While Washington State may not possess Florida or Nevada weather (and thus retirement reputation), the Evergreen State has plenty of characteristics that make it a desirable destination for living out your golden years.
The state offers everything from vibrant cities to charming small towns and rural countryside living. Plus, it is one of the more tax-friendly states for seniors and appeals to both longtime residents and older adults across the country thanks to its mild climate, wealth of outdoor recreation, and gourmet coffee.
Retirement-Friendly Cities in Washington State
In general, the western portion of Washington State is dominated by a lush, green landscape because of the generous amount of rain it receives. Yet you can find a warmer, desert climate in eastern part of the state in what is known as Washington’s Wine Country. Washington State doesn’t have income tax, nor does it tax social security, pension or retirement accounts. Meanwhile, residents enjoy low property tax compared to the average and as long as your estate is less than $2.193 million there is no inheritance tax.
If you are looking to retire in Washington State, the next step is choosing the right destination. There are several factors to take into consideration, including your financial situation; proximity to family and friends; whether you are aging in place or moving to a retirement community; your favorite hobbies and activities; and your level of health. Not every city will appeal to retirees in the same way; it depends on your personal goals and lifestyle needs.
To help you start narrowing down your selections, here is a look at some of the best retirement cities in Washington State. These spots were evaluated based on affordability, tax burden, accessibility to healthcare, recreation centers and retirement communities, among other factors.
1. Gig Harbor
Gig Harbor is known to be one of the best places to retire in Washington State. Situated on the Puget Sound, Gig Harbor is in close proximity to the larger cities of Tacoma and Seattle, as well as quaint little cities like Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo. The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is only about 30 miles from downtown Gig Harbor. About a quarter of the population consists of seniors. Plus, you have great access to healthcare through the St. Anthony’s Hospital, Multicare Health Systems, and Franciscan Medical Group.
Olympia, Washington’s capital, is another one of the best cities to retire in. The city doesn’t host too many retirement communities, because seniors make up less than a quarter of the population, but it has robust healthcare offerings. There is plenty to do and see in Olympia, from nature conservation areas and public parks to recreation centers. Both the South Sound Wine Trail and the South Sound Coffee Trail run through Olympia. You are only an hour away from the Seattle metro area, but Olympia has a notably lower cost of living.
3. West Seattle
The West Seattle area often ranks high in terms of overall livability, but it is also building a reputation as a desirable retirement destination. Due to the many parks and local recreation it is often seen as one of best places to retire for good health on a national level. The urban center is surrounded by waterways, nature trails, and parks meaning active adults are never far from the outdoor recreation they crave. Additionally, you can find excellent healthcare in the West Seattle metropolitan area due to it being a part of the larger Seattle Metro area. There is also an abundance of culture and diversity in the city and Seniors can take full advantage of the local flavor that adds to the city.
Both Forbes and MoneyWise have at one time described Wenatchee as one of the nation’s top places to retire. Wenatchee, as well as the greater Wenatchee Valley area, is located in Central Washington. This small, scenic city—known as the Apple Capital of the World—boasts a low cost of living, a low serious crime rate, plenty of performing arts centers and wineries, high-quality healthcare and less rain than the western cities. Between the revitalized downtown and Wenatchee’s location on the Columbia River, seniors can enjoy shopping, dining and cultural activities along with outdoor recreation.
Sequim has the highest percentage of seniors in the State of Washington, with roughly 37% of the local population composed of older adults. This beautiful, active community, which is located on the Olympic Peninsula, has very reasonable housing prices for those wanting to age-in-place and several retirement communities. Seniors also can enjoy some of the best access to healthcare and a relatively affordable cost of living. Because Sequim is situated in the Olympic rain shadow, the average annual rainfall is only 17 inches. Most days are sunny and mild.
6. Federal Way
Perhaps we are biased but to us Federal Way is the top place to retire in Washington. Conveniently located within the Seattle metropolitan, it shares all the same desirable characteristics as all of the top places in Washington State; however, it also has its own distinct culture and atmosphere. Federal Way offers a dense suburban feel, with lots of restaurants, coffee shops and parks, so you can get the best of the city and the outdoors while not being right in the middle of urban congestion. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge their interests on a daily basis at PowellsWood Garden, West Hybloes Wetlands Park, Dash Point State Park or via the numerous community parks and biking trails in the area. Federal Way also boasts some of the state’s top retirement communities, such as Village Green Retirement Campus. And seniors can cultivate an active, comfortable and rewarding lifestyle in Federal Way.
Retiring in Washington State
Finding the right city to retire in for you or a loved one is an important undertaking. The community that surrounds you plays a critical role in determining your quality of life for the next several years, or even decades. In conjunction with the city itself, you also have to find a retirement community that offers what you need for a comfortable, fulfilling future. From its beginning, Village Green has focused on creating a breathtaking natural setting for seniors, where you can enjoy unparalleled peace and tranquility in your golden years. Whether you need independent living or assisted living, you will find the ideal housing situation and also have access to a wide range of amenities, activities and other enrichment opportunities at Village Green.