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 12

A little Latin retreat on Puerto Rico's island of Vieques.

Mathias and Monica love unwinding on the Caribbean's exotic white sand beaches. With a mutual love for the ocean and Monica's connection to the Latin culture, the couple decides to find a second home on Puerto Rico's island of Vieques. They look to local real estate agent, Thom Denton, to hunt down the ideal vacation home for only $350,000.

Tuesday
Oct 28
4pm | 3c
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.

Tuesday
Oct 28
6pm | 5c
Season 5, Episode 9

Pining for a Peaceful Paradise in Pine Knoll Shores

Julie and Jeff find it time to trade in their tourist town of Atlantic Beach for the slower paced life that Pine Knoll Shores provides. But even with the help of real estate agent, Marian Goetzinger, finding a slice of sanctuary near the sand for under $335,000 will be a tall order on this barrier island.

Tuesday
May 12
5:30pm | 4:30c
Season 6, Episode 7

Galavanting around for a summer home on beaches of Galveston, TX.

Houston couple, Erica and Stew, love spending their summers on the beautiful beaches of Galveston, TX. Tired of renting various beach homes year after year, the couple decide it's finally time to buy a beachfront home of their own. With a tight budget of $350,000, the family enlists local real estate agent, Carol Miller Odorizzi, to help them find the perfect summer abode.

Tuesday
May 12
6pm | 5c
Season 7, Episode 2

An Akumal Adventure on Half Moon Bay

Todd and Jenny are avid snorkelers who love to float through the waters of Akumal's Half Moon Bay. They are setting their sights on purchasing a condo on the sandy shores without sinking their $250,000 budget.

Sunday
Jan 17
3:30pm | 2:30c
Season 7, Episode 5

Giddy to Find a Beachfront Home in Ocean City

Caitlin and Peter are from Baltimore, and have been married for almost 3 years. Long before they met and fell in love in college, they both fell for the coastal resort town of Ocean City, Maryland. The glistening beaches, sensational restaurants and wide array of water sports drew each of their families to this area as vacationers for years. Now that Caitlin and Peter are married and have begun their own life together, they want a their own waterfront escape in their favorite seaside metropolis. They're looking for a home that not only fits their current lifestyle but a place where they can accommodate both their families and eventual children. With the help of real estate agent, Eric Green, they hope to find a beachfront haven for under $350,000.

Saturday
May 14
3pm | 2c
Season 7, Episode 12

Hatteras Holiday on the North Carolina Coast.

Bill and Mary Foyes met on an Internet dating website and quickly discovered their mutual love for North Carolina's Outer Banks, specifically the quaint community of Hatteras Village.  Now, after 11 years of marriage and multiple visits with their daughter, Alicia, they are ready to purchase a permanent vacation home in their favorite seaside sanctuary. With the help of local real estate agent, Dottie Reed, the Foyes' hope to find a beachfront getaway where they build lasting family memories, all for under $175,000.

Friday
Oct 21
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 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.

Sunday
Apr 9
6:30pm | 5:30c
Season 15, Episode 10

Time Crunch in Melbourne Beach, Florida

Tired of the hectic city life in Atlanta, Lindsey is dreaming of a house on the water in her hometown of Melbourne Beach, Florida. Surprisingly, her property in Atlanta sold quicker than expected, and she needs to find her new home as soon as possible. With the help of her daughter, Virginia, and local real estate agent, Lindsey hopes to find the beach house of her dreams for $395,000 or less.

Monday
May 29
12pm | 11c
Season 12, Episode 7

Passage to Port Aransas, Texas

Jennifer and Brian live hectic lives with their three children in Lakeway, Texas. After spending the past seven years visiting the Gulf Coast community of Port Aransas, the family would love to purchase their very own vacation home along its sandy, sun kissed shores. But with a limited inventory available, Jennifer and Brian hope local real estate agent, Jacob Payne, can find them a deal on a family getaway all within their budget of $375,000.

Friday
Nov 10
2pm | 1c
Season 18, Episode 10

Sandy Savings in Galveston, Texas

After frequently vacationing there, a couple decides it's time to find a place of their own in their favorite getaway of Galveston, TX. Owning a property on the gulf coast would certainly benefit them over renting but finding the perfect spot may not be as easy as it seems. Will they find the perfect beach home for their family?

Monday
Jan 15
3am | 2c
Season 18, Episode 4

Best of Both Worlds in Bethany Beach

A couple is ready to purchase a condo along the beaches of their favorite vacation spot of Bethany Beach, DE. They both love the canal's access for boating, kayaking and paddle boarding so having a condo there would not only bring them closer to the action but will also be more affordable. They're ready to be mere steps away from the sand but will they be able to find what they're looking for?

Monday
Feb 12
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 18, Episode 11

Atlantic Beach Surprise

After years of talking about buying a coastal retreat together, two wives are kicking things into gear and surprising their husbands with a weekend of beachfront bargain hunting for a home under $350,000.

Sunday
Feb 25
8pm | 7c
Season 18, Episode 13

Moving Over to Marshfield, Massachusetts

A water-loving couple is ready to sell their house in Whitman, Massachusetts, and raise their children in her coastal hometown of Marshfield. Located on the East Coast between Boston and Cape Cod, they love the different beaches of the area, as well as its proximity to their families. These native New Englanders are eager to fulfill their beachfront dreams as they set out to find a permanent haven on the shore for under $399,000.

Sunday
Feb 25
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 18, Episode 11

Atlantic Beach Surprise

After years of talking about buying a coastal retreat together, two wives are kicking things into gear and surprising their husbands with a weekend of beachfront bargain hunting for a home under $350,000.

Monday
Feb 26
3am | 2c
Season 18, Episode 13

Moving Over to Marshfield, Massachusetts

A water-loving couple is ready to sell their house in Whitman, Massachusetts, and raise their children in her coastal hometown of Marshfield. Located on the East Coast between Boston and Cape Cod, they love the different beaches of the area, as well as its proximity to their families. These native New Englanders are eager to fulfill their beachfront dreams as they set out to find a permanent haven on the shore for under $399,000.

Monday
Feb 26
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 17, Episode 12

Ditching the Desert for Whidbey Island

After living in Lucerne Valley for the past ten years, a family is ready to leave the Southern Californian desert and move back to the lush coastline of the Pacific Northwest. They want to purchase a permanent beachfront home along the shores of Whidbey Island, Washington, for $499,000 or less.

Sunday
Mar 4
8pm | 7c
Season 17, Episode 4

Searching the Sands of Orange Beach, Alabama

A Missouri family decides to invest in a permanent residence in Orange Beach, AL. After years of visiting the location, they hope to find a beachfront property they can call their own with all the amenities and promising rental potential. Will their budget be enough to afford them the Alabama beach home of their dreams?

Sunday
Mar 4
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 17, Episode 12

Ditching the Desert for Whidbey Island

After living in Lucerne Valley for the past ten years, a family is ready to leave the Southern Californian desert and move back to the lush coastline of the Pacific Northwest. They want to purchase a permanent beachfront home along the shores of Whidbey Island, Washington, for $499,000 or less.

Monday
Mar 5
3am | 2c
Season 17, Episode 4

Searching the Sands of Orange Beach, Alabama

A Missouri family decides to invest in a permanent residence in Orange Beach, AL. After years of visiting the location, they hope to find a beachfront property they can call their own with all the amenities and promising rental potential. Will their budget be enough to afford them the Alabama beach home of their dreams?

Monday
Mar 5
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 15, Episode 6

A Deal in Jonesport-Beals

After living in the Jonesport-Beals area of Maine their entire lives, Stephen and Heidi want to upgrade from ocean views to oceanfront living. Stephen is a commercial lobster fisherman, so they are hoping to find a waterfront home with a dock, allowing less time at the marina and more time for family fun. A local real estate agent helps the couple find a permanent residence on Maine's rugged gulf beaches to live, work and play for under $350,000.

Friday
Mar 9
1pm | 12c
Season 15, Episode 8

At Home in Hampton Beach

Chris and Rowena live in East Kingston, New Hampshire, with their three children. They love Hampton Beach and all the great family attractions that it offers, but they're tired of sitting in traffic during the commute. Owning a beachfront place of their own will give them more time to spend together as a family, so they're shopping for the perfect beachfront condo for under $400,000.

Friday
Mar 9
1:30pm | 12:30c
Season 15, Episode 12

Wave of Savings in Surfside Beach, Texas

Going on vacation once a year is difficult to schedule and extremely expensive for Chris, Lesli and their four children. Chris and Lesli want a vacation property close to their Houston, Texas, home and think having an affordable retreat in the Gulf Coast community of Surfside Beach, Texas, is perfect. With the help of a local agent, the couple hopes to find their ideal waterfront oasis for $250,000 or less.

Friday
Mar 9
2pm | 1c
Season 16, Episode 3

Our Own Piece of Ocean Park, Washington

A couple in Portland, Oregon, is tired of the traffic and commotion of their expanding city and are ready to get away with their young daughter to a vacation house outside of town. Being on the beach is their main priority, so the affordability of the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington, combined with its manageable driving distance from Portland, makes it the perfect fit. A secluded getaway with a chain of coastal towns, the couple sets their sights on Ocean Park to relax and unwind on the area's untouched Pacific beaches for under $375,000.

Friday
Mar 9
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season , Episode

Friday
Mar 9
3pm | 2c

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