Great Places to Retire Early Near the Beach

Lazing about the beach is a common retirement dream, but expensive oceanfront housing costs are often a big wake-up call.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lazing about the beach is a common retirement dream, but expensive oceanfront housing costs are often a big wake-up call. Then again, America is filled with great beachfront destinations from sea to shining sea and all the places in between. Far from the coasts, you can find desirable metro areas that offer access to freshwater beaches on lakes and rivers, so you still get to feel the sun on your face and the sand between your toes, but often at more affordable prices than you'll encounter in popular coastal retirement cities.

We pinpointed great places for early retirement in each state, taking into account living costs, median incomes and poverty rates for residents ages 45 to 64, as well as local labor markets (in case you want to keep hustling in one way or another in your early retirement) and tax situations. Of our 50 picks, 28 great places to retire across the U.S. offer the added benefit of nearby beaches, within a 30-minute drive, where you can swim and bum around. The mix of beach-adjacent early retirement destinations is sure to surprise you.

The list is ordered alphabetically by state. See "How We Picked the Best Places for Early Retirement" at the end of the list for details on our data sources and methodology.

Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for Kiplinger.com in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.