“A house by the beach" sounds like one of those painfully unobtainable luxuries, like an Aston Martin or NFL season tickets or a post-12th grade education in America. Big, sexy coastal communities have astronomical housing prices, true -- but that doesn't mean you, the average citizen trying to scratch together $1,000 a month to live with a roommate, can't legitimately afford one. And not on a beach in Barrow, Alaska, either.
In the Southeast -- and in parts of the Pacific Northwest -- a number of cities boast beautiful coastline, white sand, and surprisingly affordable housing. SmartAsset crunched some data, factoring in median home prices, home size, property taxes, and annual housing cost (mortgage, insurance, taxes, etc.) to find which beach towns are the overall cheapest. After a few winters of shoveling snow with your bare hands, these look pretty inviting. Below we count down 17 of the cheapest, culminating with the overall most affordable beach town in America.