9 Affordable Vacation Properties

Purchasing a vacation property is much different than purchasing an income property. For starters, vacation properties have off-seasons and therefore should never be purchased as primary investment properties. There will be periods of time where your vacation home isn’t making money and that’s a tough truth for most investors, who are used to a steady cash-flow, to handle.

The bottom line is that you’ll never make the kind of return you would with an investment property near you. The decision to invest in a vacation home should be for totally selfish reasons–it will be your vacation property that you also happen to rent out to tourists when you’re not there.

You’ll obviously be able to take more vacations per year by adding a vacation home to your portfolio, which could be incentive enough for your family’s equity.

If you’ve done the research and know about the tax details that come with a vacation home, then keep reading because now comes the fun stuff. We have picked out some of the most affordable beach vacation destinations in the country.

None of these are huge tourist attractions recognizable throughout the US, but they’re popular beach destinations for people who are familiar with the area. We are by no means endorsing any of these vacation destinations.

All average list prices and median sales prices were obtained from Trulia.com and reflect prices from May 2014-August 2014.

Galveston Beach, Texas

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Galveston is one of the biggest beach destinations in Texas. With new developments like Pleasure Pier, the town is growing at a rapid pace. Located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, 50 miles south of Houston, Galveston offers amusement parks like Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn indoor/outdoor water park.

The city of Galveston is working hard to make itself a viable tourist destination and looks like it will continue making efforts to beautify the city and beach.

Average list price: $318,659

St. Augustine, Florida

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Saint Augustine Beach is in the small town of St. Augustine known for its laid back atmosphere, cultural events, and wide beach. Located in Northeast Florida, this beach town is the oldest city in North America so it’s full of history and Spanish architecture.

Many people choose to retire here, but it’s also a popular tourist destination on the weekends for Floridians. On the weekends, you can catch a war recreation or take a haunted history tour.

Median sales price: $210,000

Satellite Beach, Florida

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Despite the humidity and hot summer weather, beach goers return year after year for Florida’s white, sandy beaches and sunny weather.

Florida is known for its hurricanes, but Satellite Beach is located on a special part of the coastline, where the chances of a catastrophic hurricane happening are much less likely than in the surrounding areas. That might be part of the reason why Satellite Beach and its neighboring beaches are such an attraction for surfers.

Median sales price: $236,500

Marco Island, Florida

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Marco Island is the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands, a chain of islands located in southwest Florida. Even though it’s the largest, it’s still a small island-only 6 miles by 4 miles.

There are 4 beaches, 2 of which are residents-only beaches. If you own or rent a property on Marco Island, you’re eligible to join the Marco Island Residents’ Beach, which means that you can offer vacationers a “private” beach experience. Visitors also have access to the wildlife in the Everglades, as well as white sandy beaches.

Median sales price: $386,000

Charleston, South Carolina

Credit: Charleston CVB

Credit: Charleston CVB


When it comes to southern charm, no city encapsulates it quite like Charleston, South Carolina. This picturesque Southern town offers tons of attractions within the city, including bicycle tours and photo walk tours where a professional photographer captures you against the best backdrops in the city.

Charleston is also home to 5 beaches: Folly Beach, Seabrook Island, Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah Island, and the Isle of Palms. All 5 beaches are easily accessible from the town, and each has a different way of living.

Median sales price: $235,000

Kure Beach, North Carolina

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Many folks tend to overlook the fact that North Carolina has some impressive beach getaways, but there are 3000 miles worth of sprawling coastline. One of the lesser-known beaches that attracts tourists every summer: Kure Beach.

Known as “North Carolina’s Small Wonder”, the beach offers a safe place for families to let the kids run free. If you check it out on Trip Advisor, you’ll see that people in North Carolina have been coming to this beach for years, and have a deep attachment to it. It’s a small island, but the market is on your side. There’s a free pier, aquarium, and a safari tour.

Median sales price: $330,000

Jekyll Island, Georgia

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Jekyll Island, with its driftwood beaches and historic Southern charm, is a popular getaway for people in the South. Originally purchased as a winter getaway for some of America’s elite families (Rockefellers, Morgans, and Pulitzers), Jekyll Island still looks like high society.

It’s also been a location for films like The Legend of Bagger Vance, X-Men: First Class, and Glory. Visitors say that there’s “nothing” to do there, and it’s just how they like it.

Average list price: $302,075

Ocean City, Maryland

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Ocean City is Maryland’s only coastal community. During the summer, the boardwalk lights up with concerts and activities for beach visitors and residents.

Once a fishing village, it’s also a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. Ocean City is the White Marlin capital of the world. If you can’t get a home in the Hamptons and don’t want to mess with Jersey Shore, we suggest taking a good look at Ocean City. It seems like everyone else is.

Median sales price: $243,750

Port Hueneme, California

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Ventura County has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Golden Coast and the views and weather come at a premium. Port Hueneme is an undiscovered piece of California beach treasure, though. Often referred to as the poor man’s Malibu, you can purchase a beachfront condo for under 400k.

Beach goers in California find themselves going to Port Hueneme to avoid crowds and cooler weather. It’s also a surfing destination, as the waves are consistent year-round.

Median sales price: $295,000

If you’re in the market for an affordable second home that you can rent out as well as easily manage yourself, it doesn’t get better than these Gulf Coast beach towns. Again, we are not endorsing any of these towns and should you choose to purchase a vacation home for passive income potential, know that you’ll need to visit these towns and do extensive research before you make a decision. If you’ve had any experience with vacation homes, we’d love to hear about it! Let us know all about your experiences in the comment section below.

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