20 Best-Life Secrets From Beachfront Bargain Hunters

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Live smarter by the beach with these budget-friendly tips.

Reset your watch for “island time.”

Beachfront communities lack a certain urgency that bedevils the rest of the world; letting one’s schedule bend and stretch a bit is good for the soul.  

Nothing beats local eats.

Trendy farm-to-table restaurants and newcomers to the “slow food” movement are getting on board with what chefs in the tropics have always known — that is, that fresh grub harvested and produced nearby is far tastier than packaged-and-preserved imports. (Bring on the coconut and tropical fruit, please.)

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  1. snow cones

Photo By: Andrew McGary ©© 2015 HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Gadgets are overrated.

A decade ago, almost no one could check in with work from a phone on the beach. Wasn’t that a marvelous time to be alive? 

Photo By: Anna Bryukhanova

A signature cocktail is a must.

It’s probably possible to lean back in a deck chair and watch the sun set over the ocean without a beachy drink in hand, but who wants to find out? Whether you’re clinking glasses at a casita on the Gulf of Mexico or at a condo in Miami, a good host has a house specialty (and can whip up a pitcher of it in no time flat). 

Make This: Sol de Flare Cocktail

Workouts aren’t work on the shore.

It’s a lot easier to get your Surgeon-General-recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day when they’re in the sand or the boardwalk.

Coastal style keeps summer going all year long.

Crisp whites, breezy curtains and tropical details can perpetuate June in any room you choose — even when it’s November on the other side of the front door.

Photo By: Christopher Paul Luker

Scenery is all the artwork you need.

In a home with a priceless view, that view can take center stage — no embellishment necessary. (If you just happen to have a big vintage surf poster collection, of course, it’d be pretty odd to leave it out of your beachfront home. Otherwise, don’t worry about a gallery wall.)

From: Barry Dixon

Photo By: Photo Credit: Edward Addeo © Gibbs Smith, Barry Dixon Interiors, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)

Home doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be welcoming.

Large and luxurious spaces are nice, but cheery and humble ones are just as fun. If you’ve got a well-stocked fridge, you’ll be fine without granite countertops — promise.

Go green.

Nothing says “Hey, did you notice this fabulous natural setting?” like setting some fabulous nature around your home; both lush foliage and flowers from the local farmers’ market can make a space bloom.

No, seriously, go green.

Beach dwellers have front-row seats for the results of everything from manmade pollution and coastal erosion to climate change and extreme storms; the rest of us would do well to keep an eye on how our environment affects us (and vice versa), too.  

The ocean really does lull you to sleep.

The whooshing sound of waves registers as a non-threat that tells our brains “don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry,” according to a sleep researcher from Penn State. No wonder white noise machines with “ocean” settings — and bedrooms that face the sea — are so popular.

The beach is a place and a state of mind.

Studies have shown that just thinking about an upcoming vacation has a positive effect on our happiness. That’s a perk that beachfront property owners get to enjoy on a permanent basis. Well played, beach house buyers. 

Photo By: Photolyric Stock Productions (Kl

Think outside the “hot spots.”

The easiest way to sidestep the inflation, overcrowding, and tackiness of popular destinations is, well, to sidestep those destinations. Prices and the odds of having to fight for a spot on the beach often drop when you’re willing to look past resort towns and keep going a few miles down the road.

Photo By: JOSH_HODGE

Life is full of compromises.

In some cases that means a five-minute walk to the shore instead of a budget-busting vacation home right on the water; in other cases it means agreeing to a move-in-ready property because your spouse has subtly indicated that too-ambitious DIY projects will land you in marriage counseling. Happily, the beach is worth it. 

If a fixer-upper isn’t your thing, let it go.

A savvy bargain hunter knows when a property needs a little love and its price might come down accordingly. A really savvy bargain hunter knows when he or she doesn’t have quite that much love to give and keeps on walking.

Getting enough water is essential.

Hydration is key, of course, but swimming, snorkeling, and sailing are equally vital. The best thing about a house on the beach is leaving it behind and making a beeline for the waves. 

Photo By: Photolyric Stock Productions (Kl

Put your home to work.

An occasionally unoccupied home can help pay for itself if local authorities are comfortable with you renting it out when you’re not in town (and you’re comfortable with sharing your stuff with strangers). Given what that revenue could add to your budget, sharing your stuff sounds pretty good, no? 

Photo By: Paul Piebinga

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Buyers with an eye on the beach are willing to forgo details that some of us hold dear in order to realize their dreams: who cares about a private bathroom or a washer-dryer when the ocean is right outside? “Nothing is better than simplicity,” Walt Whitman once said. He also said, “to me the sea is a continual miracle.” Coincidence?

Details should be fun.

Beachfront homes are all play and no work, hopefully; shouldn’t they be full of things that make you smile? Come to think of it, shouldn’t all living spaces function that way?

Paradise is even better when you share it.

When you find your favorite place in the world, it’s only natural to want to introduce it to your favorite people. (You might want to consider a spare bedroom or a sleeper sofa.)

Photo By: Mihailo Milovanovic

Budget Beach Houses? Yes!

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See how these buyers found their oasis by the shore for a steal.

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About the Show

Each week we follow a family making their beachfront living dreams come true — on a budget! We'll follow them on the house hunt as we discover some of the most surprisingly affordable beachfront locales that prove you don't need to be a millionaire to live right on the beach.
Season 3, Episode 11

A Woman Bargains for Luxury with a Waterfront View

Tania has lived all over the world, from London to Peru, and most recently Germany. Since she relocated to Miami for her career, Tania feels like she's on permanent vacation. Real Estate Agent, Alexandra Rutten, will show Tania four potential properties in hot hot hot Miami Florida. Alexandra is trying to find a luxury building for her best friend on a bargain budget before Tania's lease expires. Watch them cruise the beaches of Miami looking for a state of the art building with ocean views all for under $300,000.

Sunday
Dec 7
9pm | 8c
Season 4, Episode 9

Dustin and his sister explore Cabo to find a beachfront home that his pregnant wife will approve of.

Dustin is a father of three with a baby on the way. Unable to take his expecting wife with him to Mexico, Dustin enlists the help of his sister, Brittany, to be the female voice of reason to find the perfect vacation home for his growing family. With the help of local real estate agent, Nick Fong, they explore the coast of beautiful Cabo San Lucas in hopes to find the perfect family vacation home for under $300,000.

Thursday
Dec 25
2:30pm | 1:30c
Sunday
Dec 28
9:30pm | 8:30c
Season 3, Episode 11

A Woman Bargains for Luxury with a Waterfront View

Tania has lived all over the world, from London to Peru, and most recently Germany. Since she relocated to Miami for her career, Tania feels like she's on permanent vacation. Real Estate Agent, Alexandra Rutten, will show Tania four potential properties in hot hot hot Miami Florida. Alexandra is trying to find a luxury building for her best friend on a bargain budget before Tania's lease expires. Watch them cruise the beaches of Miami looking for a state of the art building with ocean views all for under $300,000.

Monday
May 25
9:30am | 8:30c
Season 4, Episode 9

Dustin and his sister explore Cabo to find a beachfront home that his pregnant wife will approve of.

Dustin is a father of three with a baby on the way. Unable to take his expecting wife with him to Mexico, Dustin enlists the help of his sister, Brittany, to be the female voice of reason to find the perfect vacation home for his growing family. With the help of local real estate agent, Nick Fong, they explore the coast of beautiful Cabo San Lucas in hopes to find the perfect family vacation home for under $300,000.

Monday
May 25
11am | 10c
Season 7, Episode 13

Yearnin' for Chuburna Puerto, Mexico

Baphu and Christine have known each other since they were in elementary school. During a game of spin the bottle, Christine even became Baphu's first kiss. As teenagers they moved away and drifted apart before reconnecting several years later. Now with four kids and one on the way, they're looking for a weekend getaway, a refuge where they can relax and enjoy spending time together as a family. After moving from Canada to Merida, Mexico, Baphu and Christine have set their beachfront sights on the quaint nearby fishing village, Chuburna Puerto. While they both agree that living on the beach is top priority, Christine is willing to break the bank for the home of her dreams while Baphu wants to stick to their budget of $200,000.

Friday
Oct 16
6pm | 5c
Season 7, Episode 3

Northern Beach Retreat on the Outer Banks

Scott and Tamera Forshaw are from Richmond, Virginia, and have been married for 30 years. Ever since they first met, their favorite vacation destination has been the magnificent, unspoiled, Northern Beaches of the Outer Banks. With day-to-day life at home being very busy, both Tami and Scott want to find a beachfront getaway where they can relax and spend quality time with loved ones. They both agree that the beaches along the North Carolina coast would be the perfect place to build lasting family memories. With the help of real estate agent, Kelly Dean, the Forshaws hope to find a beachfront retreat for under $300,000.

Friday
Nov 20
1:30pm | 12:30c
Season 4, Episode 12

Bargain Hunting Puerto Vallarta

Brad and Scott are in love with the cultural atmosphere of Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Real Estate Agent John Swanson will show them four potential properties. Come along as they search for a beach home with lots of space that's steps from the beach all for under their budget of $275,000.

Friday
Mar 4
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 9, Episode 5

Swooning for Tamuning, Guam

Eight years ago Robert moved from Los Angeles, California, to the small Pacific island of Guam. He currently resides inland, in the town of Dededo and commutes six miles to his job in Tamuning. But due to the high volume of traffic on the island, the drive can last up to one hour each way. Tired of dealing with his inconvenient proximity to both his job as well as Guam's beautiful beaches, Robert will enlist the help of real estate agent, Norma Del Carmen, who can hopefully find him an oceanfront condo in the town of Tamuning for $225,000 or less.

Sunday
Jun 5
6pm | 5c
Season 11, Episode 9

Fleeing Chicago, Illinois for St. Croix

Ania and Kyle have been married for seven years and have two young children, Maya and Niko. Between raising the kids and operating a thriving mortgage company outside their hometown of Chicago, they've rarely been able to escape for a family vacation. But when the opportunity presented itself, they managed to visit the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix and quickly fell in love with its tranquil vibes and picturesque setting. After this life changing experience, Ania and Kyle decide to make this a regular occurrence and feel the purchase of their very own St. Croix beach house would be the perfect way to ensure future family getaways continue. With the help of local real estate agent, David Fedeles, they hope to find a pristine slice of sandy paradise for $375,000 or less.

Monday
Aug 8
3am | 2c
Season 12, Episode 11

All in for Gulf Shores, Alabama

Kim and her two daughters, Jen and Melissa, have been going on vacation to the beach for as long as they can remember. After years of renting, they are ready to combine resources and invest in a beach home for their three families in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Just across the border from Florida, this small town boasts white sandy beaches and southern hospitality, making it the perfect vacation location for these Ohio natives. With the help of local real estate agent, Jim Bailey, this mother-daughter trio will search for a seaside home for the entire family, all for under $350,000.

Monday
Sep 26
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 12, Episode 9

Satisfaction in Sargent, Texas

Michael, Kami, and their three daughters currently live in Katy, Texas and are looking to find a beach getaway in Sargent, Texas. Located just 75 miles from Houston with access to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico, this coastal community is one of Texas's best-kept secrets. While Michael and Kami agree on a vacation home in Sargent, they are at odds over what's most important-- access to fishing or the beach. Michael has a lifelong dream of fishing in his backyard, while Kami craves the beach. With the help of local real estate agent, Joanne Hogan, this family of five will search for a spot to satisfy their seaside needs, all for under $150,000.

Friday
Feb 3
7:30pm | 6:30c
Season 14, Episode 7

Making More Memories in Manahawkin, New Jersey

Danielle, Michelle and Mike grew up renting summer houses with their family in Manahawkin, New Jersey. As a gateway to the resort destination of Long Beach Island, Manahawkin has a residential feel with close proximity to an area booming with family fun. With Danielle living in Boston and Michelle and Mike living in Northern New Jersey, the shore is the perfect place for these siblings to get together, return to their childhood roots and find a family vacation home for under $350,000.

Friday
Mar 10
7pm | 6c
Season 14, Episode 10

Down by the Chesapeake Bay

Phillip and Jordan love visiting Cape Charles, Virginia, with their three young sons. Located along the Chesapeake Bay just 90 minutes from their home in Suffolk, Cape Charles is the perfect place to visit the beach and relax. Wanting to take advantage of the small beach town feel and historical charm, this family is seeking a historical beach home with a budget of $375,000.

Sunday
Apr 2
8pm | 7c
Season 14, Episode 11

Hitting the Road in Maui, Hawaii

Bill is a high school teacher and coach from Camarillo, California. He has been visiting and renting in Maui for over six years, but has finally saved enough to purchase a place of his own. With diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery, this Hawaiian island is the perfect place for Bill to unwind during his summers off. A local real estate agent helps Bill find a dream vacation home of his own for under $300,000.

Sunday
Apr 2
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 14, Episode 10

Down by the Chesapeake Bay

Phillip and Jordan love visiting Cape Charles, Virginia, with their three young sons. Located along the Chesapeake Bay just 90 minutes from their home in Suffolk, Cape Charles is the perfect place to visit the beach and relax. Wanting to take advantage of the small beach town feel and historical charm, this family is seeking a historical beach home with a budget of $375,000.

Monday
Apr 3
3am | 2c
Season 14, Episode 11

Hitting the Road in Maui, Hawaii

Bill is a high school teacher and coach from Camarillo, California. He has been visiting and renting in Maui for over six years, but has finally saved enough to purchase a place of his own. With diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery, this Hawaiian island is the perfect place for Bill to unwind during his summers off. A local real estate agent helps Bill find a dream vacation home of his own for under $300,000.

Monday
Apr 3
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 12, Episode 13

Small Living on the Puget Sound, WA

After a cross-country road trip with her husband, Andy, Katie fell in love with the rough and tumble beaches of Washington's Puget Sound. Traveling with everything they needed in the back of the car, they realized that tiny living was enjoyable and could open up their possibilities of owning the beachfront property of their dreams. Tucked away in the northwestern corner of Washington, the area provides endless shoreline, wildlife around every corner, and is perfect for their outdoor lifestyle. With Andy away for work and Katie's son at school, it's the perfect time for a girls' trip with her daughter, Caroline, to search for a small sanctuary on the sands of the Puget Sound. With the help of local real estate agent, Susan Henry, this pair will look to avoid paying a small fortune and take a big leap toward a tiny house for under $375,000.

Sunday
Apr 9
1:30pm | 12:30c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Apr 9
2pm | 1c
Season , Episode

Sunday
Apr 9
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 12, Episode 1

Surfing the Shores of Topsail Island, North Carolina

Greg and Sherrill currently live in North Topsail Beach, North Carolina. Greg works in the military and met Sherrill while he was stationed outside of Dallas. They later moved to Topsail Island when Greg was relocated there. While they've been renting for a few years, they've finally saved up enough to buy their dream home on the water. With Greg being deployed, it's up to Sherrill to lead the search. With the help of real estate agent and friend, Jenna Morton, they hope to find the perfect beachfront condo for only $199,000.

Sunday
Apr 9
3pm | 2c
Season 14, Episode 12

Sun and Sand on the Grand Strand, South Carolina

Hartsville, South Carolina, couple Mark and Robin find very little time for relaxation between work and their hectic family schedule. Growing up, Robin spent summers vacationing along the shores of South Carolina's Grand Strand, and they've decided this would be the perfect place to find a weekend family getaway. With a budget of $300,000, Mark and Robin hope to find a beach house with boat access that will provide lasting memories with family and friends.

Sunday
Apr 9
3:30pm | 2:30c
Season 13, Episode 4

On the Road to Renewal in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Brent and Tracy have been married for 25 years and live in a suburb of New Orleans. For as long as they've been together, the charming community of Bay St. Louis, MS, has been their ideal setting for a relaxing weekend getaway. While Brent and Tracy always dreamed of someday owning a home along the brilliant bay shores, they never thought it was actually attainable. But now after a disciplined period of saving, they've hired local real estate agent Holly Lemoine-Raymond to find the perfect vacation home while staying within their budget of $325,000.

Sunday
Apr 9
4pm | 3c
Season 12, Episode 6

A Beachy View in Branford, CT

April and Robert currently live in Stamford, Connecticut and are looking for a beach home in Branford, Connecticut. Located along the Long Island Sound, this New England town is the perfect place for this couple to unwind after long shifts working as a nurse and paramedic. Plus, moving north to a more affordable county will make it easier to find a property close to the water. With the help of local real estate agent, Vicky Welch, this young couple is searching to scope out a spot with a sea view all for under $350,000.

Sunday
Apr 9
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 9, Episode 4

Sustainability on the Sands of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Dan and Kara are looking to escape their fast-paced lives in Denver, Colorado, for permanent relaxation in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. As the world's second most environmentally sustainable country, Costa Rica offers Dan and Kara the ability to live amongst nature, while leaving a smaller footprint on the Earth. With the help of real estate agent, Rebecca Clower, this couple is looking for a sustainable beachfront oasis for under $250,000.

Sunday
Apr 9
5pm | 4c
Season 14, Episode 1

Why Not Move to Warwick?

Aman and Kevin are native Rhode Islanders living in Narragansett. They have grown tired of renting and are ready to move more centrally within the Ocean State to access their family, work and favorite activities. Conveniently located within the heart of Rhode Island, Warwick boasts 39 miles of coastline and eight beaches while providing easy access to city life in Providence or seaside life in Narragansett. Will this couple find their first home on New England waters, all for under $215,000?

Sunday
Apr 9
5:30pm | 4:30c

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