The Pacific Northwest is home to a variety of climates, including the Pacific Coast and the Rocky Mountains, and is filled with fantastic cities and towns – perfect for retirees with free time. Outdoor enthusiasts in particular can take advantage of the many parks and abundant wildlife to explore in their retirement years.
While the Pacific Northwest doesn’t necessarily have the lowest cost of living in the country, there are still some affordable areas. And the generous tax laws in Washington and Oregon can offset some of the cost burden.
Whether you are interested in big city life or more at home in a small town, you will likely find it in the northwest. Here’s a look at four retired cities in the leafy Cascadia region.
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1. Wenatchee, Washington
Wenatchee, a small town in central Washington, is home to about 34,000 people, about 18% of whom are 60 years or older. It’s just on the west side of the Rockies so there’s still enough rain to enjoy lots of greenery. In fact, it is known as the apple capital of the world thanks to its lush orchards.
While the median price to buy a home in Wenatchee is below the state median, it’s around $ 250,000, so you might need a mortgage depending on your situation. If you have a home for sale, or if you are from a more expensive area, a small downsizing could make it quite affordable. And of course it helps that Washington has no state income tax.
Located right on the Columbia River, Wenatchee is great for outdoor enthusiasts, and there are more than 20 local and state parks nearby. Gardeners can also benefit from the great climate to keep up with their green fingers. There is plenty to do for those interested in culture thanks to a vibrant arts scene that includes a local theater and performing arts center.
2. Vancouver, Washington
If you want that big city feeling – without actually being in the big city – Vancouver is the place for you. Although it has a robust population of just over 180,000, around 20% of them are 60 years or older, which gives you plenty of compatriots in the city.
Vancouver is right on the Washington-Oregon border, which makes it perfect for tax purposes. Retirees with an address in Washington cannot benefit from state income tax, while in Oregon they cannot enjoy state sales tax across the border. Housing is well below the state median and is around 287,000 US dollars in the median of home values.
Across the river from Portland, Oregon, Vancouver residents can enjoy all that the city has to offer. Within its own boundaries, the city is full of historical sites and local museums, including the Pearson Air Museum and Grant House. It’s also a dynamic place to get out and about, nestled on the Columbia River and just a short drive from the Pacific Ocean.
3rd Port, Oregon
If your ideal retirement location is a small town where everyone knows your name, visit Harbor, Oregon. The population amounts to just under 2,000 people, the vast majority of whom are of retirement age. In fact, the median age in the city is a venerable 71.7 years, and around 80% of residents are 60 years or older.
Oregon itself is a great place for retirees for tax purposes – it doesn’t collect state sales taxes or tax any Social Security income. You also don’t have to worry about getting a massive mortgage, as the average home value in Harbor is only $ 139,000.
As the name suggests, Harbor is located directly on the Pacific coast, not far from California’s northern border. This gives the city a warm climate and helps avoid winter extremes. There is plenty to do outdoors, especially if you enjoy camping or fishing. However, if you are looking for a cerebral culture experience, you will need to drive for a couple of hours.
4. Sequim, Washington
Sequim is definitely a small town – the population is over 7,000 – but it’s only a few hours’ drive from Seattle. Alternatively, head straight into town through the harbors of Puget Sound. And when you are at home, you have a lot of people to talk to as around 40% of the residents are at least 60 years old.
While it’s close enough to Seattle to spend a weekend there, Sequim is far enough away not to pay Seattle real estate prices. The average home value is around $ 239,000. And, as mentioned above, Washington has no state income tax, which will help you ease your financial burden a little.
Recreational activities are easy to find in the Sequim area, especially for those who love the water. Boating and fishing are unsurprisingly popular, but there are plenty of green spaces and hiking opportunities to enjoy too. Then head to the big city for a cultural weekend to round off your week.
Live your best life in the Pacific Northwest
From sky-blue seashores to idyllic mountain valleys, the Pacific Northwest is a picturesque place to spend your retirement. From small towns to larger towns, almost every retiree can find a place to call home.