The surf. The sun. The sand. The Seabees.

Sure, it might not be a rundown of the traditional summer getaway, but it’s a mix you’ll find in Gulfport, Mississippi, which topped’s recent rankings of the nation’s most affordable beach towns.

Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport serves as the home of the Atlantic Fleet’s Seabees. More than 4,400 active-duty troops and their families are stationed at the installation, about 90 miles east of New Orleans.

That puts them near prime, affordable beach real estate, per, which cites the median home price in Gulfport at $184,100 and says waterfront property prices start around $300,000.

Not expecting Seabee duty? Plenty of other towns on the list have a military presence nearby:

  • Jacksonville, North Carolina, home of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, ranks second with a $184,600 median home price.
  • Corpus Christi, Texas, home of a naval air station with more than 2,800 active-duty service members, ranks sixth.
  • Palm Bay, Florida, which sits south of Patrick Air Force Base on the so-called “Space Coast,” ranks seventh.
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia, ranks eighth and has the lowest average down payment (6.8 percent) of the nation’s top 50 housing markets, per, likely thanks largely to the VA-backed loans used by troops and veterans in the area near Naval Station Norfolk.

Ready to settle in by the ocean, or to find out whether that beachfront gem is in your price range? Start your research at our VA Loan Center.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

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