Right now with a depreciating market which is good for buyers but not necessarily great for sellers it's possible to find properties near the water for less than 300K.
Homes that you're describing on the gulf or canals with gulf access are going for significantly more. That being said, the occasional water-view home becomes available on rare occasion. You might very much enjoy Crystal Beach and Ozona which are non-deed restricted "Old Florida" sections of Palm Harbor (follow the link below for more info). While you may not end up on the water, these communities have a 'beach' feel to them.
Also, there are plenty of homes just as you are describing up and down the coast including Tarpon, Palm Harbor, Dunedin and Clearwater within just a few minutes of the water. Might I suggest that you may be best served by finding an exclusive buyer's agent that specializes in West Pinellas Real Estate to help you find the home of your dreams (by the way, that's exactly what we do! feel free to give us a call just to chat).
Julia & Matt Fishel
Suncoast Parnters @ Keller Williams Realty
35095 US Hwy 19 N., Suite 100
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
In water front communities such as Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor thier are loads of opportunities available. You however will need to narrow your parameter a bit.
When you come to Florida I will have a conversation with you about your quality of life needs and will make sure the location matches this opportunity for a new beginning. Give me a call for more information. Feel free to visit http://www.mylistingbook.listingbook.com to look at homes in Dunedin and Safety Harbor.