Cheapest Beach Towns In California: Ideal For Vacation Or Home

Are you looking for a place to stay or just hunting for a holiday chill spot? Beach town life is amazing, and everyone wishes to experience the fresh air, culture, and antique shopping. 

There are more than 800 miles of attractive beaches across America, but most people love the California beaches. 

California is one of the U.S states known for having a high cost of living. But it’s not entirely impossible to stay in a great beach town without breaking into your bank in California. Here is a list of 13 cheap beaches across the beautiful California state. 

Cheapest Beach Towns In California

Thousands of Americans dream of living or visiting the beautiful sunny California beaches. There are plenty of reasons why they love this place. First and foremost, California beach towns offer people a great experience. 

The place has great weather year-round, which makes its beaches super special. However, the desire for everyone to live in California has made the prices go up. 

It can be hard to find cheap beaches in California, but this doesn’t mean they do not exist. Here is a list of the 13 cheapest beach towns in California.

1. Ventura

Ventura is an ideal destination if you need a cheap beach town with warm weather, scenic views, etc. It’s a more affordable beach location and has great vibes. 

However, note that Ventura isn’t that cheap, but it offers a great bargain on beaches like Santa Barbara. 

The weather in this place is almost perfect year-round; you can always visit the beach. Its music and restaurant scene are impeccable. 

Therefore, you’ll have much to do when not at the beach. There’s also plenty of seafood plus American and Cuban cuisine etc. 

Another amazing thing that people love is the grey whales. They occasionally visit the place, and you can easily spot them from the shoreline. The beach city has an amazing chill and friendly people with a population of about 108,000. 

On average, housing in this place can be quite pricey, but other essentials like food, etc., are reasonably priced. 

The average price of a home is approximately $485,000. In addition, the Ventura has less traffic, and there’s free parking outside town. 

The town offers great access to education.

2. Crescent City

Crescent City..

Crescent city is one of the powerhouses in the popular Del Norte County. Its weather is amazing and so distinguishable. The beach town also has good soft winds that keep your body cool. 

Generally, Crescent city is stunning with beautiful views; the town will evoke lucrative feelings and is affordable. 

Crescent’s living cost is accommodative, with an average household income slightly above $100000. Crescent town’s living cost is 2% more than the national average but 28% less than the California average. 

It has a low population of approximately 7,000 residents. The low population is one of the factors behind the low prices and rents. 

Another reason behind the low prices is that it’s far away from California’s major cities. This town is an ideal place for people that love nature. 

Its coastline has plenty of spectacular redwood trees, making it more beautiful. Seals and sea lions make regular visits to the beach yearly, thus an ideal place for animal lovers. Plus, its people are so social with a conservative lifestyle.

3. Grover Beach

Grover Beach.

It’s one of the most affordable coastal towns in beautiful California and sits between Pismo Beach and Oceano. 

The beach town’s natural ambiance is superb, and you’ll love it. Grover beach is warm and perfectly situated; thus, you’ll always have an amazing view of the beach. 

Its beauty will surely make you take endless pictures for your Instagram. Being small, it has a population of approximately 13,484 people. 

Grover beach town is the best place to settle if you love outdoor activities like swimming, horse riding, etc. 

The beautiful town will never bore you because it’s so scenic, has dunes, and more. It’s simply everything spectacular. Grover beach’s crime rate is below 25%, making it average compared to other places. 

However, while living at this place, you can’t avoid certain expenses such as taxes, health care premiums, groceries, etc. 

You will spend around $202.36 monthly on electricity, water, and garbage costs in an 85 square meters apartment. 

4. Oceanside 

Oceanside .

Oceanside is one of the most beautiful and cheapest beach towns in southern California. Ocean beach had a poor reputation in the past, but there were various reforms. 

Today you can chill at this beach town with your friends and have pleasant moments. 

If you love adventure, surfing, and food, Oceanside is your ideal place. Most of the streets have shops, cafés, and restaurants. Michelin star is one of the places with amazing food prepared in spectacular cooking style. 

Oceanside is also known to be the home of the California Surf Museum. The beach town has excellent education and medical facilities at affordable prices. 

Other essential commodities like food, electricity, water, etc., are cheaper than neighboring towns. 

The beach has a natural ambiance that makes it attractive with turquoise water and smooth sand. Other than the amazing surroundings, Oceanside is relatively affordable. 

There are several places to visit, including the harbor, or their historic pier, to watch the beautiful sunset. 

Oceanside usually has many and myriad community festivals and events that make it an ideal place to reside. On average, the monthly cost of living in Oceanside is $2508.

5. Arcata


Like other beach towns on the list, Arcata is one of the most affordable in California State. It’s in Humboldt country. The word “Arcata” means where there’s a lagoon. 

Arcata has approximately 17,775 people and is popular for its hippie vibe. You’ll have an amazing beach view that’ll keep your mind at peace. Other than being affordable, its inhabitants have an easy lifestyle. 

Arcata residents love their environment and protect it at all costs. Plus, they are also friendly and open to people from different cultures. You’ll surely be amazed by the ocean and river, making the beach town more beautiful.  

There are several places that you can visit while at Arcata. For example, there are plazas, local restaurants, and the popular redwood national and state park. 

Amazingly almost everything in this beach town is budget-friendly. It includes education, health facilities, and other essentials. 

The most popular institution in this place is Humboldt State University, which produces exceptional students. Arcata has a low crime rate than other towns and cities in California. 

6. Gualala 


The beach town vibe is timeless, and this paradise remains hidden from people. That explains why Gualala is one of the most affordable beach towns in this state. Gualala beach town is at the convergence of the Gualala River and the Pacific Coast. 

It’s an ideal place for those seeking both outdoor adventure and tranquillity. You can do several activities at Gualala, such as drifting along the Gualala River in a canoe or kayak. Alternatively, you can stop at the amazing beach and check out the diverse wildlife. 

There’s a pygmy forest with redwood trees in the salt point state park. The pygmy forest is among the coastal wonders. Trees at this place are small because of the natural environmental conditions. 

Gualala has an underwater park and over 20 miles of hiking trails, meaning you can do more than just swimming.

If you don’t love outdoor activities, you can check out the Gualala Arts Center for your favorite local artist. Alternatively, you can visit the beautiful Sea Ranch Chapel and admire its architectural design. 

So whether you are looking to create a home or are just visiting, Gualala is an ideal destination.

7. Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg.

Northern California is known for its stunning beaches, but Fort Bragg is one of the most dazzling. 

The town beach is quiet and affordable, making it a great place to live and vacation. Fort Bragg shoreline is famous for its smooth sea glass. 

There’s a popular Laguna point in the park where you can enjoy the view of foraging shorebirds and basking seals. 

Fort Bragg trail is scenic and amazing for hiking and biking. Another great thing is the world’s popular skunk train that passes through redwood groves. 

The train ticket ranges for adults range from $27 to $42, while the children’s option is cheaper. The price is affordable, considering the fun you’ll get from the ride.

8. Trinidad


Trinidad is among the smallest beach towns in California. Trinidad is your ideal place if you need a break from daily city chaos. The beach town is peaceful with interesting nature sounds and sights. 

Trinidad has some of the most romantic beaches like Moonstone Beach and Trinidad State Beach. It has prominent sea stacks and mesmerizing sunsets that punctuate the shoreline. Plus, if you love outdoor activities, there’s something for you. 

Trinidad has endless adventures in its beautiful park. You can go hiking or biking on its scenic trails and others like hunting, watching migrating whales and sea lions. You’ll also love the indigenous heritage of Yurok village in the park. 

Trinidad also has a great museum that tells its story. Another place you can check out with your family in the garden with native plants. There are endless things to enjoy in Trinidad, starting with nature.

9. Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach.

Imperial Beach town has a population of approximately 27,180, and its cost of living is 3% less than California’s average. 

The median price of a home is about $609,600. Imperial Beach is quite popular, and almost all Americans know it. 

Imperial Beach is in San Diego and is a residential community. The beach is only 10 minute drive to the Mexican border. 

Here you can take strolls at the beach while enjoying the southernmost scenery of California. 

Imperial Beach packs several shops and restaurants. You can also visit the Tijuana Slough National wildlife refuge and do activities like biking and hiking. However, you should note that Imperial Beach homes aren’t cheap. 

But prices for other essentials are reasonable at 3% less than the California average. It’s not a bad deal because you’ll have unlimited and direct access to the beach. 

10. Oceano


Oceano has a population of about 8,262 and is one of the cheapest beach towns in California. The beach town is cheaper than most on the list. The cost of living in this place is approximately 7% lower than in Grover beach. 

The median price in Oceano beach town is about $466,300. However, this beach town is quite affordable because it has fewer amenities and restaurants. However, you’ll have access to popular stores such as Walmart, Aldi, Vons, etc. 

Oceano has beautiful sandy beaches despite the few amenities. There is a strong balance between beach life and value for those who want to save some cash. Overall, Oceano is one of the most affordable beach towns in California. 

11. Samoa 


Samoa is a low-key beach town in the peninsula that offers protection to Arcata and Eureka. The beach town in northern California has a community with more than 200 residents. Samoa’s location is strategic and has water on all sides. 

Like Oceano, the town is affordable because of limited resources. The median price for a home is about $218,200. Samoa has several residential neighborhoods and one main restaurant. 

On the brighter side, this makes it more relaxed and calm, thus ideal for people that love slow-paced life. 

The median home price is quite low, but its small population makes it hard to find a house for sale. You’ll need some luck to find an amazing house in this town.

12. Long Beach 

Long Beach.

It’s one of the largest and cheapest beach towns in California. Long beach is popular because of its active LGBTQ community, which is diverse in its culture and views. 

There are several expensive places on long beach, but amazingly properties near the beach are affordable. 

If you love a fast-paced life, the long beach is an ideal place for you. It has some beautiful beaches, restaurants, and popular businesses. Besides housing affordability, long beach has excellent schools, medical facilities, and jobs. 

You and your friend or family will surely enjoy life at long beach. There is also a place for youngsters that love nightlife known as Brent Bolt house. The population of this place is approximately 462,257, and the average living cost is $2214 monthly. 

13. Eureka 


Eureka is among the cheapest beach towns in northern California. The place has a remote ocean landscape that’s lush greenery. You’ll love the colorful street art that makes the city more attractive and vibrant. 

Several major cannabis and manufacturing industries make it a good living city. In addition, you’ll enjoy hiking, kayaking, and the sun on the beach. The prices of essential things such as groceries, water, and electricity are affordable. 

Eureka also has amazing medical and educational facilities, which are affordable. There’s a low crime rate, meaning you can enjoy the warm beach weather anytime. The average cost of living at this place is approximately $1502.

What To Look Out For In Cheapest Beach Towns In California 

You might be looking for a beach town to settle in or searching for a great vacation place. Generally, the beach town environment is ideal for anyone who wants some time off from city life. 

If you live in a noisy city, you can take a beach holiday to enjoy nature’s tranquillity in its original form. You’ll have the chance to feel the amazing sun, sand, and sea plus the great waves sound.


When choosing a beach town for your holiday, you must consider accommodation. There are different hotels and villas available in California beach towns. 

The hotel or villa you’ll choose depends on your budget or whether you are traveling with family or friends. 

The list has the 13 cheapest beach towns in California. But this doesn’t mean that hotels are shitty. Several luxurious beachside hotels and villas will offer you great sunsets.

Natural Attractions

Other than beaches, you should check out the natural attractions in these places. They include things such as coral reefs, marines reserves, etc. Overall, California is home to beautiful beaches and is a popular destination for most Americans.

Sun and Sand

A holiday at the beach can be so relaxing. Amazingly California has a huge selection of beaches, including cheap and expensive ones. 

Therefore each time you are looking for a beach, always remember it must be a sand destination. 

So, always choose a beach that offers some real sand and sun. There are many sandy beaches scattered in California, and thus you won’t have trouble finding one.


The article highlights the cheapest beach towns in California. If you’re looking for an affordable vacation place or home, you can choose any listed beach town. Taking a break from city life is good and a popular thing today. 

It gives you the chance to explore different areas and cultures. Luckily, you can enjoy most of the beaches in California for free. Some do not have prerequisites, and all you need is to walk or drive to the place. 

John Taylor
John Taylor
John Taylor is a seasoned writer with more than 10 years of experience as a professional. He has written professionally for many different organizations, such as The Atlantic and the Boston Globe. John can write on any topic you need him to cover, from business writing to creative nonfiction pieces. His portfolio speaks for his skills; he's not only an experienced writer but also an excellent editor and researcher!


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