With summer in full swing, many of us are dreaming of sunny beaches and outdoor festivities. For some, that means planning a week-long vacation to resort destinations. For others, though, beach life is much more than just a summer getaway, it’s a year-round lifestyle. If you have ever dreamed of living by the seaside, this week’s roundup of top US cities is for you. Focusing on the sunny state of Florida, we found the top five best beach towns for fun and affordability. To land on our list, each Florida beach town had to offer a high level of amenities, easy access to the beach, and average two-bedroom rent prices under $2,000 a month.
Settle in with a piña colada in hand as you are whisked away to ocean breezes and big-city amenities wrapped up in these charming Florida beach towns. Starting with number five and working our way down to the number one beach town, we think you’ll be ready to pack up and move to one of these stunning destinations by the end.
#5: Sanibel Island
Average 2 Bedroom Rent Prices $1,915
For those who wish to escape the big city hustle and bustle, Sanibel Island will be sure to captivate. Boasting 250 kinds of shells, 230 kinds of birds, 15 miles of beach, and zero traffic lights, Sanibel offers a truly unique Florida experience.
This small, but thriving barrier island is an adored location for shell-lovers. Due to the unique underwater shelf protecting the island, the beaches here are ideal for capturing currents carrying droves of seashells. These shells wash up on shore and captivate young and old with their beauty and unique colors and patterns. Beyond just shelling, the island has a number of beaches for every type of activity. Whether you are looking to go for a swim, throw a line in, or have a family grill-out, Sanibel Island offers the naturally stunning beaches you seek.
Nature is truly the focal point of this beautiful island. With hundreds of beautiful birds residing here, it is easy to see why Sanibel Island draws outdoor enthusiasts. For a portion of the year, sea turtles also choose Sanibel Island as their nesting place.
After a day spent in the surf, unwind at one of the renowned restaurants on the island. From dining on the waterfront to enjoying fresh, local seafood, this small island boasts high-quality dining options.
TurboTip: Living on Sanibel Island costs more than finding a rental on the mainland. However, what you pay for in living costs Sanibel more than makes up for in outdoor amenities and beaches offered here.
#4: Seaside – South Walton
Average 2 Bedroom Rent Prices $1,683
If an idyllic beach life in a small-town neighborhood is what you seek then Seaside is an unbeatable choice. This planned community in the South Walton area provides residents with peaceful beaches, charming shops, delectable fare, and stunning architecture. Known for being the primary filming location of the Truman Show, this colorful neighborhood perfectly captures a peaceful, laid-back vibe.
For those who wish to leave their cars behind, Seaside is an ideal location. Travel the area by bike or by foot and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Seaside’s beaches. Stop by the iconic airstream food park for a retro bite of modern fare. From barbecue to grilled cheese sandwiches to locally sourced hot dogs, this unique community gathering spot will delight your taste-buds.
With white sand beaches and turquoise water, the Seaside neighborhood also provides access to an array of other charming South Walton communities. Residents and visitors alike relish the year-round events. From art-focused events to wine festivals to live music, book a trip to visit the South Walton area around one of these events that support local organizations and gives back to the community.
TurboTip: Finding a rental in the Seaside area will take some perseverance. The area is popular and properties move quickly. Open up your search to surrounding neighborhoods in the South Walton area to improve your odds of finding a rental.
#3: Cocoa Beach
Average 2 Bedroom Rent Prices $1,494
When it comes to a classic Florida beach, it is hard to beat Cocoa Beach, part of the “Space Coast.” This area, so named due to the nearby John F. Kennedy Space Center, provides an array of unique activities from watching rockets launch to surfing to swimming with dolphins. There is a little bit of something for anyone, making Cocoa Beach the perfect place to spend a vacation or even a lifetime.
Not only does Cocoa Beach provide beautiful white sand beaches for soaking up the sun, there is also an array of other outdoor activities to enjoy. Take a kayaking trip through the Indian River Lagoon where over 4,500 plant and animal species reside. Visit Lori Wilson Park for free beach access and winding nature trails.
No Cocoa Beach experience would be complete with a visit to the Cocoa Beach Pier, a historical boardwalk with restaurants, bars, shops, and some of the best views of the ocean. Want to try your hand at fishing? The pier is the perfect location to throw a line in. When you are done soaking up the Florida sunshine, you can head downtown to Cocoa Main Street for a bite to eat and shopping galore. Cocoa Beach also offers plenty of options for those who want to take in the nightlife scene. With a laid-back vibe, the nightlife offers a variety of options from local pubs to jazz clubs to beachside bars. For those who choose to reside in Cocoa Beach, the beautiful beaches, and stunning natural beauty never gets old. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins and manatees on your morning commute.
TurboTip: If you visit Cocoa Beach and fall in love with this stunning landscape, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the rent prices. Living near the beach is not an impossibility with Cocoa Beach boasting the most affordable living option on our list of top five Florida beach towns.
#2: Siesta Key
Average 2 Bedroom Rent Prices, $1,632
If you dream of beaches with soft white sand and deep blue waters, Siesta Key is the place for you. Described as soft as powdered sugar, Siesta Key’s sand has literally won awards.This barrier island offers cool ocean breezes, warm sunny days, and 35 miles of beautiful beaches. If you plan a visit to Siesta Key, take advantage of the Siesta Breeze trolleys. This free, open-air trolley system runs seven days a week and will shuttle passengers between Siesta Village and the beach.
The community located on Siesta Key, Siesta Village, is a true beach town. With a laid-back mentality and a plethora of outdoor activities, one visit and you’ll quickly envision yourself spending your days in this tropical paradise.
For those who wish to take on an outdoor adventure, the numerous kayaking excursions in the area provide an up-close encounter with nature. From manatee tours to exotic mangrove tunnel excursions, paddling through the waters will give you a chance to connect with the local habitat.
If islands conjure images of rum filled drinks in hand, then the Drum Circle Distilling tour will be the best way to get to know the island. After you’ve tasted the local rum, check out the unique community drum circle which occurs every Sunday evening on the beach. If you are looking for a vibrant nightlife, join locals and tourists alike at the Daiquiri Deck, which offers island drinks, an outstanding selection of oysters, and an array of fresh seafood options. The Daiquiri Deck is the perfect place to catch local music, take part in a corn hole tournament, or simply relax with friends.
TurboTip: If you dream of living on an island but worry about finding work, Siesta Key might be a perfect fit for you. With its close proximity to Sarasota, the job market is much larger than the island alone. Keep in mind, though, that during peak tourist season the two bridges on and off the island can become a traffic jam.
#1: Delray Beach
Number One Florida Beach Town For Fun & Affordability
Average 2 Bedroom Rent Prices $1,757
Photo Credit: Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority
Delray Beach landed in spot number one as the best beach town in Florida for fun and affordability due to an extremely high quality of life, easy access to an array of amenities, and a thriving job market. Located between Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, this “Village By The Sea” in southern Florida features two miles of beautiful beaches, a plethora of outdoor recreational activities, and a flourishing art and fashion scene. Boasting a laid-back vibe paired with a lively atmosphere, this Atlantic Ocean side beach town is the perfect place to relocate if you are looking for warmer weather, friendly neighborhoods, and an unending supply of things to do and see.
At the center of this amenity laden town is Atlantic Avenue, the longest Main Street in Florida. This streetscape is one of the main Delray Beach attractions due to the array of opulent shops, acclaimed restaurants, and captivating art galleries. Downtown Delray Beach is well-loved for its social community, dynamic nightlife, and a rich cultural heritage. It is also host to events year round such as Savor the Avenue, Delray Beach Fashion Week, and Dine Out Downtown Delray Restaurant Week.
If you are booking a trip to check out Delray Beach, plan a stay at local favorites like The Colony Hotel or Crane’s Beach House. Once you arrive, set your car keys aside and take advantage of the easy walkability and bikeability of this town. Stop in a for a concert at Old School Square, dine at one of the 120 restaurants in the downtown area, or take a step back in time at the Silverball Museum with a game of Skeeball.
Delray Beach is a truly unique beach town with something for every interest and every pocketbook. From spending an afternoon strolling through historic museums to relaxing on the beach to dining at one of the many eclectic eateries, you may want to plan your relocation to this gem after your first Delray Beach sunrise.
TurboTip: If you are contemplating a relocation to this sophisticated town, get to know the variety of neighborhoods such as Beachside, Pineapple Grove Arts District, SOFA, The Ave, The Set, and US1. The closer you are to the beachfront, the higher the rent prices but the greater the number of walkable things to do.