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And here’s the other end of the spectrum. The median home price in San Francisco? $1.1 million. Ouch. Photo: Image: Ferraris

The Inertia

For many a surfer that grew up walking or biking distance to their home break that’s now beginning to look at buying a home – or even inland dwellers with the bug looking to move – housing prices can be overwhelming, and feel out of reach. According to CBS Money Watch, California is especially tough for first time home buyers. Still, according to recent analysis by Redfin, there are plenty of coastal areas across the country that are more accessible, and with plenty of good waves on offer. Here are the top 15 according to median sale price, walkscore, and percent of waterfront properties. To learn more about the methodology behind Redfin’s analysis, click here.

Atlantic City is for everyone. Photo: Ryan Halbe

1. Atlantic City, NJ

Median Sale Price: $52,250
WalkScore: 72
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 27.6%

The name Atlantic City is synonymous with casinos and nightlife. But as Jersey locals can attest, the place can also produce some pretty fun hollow tubes as is typical across the state. It’s also first in affordability for first time homebuyers. So if you’re struggling to make ends meet in SoCal, might want to think about getting your ass to Jersey.


South Beach don’t get that good that often. But when it does, well… Photo: Mike Jones/Azhiaziam

2. Miami, FL

Median Sale Price: $275,000
WalkScore: 78
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 11.7%

Miami doesn’t exactly boast the best surf the great state of Florida has to offer. But very occasionally, South Beach comes alive and cranks. What’s more, Miami’s got more to offer than waves. “On the streets of Brickell (Miami’s financial district) you’ll experience a New York-type hustle and bustle,” explains Redfin. “If it’s music you love, downtown Miami offers the yearly Ultra Music Festival in Bayfront Park. Golfers can lay back and play 18 holes of Golf in a PGA golf course. And, of course, there are the incredible beaches.”


A little patience and a positive attitude go a long way on Florida’s gulf coast. Photo: Gulfster.com

3. Clearwater, FL

Median Sale Price: $174,250
WalkScore: 43
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 19%

Surfers across the U.S. are likely unfamiliar with Clearwater, much less know the place actually gets waves, but local residents likely prefer it that way. The misconception that the Gulf of Mexico is a No Man’s Land for surf couldn’t be further from the truth, it just takes serious patience and a little fortitude.


Hurricane Irene delivers the goods at Juno Pier, just north of West Palm Beach. Photo: G2G Visions

4. West Palm Beach, FL

Median Sale Price: $170,000
WalkScore: 41
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 28%

A fickle stretch along Florida’s Atlantic coastline, where patience is the name of the game. By now you may have noticed a trend that inconsistent surf is a common theme among much of these more affordable locales. Still, as they say good things come to those who wait. In the case of West Palm Beach, there’s plenty to do when waiting for swell.  “West Palm is know for Clematis Street, which is the historical heart of downtown and features night clubs, live music, boutiques, historical landmarks and incredible restaurants,” says Redfin. You might also steal a glimpse of the President of the United States relaxing at Mar a Lago, and that’s worth something.

A classic day at Ponce Inlet and Taj Burrow happened to be in town. Photo: Tupat

5. Daytona Beach, FL

Median Sale Price: $136,000
WalkScore: 36
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 37%

Just north of New Smyrna Beach is the town of Daytona Beach, home to the Daytona 500 and some relatively consistent surf by Florida standards. Setting up shop in this region puts you in striking distance of some fun waves like Ponce Inlet, if you don’t mind the crowd.

A nice round Texas barrel. And no we don’t mean a gun. Photo: Scott Ellwood

6. Corpus Christi, TX

Median Sale Price: $240,000
WalkScore: 39
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 11.2%

Ahh, Texas. Lone Star State surfers get no respect. Mainly because while “everything’s bigger in Texas,” as the old idiom goes, the same can’t be said for waves along the state’s gulf coast. Still, there are days when the lone stars align. The area boasts some affordable beach-front and canal-front homes.

A local Galvestonian milks one. Photo: Rob Cortinas

7. Galveston, TX

Median Sale Price: $224,000
WalkScore: 50
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 22.3%

Like Corpus Christi, Galveston is located along Texas’ gulf coast. And the town is rich with Texas charm. “Galveston’s glistening beaches, quaint historic downtown shops on The Strand and beautiful East End Victorian homes are enough to make anyone want to vacation here,” says Redfin.

Unknown surfer on a fun one in Fort Pierce. Photo: saltchef.com

8. Fort Pierce, FL

Median Sale Price: $155,000
WalkScore: 38
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 32%

The town of Fort Pierce is home to Fort Pierce Inlet’s famed North Jetty, one of the first spots surfed in all of Florida. A fun right breaks off the jetty, but be advised the place can get pretty crowded. “Fort Pierce is known by locals as the ‘sunrise city,'” says Redfin. “It offers sandy beaches, restaurants, charter boats and clear views of the water.”

Just a short drive from Sarasota, a competitor at an ESA contest pulls into a mini barrel. Photo: Gulfster

9. Sarasota, FL

Median Sale Price: $260,000
WalkScore: 52
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 17.5%

Like other Florida Gulf Coast towns mentioned above, Sarasota surfers require zen-like patience. Beyond the waves, though, “Sarasota offers an impressive mix of culture and waterfront lifestyle that I find to be really unique and difficult to find all in one place,” says Redfin. “From the quaint downtown strip of shops and boutiques to the equally charming St. Armand’s circle, the whole area is just as varied and engaging as anyone could hope.”

A small sunny day at Jacksonville Beach. Photo: insideflorida.com

10. Jacksonville, FL

Median Sale Price: $168,000
WalkScore: 26.2
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 15.2%

A big city in close proximity to very accessible beaches, Jacksonville’s got a certain inimitable work and play quality. What’s more, “There are also great museums, festivals, sporting events, concerts and farmers markets throughout the year,” says Redfin.

Flying high in Virginia Beach. Photo: Instagram @17thstreetsurf.

11. Norfolk, VA

Median Sale Price: $179,900
WalkScore: 44.6
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 11.2%

“Norfolk, VA is home to beautiful waterfront views, boardwalks and other local amenities great for families,” says Redfin. And  Virginia’s most-populated (and surfiest) city, Virginia Beach, is just a stone’s throw away.

Surfing in Maine is beautiful. Freezing. But beautiful. Photo: Brent Shavnore

12. Portland, ME

Median Sale Price: $279,000
WalkScore: 60
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 6.7%

There seems to be a general understanding among surfers across the country that Maine can get pretty damn good, but the frigid cold manages too keep all but the bravest souls away. Portland has a bourgeoning craft beer scene, and is a top destination for foodies.


Unknown about to get slotted at Folly Beach, South Carolina. Photo: surf-forecast.com

13. Charleston, SC

Median Sale Price: $278,625
WalkScore: 39
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 6.1

In the surf world, South Carolina often exists in the shadow of its twin to the north. Whereas the Outer Banks and names like Brett Barley are ubiquitous, few realize that South Carolina is in fact the home state of up-and-comer Cam Richards, and the place can get just as many waves.


New Jersey winters are unforgiving, but pretty damn rewarding.

14. Long Branch, NJ

Median Sale Price: $332,500
WalkScore: 62
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 17%

“Long Branch was once known as the Hollywood of the East Coast, where many acclaimed actors and actresses gathered and performed,” says Redfin. “By its current residents, it is often regarded as a ‘hidden gem.'” The north Jersey town can offer big thumping tubes during the winter time.

Finding shade in Oxnard.

15. Oxnard, CA

Median Sale Price: $450,000
WalkScore: 53
Portion of Homes Waterfront: 5.1%

Just a hop skip and a jump from Rincon, yeah, Oxnard’s in close proximity to some world class waves. Not to mention it gets pretty damn good right at home. “Farmers markets, festivals, concerts and museums will keep you busy when you’re not hitting the beach,” says Redfin. Hoping to stay in California in walking distance to the waves? Oxnard may be your best bet.


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