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7 Cheapest Beach Towns in California (Updated 2023)

Cheapest Beach Towns in California

California has some of the most beautiful beaches and coasts in the world, and many of the most popular cities in the country are located in these areas. As you might imagine, this means that the cheapest beach towns in California aren’t necessarily going to be inexpensive. However, there are many affordable beach towns in California that may be within your price range. 

In this article, we’ll help people who have the money to afford beautiful beach homes in California find a high-quality property that makes sense for them. Each of the towns on this list is a unique place to live and has various pros and cons that make it worth living in if you’re interested in finding affordable coastal towns in California that meet your budget. 

To help you reach this goal, we’re going to break down things like median home value, property taxes, cost of living expenses, and much more. This information can help you better understand what kinds of places are available in California. Just as critically, we will provide tips that make it easier for you to find a home without overspending and getting in trouble financially.

Note that we tried to include places from a broad range of areas, including spots that might seem higher than normal. We took this approach because we wanted to provide a diverse array of living options and appeal to people from all walks of life. Thankfully, there are some surprisingly inexpensive places you can live in California on the beach.

How We Curated the Cheapest Beach Town in California List? 

We used multiple high-authority websites when identifying cities to add to this list. Rating them was primarily based on the median home value because that’s typically the most expensive thing about finding the cheapest beach towns in California. However, we also weighed property taxes, cost of living expenses, crime rate, and much more. 

The goal here is to provide you with the in-depth information that you need to make a smart decision. Different factors might affect whether or not you want to live in a town, such as education quality and livability. Read through this whole list to find a few cities and regions that interest you, and work hard to identify a high-quality home that makes sense for your needs.


Please note that data limitation is possible whenever researching inexpensive home purchases. Our team uses government sites, whenever possible, or high-quality sites that provide affordable and high-quality data. We strongly recommend doing research yourself to improve your understanding further. Here are the sites we used to find this information for you:

Cheapest and Affordable Beach Towns in California

When reading this list of the cheapest beach towns in California, make sure you remember that affordable is a relative town. Few of the most affordable beach towns in California will seem inexpensive to the average buyer. However, the most affordable coastal towns in California still cost far less than the most expensive regions in the state, which should save you cash.

7. Ventura


Ventura is a city in Ventura County, a sprawling area with around 832,605 people. That high population density might make this seem like a very expensive place to live. However, it’s one of the more affordable coastal towns in California based on various metrics. Pay attention to the following factors to ensure that you know what you’ll pay when moving to this area:

  • Median Home Price: $836,927 per Zillow
  • Taxes: $780 per $100,000 home value per Smart Asset
  • Overall Cost of Living: 34.8% higher than the national average
  • Things Ventura is Famous For: Multiple beautiful beaches, including Ventura Pier

Pros and Cons of Living in Ventura

Ventura provides many miles of beautiful beaches, attractive homes, and high-quality education. That makes it a great place to live if you have a family. It’s particularly known for its pier entertainment, with many beautiful piers where you can have fun and relax. Finding a great home in this area shouldn’t be hard because so many are beautifully designed. 

That said, expect a lot of people in this area and a potential for crime issues. Like any big region, Ventura and the surrounding county have a higher crime rate than you might prefer, meaning that it’s a little harder to tolerate. Traffic is also a bit rough here, which is a common problem in California. Beyond these issues, it should be a cozy place to raise a family or retire.

6. San Pedro


San Pedro is a region within Los Angeles that is right on the beach, meaning you can relax in comfort here. With a population of 176,314, it has a big-city feel and many of the same amenities you get living in California. That said, it’s also surprisingly one of the less expensive places to live in Los Angeles, though that is naturally relative. Prices to consider include:

Pros and Cons of Living in San Pedro

San Pedro is something of a hidden treasure in Los Angeles and is one of the most affordable regions of the city. It’s particularly affordable, considering it has beach-front property that you can purchase. This makes it a great option if you have the money to afford a house in California and want to spend your days relaxing on the beach, listening to waves crash around you.

As you might expect, the heavy population of Los Angeles makes this a rather populated area. Some people might struggle to accept this density of people and may not enjoy the traffic. Furthermore, there’s a high potential for various types of crimes, depending on your neighborhood. As a result, it’s critical to be very careful when moving to this area.

5. Long Beach

Long Beach California

While the prices listed here might not make Long Beach seem like one of the cheapest beach towns in California, it’s fairly cheap for the area in which it’s located. Found in Los Angeles, it is a major city with a population of 451,307 people. As a result, it’s one of the biggest places on this list. Here’s the kind of price information you can expect from this area:

Pros and Cons of Living in Long Beach

When choosing affordable beach towns in California, it’s important to pick places that make sense for your budget. Long Beach has a reasonable livability expense for the region because it includes amenities like access to LA regions, unique restaurants, and decent education. The crime is even relatively okay for this area, especially considering its sheer size. 

That said, the population may deter many people from living here. While it’s under 500,000 people, that’s still a lot for such a small area. Like much of Los Angeles, it’s a densely populated area that includes a lot of people. If you’re not someone who enjoys being around a lot of people at once, you may find yourself turning your back on Long Beach investments.

4. Grover Beach

Grover Beach

Located in San Luis Obispo County, Grover Beach is a cute and inspiring small town not far from the Pacific Ocean. With a population of just 12,619, it has a small-town feel but isn’t too far from bigger cities. That makes it a great middle-ground for buyers who want a more cozy feel without missing out on modern amenities. Pay attention to these facets when buying a home here:

  • Median Home Price: $723,971 per Zillow
  • Taxes: $800 per $100,000 home value per Smart Asset
  • Overall Cost of Living: 43.2% higher than the national average
  • Things Grover Beach is Famous For: Access to Big Sur and a fun ghost and true-crime tour

Pros and Cons of Living in Grover Beach

Grover Beach is a popular destination for people on a budget because of its relatively low home price. While its median house price and cost of living are higher than the national average, they’re lower for California beach areas. Just as importantly, this city also has a lower crime rate and a strong education system, which helps it stand out compared to other cities. 

Some people may struggle with this city’s relatively low population. There won’t be a large amount of diversity in the people you see every day, which can be hard for some people to handle. Just as frustratingly, you might find it hard to buy a house here because people don’t sell often. When they do, you need to make a quick bid to ensure you have a chance of buying.

3. Arcata


Arcata is one of the cheapest beach towns in California and is located in the Arcata Bay region. With a population of 18,555, it’s not only one of the most affordable beach towns in California but a cozy and comfortable place to live. Even if you buy a vacation house here and don’t permanently relocate, you should enjoy this area. Here’s what you need to know about it:

Pros and Cons of Living in Arcata

Arcata is a great choice if you want to live in a comfortable area after retiring. Its smaller feel means that you’ll know just about everybody in the city and can make good friends. The more secluded nature of this city also helps it work well for people who want a more cozy and comfortable place to live without the insane bustle of some California cities.

Unfortunately, Arcata is known for its high crime problems, which is an issue you deserve to understand. There are many concerns with minor crimes, such as personal drug use and other issues throughout the city. Any of the affordable coastal towns in California have some crime, but it’s more of an issue here. The education system is also only so-so in Arcata.

2. Eureka

Eureka, California

Located in Humboldt County on the northern end of California, Eureka has a great name and provides you with a surprisingly affordable beachside home. With a population of 26,129, Eureka has a nice small-town feel without seeming too tiny. It’s also a relaxing place that should work well for many retirement home needs. Cost factors include:

  • Median Home Price: $424,062 per Zillow
  • Taxes: $770 per $100,000 home value per Smart Asset
  • Overall Cost of Living: 6.9% higher than the national average
  • Things Eureka is Famous For: Redwood Highway, Sequoia Park Zoo, and Carson Mansion

Pros and Cons of Living in Eureka

Eureka gets strong markets for its affordability and education. It’s one of the best places to move if you don’t have a huge budget but still want to live on the beach in California. The education system is better than average and provides your children with plenty of learning opportunities. That makes this a strong place to raise your little ones.

However, Eureka gets pretty low marks for crime and livability. The latter problem is mostly due to the area’s more secluded nature, as you might not have access to things like the best possible internet. That’s kind of the price you pay for getting an inexpensive beach home in this area. Beyond these issues, Eureka can be a fairly comfortable area to live.

1. Crescent City

Crescent City California

When it comes to the cheapest beach towns in California, Crescent City is the lowest-priced we could find. Located in Del Norte County, it’s the only incorporated city in that county and the county seat. It has a population of 5,983 people, which makes it the smallest city we’ve discussed here. Here’s what you need to know about it if you plan on living here:

  • Median Home Price: $356,968 per Zillow
  • Taxes: $660 per $100,000 home value per Smart Asset
  • Overall Cost of Living: 6.9% higher than the national average
  • Things Crescent City is Famous For: Amazing redwood forests and beautiful lakes

Pros and Cons of Living in Crescent City

The best part about Crescent City is the cost because you’re not going to find any more affordable beach towns in California. It gets very high marks for education and livability, as well, because it provides fairly modern amenities that make it very cozy. While the crime here can be an issue, it’s still not major enough to deter many people from moving here. 

The biggest issue that we could find with this over other affordable coastal towns in California is its relatively secluded nature. If you’re someone who wants to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the state’s biggest cities, you’re going to be disappointed. That said, it’s a great option if you want a more alienated or isolated city after you retire or while raising your children.

Tips for Buying Beach Town Property in California 

At this point, you should feel pretty comfortable picking a great and affordable home on the beach in California. However, it’s important to understand that there are many areas where you could go wrong here. As a result, it’s critical to examine the various factors that may affect your purchase to ensure you do it properly. These include simple tips like:

  • Checking Other Costs: Did you pay attention to the taxes and other expenses that might affect you? It’s important to do so because these might be more than you expect. Just as importantly, they can affect how much you pay in the long term. 
  • Reading Local Policies: Do you know anything about California law and the ways they might affect you? If not, it’s important to learn about them ASAP before buying a house. Doing so will help you save money and ensure that you don’t spend too much cash. 
  • Researching Dangerous Problems: When buying in the cheapest beach towns in California, make sure that you know how heavily it gets hit by hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes. Try to avoid areas that might endanger you and your family. 
  • Knowing About Future Costs: Even the most affordable beach towns in California will retain their value well and can provide you with a great profit range. Make sure you keep that in mind before buying a home in California to ensure that you get the results you deserve. 
  • Working With Professionals: Try to avoid buying real estate without the help of a professional. Simply put, you need to find a realtor who understands your needs and who can provide the hands-on support that makes sense for you and saves you good money in the process.

Try to keep your research process focused on these and other factors to improve your chance of finding a home in affordable coastal towns in California. Remember that these houses are a wise investment because property in California typically only increases in value. There’s a good chance that property in these areas could make you a lot of money later in life.

FAQs on Cheapest Beach Towns in California

Where is the cheapest place to live by the beach in California?

Crescent City provides you with the least expensive and most affordable place to live on the beach in California. While it’s true that it still costs a bit of money to live there, that’s just part of life in this state. Other than here, there aren’t many cheaper options.

What is the safest beach town in California?

Though not cheap, Capitola is one of the oldest and safest beach towns in California. It’s known for having a low-key vibe and a friendly atmosphere that makes it a great place to stay. You can visit here or buy a home and get the same experience.

Where is the most affordable place to retire in California?

Crescent City remains the least expensive place to retire in California if you want beach property. That’s because its cost of living is low, and its home prices are as low as you can get for beach property in the area. Make sure you reach out to a realtor for help.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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