making an actual move. You won’t even think of the critters you will encounter, especially in rural areas and by water: snakes, peculiar biting bugs, rats, roaches, swamp animals, and vultures/hawks flying overhead looking for your outdoor pet. They can be as nasty as being in a airline flight path which no broker will reveal.

    If I haven’t deterred you from considering the Eastern Shore of MD (and part of attached almost all rural DE), then this area is “you.” Enjoy what the advertisements promise with fingers crossed behind their backs. The one honest statement is the weather is probably the best on the East Coast. The barometer is usually steady and annual snow is in inches, not feet. It is completely different than on MD’s mainland.

    My initial purpose was just to say something about two cities on MD’s Eastern Shore which have been recommended by those who don’t live there. I have been too truthful and not even telling more which would completely rule out Easton and Cambridge, MD. I know there are worse places for various reasons. I really didn’t mean to smear what many who live in those cities enjoy. But this is the site to hear some truths, and I did that.

    by Bee Anderson — July 26, 2015

  36. We just came back from two weeks on the North Atlantic Coast. We looked at the area from Amelia Island to New Smyrna Beach. We liked Ormond Beach (Halifax Plantation) but we loved Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. Great downtown on the marina; wonderful restaurants and shops. Good beaches. On the pricey side, if you want to live “on the island”, $400K+. Good communities on the mainland, about 15-20 minutes away. Amelia National and North Hampton appealed to us the most.. We found good houses with water/golf views for $320-$390K. We’ll be focusing our search here.

    by Richard — November 6, 2015

  37. Richard, and anyone else interested in North Hampton near Jacksonville, I played its outstanding golf course a few years ago and posted a review here: http://www.golfcommunityreviews.com/archives/articles-by-category/florida/41-florida/2770-golf-course-review-north-hampton-golf-club-fernandina-beach-fl.html

    by Larry — November 7, 2015

  38. Does anyone have any current information about the Lewes-Rehoboth Beach area for retirees, such as housing, medical facilities, transportation options, other services such as vet services(dog), cable service, etc. What about flood insurance? We plan to visit the area around Thanksgiving and would appreciate any suggestions and information.
    Thank you.
    Brutae

    by Brutae — November 8, 2015

  39. Bee – Thank you for your information. I like getting the bad as well as the good about locations. I wish more people would go ahead and give such good info about what it’s actually like to live somewhere. For ex., I just visited the Hilton Head area to check out 55+ communities. I talked with several couples who live in Blufton, who talked about the horrendous traffic if you leave your community or try to get to the beach. They mentioned that traffic was pretty bad all year long (not just “in season”) due to special events to bring tourists to the area and the additional construction of new homes. They also warned that there big swings in property taxes in the area, so a smart realtor was critical. We have a lengthy discussion about the cost of water, since they said that a sprinkler system was the only way to keep a yard green in the summer. This is the kind of info that probably wouldn’t change someone’s mind if they’ve decided on Hilton Head, but it’s useful when you’re still just browsing locations.

    by Sharon — November 9, 2015

  40. Sharon, all information is useful in decision making. So, although i’m not planning to retire to Hilton Head, i thought your post to be relevant and helpful to those who are. Just wanted to affirm comments on both positive and negative. Thanks!

    by ella — November 9, 2015

  41. Sharon, your information is very useful. I would have thought summer would be the traffic problem but good to know one might have to expect it at other times of the year. All of these posts add up to such useful information for those of us still looking. No perfect place probably but better to know before you go and not be blindsided after it is too late if you can help it. Easy to get the good information as sales people, realtors etc. want to give you that, negatives are much harder to come by but may be more useful. At least you have a ‘heads up’. Thanks.

    by Carold — November 9, 2015

  42. Brutae, our friends lived in Lewes/Rehoboth for years with a dog and truly enjoyed where they were. Both were hospitalized for various reasons in the local hospital but I believe the husband was in a Dover hospital for a very serious surgery and he did well. They didn’t have a problem with their medical care. He has since passed away and she has moved to be close to her daughter. If you are seriously thinking of the area you need to be familiar with the summer traffic which you will not experience during a Thanksgiving visit. As in many communities with high traffic, the locals find their ways around it. They lived on the beach side of the main highway so maybe that helped. They enjoyed living near the ocean, fishing and walking the dog and she was active in the community.

    by Carold — November 9, 2015

  43. Sharon I agree with you about the traffic in Bluffton and it is like that all year. I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when all of the new construction is finished. That being said,everyone I meet who lives in Sun City likes it. There seems to be something for everyone to do.

    by Debra — November 10, 2015

  44. The bottom line on traffic … where ever you have a larger population you have more activities, more restaurants, more shopping, more opportunities to do new things, etc. … thus more TRAFFIC.

    One needs to really access the right mix for them.

    We moved to a great community with NO traffic but the population base is not enough to warrant all the activities that we would like!!

    Unfortunately one can not have it all!

    by Stephen Brown — November 10, 2015

  45. Although, as a golfer, I love the Bluffton and Hilton Head areas, the traffic assessment is deadly accurate based on my half dozen visits there over the years. On this trip, I waited a good four or five minutes at a traffic light to make a turn onto Fording Island Road, the main drag through Bluffton and onto HHI. (A left turn without a traffic light has taken me six to eight minutes to make on an earlier visit.) This is what happens when idiots are put in charge of town planning and zoning. Hilton Head began developing in the late 1960s, and with any predictive logic, the Bluffton town fathers should have seen that the only road on and off the island would eventually be crowded. So what did they do? They zoned the road fully commercial, precipitating an even worse traffic situation. Stupid in the extreme and a major turnoff to retired folks who have had it with commuting traffic during their careers and will opt for a more rural retirement once they spend a day or two in Bluffton traffic.

    by Larry — November 11, 2015

  46. We have vacationed at Hilton Head Island for 25+ years and fondly remember when Route 278 out to the island from 95 was just a sleepy sparsely populated road – not much activity until one hit the bridge to the island. The whole area has been a magnet for developers and huge retirement and gated communities sprang up on both sides of 278, including Sun City. Then came all of the shopping and services needed by all of the new residents. 278 was widened, the new Cross Island Expressway was built, and now a new 278 bypass is being constructed. Larry – you are right, the infrastructure is always late to the party! One word of advice – drive to a traffic light on 278 to make a turn – never use the median turn around without a light! Almost daily horrific accidents for the people who use them and try to dodge 3 lanes of oncoming traffic! Also avoid “going to and coming home from work” times – lots of employees and service workers heading out to the island at these times! We did not choose to retire there because of the traffic and the onslaught of tourists in the summer – instead we are headed to nearby Beaufort, much more of a year- round community with hardly any tourist attractions!

    by SandyZ — November 12, 2015

  47. Sandy, Beaufort is a great town in a nice area. I have visited and can recommend the nearby (20 minutes) Dataw Island as a fine community with two excellent golf courses and reasonably priced real estate.

    by Larry — November 13, 2015

  48. I agree Larry! Dataw is exactly where we are going to spend phase one of retirement! After visiting lots of communities in Florida and SC, we chose Dataw for our move from Maine- this will be air first year of golfing and kayaking instead of shoveling snow! It is not an inexpensive community by any means, and the fees rise every year, but is in line with other golf communities in the Bluffton- Beaufort area. If we were not golfers, there are other more affordable options in the area – and that day may come in 15 – 20 years when we retire the clubs.

    by SandyZ — November 14, 2015

  49. SandyZ
    Did you find properties on Dataw to be in flood zones requiring flood insurance? If they need flood insurance is it expensive? I play golf but my wife prefers arts/crafts, cards (not bridge), etc. Are there abundant activities for someone like my wife?

    by LeeS — November 15, 2015

  50. This is what turned me off about Dataw Island,

    http://www.dataw.org/files/Resident%20Dues%20_%20Fees.pdf

    by Richard — November 15, 2015

  51. Thanks Richard
    Looks like more than I care to pay. Don’t mind paying for amenities but there is a limit for me.

    by LeeS — November 16, 2015

  52. LeeS – to answer your questions about flood zones, some of the homes on the water are in a flood zone. The house that we bought is in the middle of the island , on the golf course rather than water, and it is not in a flood zone. We did buy FEMA flood insurance anyway, as the area is susceptible to flash flooding. And yes, the annual fee schedule posted by Richard is correct. We liked that the sports amenities packages are a la carte – you pay for what you play. My husband is an avid golfer and figured if he plays four times a week, it is a bargain. On the flip side, the golf homes are very affordable, $300, 000 buys you a 3 bedroom, 2 bath or more home. The best part, we just received our property tax bill -$ 1114.00 for 2016! We left a $8900.00 tax bill in Maine! Overall, heating expenses in Maine, property taxes in Maine, and income taxes in Maine, moving to Beaufort a big win for us.

    by SandyZ — November 16, 2015

  53. I’m new to this site and have been reading with much interest the various discussions. I especially appreciated Bee’s reality check about DE and the local area. Clean safe drinking water is critical! Some locations may be in areas previously and currently contaminated by toxins industry or agriculture run off. There are so many lists of the best cities and retirement locations but the emphasis seems to be about cheap taxes and living. A pretty community is not enough and the buyer must do much research into the surrounding areas. Access to decent healthcare needs to be bumped up on the priority list IMO.

    by Joann Long — November 16, 2015

  54. To Richard & Lee, Sandy Z makes a pivotal point about Dataw Island, although I will take it a step further. Couples looking for a retirement place, especially in a golf community, make a big mistake when they look at just one cost component and disqualify the community based on that. After having visited and reviewed almost 200 golf communities in the southeast over the last 10 years, I can testify that Dataw Island’s fees are not unreasonable for a private golf community, especially one with two excellent golf courses. But even if you think so, look at the prices of homes there, as Sandy suggests, the tax structure, the overall costs associated with living in Dataw, etc. and you will find it matches up well with all similar communities. Anyone looking to live in a golf community should be looking to join the golf club — either as a full-golf member or social member (if that level is offered). Otherwise, what is the point of living in a golf community? I encourage my customers to treat the initiation fee for club membership as part of the cost of the house. If your budget for a home is $350K and you find a perfectly wonderful place for $325K, then the $15,000 initiation fee doesn’t feel so onerous. In short, do not make the mistake, as people who look at state income taxes too seriously, of focusing on just one component of the cost of living in a community.

    by Larry — November 16, 2015

  55. Does anyone have any experience living in Northwest Florida? My husband and I are considering an area called 30A, just south of Destin. It encompasses many small communities such as Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Watercolor. We are looking at an investment property to rent and then possibly retire too someday. We would not plan on living there in the summer. Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you, D.

    by Dee — January 12, 2016

  56. Beautiful area. Very expensive. Not as commercial as Destin but slowly getting there. Prices will only go up in that area. I wouldn’t live there in the summer either unless you like lots of traffic, heat and humidity :-).

    Hope that helps.

    by Elizabeth Mitchell — January 13, 2016

  57. We are moving this Comment from Rich to this Blog topic, where it is a better fit:

    Was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions for INEXPENSIVE coastal areas, say from Texas to Florida and from Florida up to North Carolina. I know the closer to the water, the higher the prices, but I’d like to be at least NEAR the coast. I’m looking for apartment complexes, since I can’t afford houses. Even apartments I’ll need assistance with.
    I’m permanently disabled, receiving $1,113.00 a month from SSD. Turning 51 this summer, so I don’t qualify for 55 and over.
    $1,113.00 a month isn’t much for ANYWHERE I know, but here on Long Island it doesn’t even cover rent, let alone anything else.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Rich F

    by Admin — January 29, 2016

  58. For Rich F.
    Just bought a condo in an area called Longs, SC, next to North Myrtle Beach. Affordable prices and rentals are available also. Area is quiet and close enough to the action of the Grand Strand when I want that. Spent most of my life on Long Island and this area provides the beach when i want it and the taxes are so NOT Long Island!

    by Christine — January 30, 2016

  59. I am due to retire in 5 years and would likely make about $4-5k a month in retirement. I really love oceanfront or some kind of waterfront and have lived in the south so heat doesn’t bother me. I have family in Hilton Head and Bluffton and Lady’s Island and Savannah and have been spoiled by my boyfriend’s condo in Clearwater Beach and Hilton Head.
    Being single, I would like to have a place like a condo that has about 1500 sq. feet and 2 bedrooms. I don’t want to buy a house as maintenance would be an issue for me. Can you recommend some place that would have pricing where I would not be house poor? I’m trying to do some planning now.

    by Michelle A — February 8, 2016

  60. Rich, Look in and around Conway, SC. It is a college town, with some reasonable rentals.

    by DeyErmand — February 9, 2016

  61. Rich:
    Look into Jacksonville, FL. I’ll be getting $1550 a month, and from my investigation, I think Jacksonville would be the perfect place for me.

    Does anyone have any comments to offer on what neighborhoods in Jacksonville I should concentrate on? Any advice would surely be appreciated!

    by Amy — February 9, 2016

  62. Rich,
    We devoted an entire week just to visiting the different neighborhoods in Jacksonville. Get the visitors guide with a breakdown of each neighborhood. It was a big help. It is a very big sprawling town, not clustered together like NY. We really liked a few areas especially that were within bus distance of downtown. It is a big college town and sports for all. Very modern and a big variety of medical care. The beaches are nice but we found that each one had its own flavor.
    This site is always saying to visit, visit, visit first We are working on that now and are going to rent first wherever we settle. I do not want to encounter buyers remorse after loving a place and six months later realizing we should have gone elsewhere. Good luck.
    Anybody visit/live in Lake Mary, Florida. We are looking at homes to rent, that are withing good walking areas and close to shopping. Any suggestions, pro or con would be helpful,

    by Edie — February 10, 2016

  63. RE: Edie’s post. I do not have personal experience, but from research and from posts from this site, it may be hard to find doctors that accept NEW Medicare patients in the Jacksonville, FL area. Just worth looking into.

    by elaine — February 10, 2016

  64. Dee, we owned 2 houses over 14 years in Miramar Beach, right outside of Destin. Beautiful area but remember, it is northern Florida and has 4 full seasons. Winters can sometimes be cold and we and many neighbors had burst pipes on at least 2 occasions. Sometimes it can be in the 60s and somedays can be in the 30s. So if you’re looking for guaranteed warm, Destin might not be the place for you. But we loved the beach and water down there and miss it.
    cathy

    by cathy foster — February 10, 2016

  65. This is in response to Kim’s post. I think painting things with such a broad brush is a mistake. I have an 83 year old father who “never thought he would live this long,” who made no plans for retirement. He now lives on his $1,100/month SS benefits in a senior citizens apartment. I am 51 and one year from having my 30 years in. I sacrificed and have two degrees as I knew it would make a difference in both the short-term and long-term. My wife and I both worked (we are educators) and we put money into annuities and then rolled them into 403B accounts later. We have a ton of equity in our home, money in investments, and if I choose to retire next year I will have a $100,000 pension for the rest of my life and it transfers to my wife if I “go” first. My pension plan is solid, although we did recently have to up the percentage we contribute. I would agree that for those who worked in non-professional jobs, the retirement options have gotten worse over the years. I have spent the better part of my career as a Principal, so my average income was higher. My point in all of this is that through smart planning and focused investing, we are going to be able to live well in retirement. We took vacations with our kids (but were smart about the expenses), we have one in college and when he finishes our daughter will be next. I don’t for a minute believe that the people I have worked with will be living on $1,100/month as many have been purposeful in their behavior as well.
    The other important part to consider is that real estate prices are cyclical and tied to the economy. I believe that if you wait to retire to purchase your home, you are tied to the prices at that time. A better strategy is to research where you want to live and, when things are low, pull the trigger and buy. I live in Houston right now and oil is tanking. Lots of vacation homes on the Gulf Coast are about to become available. If you are in the market to retire along the Gulf Coast, wait 12 more months and you will have your pick of a vast number of really nice properties that have been foreclosed on, or sold at a loss to get out from under the note. As for me, I hear the sound of the ocean in the distance calling me and my toes will soon be in the sand. We are heading to Pensacola Beach and are counting the days.

    by Chris — February 15, 2016

  66. If you want a retirement destination that is affordable by my definition and is coastal, look at Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach and Ormond Beach, FL.

    by Richard — February 19, 2016

  67. Richard,

    I’ve never been to Amelia Island/Fernandia Beach or Ormond Beach but will soon be visiting both. Looking at real estate prices online it seems as if Amelia Island/Fernandia Beach is fairly expensive, more so than Ormond Beach. I’m curious as to what you like about these places that causes you to recommend them.

    Tom

    by Tom — February 20, 2016

  68. Tom. Here goes. Amelia Island
    Great downtown area with a second one under development, both within a mile of the ocean.
    Friendly people everywhere.
    Affordable houses on the island, albeit w/o some items in our wish list and/or small.
    Several great developments on the “mainland” with great amenities and only 15 minutes from the island.
    Several lots available with water views and a room for a pool.
    Clincher: It has a “resident” vibe rather that a “tourist” one.

    by Richard — February 21, 2016

  69. Born in IL and lived majority of my life in Colorado. We are back in IL now due to financial circumstance but we need to leave soon. Some people are “water people” and need to be near the water to feel grounded. That is how I am and my Seasonal Effective Disorder has made things hard for my family. Being near the coast is all I long for. We have a small inheritance and are looking to set up a decent chance for retiring and living out our life comfortably without worry for how to pay month to month. FL looks like the best option for us with enough money left to summer in CO with the kids, as we could have a paid off home base and enough left to travel freely. I found this article helpful in our planning. Maybe it’s not ideal to be away from family part time, but I think there are ways to make that work. I just don’t want to do anymore hard winters in IL or CO, and finding an affordable community in a warmer climate will make it possible to be with family when I want to.

    by Doni — August 21, 2016

  70. I didn’t mean to knock Colorado in my previous post, it it actually a lovely place to live if you enjoy 4 seasons and dry climate with 300+ days of sunshine and bright crystal blue skies. But snow and cold are a fact of life there and one that I would prefer not to deal with any longer.

    by Doni — August 21, 2016

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