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The Best Coastal Towns to Live In
Real Estate

The Best Coastal Towns to Live In

Thanks to world-class seafood restaurants, stunning scenery, and charming main streets, you’ll easily find the best coastal town to live in.


6 min read

June 04, 2021

What’s one part water, one part sand, and one part golden? You’re looking at the recipe for California's best coastal cities to live in. The Golden State embodies surfer vibes and ignites your wanderlust. Thanks to world-class seafood restaurants, stunning scenery, and charming main streets, you’ll easily discover the best coastal town to live in. 

Think you can ride gnarly waves? Hit the road, Jack—here are coastal cities to call your forever home. 

The Best Coastal Cities to Live In

Solana Beach is an idyllic location to take a stroll and explore the caves carved into the cliffs by the pounding surf.

Solana Beach

Median home price: $1,692,900

Solana Beach is undoubtedly one of San Diego’s best places to live. Beach enthusiast or not, moving to this secluded coastal suburb is a decision you’ll never regret. Mediterranean climate, hella lowkey vibes, and uncrowded beaches will make you move here in a heartbeat. The charming seaside community is a beach town through and through. Foodies will love feasting at Solana Beach Fish House—the bowls and burritos are the perfect remedy after a day spent splashing around San Diego.

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Music lovers, looking for an evening out on the town? Search no further than the legendary Belly Up to listen to live music all night long. This venue has hosted unmatched talent in Solana Beach—B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffet, Maroon 5, and Ludacris have performed here. Belly Up has been regularly voted "San Diego’s Best Live Music Venue" and heralded as one of the hottest live music venues on the West Coast by Rolling Stone magazine. If the music scene is a priority, then this is the best beach city to live in.

From world-class resorts to quaint hotels, Carlsbad is your gateway to the Golden State's most charming and unforgettable escapes.


Median home price: $1,067,501

Any list discussing the best small coastal towns to live in throughout the Golden State must include Carlsbad. Antique shops, golf courses, plenty of water sports, and a myriad of other activities make this gem feel like a holiday destination on any given day. The biggest presence, no doubt, is Legoland California Resort. The theme park is adored by everyone—Legoland encourages imagination and interactive play for people of all ages. If you’re not into playing with plastic bricks, exploring the Star Wars Miniland, splashing around the water park, and admiring the exhibits at the aquarium, are you even human?

While unleashing your inner child on your next road trip to Carlsbad is exciting, the coastal city is also home to one of the most beautiful flower fields. A visit to the Carlsbad Flower Fields will make you understand why this place is one of the best beach towns to live in.

As the most populous city in Ventura County, Oxnard lies approximately 60 miles west of D.T.L.A. and is part of the Greater Los Angeles area.


Median home price: $568,908

About an hour north of Los Angeles lies the underrated coastal town of Oxnard. Uncrowded beaches, a pleasant climate year-round, and endless opportunities for work and recreation make this Ventura County destination one of the best small beach towns to live in. Renowned for agricultural excellence, Oxnard incorporates fresh strawberries, avocados, and other deliciously healthy California fruits and vegetables into your daily diet (a nice thank you would do).

This coastal charmer’s location is another huge perk—enjoying weekend getaways year-round is very easy here. If you ever catch yourself in need of a breather while living in Oxnard, hop on a short ferry ride to the nearby Channel Islands where swimming, hiking, and biking will restore your zen. Alternatively, you can also drive to the many neighboring towns to check out art galleries, shop at boutiques, and unwind during the weekend.

Ventura is located between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara along U.S. Route 101, so you'll be close to two coveted cities when living here.


Median home price: $693,243

Glimmering waters and cotton-candy skies—Ventura is where the Golden State’s old-school coastal feel comes alive. Historic buildings, a classic wooden pier, and the main street make this charmer one of the best beach towns to live in. Your much-desired laid-back lifestyle involves fresh seafood, top-notch shopping destinations, a wonderful coastal community, and evenings spent whale watching under explosive sunsets. The enviable location of this town also means embarking on many fun summer road trips to nearby SoCal towns. Living here, you get to experience exciting adventures in addition to the cozy sense of ease found along the coastline.

Pismo Beach is part of the Five Cities Area, a cluster of cities in San Luis Obispo County, and is also mentioned in The Big Lebowski.

Pismo Beach

Median home price: $1,001,497

Sun-kissed Pismo Beach is one of the best things the Central Coast has to offer. This classic beach town is unlike anywhere you’ve been before, with well-maintained sandy stretches and high-action sports to appease your active lifestyle. The symbol of the town is the iconic wooden Pismo Beach Pier, where expert anglers gather to reel it in on slow and sunny afternoons. Since the pier lights up after the sun goes down, it also becomes a go-to location for a nighttime surf sesh or romantic evening stroll.

If you’re visiting between late October and February, make sure to stop by the Monarch Butterfly Grove—a eucalyptus-lined grove with thousands of fluttering butterflies. Marvel at their orange-red wings flapping right above your head as you take in all the hues around you. Then, for a family-friendly activity, head to Dinosaur Caves Park to spend quality time with your loved ones. The park provides grassy areas, picnic tables, walking paths, and kayaking opportunities. Explore the many rock arches and caves, and conclude your evening at Oyster Loft, one of the best beachfront seafood restaurants in the area. 

Morro Bay's most striking feature is Morro Rock, a 576-foot high volcanic plug which stands at the entrance to the harbor.

Morro Bay

Median home price: $772,510

Often referred to as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” Morro Bay is a charming beach town with striking features and bustling wildlife. Serving as a natural refuge for a variety of animals—including harbor seals, sea lions, and sea otters—this coastal city is home to the impressive Morro Bay State Park, which is a must-visit when you’re exploring San Luis Obispo County. Aside from sailing, fishing, hiking, and bird watching opportunities, the state park houses the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural Historythe only natural history museum in the California State Park system.

Living in this area means being within walking distance from a stunning volcanic plug formed about 23 million years ago—Morro Rock is composed of dacite, magmatic, and volcanic rock. Beaches like Toro Creek, North Point, and the iconic Morro Rock City Beach will make you want to stay in this paradise forever.

Eureka is the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland, and the westernmost city of over 25,000 residents in the 48 states.


Median home price: $343,929

Nature lovers looking for the best coastal cities to live in will love Eureka. Picture a stunning town packed with beaches, forests, rivers, and a handful of other natural wonders. As one of the Golden State's best affordable beach towns to live in, Eureka has plenty to offer its residents. Stunning outdoor adventures, quirky festivals, rich history, and a charming downtown—what else could you ask for?

Fitness enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Eureka is home to many hiking and biking trails. Taking care of your body and soul in the heart of nature has never been better—you’ll truly appreciate every moment. And, if making this coastal town your forever home seems too big of a step, a weekend getaway to Eureka is sure to get you started. Fall in love with the fresh scent of the redwood trees as the air of adventure settles in.

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