Beachfront Living & Lifestyle – Pros, Cons & Home Styles
Ever dream of sitting on your front porch in Key West or other waterfront site watching palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze … or walking for miles on a white sand beach as you listen to the sound of rippling waves?
Then it’s time to think of beach living in a beachfront home. Many people who love the water and waking up to the sounds of the ocean are looking to acquire a beachfront property –not just for a week or two but for a permanent vacation feel. It can be a small cottage, a bungalow, a two- or three-story home, and even a condominium – as long as it’s on the beach. You'll find beachfront homes among the many home styles by region – from the coastal region of California to Long Island Sound, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Florida and Key West, the Carolinas and all the seaside towns across the country. Beachfront homes continue to be a hot trend for people who love the beach and ocean views and think that life is better at the beach.
This 2-story, 4-bedroom dream beach cottage features an attractive white fence and an inviting wraparound front porch. (Plan #130-1007)
Characteristics of Beachfront Homes
Whether the style of the beach home is modern or traditional, the emphasis is to highlight the aspects of outdoor living – from wraparound porches to verandas, patios, and sundecks. The most distinctive feature of a beachfront home plan is an elevated main floor built on a pier and pile foundation. With the raised or “stilt” base, the home is protected from flooding and strong waves that may damage its interior.
A pair of spacious wraparound porches and large windows make this 2-story, 5-bedroom, 4-bath beachfront home a gorgeous sight. Its raised or “stilt” foundation is designed to protect the interior from floods and other water damage. (Plan #130-1045)
• An open floor plan
• Casual and relaxing interiors including comfortable sofas with colorful throw pillows and cushions
• Decorative window shutters, plus deck chairs and benches for the porch
• Large windows that offer unobstructed views
• A fireplace or two to keep the room warm and cozy
• A walkout basement – for future expansion on the lower level
Casual chic and everything else you want inside your beach home is featured in this Great Room of a 2-story, 3-bedroom beach home: an airy and bright open floor design, large windows for great views, a fireplace, and colorful, comfortable furniture (Plan #168-1011).
Is Life Really Better at the Beach?
For some people who come from beach towns or are now residing in beachfront homes, there’s nothing that compares to a beach lifestyle. They delight in the smell, sights, and sounds around them – the salt air, seagulls, walking barefoot on the sound, falling asleep and waking to the sound of ocean waves. They also get involved with their communities and engage in all the fun things a family can do year-round.
Here are a few observations from former big-city residents who found an invigorating life at the beach:
A native of New York City – and now a resident of Barnstable on Cape Cod – says “it was a refuge to get away from the big city.” Among his many activities are kayaking, whale watching, surfing, sailing, bird watching, and photography. He notes that even after 20 years of living in Cape Cod, he still finds things to explore and discover.
What a glorious stretch of beach in Watch Hill, Rhode Island – with a view of the Watch Hill Lighthouse in the distance. (Image: B. Toolan, The Plan Collection)
A former resident of Washington, D.C., who now enjoys beachfront living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, takes advantage of all the amenities offered by the beach town. Locals enjoy live music, fireworks in the summertime, outdoor activities, and eating at one of 1,600 restaurants in the area.
A Londoner who once called Las Vegas home and now lives near the coast of Kent (England) has these thoughts about living on a beach.
• You always have something to do when you live near the beach
• Any food tastes better when eaten sitting on the sand
• You never get bored of the view – especially the sunsets. And the sunrises…
• You can’t imagine living anywhere else – you may leave for a while, but you’ll be back.
Advantages of a Beachfront Home
Say goodbye to busy city streets, high rise buildings and views of your neighbor’s window, big crowds, and heavy traffic. Get ready to bask in the sunshine – even when you're wrapped up in the fall and winter – and wake up to the smell and sound of the ocean. Just far enough from urban “civilization,” you can enjoy the benefits of living in your own "resort" on the waterfront.
Picture yourself on the porch of this 3-story, 4-bedroom beachfront home – enjoying the peace and quiet of the surroundings as you relax in the hammock or on one of the deck chairs. (Plan #130-1083)
1. There’s no better spot for a tranquil and calm atmosphere than a house near the water. You can get away from the stress and pressures of city life and revel in the simpler pleasures of life.
2. Spectacular views of natural landscapes, plants, and trees from anywhere in the home – with the typical large windows in beachfront homes.
Just take a look at all the outdoor living spaces of this wonderful 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath coastal style home. You can entertain or relax both on the main level deck or in fully-equipped outdoor kitchen located in the basement level (Plan #194-1010).
Listen to the sound of the ocean or watch the waves from the bed or sofas in the master bedroom (Plan #194-1010).
4. You can engage in various activities – swimming, surfing, sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, walking along the shore, and more.
5. How about all the fun things for kids? Aside from swimming and splashing in the water, they can build sandcastles, look for seashells and stones, watch seagulls, fly kites, and have picnics.
6. Beachfront homes may be a good investment – not just financially but for future generations of the family.
7. And finally, living on the beach is good for your health. As early as the 18th century, doctors were touting the benefits of oceanfront living and recommending trips to the shore or the seaside “baths” to restore their physical and mental well-being. Recent research further suggests that “moving closer to the sea significantly improves people’s well-being.”
Wouldn’t you love to keep this home in the family? This gorgeous 2-story, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath coastal style house can be a forever home with its fantastic views, a covered front porch, covered lanai, a swimming pool, and other resort-like amenities (Plan #175-1226).
Drawbacks of a Beachfront Home
While there are great advantages to living at the beach, there are a few things to consider – aside from the higher price tag.
1. The major concern is the exposure to natural risk. Storms, hurricanes, coastal flooding, and high winds can erode shorelines and wreak havoc to the home.
2. Insurance premiums are higher – including flood insurance.
3. Higher maintenance because of the humidity, dampness, and especially salt air that affects the home’s exterior.
4. The public may have access if you don’t own the land all the way to the edge of the waterline.
There may be disadvantages – but if you plan thoroughly and understand what to expect with beachfront home, then you can have your permanent vacation home on the beach.
And as you look for that perfect home, think of all the passions that drive you, the fun things you love, and lifestyle needs that beach living can offer. If you’re ready, dig your toes in the sand, smell the salt air, and search for your coastal home plan!
Footnote: The top photo in the lead image of this article is a 2-story, 5-bedroom, 5.2 bath coastal home plan with Contemporary-style touches. For more details, click here. (House Plan #175-1243)