Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

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J295
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Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by J295 »

My wife and I are 53 year old lifelong midwesterners. Our children are spread across the country and we are open to relocating. I work part time but could continue that from elsewhere or discontinue that work.

Our principal requirement is a home on the water with a sand beach. Ocean is preferable but not required. Year round warm weather is not required (although that's nice). We enjoy communities with some character. And, of course, as Bogleheads, we place a premium of value. The actual home could be modest as we don't need a lot of space for just the two of us, our dog, and some occasional guests. We would be open to any number of situations so long as we have water and a sand beach, including on a beach of principally vacation homes where we are one of a handful of year round residents.

Thoughts?

Thanks.
64415
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by 64415 »

Boca Grande. It is a quiet oasis of rust belt retirees. It is far more livable than other Florida retirement destinations that are congested with east coasters. The beach is second to none.
freebeer
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by freebeer »

Driftwood Key, Hansville, WA. 20 min to Poulsbo - 40 min to downtown Bainbridge Island, then by ferry to downtown Seattle. It's more muddy bay than sandy beach, but sand is very close N & S. The price is right and the character is there. Year round warm weather: no, but winters are mild.
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bcboy57
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by bcboy57 »

As I write this, I'm overlooking the sunrise over our sandy beach on Lake Huron. Its half way between Au Gres and Tawas ( look on a map). Mostly vacation homes, with a few year rounders. Noreasters off the lake can be tough in winter though....
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gasman
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by gasman »

Living on a beach year round will make it more likely that your children will come for visits.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by TTU »

St. Augustine Beach, Florida. As a lifelong resident, I can tell you its a wonderful place. Oldest city in the country, miles of white sandy beach, and a lot of character.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Scooter57 »

Before you live out that dream, spend some time at your sandy beach in late November or in February. We were dreaming the same dream but when we started checking it out we quickly discovered that even on bright, sunny relatively warm days in November the wind could be so high it was impossible to enjoy the beach. And if you are wearing glasses, watch out, all that flying sand can do a job on them.

There's also the problem of dampness. Everything you own will be damp much of the time since there is so much water in the air. In the summer this is tolerable, but when it's 40 degrees out and you're in a cold, damp fog, it's another thing entirely. The cold just soaks into everything. A friend who spent a year living a few blocks from the beach in L.A. told me she'd never been as cold as she was that winter because of the fog and damp--and this someone who grew up in the rural Northeast where it routinely goes below zero.

Storms are another concern. We had been considering moving to one shore community, but lost our enthusiasm after a storm this winter knocked out power there for a whole week--with freezing temperatures the whole time. Further investigation turned up the fact that this was not uncommon as the moisture in the air keeps temperatures a bit higher so that shore communities often get ice storms when the interior gets snow. Weeks of no power thanks to ice storms in winter and hurricanes in the late summer and fall take a lot of the fun out of living on the beach. We decided we might be happier renting for a few weeks every year rather than coping with that kind of weather. In some cases the weather may make it difficult to impossible to get homeowner's insurance, too. Hurricane flooding is only covered by the Federal flood insurance program, but it only covers up to $250K of your home.

The last issue is that the population in some year round beach communities skew towards the very elderly--late 80s and 90s, which give them a certain feel off season very different from the way they are in the vacation season. This may or may not be an issue for you, but you should be sure to spend a few weeks at your chosen beach community in January to see what it feels like.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Tortoise »

I lived in Monterey, California for a year back in the late '70s. I didn't live on the sand, but wasn't too far from it. It was a beautiful location. Unfortunately, the salt air rusted everything that I owned. Even though I washed and waxed my motorcycle regularly, the front forks and engine cases corroded badly. My bicycle also developed a funny patina of rust red. Something to be aware of when living by the sea.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by reggiesimpson »

Have to agree with Scooter57. We just spent a week at a beach house south of Clearwater. Terrific place but before setting down roots i would strongly suggest you follow the old maxim "why buy when you can rent" until you are sure. Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by hicabob »

Tortoise wrote:I lived in Monterey, California for a year back in the late '70s. I didn't live on the sand, but wasn't too far from it. It was a beautiful location. Unfortunately, the salt air rusted everything that I owned. Even though I washed and waxed my motorcycle regularly, the front forks and engine cases corroded badly. My bicycle also developed a funny patina of rust red. Something to be aware of when living by the sea.
The salt water has the same effect on the house too. Nails popping, gutters rusting, siding getting beaten up etc. Very high maintenance - You have to go a block or two back from the beach to get "gentler" air.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by chaz »

I second St. Augustine.
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Blues
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Blues »

We lived on Key Biscayne (about a five minute walk up the block from the ocean) for about 16 years. The salt water / air definitely takes its toll on cars and motorcycles. (We rented back then so we didn't have to worry about taking care of building maintenance at the time.)

Insurance costs and availability were a huge hassle even as a renter after Hurricane Andrew. (Though it was sort of interesting finding fish on our lawn after the storm passed.)

My wife would love to live there again. I'm a bit more ambivalent.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by chw »

My wife and I are in our mid 50's, and have owned a 2nd home on Cape Cod, MA for 10 years, and plan to retire here in the near future. Summer weather is about the best in the US, fall is spectacular, winter is tolerable ( or can spend time down south for vacation), and spring is moderate weather wise. There are several communities that are a nice mix of young families, folks our age, and older retirees. Lots to do activity wise in summer (recreationally, concerts, theatre, sports- many Cape Cod summer baseball league games which are all free), and many actities to do off season if choose to find them. Only 1.5 hours to Boston if need big city for travel/entertainment/medical, etc.

Beaches on Cape Cod are varied in type- we have 4-5 different types of beaches (swimming, flats for walking, waves for surfing, etc) within a 15 minute drive of our home in the Chatham area. We aren't on the water, but don't have to deal with storm issues that that could affect ocean front property. Most property here is a short/walk ride to the beach. Home prices are above average nationally, but are more moderate since the recession, and affordable if not looking at waterfront.

FL is nice to visit, but we prefer the more moderate temps of the Cape, and the character/culture the area has.

I would recommend an extended vacation during various times of the year here to see if the area could suit you.

Best wishes
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by texasdiver »

The parents of my best friend from college did exactly what you propose. They sold out and moved to Sanibel Island Florida. Which was extraordinarily nice but rather too upscale for my taste. Five years later they burned out with it and are back living in the NW where their grandchildren are.

That said, to get better advice it would be helpful to know what kind of town you want to live in. Miami, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles all have sandy beaches. As do Juneau and Sitka Alaska.

Do you want the big city life on the ocean or do you want a traditional small beach town?
Do you want the subtropics (Florida & the Gulf Coast), or four-season temperate zone?
Do you want easy air access or an isolated difficult to reach location?
Do you want nearby cities and culture?
Do you want exclusivity? (gated community?) or public access
Do you want beachfront living or is it enough to be withing walking/biking distance of the beach?
Do you want a house or high-rise condo?

Personally with climate change, sea level rise, potential for increasingly powerful hurricanes, and population pressure I would avoid buying anywhere along the coastline from the mid-Atlantic around Florida and along the Gulf Coast. It is a passive geological margin meaning the land is flat and prone to both hurricanes, sea level rise, salt water intrusion of aquifers, subsidence, and coastal erosion. I would stick to areas with more vertical geography which means west coast or perhaps the Great Lakes. Some place like the Oregon Coast.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by JDaniels »

chaz wrote:I second St. Augustine.
I third St. Augustine. We live 30 minutes north and we visit there often. Great beaches, restaurants and tons of character. The oldest city in the country.

Good luck!
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by wesleymouch »

The panhandle of Florida. Cities include Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Port St Joe etc. These beaches have the prettiest sand in America and there is a good cost of living. The sand is granite flakes from the Appalachian Mountains that travels down via the Appalachicola River.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by stan1 »

I don't know about homes on sandy beaches, but there are waterfront/water view properties on/near the TVA reservoirs in TN/KY/AL that might give a good mix of lifestyle/cost of living (especially if you want to stay out of hurricane country and high cost areas like CA (Coronado, La Jolla, Encinitas, Corona del Mar, Manhattan Beach, Malibu) and Hawaii).
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Ged »

I was thinking of a Cape Cod home as many of my best memories are from times I spent there.

But after seeing the aftermath and heartbreak of Sandy here in New Jersey I would not buy an oceanfront home on the East or Gulf coasts.

The sea levels are definitely rising and there are predictions of more frequent storms, and I'm sure insurance companies are factoring that into their rates.
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J295
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by J295 »

From the OP ... This is valuable information. Thanks to all for posting, and we welcome further insights, including lake recommendations. We had already considered having rental extended stays at a variety of places to "test drive" them, and the good advice here affirmed that process.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Ged wrote:I was thinking of a Cape Cod home as many of my best memories are from times I spent there.

But after seeing the aftermath and heartbreak of Sandy here in New Jersey I would not buy an oceanfront home on the East or Gulf coasts.

The sea levels are definitely rising and there are predictions of more frequent storms, and I'm sure insurance companies are factoring that into their rates.
Ditto. Sandy was horrible, and we got off much better than so many. Cape Cod had been a possibility for us also. My wife is having a harder time letting go of the dream, but I've always loved the mountains :D
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by rainyday1 »

Isle of Palms, SC - proximity to Charleston is great. It is a beautiful place! Charleston is a fantastic little town too. I love the history there as well.
walnut
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by walnut »

Kiawah is hard to beat.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by jasg »

Many beach communities are also tourist destinations, so don't forget the PITA factor of the tourist influx on traffic, prices, restaurants etc. or the flip side for things that shut down in the off season.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by thebogledude »

What about Hawaii? I've never been there but always wanted to visit.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by MnD »

thebogledude wrote:What about Hawaii? I've never been there but always wanted to visit.
That's our number one pick now. Wife grew up there and has been back about 10 times since leaving, I've been six times.
Real estate is expensive and unless you have millions or are ok with a tiny condo, forget about the beach.

Even with our experience we plan to rent for at least six months - the culture and vibe is very different and while we love it, some people don't care for it at all.
If you like exclusivity and status symbols like what you see around many mainland beach communities, Hawaii would not be your place.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by VictoriaF »

All responses so far defaulted to the U.S. locations. I understand--but have not been there myself yet--that Thailand offers fantastic beaches and cheap living.

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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by texasdiver »

VictoriaF wrote:All responses so far defaulted to the U.S. locations. I understand--but have not been there myself yet--that Thailand offers fantastic beaches and cheap living.

Victoria
My guess is that one of the biggest issues with Thailand (or other nearby parts of SE Asia such as Bali or the Philippines) is that it is so far away and expensive to reach. Just getting there to visit amounts to a once-in-a-lifetime expense for many.

A much closer location with cheap direct flights from many parts of the US would be Costa Rica. It is closer than Hawaii for most parts of the US.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by fsrph »

hicabob wrote:
Tortoise wrote:I lived in Monterey, California for a year back in the late '70s. I didn't live on the sand, but wasn't too far from it. It was a beautiful location. Unfortunately, the salt air rusted everything that I owned. Even though I washed and waxed my motorcycle regularly, the front forks and engine cases corroded badly. My bicycle also developed a funny patina of rust red. Something to be aware of when living by the sea.
The salt water has the same effect on the house too. Nails popping, gutters rusting, siding getting beaten up etc. Very high maintenance - You have to go a block or two back from the beach to get "gentler" air.
Condo's too. When the condo association has a special assessment because the balcony rebar is deteriorating the effects of salt air will hit home. Don't get me wrong, I like year round warm weather and access to the beach. But, if I ever retire to this climate I would live close to but not right on the beach.

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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Mel Lindauer »

JDaniels wrote:
chaz wrote:I second St. Augustine.
I third St. Augustine. We live 30 minutes north and we visit there often. Great beaches, restaurants and tons of character. The oldest city in the country.

Good luck!
I'll "fourth" St. Augustine. Lovely place with lots of charm and vitality.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Lon »

Living year round on a Sandy Beach would be a real grind. :)
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Mel Lindauer »

Lon wrote:Living year round on a Sandy Beach would be a real grind. :)
Don't knock it until you've tried it. Many of us "Sandy Beach" folks feel like we've died and went to heaven.
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frugaltype
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by frugaltype »

Mel Lindauer wrote:
Lon wrote:Living year round on a Sandy Beach would be a real grind. :)
Don't knock it until you've tried it. Many of us "Sandy Beach" folks feel like we've died and went to heaven.
I was out walking a day or so ago, admiring the ocean, and a neighbor comes by "Welcome to morning in paradise," he said.

Sure, the sea level is rising, but pick your place so you have decades for that to have an impact. Get a generator and power failures are not a difficulty. (I haven't bothered to get one; Sandy was a few days, the max ever. Mostly they are a few hours.)

There are lots of places with no tourists. If you're in New England, just bundle up including a hood when you're outside in the winter - there are not that many snow days in the average winter here any more.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by heyyou »

Look around on the Hawaiian Island that is named Hawaii, also known as Big Island. Avoid the Kona tourist circus, but some of the nearby communities may be fine.

There are condos within walking distance of Punaluu Beach with its turtles, black sand, and midday tourist buses.
There is $250-300K residential housing near tiny Keokeo Beach Park in the North Kohala area.
The bay at Kawaihae has a breakwater that you can walk on, but the nearby housing may be for original Hawaiians.
Hilo (population 185K) has a long string of beach parks, many interconnected, and a few with high rise condos on them, with much more housing not far away.

Alohaliving.com has MLS real estate listings to check the prices. Rent before buying because many get "rock fever" and return to the mainland.
http://www.alohaliving.com/RealEstate/P ... /index.asp
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Scooter57 »

Sandy was a lot more than a few days for people in the hardest hit communities on LI. Some went months. And quite a few areas in New England have had prolonged power outages almost every year over the past 4, weeks in some cases. More than 2 weeks happened to a relative in Central Connecticut.

I'd never before seen more than a few hours of power outage over decades, save for hurricane Gloria in '85 which hit our town hard. Now we keep getting days without power almost every year. Also tornadoes. I've experienced 2 with damages in the last 4 years. We had a major hurricane inland that swept away houses and roads. The Cape has been spared so far but may be on line for something huge. There is so much more development there now than in the past when there were periods of frequent hurricane activity. This is a major concern.

Re generators, many storm related deaths are due to generators, not always ones run indoor, either. And when we had a regional failure a few winters ago there were no gas stations open when people's fuel ran out. I think generators can give people a false sense of security. With big infrastructure damage people with wells and septic may have to evacuate.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Ged »

frugaltype wrote:
Mel Lindauer wrote:
Lon wrote:Living year round on a Sandy Beach would be a real grind. :)
Sure, the sea level is rising, but pick your place so you have decades for that to have an impact. Get a generator and power failures are not a difficulty. (I haven't bothered to get one; Sandy was a few days, the max ever. Mostly they are a few hours.)
Some of the oceanfront communities affected by Sandy are still being cleared of destroyed homes. It's been 6+ months.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/0 ... later.html

I live about 12 miles inland. We lost power for two weeks. Some nights were in the 40's. That was very unpleasant. The previous year Irene knocked us out for several days.

I don't know how often we will experience such storms in the future however I am definitely working to make my property more resistant to such incidents.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by kramer »

texasdiver wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:All responses so far defaulted to the U.S. locations. I understand--but have not been there myself yet--that Thailand offers fantastic beaches and cheap living.

Victoria
My guess is that one of the biggest issues with Thailand (or other nearby parts of SE Asia such as Bali or the Philippines) is that it is so far away and expensive to reach. Just getting there to visit amounts to a once-in-a-lifetime expense for many.

A much closer location with cheap direct flights from many parts of the US would be Costa Rica. It is closer than Hawaii for most parts of the US.
I just had to object to the bolded comment. I have flown to these places each of the last 6 years from the US West Coast and never paid over $1100 for a round trip coach ticket. Admittedly, prices have gone up a bit above that this year, but not much.

A couple from the US Midwest might budget $6000 per year for air fare to visit the USA twice per year. Of course, that takes time and it is a pain to sit on those flights, so there are other considerations.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by frugaltype »

Scooter57 wrote: Re generators, many storm related deaths are due to generators, not always ones run indoor, either. And when we had a regional failure a few winters ago there were no gas stations open when people's fuel ran out.
Natural gas generators, not the ones you have to keep pouring gasoline into. The latter I wouldn't touch. The former can be set up to go on and off as needed with no human intervention, and are, of course, outside. People who run generators indoors are eligible for the Darwin award.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Diogenes »

MnD wrote:
thebogledude wrote:What about Hawaii? I've never been there but always wanted to visit.
That's our number one pick now. Wife grew up there and has been back about 10 times since leaving, I've been six times.
Real estate is expensive and unless you have millions or are ok with a tiny condo, forget about the beach.

Even with our experience we plan to rent for at least six months - the culture and vibe is very different and while we love it, some people don't care for it at all.
If you like exclusivity and status symbols like what you see around many mainland beach communities, Hawaii would not be your place.
Having lived in Hawaii for 4-5 years awhile ago, it is a great place - with drawbacks. It is quite expensive for a number of reasons. We have great memories from our time there and really like the local folks. However, it is also very isolating and expensive to go elsewhere from there. We may consider a condo there for a couple of months a year sometime in the future but not as our main residence. On the other hand there are many other places ahead in line.

_D_
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Bmac »

Texasdiver wrote, Some place like the Oregon Coast.
Agree. There are some amazing sandy beaches on the Oregon coast. Both Cannon Beach and Manzanita come to mind. The former is bigger, but more touristy, while the latter is a very quaint little beach community boasting a general store and a few restaurants. Both just a couple of hours from Portland.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Retread »

64415 wrote:Boca Grande. It is a quiet oasis of rust belt retirees. It is far more livable than other Florida retirement destinations that are congested with east coasters. The beach is second to none.
Boca Grande is beautiful but some of the most expensive in Florida. Think in terms of several million or more for a place on the beach.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Texas hold em71 »

Diogenes wrote:
Having lived in Hawaii for 4-5 years awhile ago, it is a great place - with drawbacks. It is quite expensive for a number of reasons. We have great memories from our time there and really like the local folks. However, it is also very isolating and expensive to go elsewhere from there. We may consider a condo there for a couple of months a year sometime in the future but not as our main residence. On the other hand there are many other places ahead in line.

_D_
+1

We talked to mainlander retires who talked about the difficulty of dealing with aging or dying parents on the mainland while they were thousands of miles away and the problem of seeing grandchildren once or twice a year and via Skype. Not willing to trade those precious moments for the feeling of sand between my toes year round. Will plan long vacations there though.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by texasdiver »

kramer wrote:
texasdiver wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:All responses so far defaulted to the U.S. locations. I understand--but have not been there myself yet--that Thailand offers fantastic beaches and cheap living.

Victoria
My guess is that one of the biggest issues with Thailand (or other nearby parts of SE Asia such as Bali or the Philippines) is that it is so far away and expensive to reach. Just getting there to visit amounts to a once-in-a-lifetime expense for many.

A much closer location with cheap direct flights from many parts of the US would be Costa Rica. It is closer than Hawaii for most parts of the US.
I just had to object to the bolded comment. I have flown to these places each of the last 6 years from the US West Coast and never paid over $1100 for a round trip coach ticket. Admittedly, prices have gone up a bit above that this year, but not much.

A couple from the US Midwest might budget $6000 per year for air fare to visit the USA twice per year. Of course, that takes time and it is a pain to sit on those flights, so there are other considerations.
I wasn't talking about getting yourself back and forth to Thailand. I was talking about getting visitors. I have 3 kids. If my parents moved to Thailand the chance of us ever visiting would be about once in a lifetime. A quick peek at Orbitz tells me that flights are currently running in the $2 grand range from DFW to Bangkok and requires a 2-stop 24+ hour marathon to get there. And that doesn't even count the time and expense of getting to whatever final destination you have in mind which I assume is not suburban Bangkok. So for my family of 5 we are looking at 10 grand just for airfare and probably need to set aside 2 weeks just to make the trip worth it. On the other hand, if my parents had a house on the beach in say Oregon or North Carolina we'd probably make it there frequently by air or car. Or the Costa Rica example I cited. From DFW (our nearest airport) we can find non-stop flights to Liberia in Northern Costa Rica in the $500 range for a non-stop that takes about 4 hours. Much more manageable to visit occasionally when the airfare for 5 is $2500 rather than $10 grand and the flight takes 4 hours instead of 24.
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Lon »

experiencekaiteriteri.co.nz/

Spend just a few months on Kaiteriteri. The seasons are reversed. Quite affordable.
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BorisTheSpider
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Location: Chesapeake, VA

Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by BorisTheSpider »

How about Ocean City, Maryland? Great boardwalk and the weather is not too hot in the summer. :thumbsup
~Boris~
TRC
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by TRC »

We have a secondary / investment property at the beach. It's not ocean front, but it's pretty close. So far the only damage has been from wind. Shingles are always blowing down. It's not a big deal though, as our association takes care of it. It's great being a 20 second walk from the beach. Pros & Cons though. Inland is cheaper, but then you have to drive and find parking.
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VictoriaF
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by VictoriaF »

Today you can get a free Kindle book Beach Living: 7 Popular Reasons People Move To The Beach. Normally, it's $2.99.

Victoria
Inventor of the Bogleheads Secret Handshake | Winner of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
likegarden
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by likegarden »

For retirement do not forget that you want to be next to very good hospital and doctors, and those sandy beaches might be far away from it. Perhaps an occasional vacation is all you need.
Barefootgirl
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Barefootgirl »

Is there a source for information regarding quality of healthcare in the U.S. vs. international retirement locations?

Thank you, BFG
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.
gouldnm
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by gouldnm »

If you're from the midwest, any town along Lake Michigan is very nice, and will be less crowded, less developed, and less severe storms than any place along the East/West coasts.
Random Poster
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Re: Year Round Living on a Sandy Beach

Post by Random Poster »

VictoriaF wrote:Today you can get a free Kindle book Beach Living: 7 Popular Reasons People Move To The Beach. Normally, it's $2.99.

Victoria
Interesting what people will write books about.
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