Want to live near the ocean? Whether you’re looking for a cozy New England harbor town or a big city with beautiful beaches, there are plenty of options for coastal living. Check out these nine best places to live near the ocean!
- Boston, MA
- Lahaina, HI
- Myrtle Beach, SC
- Naples, FL
- Portland, ME
- San Diego, CA
- Santa Barbara, CA
- Sarasota, FL
- Seaside, OR
- Population: 658,279
- Home Price: $423,200 median purchase price; $1,369 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 14% of U.S. cities
As one of the best places to live on the East Coast and one of the best cities for outdoor recreation, it’s no surprise that Boston is a top city for oceanside living! With access to Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll never run out of things to do in this New England city. And Beantown has more to offer than just its proximity to the water! You can earn a degree at highly-rated universities like Northeastern University and Boston College, find employment with Fortune 500 companies like General Electric and Liberty Mutual, and explore unique historic sites like The Green Dragon Tavern and Old North Church.
Things to Do in Boston
Go for a swim at Constitution Beach and dive into the history of Boston Harbor. Grab some tickets to a show in the Harbor’s amphitheater at Leader Bank Pavilion. Learn more about aquatic life at New England Aquarium. Tour some of the region’s best contemporary art at Institute of Contemporary Art. See historic ships, watch a live reenactment, and sip on specialty teas at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Sample New England fare like a New England Lobster Roll or Line Caught Crudo on a patio overlooking the Charles River at Alcove. Try Baja Grilled Swordfish Tacos while sipping on a frozen margarita at Tia’s, located at Long Wharf. Grab classic fish shack food with a Fried Fish Sandwich, Clam Chowder, or a Tuna Fish Roll from Sullivan’s Castle Island. Or order a Seaport Sangria and enjoy the beautiful views of the city at Lookout Rooftop & Bar.
- Population: 12,675
- Home Price: $552,900 median purchase price; $1,313 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 30% of U.S. cities
On the west side of Maui lies the former whaling town of Lahaina. Its Hawaiian name, Lele, means “relentless sun,” and it’s no wonder why—the city sees an average of 276 sunny days a year! And with low temperatures averaging around 65 degrees, Lahaina provides a comfortable climate for residents throughout the year. Another perk of Lahaina’s amazing weather is that you can get out and explore all of the town’s natural wonders. Its breathtaking beaches, mountains, and views of the Pacific Ocean make this city a popular tourist destination and hot spot for jobs in the local tourism and hospitality industries!
Things to Do in Lahaina
Take the kids to swim at Pu’unoa Beach, where there are calm, shallow waters perfect for little ones. See some truly unique views out on the water on a Sunset Sail. Explore the depths of the ocean with a trip on the Atlantis Submarine. Try your hand at parasailing or go on a fishing charter with UFO Parasail & Adventures. Check out works of art from local artists at Banyan Tree Fine Art Gallery. Order fresh seafood like Sesame Crusted Ahi or Tristian Lobster Tails at Kimo’s Maui. Experience fine dining at Lahaina Grill, which has been named one of the best restaurants in the U.S. Head over to BanyanTreats for some Hawaiian Shaved Ice, Roselani Ice Cream, and tropical-flavored cookies. Or toss back some local Hawaiian brews like the Hana Hou Hefe, 808 Pale Ale, or Skinny Jeans IPA at Waikiki Brewing Co.
Myrtle Beach, SC
- Population: 30,106
- Home Price: $173,600 median purchase price; $842 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 0% of U.S. cities
Both a popular tourist destination and one of the best beach cities in the U.S., Myrtle Beach is a great place to live near the ocean! This East Coast city offers an abundance of jobs in the hospitality industry, thanks to its 1,000+ restaurants, 80+ golf courses, and shopping complexes like Broadway at the Beach. Of course, it’s not all work in this South Carolina oceanside town! There are tons of family-friendly activities at local attractions like Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade, which features the SkyWheel, amazing restaurants, annual festivals, beach access, and more. In addition, Myrtle Beach offers good real estate opportunities, as it’s one of the best places for buying vacation homes and a top spot for Airbnb rentals!
Things to Do in Myrtle Beach
Get the best parts of amusement and water parks right on the beach at Family Kingdom Amusement Park. Head up to North Myrtle Beach to cast a line and try your hand at fishing on the Cherry Grove Pier. Check out one of the city’s best beaches, The Golden Mile, for a quieter beach day. Hit the links at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, which has been recognized as one of the best golf courses in South Carolina. Order a Full Stack of Pancakes, Red Velvet Waffle, or Crab Meat Omelet at the National House of Pancakes. Make your way to Hook & Barrel for some Pan Seared Scallops or Grilled Octopus with specialty cocktails. Grab dinner in a casual, beach-themed setting at Flip Flop Bar & Grill, where you can sink your teeth into some Gulf Wings or a Flip Flop Philly. Or have some weekend fun with cocktails, live music, and karaoke at Scotty’s Beach Bar.
- Population: 20,980
- Home Price: $770,000 median purchase price; $1,189 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 70% of U.S. cities
Not only is Naples an incredible place to live near the ocean in Florida, but it’s also one of the best places to live in America! With its warm Gulf Coast climate and residential canals, Naples is an ideal destination for people who love spending time outdoors and being close to the water. On top of that, this Florida city offers great employment opportunities and things to do. You can find work with Fortune 500 companies like Oracle, Harley-Davidson, and Marriott International, and you can hang out in Historic Downtown Naples, which is full of shops, entertainment, dining, and nightlife.
Things to Do in Naples
Schedule a deep-sea fishing excursion just off the coast with Dalis Fishing Charters, Inc. Have a barbecue, splash around at the beach, or go boating at Lowdermilk Park. Soak up some rays on the beach at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Stroll through the Lea Asian Garden and the Kapnick Caribbean Garden at Naples Botanical Garden. Spend an afternoon shopping on the waterfront in high-end shops at The Village Shops on Venetian Bay. Enjoy a Rotisserie Lamb Gyro or Spiced Fish Sandwich while overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at Rhode’s End. Head over to luxury seafood restaurant The Turtle Club to try specialty dishes like the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops or Lobster Frites. Or relax seaside with some Butterfly Shrimp or a Surf & Turf platter at Buzz’s Lighthouse.
- Population: 66,649
- Home Price: $248,000 median purchase price; $969 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 35% of U.S. cities
Want to live by the ocean and still experience all four seasons? Portland is the place! This New England city is a top destination for fall vacations because of its beautiful autumn scenery and lighthouses, and it’s also one of the top ten best places to live in America because of its impressive safety ratings and surprisingly affordable coastal home prices. Another attractive aspect of moving to Portland—particularly for young professionals and entrepreneurs—is the city’s local initiatives to build a tech hub in Maine. So if you’re searching for a city that combines coastal living, outdoor recreation, and a growing job market, give Portland a look!
Things to Do in Portland
Tend your plot in the summer community garden or go sledding and ice skating in the winter at Edward Payson Park. Run along the oceanfront or enjoy the views in one of the gazebos at Fort Allen Park. Stop by the International Cryptozoology Museum, a museum dedicated to the unknown, to learn more about Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster. Check out exhibitions featuring contemporary art and photography at the Portland Museum of Art. Start your day with coffee and baked goods like a Loaded Biscuit or Zucchini Cake at Tandem Coffee & Bakery. Head over to Blue Spoon for gourmet dishes like the Heritage Chicken Breast or House-Made Mushroom Fettuccine. Try the Fried Haddock Sandwich or the Lobster Rolls while overlooking the water at DiMillo’s Restaurant & Lounge. Or order some craft beers like the Portland Pale Ale, Brightside, and Tessellation while grabbing some bites from one of the rotating food trucks at Lone Pine Brewery.
San Diego, CA
- Popular: 1,374,812
- Home Price: $488,600 median purchase price; $1,427 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 32% of U.S. Cities
With over 70 miles of coastline featuring beautiful beaches and sprawling green spaces, San Diego is a perfect city for oceanside living, especially for those wanting to live healthy lifestyles and have good weather year-round! San Diego is a top military destination on the Pacific Coast—in fact, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are two of the biggest employers in San Diego, alongside Kaiser Permanente and University of California San Diego. With iconic spots like Seaport Village and the Gaslamp Quarter, as well as a huge craft beer culture that led to San Diego’s title of The Craft Beer Capital of America, this SoCal city has plenty to offer to keep you busy!
Things to Do in San Diego
Check out the interactive tide pools and learn about aquatic life from around the world at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Cheer on the San Diego Padres (MLB) with thousands of fans at Petco Park. Take a walk along La Jolla Cove to see beautiful views of the ocean and even the occasional sea lion. Swim in the ocean or work on your tan at Whispering Sand Beach. Sign up for a Historic Bay Cruise or check out the occasional live music at the Maritime Museum San Diego. Grab some baked goods like a Ham & Cheese Croissant or a Blueberry Lemon Scone at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry. Try the Double Cut Swordfish Chop or Mexican Halibut at The Fishery. Order local brews like a Hop On Board, Hidden Gem, or Tres Tres from Ocean Beach Brewery. Or make your way to Resident Brewing for an Urbanite IPA or Golden Kiss Saison.
Santa Barbara, CA
- Population: 90,922
- Home Price: $888,000 median purchase price; $1,575 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 23% of U.S. cities
If San Diego is too big for your liking, consider Santa Barbara instead! This coastal city is considered one of the best-kept secrets of California. With its clear-blue Pacific Coast waters and a number of green spaces found throughout the city against the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, it’s hard not to love Santa Barbara’s quieter, more leisurely vibe. As for the local job market, Santa Barbara has a strong startup culture and a few Fortune 500 companies with offices in the area, including Amazon and Alliance Data.
Things to Do in Santa Barbara
Go for a hike through Rattlesnake Canyon Park or Los Padres National Forest. Check out Santa Barbara’s number one attraction, the historic Stearns Wharf. See a variety of animals in various habitats at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Learn about humanity’s endeavors on the water or catch a nautical film at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Have family fun day at Earl Warren Showgrounds, which hosts events like Haunt at the Showgrounds and Santa Barbara Fair & Expo. Play some volleyball, rent a kayak, or take a walk along the water at West Beach. Head over to eco-friendly Shoreline Beach Cafe for breakfast on the beach. Stop by FisHouse for some of the best seafood in Santa Barbara. Try one of the daily dinner specials like the Salmon Pomodoro, or everyday favorites like Coconut Shrimp at The Breakwater Restaurant. Or sample some great Santa Barbara wines like a Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache at Fox Wine Co.
- Population: 54,425
- Home Price: $190,500 median purchase price; $951 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 13% of U.S. cities
With gorgeous weather and some of the best beaches in Florida, Sarasota is a no-brainer when it comes to living near the ocean! Thanks to its more than 30 golf courses, no state income tax, and affordable housing, this Gulf Coast city is one of the best places to retire in the U.S. But that doesn’t mean young professionals and families won’t find something to love! Nine Fortune 500 companies have offices in Sarasota, including Marriott International and Universal Health Services, with tourism and healthcare being two of the biggest industries in the city. And, of course, Sarasota is well-known for its white sand beaches and incredible keys, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun and get out on the water here!
Things to Do in Sarasota
Wander through an impressive collection of local plants and specialty exhibits right on Sarasota Bay at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Catch some sun while swimming at Lido Key Beach. Get tickets for live jazz shows at the Jazz Club of Sarasota. Bring the kids to the Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary to see the city’s famous liger. Marvel at the unique wonders of the local circus or learn the art of circus performing at The Circus Arts Conservatory. Take a day trip to water-locked St. Armands Key to shop at the stylish St. Armand Circle and dine at Crab & Fin. Start your day with a latte or a Cold Brew at Breaking Wave Coffee. Enjoy seafood in Sarasota right off the water at Oleary’s Tiki Bar & Grill, where you can try Fried Alligator Bites or a Fried Seafood Platter. Or rock out to live music and order up delicious pub grub like Fried Oyster Tacos at Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen.
- Population: 6,514
- Home Price: $258,100 median purchase price; $888 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 39% of U.S. cities
Want to live near the ocean in the Pacific Northwest? Seaside is one of the best places for coastal living! This small Oregon town offers great views of the Pacific Ocean and easy beach access—plus, it’s only 15 minutes away from Cannon Beach, another one of Oregon’s best beaches! Not to mention, Seaside is surrounded by incredible outdoor recreation spots like Saddle Mountain State Natural Area and Ecola State Park. If you don’t mind a little overcast skies from time to time and winter lows averaging around 40 degrees, then Seaside may just be the quiet, affordable home in the PNW you’ve been looking for!
Things to Do in Seaside
Hang out with the barking seals, learn about rare underwater life forms, and even feel starfish in the touch tank at Seaside Aquarium, one of the oldest aquariums on the West Coast. Go swimming or explore the shops along Seaside Beach. Hike up a cliff overlooking the ocean and through the natural areas of Ecola State Park at Tillamook Head Traverse Hike. Try your hand at kayaking down the Necanicum River as a part of a guided tour—or explore Seaside’s waterways on your own! Order delicious breakfast dishes like the Spicy Shrimp & Grits or the Omelette of the Day at Osprey Cafe. Enjoy a Smoked Salmon Cheese Panini Melt or Smoke Salmon Chowder at Salmon River Smokehouse. Spend an evening at the half-theater, half-brewery Times Theatre & Public House, where you can watch a movie while drinking Sisu Beer like the Mettle Lager.
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City statistics from AreaVibes