17 Best US Places Near the Ocean To Retire in the US


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Retirement near a beach is a great way to spend your golden years. Apart from the refreshing ambiance of an ocean, closer proximity and frequent visits to water bodies have both mental and physical benefits to the body. One study by LiveScience reports that just gazing at a beach setting can lower stress levels and even lessen dental surgery pain. 

Some of the best US places near the ocean to retire in the US include Portland in Maine, Greensboro in North Carolina, Hilo in Hawaii, and San Diego in California. The increased physical outdoor activities around the beach are beneficial to the elderly who already have weak immune systems. 

In this article, we sample some of the best places near the ocean to retire in the US that you might want to spend your old age in. We’ll draw your attention to factors such as access to amenities and services like healthcare, living costs, median income, and recreational facilities.

Carlsbad, California

Carlsbad City is a small town with a total population of about 113,147 people, and 16% of the population is aged 65 and above. The city is located seven miles away from the Pacific Ocean coastline.

Carlsbad attracts mostly rich retirees since the cost of living is high at 40.6% above the national average. It is part of the San Diego metro and is ranked the second most expensive place to live in after Hawaii. Home value in Carlsbad is $840,700, which is higher than the median value across the US at $229,000.

But of course, the pricey life comes with great amenities and fun activities.

The city boasts 40 parks with over 50 miles of hiking trails, Foreign Film Fridays during the spring, a year-round calendar of artsy offerings, and free concerts during the summer.

Carlsbad has Tamarack-State Beach and South Ponto Beach to cool you down since you’ll rarely experience rainy days. 

There are so many retirement communities, and you can choose one with an ocean view and enjoy the calming natural scenery.

Providence, Rhode Island

Are you an intellectual or an artist looking for the best place near the ocean to retire in the US? Providence has several colleges, including the world’s famous Rhode Island School of Design. Ivy League Brown University is also located in Providence city. 

Your retirement years might just be as vibrant as your youthful years since you’ll not lack things to do. These schools have performing arts events, gallery nights, and learning opportunities for those with an insatiable appetite for knowledge. 

Businesses like restaurants thrive in this city as a result of the many learning institutions. And that’s yet another opportunity for retirees who’d wish to venture into business right after their professional careers.

The city hosts a population of 179,509 people, with 9.6% of those aged 65 and over. The average income for the elderly is $64,657. The taxes are, however, quite high plus the cost of living as well.

Atlantic coastal beaches are an hour away from Providence. You can always relax on the beautiful Orange City beaches, which are about 2 hours away from Providence, by car. Some beaches in the adjacent Orange city include Bristol Town Beach, Warren Town Beach, and Governor Notte Park. 

Santa Barbara, California

17 Best US Places Near the Ocean To Retire in the US

California is rich with natural wonders, which makes it an ideal retirement spot for nature lovers. If you choose to retire in Santa Barbara, you’ll get to enjoy the appealing tropical foliage and the Pacific Coast sunset surrounded by Mission-style architecture. 

The city is located between the Santa Ynez Mountain and the Pacific Ocean, southern California. Santa Barbara is famous for surfing activities and picnics along the Pacific Ocean coastline.

The city has a total population of 443,738 people, with 20 percent of its population aged 60 years and above. Santa Barbara is a great place to retire in the US but perhaps out of bounds for retirees on a budget due to high housing prices. 

The median monthly mortgage will cost you $2,303, whereas the median monthly rent goes for $1,576. The median cost of acquiring a home in Santa Barbara is a whopping $632,000.

Santa Barbara has cool summers and warm winters that will give you year-round comfort without having to leave your city due to extreme climate changes. 

The Channel Island National Park and the 1.75 million-acre Los Padres National Forest will make your retirement days such an adventure. There are plenty of things to explore, plus the National Park offers hiking and camping opportunities throughout the year.

Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City is yet another best place to retire in the US and has attracted about 29.3% of the older population of 65 years and above. The city has a paltry population of just 11,328.

Family-friendly beaches like 59th Street, 9th Street, and Waverly Blvd-a surfing beach are some of the major amenities that have drawn the older people.

Living costs in New Jersey are generally high, and Ocean City is no exemption. High taxes and the cost of living at 62.2% higher than the national average makes Ocean City a reserve for rich retirees. Housing is expensive. The median home value is $611,100 within the city. That is higher than the average home price of $327,800 in New Jersey.

You’ll also need to pay a separate insurance cover for protection against possible flood and storm damages. The city is bordered by the breezy Atlantic Ocean and enjoys some of the best health facilities and senior care centers.

Greensboro, North Carolina

North Carolina has some of the most beautiful attractions: the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to enjoy at retirement. 

Retirement in Greensboro, a centralized city in North Carolina, is very affordable and will allow you to save for your adventures. The median price of a home in Greensboro is $147,000, way below the US’s median home price at $ 229,000. Life here is very affordable compared to other North Carolina cities like Charlotte, Raleigh, and Durham.

According to the World Population Review, Greensboro is a midsize town with a population of 301,094 as of the year 2021. The city has a small-town feel but with a diversity of amenities, less congestion, and low costs. Writes Matt Johnson, a certified financial planner at Defining Legacy Financial advisors in Greensboro. Generally, the living costs in Greensboro are lower than the national average.

The median monthly mortgage in Greensboro is $1,187, while the median monthly rent costs $809. You can always go surfing and deep diving in the Atlantic Ocean, 200 miles southeast of the city.

San Francisco, California

Are you a techie heading for retirement but still want to remain in employment in the tech industry at your old age? San Francisco in California is a hotbed for high-paying Silicon Valley jobs. 

The city in the bay hosts famous tech companies and many small innovative start-ups. You might be pushed to work even in retirement to afford the high living cost and pricey houses in San Francisco – $1,790 median monthly rent. The median home price in San Francisco is $776,600, while the median monthly mortgage is priced at $2,953.

San Francisco has a population of 4,673,221; those aged 60 and above are 21 percent. 

Enjoy surfing and diving into the depths of the Pacific Ocean if you love water life. Old age comes with health-related complications that may take a toll on you without proper healthcare. San Francisco has some of the best hospitals, such as the US Stanford Hospital and UCSF Medical Center. US News has ranked the hospitals among the 20 best hospitals across the country.

Cool climates in San Francisco will save you the hassle of changing locations during summer. Summer fog envelopes at the Golden Gate Bridge will give you a memorable experience rarely found anywhere else.

Portland, Maine

Located on the Atlantic Ocean’s rocky coastline, Portland is the largest city in Maine and has a population of 66,715, where 13.7% make the older population over 65 years of age. The average income is $44,769 for older people. 

Portland is a lively city with a lot of fun social amenities. Here, you’ll enjoy lobsters and eclectic dining, visit theaters, museums, and lighthouses. The Freeport flagship LL Bean will fascinate you if you are a visitor. Locals also enjoy shopping in the unique boutiques found within Portland city.

The abundance of beaches, including Crescent Beach, Ferry Beach, and Old Orchard Beach, offers you opportunities for great outdoor fun activities that will leave you rejuvenated and feeling young again. The cost of living is 17.1% which is slightly above the national average and affordable to most retirees.

If you want to know whether Oregon could be the ideal place for you to retire, read our article: Is Oregon a Good State To Retire In?

Hilo, Hawaii

Hawaii is popular for its beautiful beaches like Carlsmith Beach Park and Richardson’s Ocean Park. The favorable consistent weather in the entire Hawaii state makes it an ideal choice for retirees concerned about the weather changes. The city has a population of 45,703 people, with 18.5% making up the older population of 65 years upwards.

Hilo is a big Island with a clear view of the Pacific Ocean. At 36.4%, the cost of living is slightly higher than the national average but is within reach of most retirees. Although the median home value in Hilo at $339,800 is higher than the US’s average, it’s still reasonable compared to $676,100 in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital. The average income for the old is $54,503 and taxes are also very friendly.

Those who choose to retire in Hilo get a great adventure experience in this calm and quiet city. There you get waterfalls, rainforests, and an opportunity to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in this colonial city.

The unique black sand and rocky shorelines right within Hilo town, where you can also swim, make the town a favorite for many retirees.

If you’re interested in retiring in Hawaii, read our other article: 16 Pros and Cons of Retiring in Hawaii

Cape Coral, Florida

Florida has some of the best and popular retirement destinations in the US. This state reportedly receives more than 1000 people daily, mostly older people relocating here for retirement. Cape Coral is one of the favorite destinations for the retirees that move here.

With a city population of 173,679 and 21.9% of the older population, Cape Coral city is many retirees’ favorite for good reasons. The cost of living for retirees is very low at 2.4% lower than the national average. The average income for people aged over 65 is $42,123. 

Taxes are favorable, and the climate is also very desirable (especially for those who hate winter) since most of Florida has a tropical climate.

Cape Coral has vast watery access with up to 400 miles of canals for those who enjoy fishing and boating. Yacht Club Beach and Four Freedoms Beach Parks are the two major beaches for your outdoor activities at Cape Coral. You can also visit Fort Myers, an adjacent retirement city found within Cape Corals’ metro.  

Easton, Maryland

Easton is a small city that hosts a small population of 16,606 people. The older people of 65 years and more take up 23.5% of this population. This small town is rich in history, one of the reasons it draws so many retirees. There are plenty of boutique shops, art galleries, various places for eclectic dining, and many cultural attractions.

In 2019, Easton was included as the second Arts and Entertainment District in Maryland. It is now among the 26 districts in Maryland that offer tax incentives to creative businesses and local artists.

The cost of living in Easton is 13.8% which is above the national average. This is affordable compared to Annapolis on the opposite side of the bay, where living cost is 41% higher than the national average. 

Life affordability coupled with healthy fun activities like kayaking, fishing, and boating in the Chesapeake Bay that shares a border with the Atlantic Ocean make Easton an ideal city to retire.

Matapeake Beach on Kent Island is barely a 30-minute drive away. This is a public swimming beach with a beach for your dogs on the opposite side of the bay. 

Charleston, South Carolina

17 Best US Places Near the Ocean To Retire in the US

If you are looking to retire into city life and near an ocean, then Charleston in South Carolina might just interest you. The city is two hours away from the Atlantic Ocean on a non-stop drive. Charleston is also rich in history, and you’ll learn from the detailed Civil War Sites that also include Fort Sumter

The Preservation Society of Charleston is ranked the oldest in the country among other community-based preservations. 

The older population of over 65 years represents 12% of the total 120,903 Charleston residents. The cost of living for retirees is affordable at 2.1%, slightly above the national average. Charlestons’ average income for its older population is $45,574 and with friendly tax ratings. The median home price is $204,800 for those aged 60 and above.

Other local beaches to relax on include Kiawah Island, Folly Beach, and Sullivan’s Island.

Jacksonville, Florida

Just like other affordable cities in Florida, if you are looking to retire near an ocean but restrained by finances, then choosing Jacksonville for retirement might allow you to acquire a home in this city in the sunshine state. 

The cost of owning a home in Jacksonville is about $175,500. The median rent for retirees in the city is $912 per month. 

Jacksonville is also the most populous city in Florida. In 2008, the population stood at 904,000, whereby 33% were aged 50 and over.

Healthcare is top-notch, with cancer centers and children’s hospitals all over Jacksonville city. While other advantages of retiring here are the easy access to outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and kayaking. Jacksonville also has plenty of parks and museums for every taste. And, of course, the warm weather and sandy beaches are the icing on the cake.

In addition to all the above, Jacksonville also boasts a variety of learning institutions – colleges and universities. So, if you are looking to further your studies after retirement near the Atlantic ocean while you enjoy fishing off Jacksonville Beach Pier, Jacksonville city in Florida is your go-to destination.

Dataw Island, South Carolina

Famous for golf, tennis, and boating activities, Dataw Island is located 30 minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean and sits on an 870-acre piece of land. If you are looking to retire into an active sporting life, then Dataw Island has all the amenities to keep you fit. 

The Dataw Island Club Offers golf and social memberships for the Island residents. This gated community has 24-hour security and is vibrant with irresistible activities that will keep you active and fit at your old age. 

There are up to 30 membership clubs that offer different hiking and gardening activities. Impeccably maintained fitness centers and golf clubs make retirement sound good. There are both tennis and golf lessons for learners interested in these sports.

Dataw also has stock ponds and community docks for fishing activities just within the Island. You can go kayaking in the surrounding waterways and along the ocean. 

Beaufort Memorial Hospital is located just 20 minutes away. The modern healthcare facility has a 24-hour level 3 emergency department, making it guaranteed hassle-free access to medication. The Island is also accessible via air services through Savannah and Charleston International airports.

However, all these amenities come at a price. Life here is expensive, with homes going for as high as $200,000. Dataw island draws the rich willing to spend good money to enjoy the second half of their lives.

San Diego, California

A US News Analysis listed California among the largest metropolitan cities with the best retirement spots. Retirees looking to enjoy some natural wonders like ocean views, venerable forests, and dramatic mountains should consider retirement in San Diego, California. This Southern California city has a population of 3,302,833, with 19 percent being elderly people aged 60 years and above.

The median monthly rent is $ 1,569, while the median monthly mortgage costs $ 2,478. The median home price in San Diego is $525,400; this is close to twice the national average in the US.  

Although housing in San Diego is a little expensive and also hard to find, the city has an opportunity for those seeking an active beach life retirement. You’ll get to enjoy the Pacific Ocean sunset while strolling the California coastline on your lazy evenings. Go deep diving and surfing and benefit from all the water-related therapies.

You’ll not need to worry about old age-related illnesses; the Scripps La Jolla Hospitals and the UC San Diego Health-Jacob Medical Centers are available to care for all your health needs and those of your family. 

San Diego’s weather is favorable year-round, with 32 degrees for January low temperatures and below 90 degrees for July high temperatures.

Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

The affordable living costs and low housing rates in North Carolina have seen more retirees seeking to save even at old age flock to its cities. 

The median monthly mortgage costs $ 1,532, while the median monthly rent is $1,066.  The average home value in bigger cities like Raleigh and Charlotte is $ 315,046, which is slightly higher than the national average but still affordable to most retirees. These, coupled with the breezy Atlantic Ocean beaches and the Majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, will make you want to consider a retirement stay in North Carolina.

Raleigh and Durham are both cities in North Carolina that will give you a fulfilling old age experience. 

Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University form the research triangle universities based in Raleigh and Durham. 

Apart from the natural sceneries like the Atlantic Ocean view, intellectuals who choose to retire in Raleigh and Durham cities have the added advantage of advancing their knowledge scope or even furthering their careers.

North Carolina residents aged 65 and above enjoy tuition-free audit courses at NC State University. Near Duke University is a continuing care retirement community. The University also offers health care services at the University of North Carolina Hospitals and Duke University Hospital.

If North Carolina sparked your interest, read our other article: Virginia vs. North Carolina: Which Is Better for Retirement?

Daytona Beach, Florida

17 Best US Places Near the Ocean To Retire in the US

Daytona is another affordable town in Florida to retire near an ocean in the US. The median home price for the elderly here is $160,200. This is very low compared to the US national average, which stands at $229,000.The monthly median mortgage payment is $1,173. The median monthly rent here is $910, whereas mortgage-free homes are paid at $433 per month.

The proximity to Floridas’ Atlantic Coast provides great relaxing outdoor fun activities like a walk on the shores and diving into the deeps to help you keep an active and healthy life. NASCAR Headquarters is also located in this region, and large motorsports events are held here every year. For motorcycle enthusiasts, race fans, and spring breakers, Daytona might just be your retirement dream city.

As per the 2019 census, Daytona Beach had a population of 67,186, with the older people aged 65 years and above comprising 20.8%.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem is an ideal retirement spot for those who want to have a good time and rest in their retirement. The mild climate and rich soil of the Yadkin Valley are ideal for growing grapes for making wine. Stroll through these scenic vineyards, stop, chat and sip some latest vintage with your friends.

Winston-Salem has wonderful weather changes. You’ll get to enjoy the beautiful seasonal foliage in fall, warm winters that will allow you to enjoy snow days. The summers are also long, and springs come early. Life in Yadkin Valley in Winston-Salem is a slow-paced, relaxing rural setting that is ideal for retirees seeking to move away from the busy urban life. It is, however, studded with beautiful vineyards and small towns.

Winston-Salem is more diversified, given it was once a tobacco industry Center. Headquarters for BB&T Corporation, Hanes Brand, and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are all in Winston-Salem. 

Life is affordable in this wine-rich area, with the median monthly rent at just $ 752 while the median monthly mortgage costs $ 1,156. The median cost of a home in Winston-Salem is $ 153,200, nowhere close to the national average that stands at $299,000. 

For outdoor activities, take occasional tours to the Atlantic Ocean’s shores, which is 4 hours 30 minutes, a non-stop drive away. Here you will surf, dive in the deeps, and enjoy all the fun activities that come with beach life. 

Conclusion

Retirement is a great time to reminisce after many years of busy career lives. No one wants to spend the last part of their lives agonizing about the stressful past; instead, this is a time to feel like a child again – happy and free from the worries of life.

Retirement near a water body is one way to have that fulfillment. Water-related therapies will boost your already diminishing immune power and keep you in shape. Depending on your unique circumstances like financial strength, you might want to consider retirement in places near an ocean as we’ve seen in the article.

Sources

Ruth

Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

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