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.)

  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.


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

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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 8, Episode 9

Redemption in Rockport Texas

Kathleen and Tim reside in San Antonio, Texas, and have been married for 10 years. After spending several family vacations in the quaint gulf coast community of Rockport, they're tired of paying for hotel rooms and would love to purchase a beach house of their own. They found the perfect place and made an offer but couldn't come to terms with the owner on a price and the deal fell through. Now, with the help of real estate agent, Patty Henderson, Kathleen and Tim are taking one more shot at making their beachfront dreams come true.

Dec 27
8:30pm | 7:30c
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.

Apr 4
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 11, Episode 8

Shuckin' It Up in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

Michael and Margaret are from Putnam Valley, New York and have three daughters, Kaitlyn, Madelyn, and Victoria. While searching for the perfect vacation destination, they visited every beach in North Carolina before finally settling on Ocean Isle Beach. With the help of real estate agent, Laura Hewett, they hope to find the perfect beachfront house for under $375,000.

Aug 1
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 10, Episode 5

Worry-free on Ambergris Caye, Belize

Jennifer and her father, David, are looking for a beachfront vacation home on Ambergris Caye, Belize. With Jennifer living in Missouri and David in Alberta, Canada, Belize will offer them a place to gather and relax together. With the help of local real estate agent, Brittany McCann, Jennifer and David look to find a sun-soaked fortress for family fun, all for under $375,000.

Sep 18
4pm | 3c
Season 8, Episode 8

Passport to Rio Hato, Panama

Troy Bell fell in love with the sand, sea, and sunshine after his first trip to Florida as a teenager with his parents. After this life changing experience, the native Canadian vowed that when he grew up he was going to move out of rainy Vancouver and into his very own tropical beach house. Now after several trips to Central America, Troy has his sights set on the shores of the Coclé Province of Panama, in the town of Rio Hato. The fabulous sandy beaches, glistening turquoise water, and incomparable climate, are the perfect setting for a seaside sanctuary. With the help of real estate agent and fellow ex-pat, Eldon Spears, Troy hopes to fulfill his beachfront dreams for under $200,000.

Dec 9
7pm | 6c
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.

Mar 10
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 16, Episode 8

Channeling Chelem Beauty

After years of saving and countless trips to Mexico, Kenn and Paddy are ready for the life-changing adventure of running their own business. They love the lifestyle and culture of the small fishing village of Chelem, Mexico, and they've enlisted the help of local real estate agent to show them a tropical beachside property they can call home and turn into a bustling bed and breakfast, all for only $195,000.

Jul 14
9:30pm | 8:30c
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.

Aug 14
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 9, Episode 6

The Value Of Friendship In Manta

Mitch and Randee are newlyweds from Palmer, Alaska, and their blended family consists of five children. Enduring bitter winters her entire life, Randee has always fantasized about finding a tropical vacation getaway for her family. Luckily her childhood friend, Garrett, moved down and opened a real estate company with his father in the pacific coast community of Manta, Ecuador. After chatting over the phone and social media, Garrett opened both Mitch and Randee's eyes to the endless oceanfront possibilities of Ecuador. With his help they hope to achieve Randee's life long dream and find a South American sanctuary for $250,000 or less.

Sep 17
3pm | 2c
Season 16, Episode 6

On Par for Miramar Beach, Florida

A couple and their two children from Valdosta, Georgia, have rented vacation properties in Miramar Beach, Florida, for years. Now, the couple hopes to generate a rental income of their own to supplement their purchase of a vacation home. With the help of a local agent, they look to purchase the perfect waterfront condo for under $380,000.

Dec 25
1:30am | 12:30c
Season 10, Episode 2

Placencia: It's un-BELIZE-able

Dave and Laura are from Cleveland, Ohio and have been married for 5 years. They are both tired of the cold Midwest winters and are looking for a place where they can be outside more than two months out of the year. They are looking for a home, but also a location with room for a beachfront business. They love Belize and feel like this is the perfect time to make the move. With the help of real estate agent, Chris Appelbe, they hope to find the perfect beachfront property for only $350,000.

Jan 5
1pm | 12c
Season 17, Episode 5

Peace in Chuburna Puerto

A Connecticut bail bondsman looks to escape his hectic schedule and spend more time with his family with a vacation property in Chuburna Puerto, Mexico. This quaint and carefree fishing village offers everything for busy beach-goers who crave access to the amenities of larger cities as well as stunning stretches of peaceful, undiscovered sands. The area's surging real estate market has prices on the rise so this family of four is cruising the coast to find a much-needed retreat without breaking the bank.

Feb 18
5:30pm | 4:30c
Season 17, Episode 7

No Place Like Placencia, Belize

An Oregon couple hopes to find the perfect beachfront home. They've spent years vacationing in different parts of the Caribbean and have fallen in love with the culture in Placencia, Belize. With a location set, will their budget be enough to find them the dream home they're looking for?

Mar 2
7:30pm | 6:30c
Season 4, Episode 10

Bargain Hunting Pismo Beach, CA

Anthony and Hun need a sunny beach home. Real Estate Agent Mikey Hahn 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 $375,000.

Apr 27
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 6, Episode 2

Hunting for the Perfect Seaside Vista Along the Coast of Virginia

Corey and Emily last lived in Guam and have come to love the beach lifestyle. After moving to Virginia, they still don't have a house near the sand and are enlisting the help of real estate agent, Eric Byrum, to find them a full time home, both seaside and spacious, all for under $199,000.

Apr 27
7am | 6c
Season 9, Episode 2

A Crucial Life Change In Crucita

Dave has spent most of his life dedicated to the Canadian telecommunications industry. Constantly working sixteen-hour days, nearly to seven days a week, there's no time for him to slow down and relax. After reevaluating his situation Dave has decided to ditch his intense, fast paced lifestyle and find an oceanfront retreat where he can throttle down and find some peace and tranquility. While exploring the shores of Ecuador, Dave found a beautiful beach in the remote fishing village of Crucita. He loves that it's an authentic South American town, yet has restaurants and shops nearby. His budget is $100,000, which is a low number for a house on the coastline, but he hopes his real estate agent, Tom Saunders will help him find the perfect place to settle down, without having to sacrifice too much.

Apr 27
7:30am | 6:30c
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.

May 3
8am | 7c
Season 11, Episode 7

Taking It Slow in Jaco, Costa Rica

Scott and Erin are a spontaneous couple from the Florida Keys. After hearing great things about Jaco from fellow Floridians, they decided to start looking for a vacation home even though they had never been to Costa Rica before. With the help of real estate agent, Tim Giannone, they hope to find the perfect beachfront retreat for under $365,000.

May 3
8:30am | 7:30c
Season 10, Episode 10

A Tail of Alligator Point, Florida

After a history of renting, Jason and Marney are ready to live out their waterfront dreams and purchase a home on the sea oat-covered sands of Alligator Point, Florida. Jason's love for fishing has him leaning towards a home on the bay, while Marney would rather be steps away from the beach. With the help of local real estate agent, Marsha Tucker, Jason and Marney look to find a coastal haven on the Forgotten Coast for under $250,000.

May 3
9am | 8c
Season 14, Episode 4

Grooving in Gulfport, Mississippi

Angela currently lives in South Carolina, but she is ready for a change of scenery and wants to move closer to the beach. While weighing her options, she remembered a wonderful family vacation in Gulfport, Mississippi, and immediately decided it would be the perfect city for a fresh start. Now with the help of her best friend Roshonda, Angela hopes to find a beach house in Gulfport for under $350,000.

May 3
9:30am | 8:30c
Season 15, Episode 5

Keeping Active in Akumal

Shannon has been working and saving her entire life for the opportunity to purchase a beach home. Her two children have traveled the world with her, and they've all decided that Akumal, Mexico, is the ideal spot for a family getaway. They hope to find the perfect vacation home on the Caribbean Sea for under $390,000.

May 3
10am | 9c
Season 14, Episode 6

California Dreamin' in Morro Bay

Paul and Shelly live in Morro Bay, California, and love spending time at the beach. However, they currently live far from the water and are looking to move into a new house within walking distance. With West Coast prices climbing out of reach, they know finding a property within their budget will be tough, but they hope to find the perfect beachfront home right on the water for under $375,000.

May 3
10:30am | 9:30c
Season 14, Episode 13

Making a Splash in Ocean City, Maryland

Andrew and Erin are from Phoenix, Maryland, and have two daughters. With all the kid-friendly attractions Ocean City has to offer, they decide it would be the ideal place to spend some quality family time together. With a boat in tow, they hope to find a place right on the water for under $325,000.

May 3
11am | 10c
Season 15, Episode 11

Wowed by the Wildwoods of New Jersey

Father-son duo Steve and Kyle are busy accountants that work tirelessly through their hectic season, and when it's all over they're ready to relax and get away. They're looking for a beachfront vacation home for their family in the Wildwoods of New Jersey. Situated on a barrier island, this family beach destination welcomes visitors with the sights and sounds of its legendary boardwalk, set alongside a five-mile stretch of beach. With the help of a local agent, father and son search for an oceanfront crash pad that meets all their needs for under $200,000.

May 3
11:30am | 10:30c
Season 5, Episode 1

Texas living on the shores of Crystal Beach.

Rebecca and John have been vacationing in Crystal Beach, TX since they were in high school. Having always dreamed of owning a home on the Texas coast, the couple is finally ready to find the perfect beach home all for under $275,000. With dueling budgets, the couple looks to local real estate agent, Luz Gray, to help them find a vacation haven.

May 4
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 7, Episode 11

A couple searches for the perfect beach getaway for their large family of nine.

Jon and Susan have their heart set on finding a second home in Palm Coast, Florida. They love everything the quaint beach town has to offer and that it's a quick drive away from home. Finding a place big enough for their family of nine and on the water is no easy task, but with the help of local real estate agent, Patricia 'P.J.' Blackmon, they set off to find a beach home fit for their entire family.

May 4
7am | 6c

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