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Here's Where You Can Get a Waterfront House For Under $250,000

Small towns in North Carolina, Oregon, and even Florida offer affordable waterfront home options.

When you ask people about their dreams for the future, how many times does "little house by the beach" come up?

The vision of a retirement spent waking up, listening to the waves and then getting on with your day is strong enough to keep many a bored person chugging away through those earning years.

When the pandemic hit and many workforces went remote, it also inspired quite a urban-dwelling professionals to give up that life and indefinitely start working on a laptop by the water.

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But with recent mortgage rate increases and real estate prices rising fast, a waterfront property can also feel like something that's destined to remain a fantasy. Indeed, prices in places like Malibu or Key Biscayne would require several spare millions to get into even the smallest of houses.

At the same time, there are plenty of places that have the waterfront properties without the accompanying price tag for those willing to consider less well-known places — from lake and river homes to, in some lucky cases, even a small property on the ocean.

Waterfront Property For Sale For Under $250K

According to a recent report from GOBankingRates, a median home in Florida's Pensacola currently goes for $233,060 — while something that comes out straight onto the Florida Panhandle generally costs more, condos and smaller homes that lead onto the water also regularly come up on Zillow  (ZG) .

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Another under-the-radar destination for the beach-hungry on a budget may be Fishing Creek, Md. — due to its isolation from the mainland (D.C. is a ferry ride and a two-hour drive away), the small community on Hopper's Island has a number of homes under $250,000 that all overlook Chesapeake Bay.

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"This tiny community is located on the narrow Hooper’s Island on Maryland’s largest inland lake and is largely supported by a seasonal crab fishing industry," reads the GOBankingRates report. "Known as the Heart of Chesapeake Bay, it also boasts cycling trails, plenty of boutique shopping and loads of fresh seafood."

For truly inexpensive housing, one could look toward North. Carolina's Aurora — the sleepy town sits on the Pamlico River and has a number of listings both on and near the water.

Because it is over 100 miles away from larger cities like Raleigh, prices are so low that a median home goes for just $100,528.

Is Waterfront Property A Good Investment?

Grande Isle, La., is another great option for those who don't mind going off the grid. The small community is a two-hour drive from New Orleans but, at a median price of $232,803, offers plenty of properties overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

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"Known as a sportsman’s paradise, this semi-remote enclave along Louisiana’s sprawling coastline is a world-class fishing and birding habitat," reads the report.

While waterfront properties inevitably come with additional challenges such as higher prices and the high cost of maintenance, the ability to be on the water remains a dream that supersedes all other concerns for many.

For those willing to shell out a bit more, there are also places like Oregon's Port Orford (median price $323,996) and California's Kelseyville (median price $389,045).

"It’s located on the shores of Clear Lake, the state's largest freshwater body of water, and is surrounded by views of both serene farmlands and the majesty of Mt. Konocti," the report writes of Kelseyville.

SEE THE FULL GOBANKINGRATES LIST OF AFFORDABLE BEACH TOWNS HERE.