Longing for a Life on the Lake? The 10 Most Affordable Lake Towns Across America

Island with house, cottage or villa in Thousand Islands Region


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Island with house, cottage or villa in Thousand Islands Region

Lake Life Meets Affordable Luxury

It happens to the best of us: We rent a house on a lake for a weekend and start dreaming of owning our own lake house one day. From relaxing on the beach to listening to the sound of the waves from the comfort of your own back deck, living on the lake offers a special type of serenity that usually comes with a pretty sky-high price tag. 

Luckily, there are some affordable lake towns out there, and Realtor.com looked at home listings within a half-mile of a named lake and analyzed the average listing prices to determine which lake towns offer the most affordable homes. If you want a life on the lake but you're balling on a budget, check out these towns across the United States. 

Related: 22 Underrated Places to Retire in the U.S.

Danville, IL

1. Danville, Illinois

Median list price: $154,900

Population: 29,534

Known for: Its rich history and museums

Located on Lake Vermillion along the Indiana border, Danville is a quaint midwestern town that is a popular boating and fishing destination. The town also has some compelling cultural heritage and was once a major coal mining town and railroad hub. This is the perfect location to plant your roots if you want access to the lake along with historical sites and museums. 

Rogers City, MI

2. Rogers City, Michigan

Median list price: $140,000

Population: 2,838

Known for: Salmon fishing and pristine shorelines

Looking for a tight-knit lake town on a tight budget? Rogers City is your place. Located near the tippy top of Michigan's mitten, this town offers the best of life on Lake Huron with salmon fishing tournaments, a scenic lighthouse, and idyllic waterside landscapes. Rogers City is also home to one of the Great Lakes' biggest shipping ports and the world's largest open-pit limestone quarry, the Port of Calcilite. 

Dunkirk, NY

3. Dunkirk, New York

Median list price: $122,750

Population: 12,651

Known for: Parks, museums, and other attractions

Bordered on the north by Lake Erie, Dunkirk is the westernmost city in all of New York. Moving here won't just give you lake access either. Dunkirk boasts a variety of attractions including Point Gratiot Park, Dunkirk Lighthouse, the Dunkirk boardwalk market, and Veteran's Park Museum. 

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Fairmont, MN

4. Fairmont, Minnesota

Median list price: $129,900

Population: 10,465

Known for: Fishing, boating, and snowmobiling

Appropriately dubbed "The City of Lakes," Fairmont is built around a chain of five lakes. With so much access to the water, residents can enjoy a slew of recreational activities including boating, fishing, and swimming during the summer and snowmobiling and ice skating during the winter.  

Related: Best Fishing Spots in All 50 States

Cherokee Village, AR
Al C. / Yelp

5. Cherokee Village, Arkansas

Median list price: $126,900

Population: 4,977

Known for: Being a recreational community

Inside the city limits of Cherokee Village, there are seven lakes and two marinas. As the first planned recreational community in Arkansas, Cherokee Village offers golf courses, community swimming pools, and plenty of waterfront access. 

Sheffield, AL

6. Sheffield, Alabama

Median list price: $169,900

Population: 9,305

Known for: Being the home of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios

Sheffield residents enjoy access to Pickwick Lake. The town is riddled with Antebellum and Victorian-era buildings, and it's also known for being the home of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios (a bucket-list destination for music lovers), where an abundance of big-name musicians (Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Osmonds, Cher, The Rolling Stones, and more) recorded music. 

Lorain, OH

7. Lorain, Ohio

Median list price: $135,000

Population: 65,440

Known for: Its steel mill

Often referred to as "Steel City," Lorain isn't your average Ohio city. It's located along Lake Erie at the mouth of the Black River, yet it's still only about 25 miles west of the bustling city of Cleveland. Basically, in the same day, you can boat, fish, and catch a Cleveland Browns' game. 

Related: The Best Lakes in All 50 States

Two Rivers, WI

8. Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Median list price: $139,900

Population: 11,276

Known for: Its claim to being the birthplace of the ice cream sundae

Yes, this town's name is "Two Rivers." But its geography actually entails the point where the East Twin and West Twin rivers meet before they flow into Lake Michigan. And as far as Lake Michigan towns go, this charming Wisconsin town is just about as cheap as they come.

Related: The Most Beautiful River in Every State

Augusta, KS
Augusta, KS by (None)

9. Augusta, Kansas

Median list price: $185,000

Population: 9,299

Known for: Abundant historic buildings

Augusta residents can swim, fish, boat, and kayak in the town's 190-acre man made lake, Augusta Lake. Residents of the town can pretty much always find something to stay entertained, whether they're spending time on the water or participating in a community event. 

Related: The Oldest Building in Each State

Hartsville, SC

10. Hartsville, South Carolina

Median list price: $285,000

Population: 7,565

Known for: Being a tight-knit community

You'll find below average priced lakefront homes in Hartsville, but you might have a hard time closing a deal because of how tightly wound the community is. Although there aren't "For Sale" signs in every other yard, this town is still one to keep on your radar if you're dreaming of life on the lake.