Top 10 beach towns for retirees

  • Eureka, California's coastline // Shutterstock

    Being able to spend your golden years lounging on the beach is a dream shared by millions of Americans.

    The siren songs of sandy shores, a slower pace of life, and ocean views pull millions of retirees to beach towns across the country every year.

    Florida is the most obvious option, especially for those living in the Northeast, and it's still a good one.

    "The cost of living is significantly less expensive for entertainment, transportation, food, drinks, gas, parking, and even in real estate costs," said Jon Ulin, managing principal of Ulin & Co Wealth Management in Boca Raton, Florida. "You can buy a lot more house in Florida for the same cost all the while saving snow removal expenses and snow tire purchases. Also significant consideration -- in Florida, retirees would not be paying city or state taxes which will save a lot of money."

    But beach living isn't exclusive to Florida. There are tons of coastal spots in places such as Delaware, Virginia, the Carolinas, Washington, Oregon and even Michigan where beach life is inexpensive. While they may not have the consistent warmth of Florida, places in these states offer small town charm, unparalleled views and plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature.

    If you're looking to retire to a beach community, Ellen Breslau, editor-in-chief of Grandparents.com, recommends first deciding if you're looking to live by the beach seasonally or year-round, then delving into the details.

    "You probably want to put together some kind of checklist and list a bunch of things and see how each place rates up with your checklist," she said.

    She recommends looking at taxes, property prices, cost of living (how much is a gallon of milk there compared to where you currently live?), medical facilities, year-round temperature and the local economy in case you want to work through your retirement. And then you should consider what kind of community you want to live in: Do you cherish your privacy in a home or want the socialization opportunities of a 55-plus community?

    Ulin also recommends considering some of the potential downsides: Do you have enough equity in your house to move? Also, remember that you're moving farther from children and grandchildren, which can get pricey, and you may have to cough up extra money for additional flood and wind insurance in a hurricane-prone coastal area -- though not all beaches are prone to these disasters.

    Taking into account natural scenery, amenities and activities offered, proximity to health care, taxes, home prices, cost of living and population of people older than 55, we picked out 10 of the best places to retire to if living by the beach is your dream.

  • Ilyce Glink On Twitter»

    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist, best-selling book author, and radio talk show host who also hosts "Expert Real Estate Tips," a Internet video show. She owns ThinkGlink.com as well as Think Glink Media, a privately held company that provides consulting, content and video services to companies and non-profit organizations.

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