Lakeside living comes with a lot of perks. It’s the prime getaway spot for relaxation away from it all. Having a nearby lake means there’s always something to do, whether you love hiking, boating, swimming, or just sunbathing by the shore.
However, that excitement and natural beauty usually comes at a premium. Lakeside towns are notoriously expensive, especially if you plan to live on or near the lake. With so many people using these homes for vacation rentals, real estate prices are prone to rising fast.
In this guide, we’ll share some of the most popular lakeside towns that are affordable. Whether you’re planning to live in your lake home full-time or rent it out for vacationers, you have a lot of options that won’t blow your budget.
1. Branson, Missouri
While you might not have thought about Missouri when it comes to well-known lakeside towns, Branson is truly an up-and-comer. Missouri has slowly but surely been making a name for itself as a Midwestern country music mecca, and there’s really so much to do here.
One of the biggest draws is Lake Taneycomo, a reservoir lake located near downtown Branson. Because of its unusually cool waters, it’s actually one of the best trout fishing lakes in the country. If you’re willing to drive a bit further, you can explore the 34k acre large Table Rock Lake, home to beaches and some of the best scuba diving in the Midwest.
Better yet, you can snag a home in Branson for around $200,000, and condos are even more affordable. There’s really something here for every price range.
2. Traverse City, Michigan
Michigan is already known for Lake Michigan, the second largest of the Great Lakes, and Traverse City is a great way to explore all this destination has to offer. According to Midwest Living, Transerse city was named one of the best places to live in Michigan.
In addition, buyers can stretch their money further there. With homes at all spectrums of pricing, you can find what suits you. Even better, Traverse City has over 30 wineries and summertime festivals which make this a great place to call home.
3. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
If you didn’t know better, you might think Coeur d’Alene was in a remote part of Italy, not Idaho. This is a small town that’s attracted a number of ex-California residents with its natural beauty and wildlife. Picture the most stunning natural vistas including mountains, rivers, and so much more.
Coeur d’Alene is known for its three major lakes: Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, and Priest Lake. At eat, you can enjoy boating swimming, hiking, or just taking in the views. While the cost of living here is a bit higher than others on this list, you really get what you pay for. It’s still significantly cheaper than larger lake cities, and you can find a home near the water for under $200,000 with some savvy shopping.
4. Sevierville, Tennessee
The south is home to some gorgeous lakes, and you can’t beat the hospitality. Nearby Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge you’ll find Sevierville, a small town that’s free from the tourists you might find in other popular locations. This under-the-radar Laketown is actually the vacation spot of country legend Dolly Parton, and it’s a popular weekend getaway for locals.
You can find a lakefront property here for a pretty reasonable price. There are a number of lakeside cabins in the $300,000 range, but you can also find more affordable spots if you’re willing to veer a bit from the lakeside.
5. Mount Dora, Florida
If you’re looking for a destination really off the beaten path, look no further than Mount Dora. Despite the name, there really is no mountain in Mount Dora. Instead, you’ll find a beautiful lakeside town. Known for its antique shops, outdoor cafes, wineries, and historic downtown, this is one of the oldest cities in Florida.
Lake Dora itself is a stunning place to spend an afternoon. With some of the best sunsets in the Sunshine State and ample boating opportunities, you’ll see why this is such a gem. Located only a short drive from other major cities in Florida like Tampa and Orlando, Mount Dora offers the best of Florida living at a fraction of the price. The average home price in Mout Dora is $255k, and you can easily find a variety of options near the coveted lakeside view.
Affordable Lakeside Living
Are you looking for lakeside towns that are affordable? It pays to think outside of the box. This list above highlights some of the best lakeside towns in the United States, even if they surprise it.
The most stunning lakes aren’t always the ones in the guidebooks. If you know where to look, you can find quite the bargain on your lakeside home or vacation property. It’s time to head to the lake!