The sand, the sun, the sound of waves lapping against the shore—when you are living by the beach, life is good! As amazing as it all sounds, there are many things to consider if you are thinking of building a vacation home by the beach.

While the location, safety factors, proximity to the beach, and accessibility can be easily fixed, it’s finalizing the house plan that can feel like a Sisyphean task. Your plan outlines the complete structure of the home from the foundation to the entire interior layout. It is the “map” or the complete resource your builder has for the entire building project — making it all the more important to get it right!

With over 30K+ house plans created by over 200 design experts and architects, Architectural Designs is an excellent place to find the perfect plan for your new beach-side vacation home.

In this article, we will take you through some of the essential things to consider when you are building a vacation home by the beach, with flawless plans of coastal homes from Architectural Designs to inspire you.

  1. Location: The Most Important Factor in Real Estate

  2. Safety and Longevity

  3. Great Ocean Views

  4. Narrow Footprint

  5. Proximity to the Beach

  6. Open Floor Plan

  7. Easy Access Between Floors

  8. Space for Entertaining

  9. Timeless Design

1. Location: The Most Important Factor in Real Estate

Everyone knows the golden rule when it comes to real estate—location, location, location. Your neighborhood has a large impact on the value of your home and your quality of life. While you can upgrade the house later on and even change its size, the location is one factor that you cannot change.

For beach properties, Florida is one of the most popular states to invest in residential real estate. Apart from the year-round warm weather, Florida has one of the top-most real estate markets in the country. Let it be Palm Beach, Miami, or The Keys, you cannot go wrong with a vacation property in Southern Florida.

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Inspiration: This Spacious Florida House Plan with 2 stories and a huge front-facing balcony. The separate master suite comes with its own sitting room and a great view. You can get the elevations, floor plans, electrical layouts, foundation plans, the cost to build, and more at Architectural Designs.

Check Out The Spacious Florida House Plan with Rec Room Here. (Price: PDF/CAD Single-Build – $4265)

2. Safety and Longevity

With all its amazing perks, one of the biggest challenges of building a house by the beach is damage from natural elements such as humidity, salt spray corrosion, and the exposure to direct sun for most of the year. Therefore, your vacation house should have a well-thought-out plan to protect itself against such elements. This includes hurricane shutters and building floors that can stand up to persistent salt and water from the ocean.

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Inspiration: This Beach House plan that is built on a post and pier foundation has plenty of great safety features to protect your beach vacation home against water damage and extreme weather conditions. Raised beach houses such as these are great for the areas with risks of flooding. The elevated floors will also give you a lovelier bird’s-eye view of the surroundings when you are at the upstairs deck.

Checkout Architectural Design Beach House Plan on Post and Pier Foundation Here (Price: PDF Single-Build – $1200)

3. Great Ocean Views

Since our early days when we lived in nature, humans have always loved a great view. It is one of the biggest reasons we go on beach vacations. The feeling of peace when waking up to the sunrise at the horizon when you wake up at the beach is truly unmatched. In fact, according to the National Ocean Service, living by the ocean is great for your mental and physical health for this very reason. Therefore, when you are building a beach vacation home, a great priority should be given to ensuring that you get the best view possible.

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Inspiration: This stunning Coastal Living Home Plan is just what you need when you are craving a magnificent view of the beach. The lookout tower with a lovely spiral staircase is made just to soak up the amazing scenery around you. The family room has a fireplace and overlooks the ocean through the large windows.

Checkout Architectural Designs Coastal Living Home Plan with Lookout Tower Here. (Price: PDF Single-Build – $1100)

4. Narrow Footprint

There are two major reasons for going for a plan with a narrow footprint when you build your vacation home. The first, of course, is that the lots available in the coastal areas are quite small due to competitive real estate. Second, a well-planned house with necessary features conveniently included tends to be more energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

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Inspiration: Narrow Contemporary Coastal House Plan by Architectural Designs packs a ton of features into a narrow footprint that can fit in most lots. The plan consists of two stories, a spacious kitchen with a walk-in pantry, and 4-5 beds depending on your requirement.

Checkout Architectural Designs Narrow Contemporary Coastal House Plan Here. (Price: PDF Single-Build – $1200)

5. Proximity to the Beach

An oceanfront property is a dream. When you think of a vacation home by the beach, you think of sand under your feet and the sounds of the ocean surrounding you. This means, the closer you can get to the beach, the better. However, do thorough research on the elevation of the land, the size, and also the possibility of flooding when you plan your vacation home. Many coastal properties fall into flood zones. Therefore, elevated foundations are often a must when you get closer to the beach.

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Inspiration: This lovely beach house is designed to get you as close to the beach as possible. The hurricane shutters add a classic charm to the home exterior while protecting you against the elements. The large loft with a deck is the best place to enjoy the sunset with a nice cup of coffee.

Checkout Architectural Designs Beach House Plan on Post and Pier Foundation Here. (Price: PDF Single-Build – $1200)

6. Open Floor Plan

Vacation homes are all about freedom and entertainment, so why constrict your space with too many walls. An open floor plan allows you to utilize your space most efficiently while keeping things bright and airy. Living on the beach is all about the sun and sand. With an open floor plan, you can let the sunshine flood every nook and corner in your house, which also prevents any mold and mildew issues due to moisture and humidity in the air.

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Inspiration: This is a sleek and modern 3 story coastal house design with an open floor plan. It is great for a narrow lot, with an exterior that appears quite elegant and large. With a treat-room that is warmed by a fireplace and lined with built-in bookshelves, this house will make a great retreat for a writer and a booklover.

Checkout Architectural Designs Modern Coastal House Plan with Third Floor Master Suite Here. (Price: PDF Single-Build – $1400)

7. Easy Access Between Floors

Being accessible is an extremely important aspect when you are building a new home. Even if you or your family do not have any mobility issues, ensuring that everyone can easily access all floors is quite important.

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Inspiration: The plan comes with an elevator for quick and easy access between floors. The garage is big enough for 2 cars, and you can have 3-4 bedrooms.

The master suite and the main living areas are located toward the back to take advantage of any rearward views. There is a large back porch for your happy evenings in front of the ocean with your family. If you are thinking of an oceanfront vacation home to spend your retirement in luxury and peace, this is a great option for you. It is ideal for a family with small children who needs easy access between floors as well.

Checkout Architectural Designs 4-Bed Coastal House Plan with Bunk Room Here. (Price: PDF Single-Build – $1800)

8. Space for Entertaining

What is a vacation home by the beach if you cannot invite your family and friends for some entertainment?

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Inspiration: This ultra-modern coastal home is designed with both indoor and outdoor lifestyle in mind. It has a great flow between the indoor living areas and the outdoor spaces to entertain as many as you want.

The kitchen has a massive cooktop for your prepping and cooking. The foyer and the great room have double-height ceilings to add spaciousness and freedom to the surroundings. The plan has an open floor plan that allows plenty of natural light inside.

Checkout Architectural Designs Modern Beach House for Indoor/Outdoor Lifestyle Here. (Price: PDF/CAD Single-Build – $3385)

9. Timeless Design

Building a vacation home by the beach can bring an excellent return on investment and access to a delightful vacation spot at all times. When you are not there, it could be a very reliable income stream since humans simply cannot get enough of the beach and the ocean. Therefore, always go for classic architecture and a timeless design when you plan your vacation home.

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Inspiration: This 2-story house plan makes for a lovely coastal vacation home. The front elevation has a lovely mix of stone and Hardiplank that makes it look like a classic island home. You get front-to-back views from the foyer on the first floor, making it a perfect space for entertaining.

Checkout Architectural Designs Open and Inviting Beach House Plan Here. (Price: PDF Single-Build – $3385)

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