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  • GOBankingRates

    6 Best Beach Cities To Retire on $2,600 a Month

    By Jordan Rosenfeld,


    There’s just something about beach living that’s perfect for anyone who’s ready to reach the retirement stage of life. Coastal life is often slower paced and rich in atmosphere that you finally have the time to enjoy.

    If living the beach life is your retirement dream, but you don’t want to spend a fortune every month, you’ll be glad to know it’s still possible to make it happen without leaving the U.S.

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    To determine the best beach cities to live on a budget, GOBankingRates analyzed a number of beach towns in the U.S., sourced from TripSavvy, Thrillist, EnjoyTraveland U.S. News. Next, we used 2022 customer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the annual cost for these expenses in any given city, coming in at $2,600 or less.

    The livability scores, which had to be 65 or higher, were gathered from AreaVibes. The population was sourced from the U.S. Census American Consumer Survey.

    Read on to find out more about the best beach cities to retire on $2,600 a month — most of which are located in one particularly sunny state .
    Peeter Viisimaa / Getty Images

    Jacksonville, Florida

    • Cost of living expenditures: $1,888
    • Livability score: 80

    Jacksonville has an enormous population — 937,690 people — but a solid livability score for such a big metro. According to the Jacksonville Visitor’s page, there are 22 miles of beaches, sunny skies for days, and a whole lot of arts, culture and entertainment to make living in this beach city a total blast, as well as affordable.

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    pixdeluxe / Getty Images

    Ocracoke, North Carolina

    • Cost of living expenditures: $1,927
    • Livability score: 84

    Ocracoke is one of the smallest beach cities on this list, with a population just over 800. The entire island is almost all national park, and it’s known for its incredible “raw” beaches with pristine beauty unparalleled. Additionally, cost of living is low here, and livability is high.

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    AndrewSoundarajan / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Cannon Beach, Oregon

    • Cost of living expenditures: $1,717
    • Livability score: 79

    When it comes to atmosphere and livability, Oregon’s coastal Cannon Beach is among the most beautiful cities on this list. Its beach is famous for Haystack Rock, which has appeared in National Geographic. Just 90 minutes drive from the bigger city of Portland, Cannon Beach, with a population just over 1,300 people, offers a lot to appeal to lovers of art, eating out and, of course, nature, for an affordable price.
    dmbaker / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    New Castle, New Hampshire

    • Cost of living expenditures: $1,925
    • Livability score: 86

    New Castle, a small city of almost 1,000 people in beautiful New England, is another lovely place to call home for less than $2,600 a month. Like Ocrakoke, New Castle is an island town, located on New Hampshire’s Seacoast. This lovely spot features oceanside views, historical landmarks and local points of interest, such as the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse and Fort Constitution. With a super high livability score, it’s easy to see why it’s third on the list.
    DaveMcDPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    Ocean Springs, Mississippi

    • Total monthly expenditures: $1,797
    • Livability score: 84

    There’s lots for folks to do in the affordable town of Ocean Springs, population 18,275, part of the Gulf Coast. Locals refer to it as “the City of Discovery” and admire it for its plethora of amenities in a small town and visually stunning coastal part of Mississippi. Not only is it affordable, it’s a great place for art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

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    traveler1116 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    St. Augustine, Florida

    • Total monthly expenditures: $1,810
    • Livability score: 85

    Though not the absolute cheapest of the cities on this list, with a combination of high livability score, excellent climate and a medium-sized population of just 13,994, St. Augustine takes the No. 1 spot. Rich in historical sites to visit, coastal attractions and a wide variety of amenities, this is a great city for folks to retire on a limited income.

    Cynthia Measom contribiuted to the reporting for this article.

    Methodology: To find the best beach cities to retire on $2,600 a month, GOBankingRates analyzed a number of beach towns in the U.S. sourced, from TripSavvy, Thrillist, EnjoyTravel, and U.S. News. For each city, the cost of living from many expenditure categories were sourced from Sperlings BestPlaces including; [1] Grocery cost of living index, [2] Healthcare cost of living index, [3] Utilities cost of living index, [4] Transportation cost of living index, [5] Miscellaneous cost of living index. Each expenditure was multiplied by its respective national average sourced from the 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey. Calculating these values gives a total monthly cost of living. For all places where the cost of living was below $2,600, the livability index was sourced from AreaVibes and the population was sourced from the U.S. Census American Consumer Survey. The Zillow Home Value index was included as supplemental information, and using the Federal Reserve Economic Data’s national 30 year fixed rate mortgage average, the monthly mortgage can be calculated and included as supplemental information. The livability index was scored and weighted at 1.5, the population was scored and weighted at 0.5, and the monthly cost of living was scored and weighted at 1.0. All three scores were combined for a final score and the cities were sorted to show the best beach cities to retire on $2,600 a month. All data was collected on and is up-to-date as of Sept. 19th, 2023.

    Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for representational purposes only. As a result, some of the photos might not reflect the locations listed in this article.

    This article originally appeared on : 6 Best Beach Cities To Retire on $2,600 a Month

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