10 Insanely Cheap Beach Towns in California in 2023
Everyone dreams to settle down in California, and five years back I was one of them. You will be surprised to know that I didn’t move to California all of a sudden. I made a strategic plan to move to California. Right now I stay in Ventura, which is one of the cheapest beach towns in California.
California is big, with exquisite coastline, rich history, charm, and home of diverse cultures. The lifestyle, antique shopping stores, and young vibe make California unique compared to others. California’s proximity to the pristine water, beaches, and sandy shore of the Pacific Ocean is incredibly glamorous but expensive. But undeniably, affordable coastal living in California is possible only if you research and plan it properly.
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Regardless of where you decide to go in California, you have to mentally prepare yourself that you need a big credit card limit or a good job to enjoy the high life. As I am completing 5 years of living in California with my sister, Jenny, I thought I would write a blog to share what are the cheapest beach towns in California that are completely within your budget.
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Cheapest Beach Towns In California
California beach towns are unmistakably beautiful and the locals are very friendly and will make you feel homely and welcomed. These safe California beach towns have a general atmosphere that is very romantic, the sunset is incredibly soothing, warm, and inviting.
Most of my readers often ask a question. “Why is California so expensive?” Definitely there are valid reasons for its high cost of living. But if you are flexible and research well, you can find some cheapest California beach towns that won’t break your bank. Here’s my local perspective and a guide to the 10 most affordable places to live in California near the beach that will make your dream come true.
Beaches remain always very close to my heart and I am sure you all have a special kind of fondness for it. Ventura sits near Carpinteria and Oxnard which is just a few minutes drive from northern Malibu; you can consider staying in Oxnard too. The Venture cannot be considered as the cheapest beach town in California but it is relatively affordable compared to other towns in California.
The home town, Ventura has a lot to offer and you will be surprised with its natural view and warmness. Ventura is near the working harbor and is the best spot for the adventurous soul. You can go fishing anytime you want and spot gray whales on the shoreline. To enjoy the surfing I would suggest you visit Surfer’s Point Beach.
More than 200 hospitals and numerous schools are available for your health alliance and better education opportunities. There are a lot of job opportunities available and the presence of very fancy restaurants like Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut and many more. You can also visit Ventura Botanical Garden to witness the art of the universe and its beautiful ocean vistas.
Cost of Living in Ventura
The average cost of living in Ventura is around $2400 and a single person’s monthly cost will be around $1,200 without paying the rent. My friend rented a big 2 bedroom apartment and she pays $2300. Hope now you understand why I say you need a good job to reside in California.
Ventura Harbor Village, Channels Islands National Park, Ventura Pier, Mission San Buenaventura, Mandalay Beach, and San Buenaventura State Beach.
Samoa is a charming and reasonably priced seaside community in California’s Humboldt County. The breathtaking coastline, verdant woods, and laid-back environment left me in awe during my trip to Samoa last year. The town is small and charming, and the residents are polite and always happy to recommend the best places to dine and explore.
One of the highlights of my trip was visiting the Samoa Cookhouse, a historic restaurant that serves up delicious home-style meals. It was a great choice for budget travelers because of the ample portions and the affordable costs.
Another great aspect of Samoa is its proximity to other stunning natural attractions. Just a short drive away is the Redwood National and State Parks, where visitors can marvel at some of the world’s tallest trees and hike scenic trails.
Samoa is an undiscovered gem that provides a genuine and reasonably priced California beach town vibe. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the outdoors, or indulge in some delicious food, Samoa has something for everyone.
- Explore Samoa Beach, a stunning stretch of coastline with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and towering sand dunes.
- Visit the historic Samoa Cookhouse, which serves up hearty family-style meals and offers a glimpse into the town’s logging and lumber industry history.
- Take a scenic drive through the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area that encompasses tidal marshes, mudflats, and grasslands.
- Visit the nearby town of Eureka and explore its historic Old Town district, which features well-preserved Victorian-era buildings, unique shops, and galleries.
3. San Pedro
Looking for affordable coastal living in California? Sun Pedro is one of the small beach towns in the south of Los Angeles. Some of you can argue with me saying that San Pedro has a bad name in terms of safety because it is under the control of Los Angeles rent people. But, let me tell you that 21st century San Pedro is a much more attractive and cheapest beach town in California.
The government has taken the initiative to improve the infrastructure of this town making it one of the best places for investors to invest and change the city’s fame. The place is considered one of the busiest towns in Los Angeles as this is already home for many young professionals. This place has mixed vibe restaurants, many waterfront communities and fancy eateries.
As the place is situated in Los Angeles hence the price rate is all commodities a little bit higher from California. Good medical facilities and educational institutions are available for the inhabitants. I would probably think of settling here someday, it is the cheapest city to live in Northern California, and enjoy Los Angeles culture.
Cost of Living in San Pedro
The average cost of living in San Pedro Town is around $1500. Some basic expenses like electricity bills, water, and heating for 85 square meters Apartment are around $150 on a monthly basis. San Pedro is being dominated by the fishing industry so get ready to spend your money on tasting various types of fish dishes.
San Pedro Sightseeing:
Port of Los Angeles, Korean Bell of Friendship, MacArthur Military Museum, Point Fermin Park, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Sunken City, and Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
Do you want to spend your days in the lush greenery towering by redwoods in the old mansion of Victorian architecture? Then the Eureka Beach near Arcata Bay is the best option for you to reside. This is the cheapest beachfront property in northern California with a remote ocean landscape that you can imagine!
The landscape of Eureka is amazing and you will be surprised to see the colorful street art that makes the city so vibrant and attractive. And, marijuana and cannabis industries are flourishing in Eureka and it is an affordable California coastal town to retire. The artsy city has a lot to offer; you can go hiking to the Fern Canyon trail, kayaking, or just enjoy the sun on the beach.
You will enjoy the entire small-town feel and can purchase all the necessary commodities at a cheap price. The medical facilities and educational institutions are also affordable at a minimum price. The crime rate is also marginalized and you can enjoy a beachside atmosphere in warm weather throughout the whole year.
Cost of Living in Eureka:
The average cost of living in Eureka is $1600, and for a single person, the cost is around 1,100$ (monthly) without the rent.
Redwood Highway, Carson Mansion, Sequoia Park Garden, Sequoia Park Zoo, and Humboldt Bay.
I highly recommend checking out WayAway and get your cheap flight ticket to any of the beach towns. Its innovative search comes up with the best option for the chosen travel dates, so you will definitely find the most low-cost tickets!
5. Grover Beach
Grover Beach is an affordable coastal town in California and the entire natural ambiance will entertain you. The warm weather and amazing view of the beach will mesmerize your eyes and make you click hundreds of pictures and post regularly on Instagram. Grover Beach sits between Oceano and Pismo Beach. It is a small beach community with a population of around 13,484.
Along the central coast of California, Grover Beach town is the perfect place to settle down as all outdoor activities like surfing, horse riding, swimming, and hiking are available. You will never get bored of this beautiful town. The walk down the beach boardwalk is so scenic, the dunes, and Monarch Butterfly Grove everything is spectacular. This is an affordable coastal living in California.
Even the crime rate is also average in comparison with us or other native areas. The crime rate is below 25% and it is the lowest percentage. Additionally, if you are looking for an area near the coastal area of the Pacific Ocean then it is the cheapest place to live on the California coast. If you are searching for safe beach cities you should avoid these high-crime cities in California.
Cost of Living in Grover Beach
Expenses on Groceries, Health Care Premiums, and taxes can not be escaped, no matter what you have to pay these bills. For an 85 square meters apartment, you need to spend basic electricity garbage, and water costs on around 220 $ monthly basis.
Monarch Grove Winery, The Locked Inn, Rons, and Pismo State Beach Golf Course.
6. Long Beach
Long Beach is one of the largest beaches in downtown Los Angeles. It is just 20 minutes away from San Pedro Beach and one of my favorite beaches of all time. This place has an active LGBTQ community which I am proud of and has a diverse culture with great views.
There are many expensive places to live in but properties near the beach are affordable and budget-friendly. Therefore, these are some of the cheapest beach towns in California.
If you are looking for a faster pace of life then this sleepy, coastal village area is the perfect choice for you. Long Beach is home to famous restaurants, beautiful beaches, and businesses. Not only that but it is one of the most affordable beach towns to have fun. All the medical facilities, schools, colleges, and job places are available in the town.
Probably it is one of the inexpensive beach cities in California where you can enjoy with your friends a few days. If you are a youngster and want to enjoy your night you can also head towards Brent Bolthouse. You will love this place!
Cost of Living in Long Beach
Long Beach with a population of around 462,257 the cost of living is an average of $2400. The cost of living for a single person will be around $1000 on a monthly basis without paying rent.
Long Beach Sightseeing:
Downtown Waterfront, Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, Naples, and Catalina Island.
Read Also: 10 Best Places To Live in Southern California
Oceanside is the cheapest beach town to live in Southern California, come to the beach to have pleasant moments with your friends. I would agree with you that Oceanside had a bad reputation in the past but now it is a hub for food lovers, and adventure surfers.
I would recommend you to visit Michelin Star, their cooking style is spectacular. The phenomenal beach welcomes SuperGirl Surf Pro and is home to the California Surf Museum.
All the alliances from schooling to medical facilities are easy to have. The price of the essential commodities is much cheaper than in the neighboring country. It is a perfect beach with a natural ambiance and eye-attractive sightseeing.
All the streets are mostly occupied by cafes, restaurants, and shops. Thus, Oceanside becomes one of the most affordable beach towns in San Diego country. Oceanside is one of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California surrounded by turquoise water and sand.
Oceanside is the third-largest city and just 30 minutes away from North San Diego. It is a relatively affordable town and you might enjoy the surroundings equally. You can visit the Oceanside Harbor, take a wine harbor cruise or visit the historic pier to witness the beautiful sunset. The palm tree-lined place is the dream of many and myriad community events and festivals are so fun that I recommend you to consider this place for residing.
Cost of Living in Oceanside
Costs of food, energy, housing, and healthcare are considered as the basic and universal components of living and expenses on these things are a must. The average cost of living in Oceanside is $2508, for basic utilities $143.05 (monthly), and for a one-bedroom apartment near the center will be around $1,893.89.
Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside Pier, Harbor Beach, California Surf Museum, Charlie’s dessert bar, and Oceanside Sunset Market.
Read Next: 11 Best Beach Towns to Visit in Texas
8. Imperial Beach
Imperial Beach is 15 minutes away from San Diego and 10 minutes away from the Mexican border. This affordable coastal living in California sits above the Tijuana Estuary. To maintain the fun and enjoy the hustle and bustle of San Diego I would highly recommend you to settle down here. Imperial Beach is surrounded and the beach atmosphere is highly entertaining.
It is a residential community and the entire natural ambiance comes with affordable and cheap prices. The beach is beautiful and has small gentle waves and you can bring your kids to enjoy it at an affordable price. On the north side, surfing is allowed and if you are a hiker then you don’t want to miss the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge spot.
The houses in Imperial Beach are not a little expensive but you will find a place to reside that is reasonable and budget-friendly. The crime rate is also lower making it one of the most desirable living places.
Imperial city is a beautiful city with an average cost of living of around $1782.
Imperial Beach sightseeing:
Imperial Beach Pier, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Bayshore Bikeway, Veterans Park, and Kristy Murphy’s Siren Surf Adventures.
Next to Grover Beach and Pismo Beach sits Oceano Beach which is yet another affordable coastal living in California. Moreover, it is the safest beach town in California to visit with your friends or alone. Therefore, if you are searching for an affordable place to live in California then Oceano is a great choice. Many visitors come here and it is famous for having beautiful Dunes.
According to Grover Beach, all the things are available on Oceano beach approx 7% lesser in price. Oceano Beach is one of the most affordable places to live in California near the beach. I want you to know that Oceano is a mix of the old and new culture, it offers fewer amenities but still has many good places to hang out with friends and families. You can visit Quintessa Coffee Roasters, my personal favorite.
All the necessary things like medical facilities, job opportunities, school, and colleges are present at a cheap price to explore. Oceano has a dramatic coastline and is the only beach in California that allows driving. This is indeed beautiful and a cheap beach town in California.
The housing and transportation cost in Oceano is a little higher than the national average.
Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville, Pismo State Beach, Pismo State Beach, and Pacific Dunes Ranch Riding Stables.
In Humboldt country sits Arcata beach, meaning “where there is a lagoon”. With a population of around 17775, the beach offers the most pleasing view and an easy lifestyle for all the inhabitants. It is an affordable coastal living in California and is famous for its “hippie vibe”. You will also be happy to know that Arcata residents have a strong sense of environmental awareness among them.
You will be mesmerized to witness the dramatic confluence of a river and ocean that makes Arcata one of the most beautiful places in California. You can head towards the Redwoods National and State Park and then visit the local restaurants and plazas. Everything here is budget-friendly, affordable and you will never regret moving to California.
Everything is available in Arcata at an affordable price whether it is medical facilities, schools, colleges, and other necessities. Humboldt State University is famous among youths in California; Arcata is a small beach town in California to check-in as it welcomes people and different cultures. The crime rate in the town is much lower than in other cities or towns in California or Los Angeles.
Cost of Living in Arcata:
Compared to the national average the energy cost and food cost is + 28.3% and + 10.7% higher respectively.
Arcata Community Forest, Arcata Plaza Farmers’ Market, Arcata Marsh, and Wildlife Sanctuary, Clam Beach County Park, and Humboldt Crabs Baseball.
These 9 places are the cheapest beach towns in California that have pristine beaches and splendor coastline. If you want to turn your dream into reality despite your economic status then finding a home in these places is fantastic and charming. There are both advantages and disadvantages to living in California but for unlimited fun and filling your life with the thrilling experience of surfing, and the sun within your budget these above places are perfect.
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FAQ – Cheapest Beach Towns in California
1. What is the cheapest place to buy a home in Southern California near the beach?
A: Oxnard or Ventura is the cheapest place to buy a home in Southern California near the beach.
2. What are the top U.S. beach towns to buy a home?
A: Daytona Beach, Ocean Springs, and Fort Pierce are the top U.S. beach towns to buy a home.
3. What are the best and safest beach towns in California to live in?
A: Carpinteria is one of the best and safest beach towns in California to live in.
4. Where is better to live Northern California or Southern California?
A: Northern California is preferably better than South California in terms of affordability and cheap accommodation.
Hi, I’m a beach person and currently looking to move to Oceanside. Will it be a good decision to move there with families?
Hi Alicia, Oceanside is undoubtedly a great beach town to reside in California.
I’m a senior citizen looking for a safe and affordable beach town in California.