As the original poster can I suggest we keep it mellow and friendly. I appreciate all the comments. I learned a few things but it mostly solidified what I already knew. I will say through my research there are quite a few places within a 30 minute drive to the beach within my budget.. and 30 minutes is close enough for me.
Leve it to peasy to start a shit fight. N fact there are places that you can live close to the Coast for less then 1 million.
looked at a place that is only about 10 minutes from the Beach. I could ride my bike to a nice little break. A better surf spot is about 15 minutes away driving on A1A.
Cocoa Beach also is an opportunity. Big boom in the 1960s then a bust when the space program took a hit. Pretty rundown lots of drug related crime. Looks like now it is turning around.
as to those precious ocean views...house we raised the kids in, morning coffee was at the kitchen table with an expansive view of the harbor and inside reef of Mavericks...these days, a 2M house blocks that view.
all a matter of value choices...if you want what everyone else wants, better dig deep...conversely, willing to change up some priorities and take a different approach...
Spacious ocean view home for 550K available right now a 5 min walk and overlooking one of my fave lineups in OR, within a town of 6,000 folks...decent pads a 5 min drive for 400K...surf can range from ultra friendly LB fun to how deep or big are you willing to go ...to this day, still easy to find a fun session in the area by yourself, more likely you'll be looking for a few friends to surf with...and it all comes with 100" of rain a year, great salmon and steelhead fishing, nearest city an hour away, major airport two hours...
As an update to the socal situation. We put offers on 4 houses in the past week. 2 went for over $65k over the already overly inflated asking price. 1 was accepted for our budget but needed major work, which between 2 kids, full time job etc... i dont want that.. I would rather surf if i have free time.
and lastly we found a house 2 blocks from our house not yet on market. its smaller than we want but immaculate. Also over budget but not by much... I think we are going for it. 17 minutes from my front door to oceanside harbor parking lot... which is awesome.
fingers crossed... because if this one does not happen i think we are out of the game and looking for a rental.