Cities to Surf and raise a family in that are somewhat affordable?


Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2020
oceanside ca
Hi Group,
I live in east oceanside. I got 2 kids ages 1 and 6. I have one of those remote jobs that allows me to live anywhere, and if the world gets back to normal i will need to be somewhat close to an airport for business related travel.

Anyway i wont get too long into my story. We tried to buy a house last year before covid, and both my wifes industry and my industry took a huge hit, wife lost job, i went on reduced salary, had to get a rental. And our rental is up in 3 months. The landlord wants to move back in so we are out. We have been trying to buy in our area recently and have been outbid on 3 houses... badly outbid. We are starting to look further inland... its still very expensive by national standards, very hot, and like 45 minutes or more to the ocean.

My wife and I are assessing our situation and we do love north county san diego but, what we can afford is basically in a desert suburb, a major fixer upper, or an area with terrible schools and crime. And i dont think we have time to wait out the market for more inventory and prices to stabilize.

I thought this would be a decent forum to ask these questions.
Do you like where you live?
Is it close to surfing / you have your surfing crave full-filled in the area.
Have you raised / would raise a family there?
Any advice on areas in california if they exist where prices are less than $600k for 3 bedroom house thats not in the hood or the desert?

At this point we are open to both coasts as nothing really ties us to socal.

Thanks all

fingers crossed the stars align.


Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2019
Three Rivers, CA
This is my opinion only, as a person who has lived most of my life a half block from the ocean, those days of the cheap, easy, free living lifestyle anywhere close to the beach are over. Destroyed by real estate speculators, white flight people that escaped from whatever hell hole they were living in and then trying to change their new beach community to what ever it was they were trying to escape from.

About five years ago, I had finally had it with no parking, congestion, lunatics for neighbors and then on really hot days, people from every nook and cranny flocking to the beach during the summer to try and cool off. In one sense I couldn't blame them, but I realized that the dream was unfortunately over. Too many people in Southern California had reached that threshold. I then made a decision to move completely away from that madness for some peace of mind and calming of my attitude. In addition, the wind in Ventura County was starting to drive me crazy. A bi-product of climate change in my opinion.

Although I am a couple hundred miles away from the beach now, I am centrally located to where I am almost equal distance from LA, Ventura, Santa Barbara, the Central Coast, Monterey and Santa Cruz. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I don't miss the ocean from time to time because I do. However, to live in the insanity now is not worth it to me anymore. To cope with the situation, I now take a few weekly trips out to the coastline on road trips. After about a week of hanging out at the beach and campgrounds, I am ready to head home. My ocean fix has been dealt with.

If you are just a fanatic about surfing and having to live next to the ocean, then you have the problem of not living where it is cost affordable. However, if you are a weekender and don't have to paddle out every day, there are plenty of alternatives. The mountain community that I live in now is full of former Huntington Beach, Hermosa Beach, San Diego surfing locals that were priced out of their communities. However, most have found a way to still get to the ocean when they feel the need to. That is my two cents on the subject and good luck with your situation.
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Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2018
Maybe Florida? Central coast of Florida has some affordable housing. Especially compared to California. Surf isn’t all that great but we do have our moments. Also you just might have some extra cash to Fly to a Surf destination. Puerto Rico is Florida’s Hawaii. Flights to Central America are fairly short and reasonable.
If you need to be close to an Airport. Melbourne isn’t to far from Orlando maybe an hour drive. Coca Beach I think is a little closer. New Smyrna Beach to Jenson Beach Is pretty much the central coast. Other can fill you in on Northern Florida.


Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2014
Ayer Ma USA
I personally feel New England is a great place to live but I grew up here. You need to embrace winter and flat spells but there is a variety of outdoor activities not far from your door step. There are currently a couple of west coast guys living out here that could give an unbiased opinion of New England.


Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
Give it a lot of thought. And make sure you and your wife are on the same page.

Leaving California is easy - getting back less so. Kids get seriously attached to places and friends, jobs and housing have a way of becoming more permanent, housing seems to always go up back home.

A lot of this is going to come down to how close you want to be to the ocean, and how much surfing plays an essential part in that scenario.

Interesting cities (and countries) that are safe, have great schools and health care, decent housing markets are easyish to find, ones that are on the coast where you can surf as much and as painlessly as North County are much less so. If you can deal with cold water, New England is killer, as is the Pacific Northwest. Florida seems to have some great areas but I don't know it so I can't comment.

I don't regret where my kids grew up - great education, very safe childhood, neat combination of forest and only 20 minutes to downtown Bordeaux. 30 minutes to the bay, 45-50 for surf. But... they didn't grow up having bonfires on the beach or surfing/sailing/diving all the time like we did. Still, they're much better people than I was at their age, and as a Dad, that's where the importance lies for me.

That being said, conditions here are way less consistent, and I went from maybe 150 sessions a year to less than 50 - some years much less than 50 by making this choice. And there are days/weeks/months when that frankly sucks.

I guess what I'm trying to say in my usual longwinded way is to be really aware of what you're giving up, and what you're gaining. Then go for it with no regrets and second-thoughts. Except, of course, if it turns out lame and then get the heck back there!

Good luck with your decision,


Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2009
USA California
Ever thought about living on a boat? The downside is no equity / deprecating asset. The upsides are too long to list.
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Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
Funny that you mention a boat. Now that my kids are big (son's sending in his masters applications tonight and my daughter finishes her BA next year) that's exactly what we're considering.


Active Member
Nov 23, 2020
I live in Ventura, and have lived here for almost 15 years since college in Santa Barbara.
I love it here, and have loved it here since I came down to Ventura for the very first time in 2004 to see Slayer at the Theater. So far, I haven’t found anything significant I could say I don’t like about it. I like the little bit of seedy underbelly, the funky old motels on Thompson, the presence of primary industry from Oil/Ag, and the lack of McMansions and gigantic houses that are crammed into tiny lots that plague much of Southern California. I can leave my house at 5:30 and be in my wetsuit paddling out at C Street by 5:45. There’s mellow/good/great/famous places to surf all up/down the coast within 30 minutes drive. I’ve got a 5 year old son and now that I’ve been here for so long I can’t imagine living anywhere else - decent schools, nice people, not much crime, and good weather (besides the Santa Ana winds as mentioned above).

If snowsports are also a hobby, we’re pretty close to Mammoth/June, and an easy flight from BUR into SLC and into the skis by the afternoon to really get some value from an Ikon Pass.

The city isn’t very crowded compared to many Southern California towns, especially with the Ag and oil lands that surround the city preventing sprawl. Sometimes when I come back from a flight and I’m heading home from LAX I get stressed driving on 405/101 because of all the people/buildings/bullshit in LA, and I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders when I hit the Conejo grade and head down towards the Oxnard Plain and see the ocean. I also like that a lot of my friends grew up here and came back after school or the military to live here.

Is it affordable? Rents are low relative to prices, but still range $2000-$4000/month for houses. House prices here have gotten a bit stupid (like everywhere), and talking with some friends who are realtors and grew up here, there’s a bit of resentment towards the people from LA that have kind of invaded our town over the last year and have been buying places left and right now that many people have the ability to remote work.

If you don’t mind being a little bit further (10 minutes east on 101), you can get a better buy on a place in Camarillo that could come close(r) to your $600k budget - likely a bit newer that would need much less work than some of the old to very old housing stock that’s turned over in Ventura in the last year that hadn’t changed much since the 1950s/1960s. Camarillo has little to no crime, nice people (bit more of a +R tilt though), very good schools, and pretty good weather.


Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2015
PNW between here and there
everything is at max price right now, demand outstripping supply...stock market fully disconnected from fundamentals...housing currently in the highest run-up in history....all the former peak estate run-ups were at some point followed by signficant adjustments, some lasting longer and dropping lower than others...consider finding a good rental, focus on quality of life, ride out the current frenzy, don't chase the market until it cools a bit...take a few trips to places you might be interested in...lot more to life than just home ownership...