Best Beach House Bargains

Spending time around the ocean can be good for your health and your outlook. Perhaps burned out physicians should look into buying a beach house.

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

—Jacques Cousteau

I was born at the shore and have never lived more than 500 yards from the ocean. Can’t say I ever want to leave. A walk on the sand or a dip in the ocean has the rarest of rare uplifting power for me and so many others. Both energy and peace can be found at the water’s edge. Life there feels better.

It’s in my genes too. My physician-dad was a lifeguard on Long Island, NY, beaches for many summers, and the first chance he got, he moved his family and his medical career to the Jersey Shore in the early 1950s. It was a very smart move.

My sister, perhaps the hardest working person I know, summed it up best: “I never feel guilty when I’m relaxing at the beach,” she told me once. It’s true. And from a scientific standpoint, just recently Michigan State University researchers found that “increased views of blue space is significantly associated with lower levels of psychological distress.”

The growing ranks of America’s burned out doctors might take heed. An American Medical Association survey I saw a while back found that about one in three doctors owned a second home and /or beach home. Based on my understanding of the beach living experience, I feel that the number of doctors owning beach houses might be higher. It’s worth it. Even a modest beach house can offer life-fulfillment. The wise physician could find the disposable cash to invest—always with the main goal of getting the right deal.

Thankfully, RealtyTrac has just released a report ranking America’s best bargain beach towns. The list of the top towns was developed through the favorable analysis of median home prices, average summer temperatures and population, air quality, and density of registered criminal offenders culled from among 1,400+ cities in US coastal counties. The leading 15, which are wonderfully diverse both culturally and geographically, are here:

1. Keansburg, NJ

2. Mastic Beach, NY

3. Crisfield, MD

4. Riverside, RI

5. Palm Beach, FL

6. Emerald Isle, NC

7. Dauphin, AL

8. Madison, CT

9. Florence, OR

10. Bethany Beach, DE

11. Fort Bragg, CA

12. Vashon, WA

13. Kihei, HI

14. Pawleys Island, SC

15. Port Arkansas, TX

The realty pros at RealtyTrac, the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, also offered physicians some good economic advice on shore homes: “Buying a second home or investment property in a beach town can help families save on summer vacations for years to come and also potentially generate vacation rental income. While real estate close to the ocean tends to be pricier, bargains are still available, particularly in smaller towns off the beaten path where home prices have been slower to bounce back from the housing downturn.” Plenty of blue space, doctors.