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7 Affordable Beach Towns

By Elaine Glusac, AARP

Last updated May 26, 2023

Enjoy sun, sand and surf in these cities without breaking the bank

The Gulf Islands National Seashore offers many affordable adventures.


Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Biloxi neighbor Ocean Springs blends art and history on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, a 62-mile under-the-radar stretch of shore. Founded by the French in 1699, Ocean Springs’ oak-shaded downtown hosts more than 200 shops, galleries and restaurants in a walkable historic core.

What to do: Spend your days on the white sands of Front Beach with views over the Biloxi Bay Bridge, which is particularly dramatic at sunset. Learn about local ecology along the Davis Bayou Trail winding through a coastal forest at the Gulf Islands National Seashore’s visitor center. Nature is the source of inspiration for many of the more than 300 artists in the area, which was popularized by late artist Walter Inglis Anderson. His takes on regional plants, animals and people hang in the Walter Anderson Museum of Art (admission $10; $8 for seniors). Walter’s brother Peter founded Shearwater Pottery where visitors can browse the showroom.

Where to stay: Try one of the quaint, pastel-colored cottages in a private garden courtyard at Front Beach Cottages within walking distance of Front Beach.

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