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The 10 Best Places to Retire in Washington State

You’ve probably thought about what activities you’ll fill your time with when you retire. Maybe you have a hobby you’ve been wanting to take up or one that you simply haven’t had much time for. Maybe you’ll take up volunteering, spend time with your grandchildren, or simply have more time to relax.

While you’ve thought about what you’ll do with your retirement, have you actually thought about where you’ll retire? The state you choose to retire in may be more important than you think. It determines what activities you’ll have access to, the climate you’ll spend your golden years in, and how expensive your retirement will be.

Washington is a popular state for young and old people alike, making it a popular retirement destination. Keep reading to learn why Washington is a good place to retire and the top 10 cities in Washington to retire.

Is Washington State a Good Place to Retire?

It’s easy to see why so many people consider Washington one of the best states to retire. The western state is known for its outdoor recreation and landscape. It’s home to Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and plenty of other beautiful mountains, not to mention its many bodies of water. As a result, residents enjoy activities like hiking, boating, camping, and more.

Washington also has a great climate for seniors. Unlike many other popular retirement destinations, the state doesn’t experience extreme winters or summers. Instead, it has a relatively moderate climate year-round.

Finally, despite its high cost of living, Washington doesn’t have a state income tax. As a result, seniors can keep more of their hard-earned retirement money rather than handing it back to the state government.

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Washington State Retirement: 10 Best Cities to Retire In

Gig Harbor

Population: 12,181
% of Population Above 65:9%
Median Home Value: $820,613
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 21% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 38% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Gig Harbor is a small Washington city located in the western part of the state, just a short drive from Tacoma. It’s located on a bay with its same name on Puget Sound on the shore of Pierce County. The city is known for its waterfront, which is very walkable and lined with shops. It’s also home to a historical maritime museum and its views of both Puget Sound and Mount Rainier.

Gig Harbor has plenty of advantages, including its beautiful views, outdoor recreation, and its large senior population. However, it also has a cost of living, housing costs, and a crime rate that are all higher than the state’s average.

Snohomish

Population: 10,154
% of Population Above 65: 17%
Median Home Value: $949,956
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 13% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 19% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Snohomish is a small Washington city located in the western part of the state in Snohomish County. The city is located on the Snohomish River and is less than an hour from Seattle. Snohomish is known as the Antique Capital of the Northwest. It’s also known for its historic downtown, which sits along the Snohomish River.

Snohomish has plenty of perks for retirees, including its large senior population and small-town feel. However, it also has a cost of living, housing costs, and a crime rate that are all higher than the state’s average.

Sequim

Population: 8,241
% of Population Above 65: 34%
Median Home Value: $621,028
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 6% lower
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 1% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Sequim is a small city in Clallam County in the northwestern part of the state. It’s located on the waterfront, as well as near the base of the Olympic Mountains, just outside of Olympic National Park. As a result, it’s no surprise the area is known for its outdoor recreation. The city also sits along the Dungeness River and is known for its Dungeness Crab.

Sequim residents enjoy a cost of living and housing costs that are lower than the state’s average. It also has a large senior population — more than one-third of the city’s residents are 65 or older.

Anacortes

Population: 17,832
% of Population Above 65:5%
Median Home Value: $759,779
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 8% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 23% lower
Amenities Score: A+

Anacortes is a small city in northwestern Washington in Skagit County. The city is surrounded by water, including the Rosario Strait and Padilla Bay. The city is known for its outdoor recreation, especially as it relates to water. It’s a popular place for camping and boating. And because it’s home to Mount Erie, it’s also the perfect place for hiking. Anacortes is a popular stop for those on their way to the San Juan Islands.

Anacortes has a cost of living and housing costs that are a bit higher than the state’s average. However, it also enjoys a low crime rate and a large senior population, with more than a quarter of its residents being 65 or older.

Lynnwood

Population: 40,592
% of Population Above 65:6%
Median Home Value: $799,315
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 14% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 45% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Lynnwood is a medium-sized city in Snohomish County, located in the northwestern part of the state. It’s a part of the Seattle metropolitan area and is just a short drive from the big city. Lynnwood is best known for its outdoor recreation, including its wildlife habitat, floating boardwalks, walking trails, and more. It’s filled with parks and is located just minutes from Puget Sound.

Despite its beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation, Lynnwood does have some disadvantages. It has an overall cost of living, housing costs, and crime rate that are higher than the state’s average.

Woodinville

Population: 13,425
% of Population Above 65:3%
Median Home Value: $1,416,768
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 36% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 3% lower
Amenities Score: A+

Woodinville is a small city located in King County in the northwestern part of Washington. It’s a part of the Seattle metropolitan area, meaning its residents can enjoy everything the nearby big city has to offer. Woodinville is a tourist town known for its wine industry. It’s surrounded by wineries, along with plenty of recreational activities.

While the city has some advantages, it’s also one of the most expensive places to live in Washington. The city’s overall cost of living is considerably higher than the state’s average, and the median home value is more than $1.4 million.

Clarkston

Population: 7,194
% of Population Above 65:9%
Median Home Value: $309,032
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 19% lower
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 20% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Clarkston is a small Washington city located in Asotin County in the southeastern part of the state. It’s located across the border from Lewiston, Idaho, and is a part of the Lewiston metropolitan area. The city sits at the intersection of the Snake River and the Clearwater River. In fact, the Port of Clarkston houses one of the largest cranes on a navigable waterway east of Portland. The city is also home to riverfront parks, wineries, and other recreation activities.

Clarkson is one of the most affordable cities on our list, with an overall cost of living and housing costs that are below the state’s average. However, the city also has a relatively small senior population and a crime rate that’s higher than the state average.

Olympia

Population: 55,919
% of Population Above 65:4%
Median Home Value: $547,953
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 1% lower
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 25% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Olympia is the capital of Washington, located at the southern end of Puget Sound. The city is known for its state capital campus, which sits just off the water. Like much of the state, the city offers a beautiful view of the mountains. It is also home to the Percival Landing Park, which sits along the water and has a boardwalk. The city is a popular place for both residents and tourists thanks to its beautiful views and its recreational activities.

Olympia has a cost of living and average housing costs that are lower than the state’s average. It also has a large senior population. However, the city also has a crime rate that’s considerably higher than the state’s average.

Port Townsend

Population: 10,306
% of Population Above 65:2%
Median Home Value: $586,161
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 4% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 25% lower
Amenities Score: A

Port Townsend is a small Washington city in Jefferson County. The city is located at the very tip of the Quimper Peninsula on the Salish Sea, Puget Sound, and Port Townsend Bay. The small city is known for its outdoor recreation, including its waterfront parks, its historic state park, and the Point Wilson Lighthouse. The city is also known for its Victorian architecture, which can be found in many of the local homes and buildings.

Port Townsend offers an overall cost of living that’s slightly higher than the state’s average. However, its housing costs and crime rate are both lower than the state average. Additionally, more than one-third of the state’s residents are 65 or older.

Clyde Hill

Population: 3,360
% of Population Above 65: 21%
Median Home Value: $3,998,818
Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 154% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): Equal to
Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 65% lower
Amenities Score: A+

Clyde Hill is a small Washington city in the northwestern part of Washington. It’s located in King County, sitting on the opposite side of Lake Washington as Seattle. Clyde Hill is one of the most affluent parts of both Washington and the U.S. overall. The median housing price is nearly $4 million, and the overall cost of living is more than 150% higher than the state’s average. As a result, it’s unaffordable for many.

Despite its high cost of living, Clyde Hill has some major advantages. First, it has a crime rate that’s considerably lower than the national average. It also has beautiful views of Lake Washington, Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and more. Additionally, despite being a small city, its proximity to Seattle means its residents can enjoy everything the big city has to offer.

Our Take

It’s easy to see why Washington is such a popular state for retirees, with its beautiful views, outdoor recreation, mild weather, and the fact that it doesn’t have a state income tax. That being said, where you’ll spend your retirement isn’t the only thing you should be planning for. It’s important to make sure your finances are in order to help you enjoy a comfortable retirement. Visit the Personal Capital Retirement Planner to find out if you’re on track for retirement and what you can change in your savings plan to reach your retirement goals.

Get Started with Personal Capital’s Free Financial Tools

Author is not a client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and is compensated as a freelance writer.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. Compensation not to exceed $500. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.

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