10 Affordable Places to Retire on the Water

Check out these low-cost lake, river, and bayside communities.


Many homes near the Great Lakes also have great prices, if you don't mind snow in the winter. The Traverse City, Mich., region has approximately 180 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 149 lakes that are 10 acres or larger. Adventurous retirees can scuba dive through Lake Michigan shipwrecks in the Manitou Passage State Underwater Preserve or fish for trout, steelhead, and salmon. Loretta Parrish, 68, and her husband, Bill, have a 24-foot sailboat with a cherry red hull named the Red Delight that they take out on Grand Traverse Bay once or twice a week. The couple took a four-day sailing trip to various harbor towns on Lake Michigan in August. "The water is crystal clear, and we have very little oppressive hot weather," says Parrish. Sometimes they bring along a bottle of local wine on the boat. "We can drive out of our house, and in 10 minutes there are orchards and vineyards," she says.

Check out these 10 affordable places to retire on the water.

  • Bella Vista, Ark.
  • Bismarck, N.D.
  • Cape Coral, Fla.
  • Dover, Del.
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Fairhope, Ala.
  • Lake Jackson, Texas
  • Loveland, Colo.
  • Richland, Wash.
  • Traverse City, Mich.