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The United States contains a staggering number of over 19,502 incorporated cities throughout the country. Many Americans move for life transitions like college, a new job or retirement, and it can be overwhelming to choose a new location with so many options available. This list will equip you to start considering your options for moving to the East Coast.
Many cities on this side of the country have beautiful weather, and most are more affordable than their counterparts on America’s western shores. Weather conditions and annual cost of living are two of the most important factors when choosing a new place to live.
Whether you want sunny summer weather year-round or are longing for mounds of snow in the winter, there’s sure to be a city on this list for you. Here are five affordable East Coast cities with great weather that will have you wondering why you didn’t move sooner.
1. Roanoke, VA
This old town sits in the Roanoke Valley of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which contains 1,000 miles of trails and is known for outdoor recreation. In fact, it ranks among the best biking cities in the country and is also the largest city on the Appalachian Trail. The Parkway includes camping areas, fishing spots, scenic drives, historical sites and more.
Roanoke is also a highly affordable place to live. Housing costs are about 16% below the national average in 2023, while basic necessities like food and clothing are about 4% less. Thanks to Roanoke and a handful of other midsize cities, the state of Virginia boasts the best income-to-COL ratio in the entire country.
Although it’s important to note that Roanoke has a high crime rate, the numbers appear inflated and you shouldn’t take them at face value. Most of the crime here is concentrated in the northwest part of the city, but downtown Roanoke and the surrounding suburbs have no such issues.
2. Savannah, GA
Savannah, Georgia, is another beautiful place to live on America’s East Coast. The city is full of historical sites, beautiful Victorian architecture and green space. The town sits right alongside the slow and meandering Savannah River, which provides an abundance of outdoor activities and easy access to the beach.
The cost of living in Savannah is low, with the average home costing $346,116 and monthly rent costing $1,161. These rates are well below the national average, which has caused Savannah to see an influx of families and young people. The whole state of Georgia is on the rise, as it ranks among the most affordable states to live in as of 2023.
Weather for the city averages between a high of 60 degrees and a low of 39 degrees in January and climbs to a high of 92 degrees and a low of 72 degrees in July. However, humidity is high and there’s potential for flooding because of the city’s coastal location. Summers in the South can be steamy, but you get to enjoy pleasant temperatures during the other three seasons.
3. Palm Bay, FL
Many people move to Florida for the sunny climate and tropical vibes. The Sunshine State has plenty of beautiful small towns to choose from that will fit your budget, but Palm Bay is among the best. This vacation and retirement destination is one of the best places to move in the state for good weather, outdoor activities and affordable prices.
The climate in Palm Bay is balmy year-round, with low winter temperatures in the 60’s and temperatures frequently reaching the 90s in the summer. The city also gets more precipitation than the national average, which is an unavoidable part of the Florida experience. A sudden thunderstorm can roll in at any moment, but otherwise, Palm Bay is a paradise.
The total cost of living for a single adult is just $33,980 a year in Palm Bay, which is well below the state and national average. Residents get rewarded with low prices for choosing a smaller Florida town over the bigger cities with higher costs of living. The location is also perfect, as it sits within a reasonable distance to Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami.
4. Wilmington, NC
Wilmington is located on the North Carolina coast and is a top destination for many people moving to the state. The community is wonderful, the population is growing, and there are many beautiful beaches located nearby. The city is also home to historical sites and nature walks that keep the residents active and foster a close sense of community.
The weather in North Carolina is mild and pleasant compared to its southern neighbors, with temperatures varying from the 30-50s in the winter and the 72-90s in the summer. Although it does experience a lot of rain, Wilmington is sunnier than average which is rare for cities that sit directly along the East Coast. The rainiest month is August, and the driest is April.
The cost of living in Wilmington is 4% lower than the national average and remains one of the cheapest cities in the U.S. despite rising housing costs. In fact, the median home price of $365,041 and monthly rent of $1,360 is a whopping 23% below average, making it a great place to live for young folks and growing families.
5. Albany, NY
If snow is your definition of good weather, consider moving to Albany, New York. This historic town has been ranked the number one city in the state for affordability and quality of life for several years running. This place might not have the glitz and glamor of the Big Apple, but there’s always something fun to do.
Winter is the most popular season here, as residents get to enjoy activities like skiing, hockey and ice skating thanks to easy access to the Berkshire Mountains and Finger Lakes region. Camping, hiking and water sports are extremely popular in upstate New York during the warmer months. When it comes to outdoor recreation, Albany has it all.
Although the state of New York is expensive in general, Albany is one of the exceptions. The cost of living here is 19% below the state average with the average house valued at $473,790. Rent is lower than the national average and much lower than the state average at $1,603. In addition, the crime rate for the city is better than 11% of New York cities.
Affordable Cities on the East Coast
Moving to a new location is challenging for many reasons. If you want to move somewhere with beautiful weather and an affordable cost of living, the East Coast has many beautiful cities that have much to offer. Use this list to start looking for cities where you’d love to live.