6 terrific towns on the water

Many baby boomers dream of retiring somewhere by the water. These half-dozen places are on a lake, a river or an ocean - yet they won't sink your retirement budget.

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Marble Falls, TX
Marble Falls, TX
If you tire of Lake Marble Falls, there are six other lakes nearby.
Pros: Plenty of affordable property right near the water.
Cons: Summer temperatures can hit the triple digits.

Until recently, this little town in the hill country 47 miles northwest of Austin was a well-kept secret. But word has leaked out of the Lone Star State that this area isn't just a refuge from high home prices. With its gently rolling terrain, stately trees, colorful wildflowers and - increasingly - vineyards and fine cuisine, it's a little piece of Provence in the big ole state of Texas.

It's also smack dab in the middle of a chain of seven large lakes on the Colorado River. The town of Marble Falls boasts one of them: Lake Marble Falls, created by a 1951 dam that submerged the falls for which the place was named. For now, at least, Marble Falls remains a hospitable little place with a whole lot of comfort food, country music and cowboy character.

Home prices, which average about $250,000 near the water, are affordable by most standards. Taxes are tolerable (though property taxes are high, the state leaves your income alone), and a new regional medical center is slated to open in the next few years. And when the thermometer hits 100? Just make tracks for the lake.

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Last updated September 16 2008: 11:21 AM ET
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