When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But 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.
But where exactly in Washington? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
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.
Here are our top ten places in the Evergreen State to retire for 2018:
- Camas (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Vancouver (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lynden (Homes For Sale)
- Kenmore (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Port Angeles (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Anacortes (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Ferndale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bainbridge Island (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Washougal (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Des Moines (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Evergreen State
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 with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’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.
Population: 21,393Median Rent: $1,100
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,514
More on Camas: Homes For Sale | Data
Officially incorporated on June 18, 1906, the city is named after the camas lily, a plant with an onion-like bulb prized by Native Americans. At the west end of downtown Camas is a large Georgia-Pacific paper mill from which the high school teams get their name ‘the Papermakers’. A paper mill was first established in the city in 1883 with the support of Henry Pittock, a wealthy entrepreneur from England who had settled in Portland, Oregon, where he published The Oregonian.
Population: 169,982Median Rent: $986
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,652
More on Vancouver: Homes For Sale | Data
The Vancouver area was inhabited by a variety of Native American tribes, most recently the Chinook and Klickitat nations, with permanent settlements of timber longhouses. The Chinookan and Klickitat names for the area were reportedly Skit-so-to-ho and Ala-si-kas, respectively, meaning ‘land of the mud-turtles.’ First European contact was made in 1775, with approximately half of the indigenous population dead from smallpox before the Lewis and Clark expedition camped in the area in 1806. Within another fifty years, other actions and diseases such as measles, malaria and influenza had reduced the Chinookan population from an estimated 80,000 ‘to a few dozen refugees, landless, slaveless and swindled out of a treaty.’
Meriwether Lewis wrote that the Vancouver area was ‘the only desired situation for settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.’ The first permanent European settlement did not occur until 1824, when Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company. From that time on, the area was settled by both the US and Britain under a ‘joint occupation’ agreement. Joint occupation led to the Oregon boundary dispute and ended on June 15, 1846, with the signing of the Oregon Treaty, which gave the United States full control of the area. Before 1845, American Henry Williamson laid out a large claim west of the Hudson’s Bay Company (including part of the present-day Port of Vancouver), called Vancouver City and properly registered his claim at the U.S. courthouse in Oregon City, before leaving for California. In 1850, Amos Short traced over the claim of Williamson and named the town Columbia City. It changed to Vancouver in 1855. The City of Vancouver was incorporated on January 23, 1857.
Population: 13,204Median Rent: $975
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,083
More on Lynden: Homes For Sale | Data
Lynden was begun in 1871 and established in 1874 by Holden and Phoebe Judson near the site of the Nooksack Indian village Squahalish (Nooksack: Sqwehálich). It was named by Phoebe Judson after the riverside town in Hohenlinden, a poem by Thomas Campbell, stating:
Population: 21,830Median Rent: $1,196
Distance to Closest Airport: 15 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,497
More on Kenmore: Homes For Sale | Data
Founded in 1901, Kenmore’s name comes third-hand from the Scottish village of Kenmore, via town founder home town of Kenmore, Ontario. McMasters and his wife Annie arrived in Puget Sound circa 1889 from Canada, intending to establish themselves in the shingle-making trade. They opened a shingle mill on the northern shore of Lake Washington on land leased from Watson C. Squire. By 1903, Kenmore had established a school system and post office, but it did not formally incorporate as a city until August 31, 1998.
5. Port Angeles
Population: 19,420Median Rent: $804
Distance to Closest Airport: 29 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,628
More on Port Angeles: Homes For Sale | Data
This area was long occupied by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples. In 1791 the harbor was entered by Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza, who named it Puerto de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (Port of Our Lady of the Angels), claiming it for Spain. He was on an expedition from southern California. This name was shortened to the current one of Port Angeles.
Population: 12,666Median Rent: $881
Distance to Closest Airport: 4 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,605
More on Ferndale: Homes For Sale | Data
First settled in 1872, Ferndale was given its name because of the ferns that once grew around the original school house. Ferndale was originally called Jam because the town was located next to a log jam on the Nooksack River. The original schoolteacher decided it needed a more picturesque name. Ferndale was officially incorporated on March 19, 1907.
8. Bainbridge Island
Population: 23,576Median Rent: $1,233
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,467
More on Bainbridge Island: Homes For Sale | Data
In 1792, English explorer Captain George Vancouver spent several days with his ship HMS Discovery anchored off Restoration Point at the southern end of Bainbridge Island while boat parties surveyed other parts of Puget Sound. Vancouver spent a day exploring Rich Passage, Port Orchard, and Sinclair Inlet. He failed to find Agate Passage and so his maps show Bainbridge Island as a peninsula. Vancouver named Restoration Point on May 29, the anniversary of the English Restoration, in honor of King Charles II.
Population: 14,987Median Rent: $962
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,521
More on Washougal: Homes For Sale | Data
Washougal was officially incorporated on December 4, 1908. Its Mount Pleasant Grange Hall is the oldest continually used grange hall in Washington.
10. Des Moines
Population: 30,904Median Rent: $1,114
Distance to Closest Airport: 4 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,568
More on Des Moines: Homes For Sale | Data
There is no evidence that Indian tribes had permanent settlements in Des Moines. However, there is ample evidence that the Duwamish and Muckleshoot Indian tribes came to Des Moines for fishing and clamming.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire 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:
- Port Orchard
- Bonney Lake
For more Washington reading , check out:
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Washington
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Washington For 2018
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Washington
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Washington
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