Beach House vs. Lake House: Which One Is Better To Live In?

So you are looking to buy yourself a waterfront abode and you now have the problem of choosing between living on the sunny coastline or the edge of a crystal-clear lake. You likely have many questions about the differences between these two choices and why you ought to pick one over the other. So, which one is better to live in, a beach house or a lake house?

Looking at the consensus on residing permanently in either a beach or lake house, the lake house wins out over the beach house. Personal preferences will be a final deciding factor; however, there are vital points to choosing one over the other, such as cost, average size, maintenance, and privacy.

Some people like hamburgers over pizzas, others prefer motorcars over motorbikes, and some choose chocolate over vanilla – and so it goes with deciding whether or not to opt for a beach or a lake house. However, before making your choice or saying that your mind is already made up, let’s examine the differences as well as pros and cons of each; to help you make the right choice.

The Cost Of Buying A Beach House vs. A Lake House

In general, you will most likely be paying more for either a beach or lake house than a typical residential home.

When it comes to the pricing of these houses, there are a few factors that come into play, such as the location and size of the house, as well as the age and quality of the home. However, the main driving force amid the pricing of a beach house and a lake house is the difference between supply and demand.

More lake houses are available for purchase than beach houses, which causes a substantial margin in price difference. You are most likely going to pay, on average, more for a beach house than a lake house.

Additionally, you will likely have to take out mandatory flooding insurance, and your tax rates are generally going to be higher than that of a lake house. This isn’t to say that you won’t have similar costs involved with your lake house; it just tends to be that you will be forking out more for your beachfront home.

One area where you possibly have to pay more for your lake house is your utilities, as here you are more than likely situated in a more rural and secluded setting, and thus power and water are going to be at a premium.

You will potentially have similar fees for both the lake and beach when signing up with a homeowners association. The homeowners association acts much like a small municipality. They ensure the upkeep of the surrounding area, outline local regulations, and ensure the preservation of the natural splendor of the locale.

Maintenance And General Upkeep Of A Beach House vs. Lake House

You will likely be using two things if you have a lake house: an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system and a septic system. These can potentially give problems and need to be inspected every so often to ensure that repairs are not required. Additionally, many lake houses are either made from wood or at least have components thereof, which need periodic treatment and care.

One such area, in particular, will be your dock, and this is no small undertaking. If you are building a new dock, you are looking at spending between $3000 and $4000 on this project. This is a basic average estimate, and depending on the specifications and quality of the dock, you could be looking at as much as $50,000.

If you are buying a house where a dock is already in existence, be sure to find out how old it is. They tend only to last between 20 and 25 years before they need replacing, which may become an unforeseen expense for which you did not make budget allowances.

Also, it would be wise to take out insurance on your dock, but ensure that you get appropriate cover, as some will only cover incidental damage and not that caused by other factors such as flooding.

Wood is not only an issue for lake houses though; you will experience the same problems at a beach house and pretty much anytime you have a home build on the waterfront. However, because the wind often blows off the sea and there is constant humidity and moisture in the air, beach houses will require more frequent maintenance in this regard.

Speaking of sea air, you also need to consider when deciding between the lake and beach that metal near the ocean does not do well. So, if you have metal window frames, door handles, fencing, and so on, these will require regular treatment.

Additional to these considerations, there is also your car to consider. It is well-known that vehicles kept near the seaside are prone to rusting far quicker than elsewhere. You may well also have a boat, which is terrific, but this too will require ritualistic cleaning to ensure that the salty air does not lead to it corroding.   

The amount of maintenance you will need to do with regards to living on the seashore and its frequency will translate into never-ending expenses.

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Size Differences Between Beach And Lake Houses

This will be reflected in the price tag, but for the monetary equivalent, you are going to get a much more compact dwelling on the beachfront as you would, lakeside. You are either going to have to splurge to get the same sized housing, or you will have to accept the fact that a lake house is going to be more spacious and feel more like an actual house.

In contrast, a beach house will typically have the sense of being on vacation – where you are not fazed by certain inconveniences such as limited space.

The Differences In The Surrounding Area Of A Beach vs. Lake House

Proximity to other people

Beach houses typically tend to be somewhat close to one another, and you are in close driving distance to almost all commodities and services you may need. There are constantly people around, and there is a greater sense of security, knowing that the police are just a phone call away.

However, the crowds that flock to the shore, especially during the holiday season, can cause a great deal of noise. It also makes for a less pleasant and tranquil view when there are many beachgoers around. This can only really be combated by having a double or triple-story home, which in turn is going to contribute to a higher price tag.

With a lake house, you are usually in view of other houses, but your neighbor is undoubtedly not very likely to be in earshot of you. So, if you prefer to spend time in greater isolation, then the lake house option is for you; however, if you enjoy seeing people go by constantly and still being embedded in society, then the beach option is going to be your better choice.

The body of water

There are definitive differences between the types of water you will experience at a beach house instead of a lake house. Let us take a moment to truly consider the distinctions of each and why we may choose one over the other.

You have access to the great and expansive ocean at a beach house, with tumbling waves and warm sandy beaches. There are plenty of fun activities that one can do at the beach, and we have listed them below:

  • View dolphins and other sea life such as whales
  • Play Frisbee
  • Surf
  • Bodyboard
  • Build sandcastles and other sculptures
  • Have a picnic
  • Go fishing
  • Look for seashells
  • Watch the sunrise or set
  • Swim
  • Fly a kite
  • Play football, volleyball, and other ball sports
  • Search for creatures in the tide pools
  • Sandboarding
  • Kite surfing
  • Jet skiing
  • Tan
  • Read a book or magazine

Now there are many other activities which one could do, but at this point, we would like to point out that most of these activities can be done beside a lake as well, while not having to fear things such as sharks, jellyfish, and riptides. There is also the added benefit of not traipsing vast amounts of sand into your home if you live beside a lake.

Another benefit of choosing a lake house over a beach house is that instead of taking your boat to a place where you can launch it, you can simply walk down your private dock and cast off in seconds. This is also true for fishing; you do not need to go boating miles out to sea to cast a line; instead, you can simply walk out your back door and make your way with a fold-up chair and settle down on your dock.  

One can do activities on a lake that may be impossible or much more difficult at sea: paddleboarding, kayaking, water skiing, and canoeing. Beaches also do not usually have trees which at a lake there are plenty of, so something like a rope swing would be impossible at the beach. Also, there is no deep end to the beach; it simply gets deeper the further you wade in.

Lakes, though, have deeper areas in the body of water which make for great cliff jumping or swinging and launching oneself off of a rope swing. You could probably even dive off your dock, as long as this is safe.

When the seasons change, beaches are no longer hotspots for people to entertain themselves; there is very little to do at the beach when it becomes cold and dreary. However, the lakeside tends to lend itself to a greater and more versatile array of activities throughout all the seasons.

The amount and variety of wildlife and scenery of lakes certainly surpass that which you will be able to actively watch, hunt, study, photograph, or paint at the seashore. To truly appreciate the natural wonders of the ocean, one would need to perhaps go on diving expeditions, which are not for everyone.

The environment

There is something incredibly wondrous about the salty ocean breeze and the awe-inspiring sound and sight of waves crashing onto the beach. Still, fresh mountain air and the stillness of being surrounded by nature in a lake house are something many find to be incomparable.

That wonderful warm and woody aroma that may be interwoven with pine is intoxicating. However, each of us is an individual and we do have our preferences. You may be an avid beachgoer who appreciates nothing better than the enticing ocean smell and you quite dislike the idea of the great outdoors at a lake house.

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Things To Do Once Night Falls On A Beach House vs. A Lake House

This is an area where the beach house is probably going to win over the lake house. Sure, you could have friends come and stay with you at your lake house, but that would generally be short-lived and not the norm for the greater part of your time spent living there.

Apart from playing games, watching television, and enjoying sitting out on your dock in the evening, there is very little to do that is ready at hand for you to grab. Going anywhere will likely mean traveling, and if you intend on drinking while out, you are unlikely to get an Uber in some more remote places.

On the flip side, if you live in a beach house, you are often living in a town or city and have easy access to the nightlife. You are not cut off from the world, and having people over is much easier when living in a coastal locale than at the lakeside. You can easily pop into the center of town to go to a bar or restaurant or even see a movie or perhaps grab a takeaway.

The Community Experience Of Beach House vs. Lake House

Although you may become friends with your beachfront neighbors, there tends to be a greater sense of community amongst those living at a lakeside. This may not be the case in all areas, but typically and probably because you are generally more isolated, people tend to want to engage with their neighbors more.

You would usually have greater privacy though and are less likely to constantly see your neighbors, which is in stark contrast to beach house living. Still, you at least have the contact details and trust of those living around you, as they will likely be the first you call if you encounter any problems.

Another aspect that has come to light in 2020 and 2021 and potentially for the foreseeable future is Covid-19 and the various complications and worries that come along with that. In the past, people may have chosen to live in beachfront houses; however, nowadays, more and more people are picking the option that provides less contact with the general public.

The lake house is definitely seeing an uptrend in the markets, so if you are looking to buy your ideal lake house, now would be an excellent time to get in before demand surpasses supply.   


We have given you a fair amount to mull over now, and the rest is up to you. Although there is a general leaning to lake houses being preferable over beach houses for a multitude of reasons, many people will still opt for beachfront living.

Depending on your budget and how willing you are to ensure constant maintenance gets done, you will potentially choose one over the other. Sea-side homes generally require more significant work, and perhaps you do not want to spend as much on upkeep as you would with a lake house.

You will likely get a bigger and better deal on a lakeside house than you would for a beach house going for the same asking price. This primarily comes down to supply and demand and these are likely to be greatly affected by the COVID scenario.

Finally, it would be best to decide what types of past-times you enjoy and ultimately, you need to focus on what it is that your heart truly desires.