This list of the top 10 best beach towns in the world to live in contains an array of options for various types of budgets. Retirees, college students, beach bums and millionaires can all find something suitable on this list. While the atmosphere and location of these beaches varies, they all offer a scenic setting and close proximity to the ocean.
- Hirtle’s Beach, Nova Scotia. This 250-year-old seaside community, only a fifteen minute drive away from the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Lunenberg, offers over two miles of white, sandy beaches. The relative isolation of the town ensures that the beach remains pristine and un-crowded. The pristine beauty and low cost of living make it one of the best cost-effective beach towns to live in.
- Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Loreto’s waters host a plethora of aquatic life, including bottle nose dolphins and whales during the winter migration. Its low housing prices and growing community lure more inhabitants each year to the sleepy beach town.
- Kinsale, Ireland. While Ireland lacks powdery sand beaches and balmy temperatures, its thriving economy and Irish charm more than make up for any deficiencies. Kinsale is an example of medieval beach towns located where the River Brandon flows into the Celtic Sea. The picturesque harbor, lined with charming shops and restaurants, provides numerous job opportunities in the fishing or tourism industries.
- Chincoteague, Virginia. As the gateway to the Assateague National Seashore, Chincoteague hosts a broad range of natural attractions, including migratory birds, wild horses, oyster beds and clam shoals. The historical fishing village, home to a large community of craftsmen and artisans, provides access to an array of modern amenities and conveniences, as well as quaint restaurants and shops.
- Naxos, Greece. One of the quieter and less popular of the Greek Islands, Naxos boasts a stunning natural setting and authentic Greek culture. The main example of the best beach towns, Chora, is dominated by a thirteenth-century Venetian castle that rises over the winding streets of the city. The island’s relative quiet and lack of numerous large, glitzy beach resorts help keep the cost of living low.
- Santa Cruz, California. Santa Cruz’s temperate climate, in addition to the city’s scenic beaches and redwood forests, make it a well-established resort community. As the home of the University of California at Santa Cruz, it also boasts a large student population. The city reliably ends up on the MONEY magazine list of “Best Places to Live” thanks to its bounty of outdoor recreational activities and diverse population.
- Byron Bay, Australia. Located on the far north coast of New South Wales, Byron Bay offers plenty of ocean-based activities, such as whale-watching, swimming, kayaking and surfing, and non-aquatic options like yoga, ballooning, bountiful natural parks and frequent festivals. It is a beautiful example of the best beach towns.
- Playa del Carmen, Mexico. While once a sleeping fishing village, Playa del Carmen today is a popular stop for many cruise lines and package vacationers. When the cruise lines roll out, the city retains its dramatic white sand beach, active nightlife and low cost of living.
- Boca Grande, Florida. This small, sleepy beach community on Gasparilla Island in southwest Florida hosts an array of seasonal and year-round visitors. The natural beauty of the island, a popular location for shelling, and its pleasant climate make it a good place to buy or rent a home and stay a while.
- Wailea, Hawaii. Designed as a luxury enclave for wealthy residents with a maximum amount of indulgence and comfort, Wailea boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as well as an array of golf courses and upscale restaurants. It exemplifies what to look for in the best beach towns.
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