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.)

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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

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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Photo By: Todd Douglas / Getty Images

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.

Photo By: JOSH_HODGE

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. 

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Photo By: Todd Douglas / Getty Images

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?

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Photo By: Todd Douglas / Getty Images

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 6, Episode 1

Searching for a Sun Worshipper's Spot in Virginia Beach

A single woman and her sister search for a spot along Shore Drive in Virginia Beach,

Sunday
Jan 25
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 7, Episode 13

Yearnin' for Chuburna Puerto, Mexico

Baphu and Christine have known each other since they were in elementary school. During a game of spin the bottle, Christine even became Baphu's first kiss. As teenagers they moved away and drifted apart before reconnecting several years later. Now with four kids and one on the way, they're looking for a weekend getaway, a refuge where they can relax and enjoy spending time together as a family. After moving from Canada to Merida, Mexico, Baphu and Christine have set their beachfront sights on the quaint nearby fishing village, Chuburna Puerto. While they both agree that living on the beach is top priority, Christine is willing to break the bank for the home of her dreams while Baphu wants to stick to their budget of $200,000.

Sunday
Jul 19
8pm | 7c
Season 8, Episode 1

Beachfront bound, a couple and their energetic dog set out to find satisfaction on the Gulf in FL

After years of being together, it is not any surprise that a Georgia couple is now on a conquest for the perfect beachfront home in St. Joseph's Bay, Florida. But when Leslie and Joe arrive, they soon discover that this beautiful Gulf town doesn't permit their dog Charlie on certain beaches. If savvy real estate agent, Carol Erwin is able to find this couple the right beach home on a dog-friendly beach for under $350,000, then happiness will be within reach.

Sunday
Apr 10
6:30pm | 5:30c
Season 11, Episode 2

Bridge to a Bargain in New London County, CT

Stephanie and Ryan have been living in Groton, Connecticut for seven years. Living in Southeastern Connecticut grants easy access to the sands, but they're ready to dive deeper into beach living by moving across the bridge, to a more coastal location in New London County. With the help of local real estate agent, Fred Allyn III, this beach-going couple is looking to seize a steal on a seaside home for under $350,000.

Sunday
Jul 10
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season 11, Episode 13

A Budget to Squeeze in Placencia, Belize

Ever since their third date, Glenn and Samantha have shared the dream of owning a vacation home somewhere on the beach. Glenn grew up on the coast of Florida, and Samantha is a serious scuba diver, so they both feel a strong connection to the ocean. After a lengthy period of researching everywhere from Mexico to Costa Rica, they kept hearing great things about Placencia, Belize. Known for its exquisite diving, laid back lifestyle, and friendly atmosphere, Glenn and Samantha decide to visit Placencia for the very first time to explore the possibility of purchasing a property.

Sunday
Aug 21
8pm | 7c
Season 9, Episode 3

Costa Rican Playa Persuasion

Sean and Donna are from Brooklyn, New York and their two teenage daughters, Mika and Maya, will soon be moving into the collegiate phase of their lives. But before they're out of the house and on their own Sean and Donna would love to create some indelible memories. They've decided that the purchase of beachfront home would be the ideal setting for family fun and would entice the girls to come visit more often in the future. After visiting the

Monday
Dec 26
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 13, Episode 10

Planning to Stay in Port Aransas

Lauren and Tate have been visiting Port Aransas, Texas, together since they started dating. After years of renting, they are ready to plant their roots and purchase a beach home for their family of five. Located just three hours from their home in Garden Ridge, Texas, Port Aransas provides beaches booming with fun, water activities and a slew of sea life. While they agree on most things, they differ on the condition of their future home. As a construction manager, Tate's days are full of overseeing projects, so he prefers a turnkey home, while Lauren is excited about the possibilities of a fixer-upper. Local real estate agent Cynthia Frank will help this couple keep their cool and find common ground to collect a beach home for under $325,0000.

Sunday
Jan 22
8:30pm | 7:30c
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.

Thursday
May 11
7pm | 6c
Season 9, Episode 13

All in for Agana Beach, Guam

Jitka is ready to leave behind her single-family home for a more manageable residence on Agana Beach in Guam. With less housework to do, Jitka and her six children will be able to fully enjoy the natural beauties that Guam offers- scenic cliffs, green hills, waterfalls and beautiful beaches. Local real estate agent, Norma Del Carmen, will help Jitka shake off high prices and say 'Hafa Adai' to an oceanfront home for under $350,000.

Monday
May 29
8am | 7c
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.

Sunday
Aug 13
8:30pm | 7:30c
Season , Episode

Monday
Sep 11
3am | 2c
Season 14, Episode 9

Returning to Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Mark and Josephine live in San Francisco, California, along with Josephine's 14-year-old daughter, Ibby. After coming to Kailua Kona, Hawaii, for their engagement, they immediately fell in love with the location. For Josephine, it reminds her of growing up in the Philippines, and she wants to share that experience with her daughter. With the help of a real estate agent, they hope to find the perfect tropical retreat for under $350,000.

Saturday
Sep 30
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 17, Episode 13

A Deal on Dauphin Island

An Alabama couple and their three children visit Dauphin Island for the first time to find a vacation retreat for under $265,000. During their search, they explore the area's panoramic views, historic sites and plethora of family activies.

Monday
Feb 5
3:30am | 2:30c
Season 4, Episode 11

A canal front home in the Venice of America.

Florida natives, Efrain and Amy, are looking for a canal front home to spend more time boating on the open waters near Fort Lauderdale, FL. Ready to enhance their summer lifestyle, the couple reaches out to local real estate agent, Dale Palmer, to help them find their dream home all for under $375,000.

Friday
May 25
6:30am | 5:30c
Season 6, Episode 3

Ocean City Dreaming Along the Shores of Maryland

The Raads have busy lives at home in Pennsylvania and are looking for a sandy escape just a hop skip and a jump away. The shores of Ocean City are the perfect spot for a family getaway within driving distance, but Maryland's popular reputation as a seaside destination is driving prices up. Devon and Greg may have to downsize their list of dream features to stay under their $275,000 budget, but real estate agent, Ryan Haley, is along for the ride to make sure they can get all the essentials for some fun in the sun.

Friday
May 25
7am | 6c
Season 8, Episode 3

A couple from Jersey escapes to beautiful St. Croix.

Bob and Jamila decided to leave the east coast for the sunny shores of beautiful St. Croix where they have been living rent-free as property managers. But when they finally grow tired of their cramped abode, Bob and Jamila find the courage to search St. Croix for a dream home on the water. However, they soon discover that buying an island home can be a little tricky. Luckily, local real estate agent, Yessenia Cruz has a handle on this island market. Her jaw drops when she discovers that Bob and Jamila are only working with a budget of $150,000. If Yessenia can find this couple a home on St. Croix's coveted coast, then Bob and Jamila will experience freedom like never before.

Friday
May 25
7:30am | 6:30c
Season 15, Episode 9

No Qualms on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina

San Francisco couple Frank and Margaret have always wanted a beachfront property but cool Pacific waters and expensive real estate prices have prevented this dream from becoming a reality. Now they've decided to extend their search to the warm beaches of the Isle of Palms just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. However, with a limited amount of inventory available, they hope their real estate agent can find them the perfect vacation getaway without breaking the bank.

Monday
May 28
1pm | 12c
Season 17, Episode 6

Space to Play in Cocoa Beach, Florida

A Florida family decides it's time to stop packing for vacation and move full-time to their favorite relaxation spot of Cocoa Beach. Their oldest daughter comes along to help them find their dream waterfront vacation home while staying under budget. Will they find the beach home of their dreams?

Monday
May 28
1:30pm | 12:30c
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?

Monday
May 28
2pm | 1c
Season 14, Episode 9

Returning to Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Mark and Josephine live in San Francisco, California, along with Josephine's 14-year-old daughter, Ibby. After coming to Kailua Kona, Hawaii, for their engagement, they immediately fell in love with the location. For Josephine, it reminds her of growing up in the Philippines, and she wants to share that experience with her daughter. With the help of a real estate agent, they hope to find the perfect tropical retreat for under $350,000.

Monday
May 28
2:30pm | 1:30c
Season 17, Episode 10

Opening the Door to Ocean Park, Washington

After 15 years of vacationing along the Washington coast, a couple decides they want to raise their daughter in the Ocean Park area. They look for a permanent family home for under $375,000 that offers everything they love about the area -- the small-town feel, gorgeous views and proximity to the beach from their back door.

Monday
May 28
3pm | 2c
Season 18, Episode 12

Pursuing the Panoramic Views of Plymouth, Massachusetts

A woman seeks a change of scenery after spending her entire life in Carver, Massachusetts. With a budget of $375,000 and the help of family and friends, she's searching for her own property on the coastal sands of nearby Plymouth, so she can see the ocean and enjoy the beach every day.

Monday
May 28
3:30pm | 2:30c
Season 17, Episode 13

A Deal on Dauphin Island

An Alabama couple and their three children visit Dauphin Island for the first time to find a vacation retreat for under $265,000. During their search, they explore the area's panoramic views, historic sites and plethora of family activies.

Monday
May 28
4pm | 3c
Season , Episode

Monday
May 28
4:30pm | 3:30c
Season 16, Episode 7

Fleeing to Freeport, Texas

A couple that grew up living on the water and spending time on the beach begin longing for their waterfront memories after living in land-locked Oklahoma. The family loves vacationing in the quaint town of Freeport, TX, and decides to find their forever home there. Will they find their perfect beachfront vacation home and once again live by the sea?

Monday
May 28
5pm | 4c
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.

Monday
May 28
5:30pm | 4:30c

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