Ten Affordable Lake Towns to Buy a Waterfront Property


Summertime joy is nothing like relaxing in a lakeside town with friends, enjoying the sunset, taking in the sights, and then returning to your cozy cabin.

Cicely Wedgeworth, realtor.com’s housing expert, said that while many Americans are struggling to live comfortably, a home that allows you to enjoy the outdoors is becoming more attractive.

Realtor.com has put together a list of the most affordable lake communities where you can find a home with a view or right on a lake. These homes may be more expensive than other homes in the country but they are still affordable and offer the possibility of owning a waterfront property. With hurricane season approaching, this is a better option than an oceanfront property.

Many of these towns offer both summer and winter activities that can make them all year round destinations. This list was ranked based on the presence of attractions and water-based activities.

Wedgeworth stated that although the offerings will vary depending on where you are located, there are likely to be options for fishing, boating and paddleboarding. The lakes are not the only attraction. You can also go to a casino (Gouldsboro in Pennsylvania), a theme park (Branson in Missouri), or go tubing (Wisconsin Dells (Wisconsin)), or just stroll through the historic districts (Vermilion, Ohio).


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Some vacation home owners have had to accept that renting their property could lead to more risk than rewards during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wedgeworth stated that in the past many people saw buying a vacation house as both a family amenity, and a business opportunity. With fears of Covid, many people don’t like the idea that their home could be open to outsiders, and may feel uncomfortable investing in cleaning. There is more demand for vacation homes that are available for rent, especially if they’re within driving distance to larger metropolitan areas.


These affordable lake towns were created by realtor.com’s data team.

  1. Chestertown, New York

Only 515 people live in this small Southern Adirondack town. Although it is not a popular vacation spot, it is just as beautiful and offers a lot more value than many other nearby lakes towns. Second home buyers make up approximately 80% of Chestertown’s real estate market. This year, Chestertown has seen a boom in small lakes. It is very close to the more expensive Lake George and Gore Mountain Ski Resort.

If you want property on the water, expect to spend at minimum $500,000 such as this $725,000 three bedroom home. However, buyers who are willing to share the rights can find homes starting at $300,000.

  1. Branson, Missouri

Median lake home prices: $444,000.

Branson’s Silver Dollar City theme park and Dolly Parton’s Stampede may not be as popular during the pandemic, but you still have plenty of opportunities to get away from strangers on the many lakes.

Table Rock Lake’s 43,000 acres are ideal for paddling, kayaking and boating. The lake is also a popular spot for trout fishing. Single-family homes are available for sale starting at $300,000s up to $400,000, including this four-bedroom home on 2.31 acres that is listed at $410,000 and this three bedroom property on the market for $399,000.

  1. Glen Arbor, Michigan

Median lake home prices: $390,000.

Glen Arbor lies between Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Bay, and the Glen Lakes. The tiny two-bedroom in the bay is for sale at $1,850,000 This two-bedroom with views over the lake and Crystal River is listed at $410,000.

  1. Chelan, Washington

Median lake home cost: $549,000.

This high desert town, located just three hours east of Seattle is the perfect escape from the rain and clouds that plague the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Visitors and locals can cruise the 55-mile-long shores of Lake Chelan during the summer months. They can paddle, wakeboard, or sail past historic cabins, as well as vineyards. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling are some of the winter activities.

There are many housing options in Chelan at different price points. Waterfront condos are available starting at the mid 300’s, such as this two bedroom listing at $349,000. This four-bedroom home, which has private access to the water from its backdoor, is more expensive.

  1. Gouldsboro (Pennsylvania)

Median lake home cost: $371,000.

Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountain Range is an easy weekend getaway for New Yorkers as well as New Jerseyans. You can enjoy hiking, skiing, and gambling at the local casinos. It is a popular place to socialize and enjoy the great outdoors for those who want to escape the city.

This $155,000 four-bedroom home with a huge deck is one example of an entry-level lake home. This three bedroom located across the street of Big Bass Lake was priced at $229,000.

  1. Vermilion, Ohio

Median lake home prices: $557,800

Vermilion is a long-standing favorite beach town on the south shores of Lake Erie. For a New England-style escape, visitors flock to “Harbor Town”, which is located in the heart of the Midwest. There are many shops and restaurants in the area, and locals enjoy watching passersby from their front porches.

If buyers are willing to do some renovations such as this $175,000 4-bedroom right next to the beach, they can find a lake house for less than $200,000 For $400,000 or more, you can get a waterfront view with this lakefront two bedroom with a roof deck for $499,000.



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