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Cheapest Beach Towns in California

cheapest beach towns in california

Have you dreamed about retiring to the beach but can’t imagine how you could make it happen on your budget?

Or maybe you want to study for a semester by the coast and don’t want to break the bank?

Don’t worry; there are still plenty of bargains to be found in California when it comes to beach towns. So, decided to take a closer look at some of the cheapest beach towns in California you should consider.

Let’s get started…

The State Of California

California is an exciting and vibrant state with a unique history. It is famous for its beautiful Pacific coastline, iconic cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, the majestic redwood trees of the North Coast, and many other natural wonders. 

It is home to a diverse range of people with different cultures and customs, such as Hollywood stars, tech moguls, and cowboys. Living there has its own special charm, from the pleasant year-round mild climate to the world-renowned local produce and cuisine. 

The State Of California

Ever been to Disney Land?

California also boasts an interesting past; it was originally inhabited by Native Americans thousands of years ago before becoming part of Mexico following Spanish colonization during the 18th century before it eventually joined the United States in 1850. 

Nowadays, with all its modern attractions, attractions such as Disney Land and Sea World – it remains both one of America’s most popular tourist destinations and a wonderful place to call home.

Cheapest Beach Towns in California

Crescent City

Crescent City, located in Northern California, is a desirable destination for budget-conscious people wanting to purchase a home. With a median home price of $276,000, it offers an affordable living option.

 Outdoor enthusiasts will not be disappointed either; the city has numerous recreational activities to offer visitors and locals alike. Exploring the two northernmost lighthouse stations in California – Battery Point and St. George Reef- are always popular spots with breathtaking views. 

Crescent City

Rising from the tsunami disaster!

Redwood parks give access to miles of trails and towering trees, while pristine beaches like Pebble Beach and Kellogg Beach provide plenty of activities, such as collecting driftwood, agates, and fossils. There is something for all members of the family, such as Ocean World, which is an exciting interactive aquarium that features lots of sea life perfect for a day out! 

Despite being devastated by a tsunami in 1964, Crescent City has risen from the destruction to become one of Northern California’s top coastal destinations over time.

Long Beach

Another great beach town in California is Long Beach. With a remarkably diverse population and bustling nightlife, there’s something for everybody here. Not only that, but the cost of living is surprisingly affordable at an average of $2214 per month, even more so considering a single person’s monthly costs can be as low as $919.

 People looking to purchase a home will also appreciate the relatively inexpensive housing market, with houses typically listed at around $449,800. East Village provides plenty of benefits to singles and professionals looking to have fun, while Park Village is perfect for young families looking to settle down and enjoy the green parks nearby. No matter who you are or what you’re looking for, Long Beach has it all.

San Pedro

San Pedro is an inviting coastal city that brings unbeatable ocean views and year-round sunshine. This picturesque region of Southern California offers the perfect balance between relaxed living, cultural exploration, and urban convenience – all at a price tag below other cities in the area. 

Its waterfront communities have seen improvements to infrastructure over recent years, with cultural eateries popping up along the streetside settings for visitors to enjoy traditional seafood dishes alongside beautiful seascapes. With healthcare facilities nearby as well as top educational institutions, it’s no wonder why this charming beach town has become increasingly popular amongst locals who wish to make their home here!


Oceanside, located in Southern California, is renowned for being one of the cheapest beach towns in the state. Despite its low cost of living, it offers everything from great shops, cafes, and restaurants to vibrant community festivals and events.

 It also has some popular tourist attractions like the Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside Pier, Harbor Beach, and California Surf Museum, where you can take a cultural tour throughout the town for just a fraction of what you would normally pay in other cities.

A broad range for anyone’s budget…

For those with a sweet tooth, don’t forget to visit Charlie’s Dessert Bar or attend Oceanside Sunset Market during your stay. 

With an average monthly rental cost of $2508, including utilities at around $143.05 per month, this unbeatable destination has something for everyone regardless of budget.



Those looking to experience a tranquil coastal lifestyle while not breaking the bank should consider Eureka on California’s northern coast. The median home price is $362,000, which is more affordable compared to many other beach towns in the state.

 Not only is it more affordable, but its Old Town is also a National Register of Historic Places listed district filled with beautiful Victorian homes and Queen Anne style architecture, as well as modern artworks, boutiques, and restaurants to keep visitors entertained.

Forest and beaches all in one!

 Nature enthusiasts can explore Sequoia Park Forest and Garden, which consists of 67 acres of lush forests and colorful flowers with calming water features for those wanting to relax. Whether one is looking for an active lifestyle or just want to enjoy life by the beach at a reasonable cost, Eureka may very well be their dream destination.

Imperial Beach

Situated just ten minutes away from the Mexican border and only 15 minutes away from San Diego, Imperial Beach offers a cost of living of around $1782 per month – making it much more budget-friendly than other towns in the area. Plus, crime rates are lower, too, meaning there’s added peace of mind. 

With its gorgeous beaches, suitable for activities like surfing and hiking, as well as plenty of attractions such as the Imperial Beach Pier, Bayshore Bikeway, and Kristy Murphy’s Siren Surf Adventures, it’s certainly worth considering if you’re looking to enjoy all that the state has to offer on a tighter budget.


This thriving college town is known for its strong sense of culture and community, with a median home price of just $408,000 – an incredibly attractive option for anyone looking to stay in California. 

Year-round activities abound from the Oyster Festival, Kinetic Sculpture Race, and lectures through Humboldt State University, while nature lovers can find plenty to explore with trails in the nearby Redwood Forest as well as Sandpiper Golf Club and Mad River Beach County Park.

Looking for college life along the coast?

To top it off, visitors can find local stores, boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants clustered around the burgeoning Plaza. Arcata is truly an ideal destination for those on a budget looking to access both natural beauty and college life without having to sacrifice affordability.

San Simeon

San Simeon is a stunning coastal town located on the northern edge of California, with an unbeatable combination of natural beauty and culture. 

Notable attractions include the Piedras Blancas Rookery, where fascinating wildlife can be seen in its natural habitat, and Hearst Castle, which showcases an illustrious story dating back to the early-1900s. As well as the scenery, visitors will be dazzled by the buzzing art scene – having hosted music festivals and hosting creative works from independent local artists.

Drenched in history…

 Here you can indulge in local cuisine or shop for unique souvenirs while simultaneously soaking up this laid-back vibe; enjoy your downtime on one of San Simeon’s most gorgeous beaches or take yourself on a historical journey through the Hearst Castle. 

With its picturesque coastline, impressive art scene, rich history, and median home price of $731,000, San Simeon is a reasonably priced coastal town. 


Oxnard is an appealing place to live for many reasons. The rich history, stunning beaches, affordable housing, and unique recreational activities set it apart from other cities. Each year locals and tourists alike come from near and far to experience the California Strawberry Festival. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, Oxnard State Beach Park and Channel Islands Harbor offer great locations for fun and dining.

For the love of classic cars…

Car fanatics should definitely check out the Mullin Automotive Museum, which holds a range of classic vehicles. Overall, Oxnard has something for everyone – all at a median home price of $632,000 – making it the perfect beach town getaway!

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is one of the most stunning beach towns in California, and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. This city offers plenty of activities for its residents, from fishing to surfing, and there are many clubs to make friends or join in on the community spirit. 

Homeowners can find moderately priced neighborhoods like Portafina, Top of the World, Arch Beach Heights, and Laguna Canyon. Whether you want to catch a wave or just relax on a sunny day with your toes in the sand, Laguna Beach is a beautiful place to make lasting memories.


Ventura is an exceptional city that combines the luxury of a beach lifestyle with a cheaper price tag. Its citizens benefit from a variety of outdoor activities and stunning beaches, from lively festivals and cultural sites to lush parks and picturesque sunsets. 

The laid-back atmosphere creates a thriving artistic culture with award-winning schools for all ages of learners. Along with a median home price of $750,000 and over 270 days of sunshine each year, Ventura offers the ideal balance between affordability and a comfortable climate for its residents.


Grover Beach

With a slightly more relaxed pace of life than the nearby towns of Oceano and Pismo Beach, Grover Beach has a population of just over 13,000 people. 

Many outdoor activities await visitors and residents, such as surfing, horse riding, swimming, and hiking, while the beach boardwalk, dunes, and Monarch Butterfly Grove provide breathtaking views. The town also boasts a crime rate of below 25%, making it a safe place to live.

Very low cost of living!

 Plus, the cost of living makes it an even better choice, with basic monthly expenses like rent for an 85-square-meter apartment being around $2020 – much lower than many other towns in the area. Other attractions near Grover Beach include Monarch Grove Winery, The Locked Inn, Rons, and Pismo State Beach Golf Course – all great places to visit or explore during your stay.

Oceano Beach

Visiting Oceano Beach in California can offer you a great respite, with the added benefit of being one of the most affordable beach towns in the state. It’s close to Grover Beach and Pismo Beach but has an overall cost of living that is 7% lower.

 The town also provides medical care, job opportunities, schools, and colleges at reasonable prices for everyone to enjoy. Transportation and housing might be slightly higher than the national average, but that’s no big issue given all the sightseeing options around.

Horseback riding on the beach!

You can go to Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area for some fun on two wheels or four; take in some culture at the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville; have a peaceful stroll along Pismo State Beach with your friends or family; and just beyond the town, you can horse ride on Pacific Dunes Ranch Riding Stables. All this makes Oceano Beach an ideal spot for some safe coastal living on a budget!

Finding A Coastal Property 

California is home to some of the most beautiful coastal properties in the United States. Whether you are looking for a beach house, an apartment, a condo, or a lot to build your dream home, some tips and tricks can help you get the most out of your search.

Finding A Coastal Property 

  • Before you start your search, make sure to do your research on the area that you are interested in. Check out the local real estate market, find out what the cost of living is like, and get a feel for the community.
  • Be prepared to be flexible. Coastal properties tend to be more expensive than other areas, so it is important to have a realistic budget in mind before you start searching. Also, it is important to be patient as the market can move quickly, and if you’re flexible, you may be able to get a great deal.
  • Look for properties in lesser-known beach towns that are close to larger cities. While these properties might not have all the bells and whistles of more popular areas, they tend to be more affordable and can be a fantastic way to get close to the beach.
  • Work with an experienced real estate agent who understands coastal properties, as they can help you navigate all of the details that come along with finding your perfect beach home. 
  • Finally, take the time to explore all of your options and make sure that the property you choose has all of the features you’re looking for in an ideal balance between affordability and a comfortable climate for its residents. When you’ve found a coastal property that matches these criteria, then it’s time to call it home!

Location, Location, Location!

If you’re working on a budget, then check out the Cheapest Beach Towns In Florida and the Cheapest Places To Live In Texas.

Your family’s safety is most important, so let’s take a look at the Safest Cities In California, the Safest Neighborhoods In Philadelphia, and the Best Neighborhoods In Long Island, as well as the Safest Neighborhoods In Atlanta, the Safest Places To Live In Florida, and the Best Cities To Live In Connecticut.

For the high earners relocating, you’ll want to take a look at the 10 Richest Cities In Texas and the Richest Towns In Massachusetts in 2023.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for an affordable beach town or a place with plenty of activities and culture, California’s Central Coast has something to offer every type of visitor. 

Laguna Beach, Ventura, Grover Beach, and Oceano Beach each provide a unique coastal experience with plenty of activities and a low cost of living. From fishing and surfing to horseback riding and sunsets, you’ll find plenty of ways to create lasting memories in these budget-friendly beach towns. 

So, pack your bags and head to the Central Coast! You won’t regret it!

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