10 Best Places To Retire In Washington For 2019


We analyzed over 77 places in Washington to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best places to retire in Washington.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Washington.

Where exactly in Washington is the best place to retire? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data — which returns Camas as the best place to hang up your cleats.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Washington that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Camas don’t mind us spreading the word.

Why did Camas take the top spot? And where are Seattle and Spokane?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

For Washington state reading:

Camas, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 21,393
Rank Last Year: 100 (Up 99)
Median Rent: $1,100
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
More on Camas: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Camas is a city in Clark County, Washington, with a population of 19,355 at the 2010 census. The east side of town borders the city of Washougal, Washington, and the west side of town borders Vancouver, Washington. Camas lies along the Washington side of the Columbia River, across from Troutdale, Oregon, and is part of the Portland metropolitan area.

Vancouver, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 169,982
Rank Last Year: 43 (Up 41)
Median Rent: $986
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Vancouver: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Vancouver is a city on the north bank of the Columbia River in the U.S. State of Washington, and the largest suburb of Portland, Oregon. Incorporated in 1857, it is the fourth largest city in the state, with a population of 161,791 as of April 1, 2010 census. Vancouver is the county seat of Clark County and forms part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area, the 23rd largest metropolitan area in the United States. Originally established in 1825 around Fort Vancouver, a fur-trading outpost, the city is located on the Washington-Oregon border along the Columbia River, directly north of Portland. In 2005, Money magazine named it No. 91 on its list of best places in America to live. In 2016, WalletHub ranks Vancouver the 39th best place in the US for families to live.

Review Of Vancouver by HomeSnacks User

I grew up and currently live in Vancouver, WA. It is a suburb that seems like a small town at times. It is a calmer city than Portland with all the conveniences and walking trails, a nice waterfront, and a historical fort.

Watch out for congested roads and drivers who do not know what they are doing.

Lynden, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 13,204
Rank Last Year: 94 (Up 91)
Median Rent: $975
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
More on Lynden: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lynden is the second largest city in Whatcom County, Washington, United States. Named and established in 1874 near the site of the Nooksack Indian village Squahalish, the city of Lynden began as a pioneer settlement headed by Holden and Phoebe Judson.

Kenmore, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 21,830
Rank Last Year: 101 (Up 97)
Median Rent: $1,196
Distance to Closest Airport: 15 miles
More on Kenmore: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kenmore is a city in King County, Washington, United States, along the northernmost shores of Lake Washington. A mix of bedroom community, one-time country retreat, and freshwater industrial port, prominent features include the nation’s largest seaplane-only, commercial air facility at Kenmore Air Harbor, Bastyr University, several waterside parks and marinas, and easy access to the Burke-Gilman Trail and the King County bike-trail system. Sites of local historical interest include the former St. Edward Seminary, now Saint Edward State Park; and Log Boom Park. Kenmore’s official city flower is the dahlia, the official city bird is the great blue heron, and the official city evergreen is the rhododendron. The population was 20,460 at the 2010 census.

Port Angeles, WA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 19,420
Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 24)
Median Rent: $804
Distance to Closest Airport: 29 miles
More on Port Angeles: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Port Angeles is a city in and the county seat of Clallam County, Washington, United States. With a population of 19,038 as of the 2010 census, it is the largest city in the county. The population was estimated at 19,448 in 2015 by the Office of Financial Management.

Anacortes, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 16,229
Rank Last Year: 90 (Up 84)
Median Rent: $1,059
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
More on Anacortes: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Anacortes is a city in Skagit County, Washington, United States. The name “Anacortes” is an adaptation of the name of Anne Curtis Bowman, who was the wife of early Fidalgo Island settler Amos Bowman. Anacortes’ population was 15,778 at the time of the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Ferndale, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 12,666
Rank Last Year: 61 (Up 54)
Median Rent: $881
Distance to Closest Airport: 4 miles
More on Ferndale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ferndale is a city in Whatcom County, Washington, United States. The population was 11,415 at the 2010 census. It is the third largest city in Whatcom County and borders the Lummi Nation on its southern border.

Bainbridge Island, WA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 23,576
Rank Last Year: 102 (Up 94)
Median Rent: $1,233
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
More on Bainbridge Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bainbridge Island is a city in Kitsap County, Washington, United States, and is coextensive with the eponymous island in Puget Sound. The population was 23,025 at the 2010 census, making Bainbridge Island the second largest city in Kitsap County.

Review Of Bainbridge Island by HomeSnacks User

Just moved to Bainbridge Island last year and we think it’s fabulous! Weak reasons for BI to appear on this list! And I’ll take 35 minute ferry ride any day instead of sitting in my car in traffic!

That 35 minutes; read the paper, check emails, and a fabulous Happy Hour on the ride home! Are you kidding me!!! Who made up this list- BTW, there’s plenty to do on the island! Hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, shopping, boating, golf, tennis, should I go on-

Washougal, WA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 14,987
Rank Last Year: 69 (Up 61)
Median Rent: $962
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
More on Washougal: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Washougal is a city in Clark County, Washington, United States. The population was 14,095 as of the 2010 Census.

Des Moines, WA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 30,904
Rank Last Year: 56 (Up 46)
Median Rent: $1,114
Distance to Closest Airport: 4 miles
More on Des Moines: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Des Moines is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 29,673 as of the 2010 census.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Evergreen State for 2019

To create our list of the best places in Washington to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Evergreen State — 617 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 11,000 people that weren’t townships. This left us with 77 places from across the state.

For these 77, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 77, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Camas, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire In Washington Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Washington goes to Camas.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Port Orchard
  2. Monroe
  3. Bonney Lake

For more Washington reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Washington?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Camas 21,393 $1,100
2 Vancouver 169,982 $986
3 Lynden 13,204 $975
4 Kenmore 21,830 $1,196
5 Port Angeles 19,420 $804
6 Anacortes 16,229 $1,059
7 Ferndale 12,666 $881
8 Bainbridge Island 23,576 $1,233
9 Washougal 14,987 $962
10 Des Moines 30,904 $1,114

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.