Buy an existing home instead of land.
The idea of building a house to suit your dreams is very appealing. However, in resort areas, it can quickly turn into a nightmare.
To build a house from the ground up, you may have to deal with coastal authorities, local building restrictions, aggressive homeowners associations and sketchy contractors who work for beer money -- if they feel like it.
Coastal commissions in some states are so controlling that they define which plants you can grow. In ritzy resort areas, homeowners associations won't even let you paint your deck unless you use a contractor on an approved list.
Granted, not all resort areas come with these caveats, but the process of building a house rarely comes in under budget. If you want to keep your costs under control, stick with a house that's already there.