Homes lined along the scenic waterfront in North Beach, Maryland.

7 Budget-Friendly Towns on the Atlantic Coast for Retirees

The Atlantic Coast stretches down the United States for over 2,000 miles, beginning with the rocky cliffs of Maine and finishing at the sandy beaches of Florida. The region has everything from gigantic metropolises to quiet fishing villages. Whether you are passionate about the crisp fall colors up north or prefer kicking back where palm trees dance in a warm breeze, there is something for everyone on this side of the country. While these views may sound expensive, plenty of towns showcase their charm without the exorbitant price tag. These destinations are ideal for retirees looking for a scenic place to settle down on a budget.

If you are thinking ahead to those golden years, consider this: somewhere out there is a perfect spot along the coastline just waiting for your retirement chair. Read on to learn about seven budget-friendly towns on the Atlantic Coast for retirees.

Beaufort, North Carolina

Waterfront homes along the coast in Beaufort, North Carolina.
Waterfront homes along the Atlantic coast in Beaufort, North Carolina.

With its mild climate and affordable housing, Beaufort is a comfortable coastal town to live in for a few reasons. North Carolina is a sweet spot for people looking to enjoy retirement without worrying about taxes. In this state, they do not dip into your Social Security benefits, and there are even some nice tax breaks and deductions for retirees. House prices here are a bit higher than the national average ($360,000) but still reasonable at an average of $402,000. Plus, Beaufort is close to an assortment of health centers, like the Carteret Health Care Hospital in nearby Morehead City.

Along with the retirement benefits, Beaufort also has some affordable landmarks to take in. The North Carolina Maritime Museum and Beaufort Historic Site offer historical experiences, teach maritime heritage, and have 18th-19th century buildings to soak in with their aged ambiance. There is also a vast coastline filled with opportunities, such as the Island Express Ferry Services, which offers some time out on the water.

St. Marys, Georgia

A ferry docked along the coast in St. Marys, Georgia.
A ferry docked along the coast near St. Marys, Georgia. Editorial credit: EWY Media /

St. Marys is the sweet spot where small-town vibes meet modern perks. It is snuggled close to the ocean, so people here can catch breathtaking sunrises, chill on the beach, or play around in the water. Saint Marys' housing prices are a big positive, averaging around $300,000. Georgia is another state where Social Security is not taxed and has reasonable property taxes.

The town has lots of low-cost but fun experiences that retirees adore. Locals can tour the important heritage of the town's Historic District and well-preserved 19th-century architecture. Feel like a picnic? Check out St. Mary's Waterfront Park, which is full of spots to sit down with family or paths to walk on. Or you can take a ferry from town to visit the Cumberland Island National Seashore, which is full of pretty beaches and wild horses. It is like no other spot.

New Bern, North Carolina

Waterfront homes along the coast in New Bern, North Carolina.
Waterfront homes along the coast in New Bern, North Carolina.

New Bern has the allure of a historic town and an attractive price tag, making it a great choice for retirement. The average house here costs just under $275,000, so it is a good budget option for settling down in one’s golden years. Moreover, New Bern has reliable health services, like CarolinaEast Medical Center, so people can get top-notch medical help close to home.

For those who decide to retire in New Bern, there are many low-cost outdoor activities to enjoy. Union Point Park, Croatan National Forest, and Glenburnie Park all have activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing, offering a nice way to enjoy nature without major expense. The town is also home to an iconic stop, the spot where Pepsi-Cola began. This landmark, known as the Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola Store, is located in the heart of downtown. It acts as both a fun museum and an old-fashioned soda shop, honoring the moment Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi in 1893.

Somers Point, New Jersey

View of the Municipal Beach Park in Somers Point, New Jersey.
View of the Municipal Beach Park in Somers Point, New Jersey.

With the glitz and glamour of Atlantic City not far away, this town is a fun option to consider for retirement. The housing market in Somers Point is affordable, with the average price going for just over $388,000. If you compare it to the state average of $528,000 you can see why the town is an attractive option for retirees. In addition, Somers Point is known for its quality healthcare options, such as Shore Medical Center, which offers a wide range of health services and special treatments.

Somers Point also has a great community vibe, with lots of programs and help for retirees. At the Somers Point Senior Citizens Center, retirees can participate in social events, like exercise classes and regular gatherings. The town also has plenty of ways to enjoy the scenic Atlantic Coast. One of the best ways to spend a day out is with the beautiful waterfront views and scenic trails of Kennedy Park and Somers Point Bike Path. For a lively experience, Somers Point hosts Bayfest and summer concerts close to Atlantic City's casinos, so there is no end to the fun.

North Beach, Maryland

Waterfront homes in North Beach, Maryland.
Waterfront homes in North Beach, Maryland.

While North Beach feels like a cozy little town, it is also near bigger cities full of things to do, like Washington, D.C., and Annapolis. Homes here go for about $399,000 on average, which is $20,000 cheaper than most homes in Maryland. North Beach residents enjoy easy access to top healthcare options, such as the CalvertHealth Medical Center in nearby Prince Frederick. This proximity means getting good healthcare is convenient and can help keep medical expenses down.

There are good, cheap options to get out and enjoy the sunshine. The North Beach Boardwalk offers seaside views, a beach to mingle on, and places to fish, making it a calm place for people to just relax and enjoy. Close to it, the Bayside History Museum has plenty of history and exhibits that are perfect for a chill day out.

Ellsworth, Maine

Businesses and buildings in downtown Ellsworth, Maine.
Businesses and buildings in the downtown area of Ellsworth, Maine. Editorial credit: EQRoy /

Ellsworth is wrapped in beautiful nature, with woods, lakes, and the nearby Acadia National Park. Maine's property taxes are low when you look at other places in the Northeast. This means people living in Ellsworth, especially those who have retired, can save a lot on living costs because of affordable property taxes. The average house here is just north of $350,000, while rent sits underneath the national average at around $1,950.

Ellsworth is considered to be a safe community, which helps retirees feel secure without the need for costly security measures. Moreover, there are cool activities to do here that are also affordable. The aforementioned Acadia National Park, close to town with its forest-covered hills along the coast, is great for hiking. With 50,000 acres of protected land, it is an endless load of fun and new experiences. Another option is the Woodlawn Museum, a historic estate from the 19th century, which is perfect for learning about the area's past and enjoying quiet walks on its grounds.

Coventry, Rhode Island

The Anthony Village Historic District in Coventry, Rhode Island.
View of the historic district and an old bridge in Coventry, Rhode Island. By John Phelan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Sitting in the smallest state in the country, Coventry is a peaceful town right on the edges of the Atlantic. While the average house in Rhode Island is $465,000, here in Coventry, retirees can get a house for just around $415,000. Rhode Island also has some handy tax breaks for retirees. The state does not tax Social Security benefits in most cases and offers tax credits to seniors. This helps lower the amount of taxes that retirees in Coventry have to save for.

The town is near many trusted hospitals, like Kent Hospital in Warwick, which will help cut down on transportation costs. There are also plenty of budget outdoor options to experience. For example, Coventry Greenway has a scenic rail trail ideal for walking and biking. Similarly, the nearby Carbuncle Pond provides fishing and bird-watching opportunities, with surrounding trails and picnic spots for enjoying nature and relaxation.

Down the Atlantic Coast, retirees have got all sorts of worthwhile places to kick back and enjoy once they are done with their work life. Settle down to take advantage of everything from small, cozy fishing spots to big, buzzing cities. Moreover, the coast has some very affordable options while still basking in that pristine waterside living. If you are looking to stay active outdoors or soak up some culture, these towns have got you covered for a relaxing and enjoyable retirement life. Now, all you have to do is pick out the dream spot where you want to spend those carefree golden years.

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