Traffic and urban life in the city of Bainbridge Island, Washington. Image credit Michael Gordon via Shutterstock

10 Towns in Washington that Are Ideal for Seniors

Aside from facing Mount Rainier, Seattle, Washington, is unique for hosting not just one but two breathtaking mountain ranges. In addition to the Cascades, known as America's land of fire and ice, and the rainforest-covered Olympics, Washington, often referred to as The Evergreen State is home to one of the windiest spots on Earth. Retiring in the state’s diverse landscapes is an option every senior should consider exciting. Ranking an impressive fourth in life expectancy, retirees in the only state named after a president can expect a long, happy, and fulfilling life. If you're looking for a specific place to spend your retirement, the following 10 towns in Washington are ideal for seniors.

Gig Harbor

People enjoying the Maritime Gig Harbor Festival
People enjoying the Maritime Gig Harbor Festival, via july7th /

With a population of about 12,200, Gig Harbor is located on the Tacoma Narrows Strait of Puget Sound, directly across from Tacoma. If you're seeking waterfront property, Gig Harbor’s location on Puget Sound, featuring several pristine islands, bays, and harbors, is particularly appealing. This upscale town in Washington boasts the highest number of medical centers per 1,000 residents, is only an 18-minute drive from Tacoma, Washington’s third-largest city, and provides access to natural wonders like the Hoh Rainforest and Mount Rainier, the highest volcanic peak in the contiguous United States. The town’s median age is 41, but seniors constitute around 33% of the population. Retiring here will likely feel like being in familiar surroundings.

Port Townsend

The historical city of Port Townsend, Washington.
The historical city of Port Townsend, Washington.

Known for its stunning Victorian architecture, particularly on the bluffs above the harbor, Port Townsend is situated on the Olympic Peninsula at the north end of a large, semi-protected bay. While many U.S. towns are fortunate to have a National Historic Landmark District, Port Townsend boasts two. The primeval rainforests of Olympic National Park border the town's western side, while the glistening waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca lie to the east, offering outdoor adventure opportunities and captivating views. Home to about 10,600 residents and close to the larger Port Angeles, which offers more amenities, Port Townsend has a median age of 57.1, making retiring here feel like joining an extended family.


Aerial View of John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Washington.
Aerial View of John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Washington.

Sequim’s appeal to retirees partly lies in its community. With seniors comprising approximately 43% of its population and a median age of 55.7, it’s an ideal location for those seeking companionship in their later years. Located along the scenic Dungeness River near the base of the Olympic Mountains, Sequim is famed for its lavender farms, earning it the title “Lavender Capital of North America.” If the sight of lavender fields doesn’t uplift you, the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, home to the nation's longest natural sand spit, surely will. Additionally, Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, rated as “high performing” in four adult procedures and conditions, is just 17 miles away.

Ocean Shores

Deer walking in a residential neighborhood of Ocean Shores
Deer walking in a residential neighborhood of Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores offers a sparse suburban atmosphere and a strong sense of community, complemented by heartwarming waterfront views. Living here means detaching from external pressures, breathing in crisp, fresh air, and enjoying a mild, moderate climate. Demographically, Ocean Shores resembles a large gathering of seniors: those aged 55 and above make up a significant 43% of the town's population. The median age is a mature 63.1 years. It's a birder's haven, providing access to Ocean City State Park’s dunes, a favorite spot for migratory birds, and the Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area, known for its nesting snowy plovers. The Ocean Shores Medical Centre, serving the town for nearly 40 years, is a prominent healthcare feature.


Street view of historic downtown Snohomish's main street
Street view of historic downtown Snohomish's main street, via Colleen Michaels /

Nestled between Puget Sound and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Snohomish is renowned for its eclectic array of antique shops, earning it the title of the Antique Capital of the Pacific Northwest. The town’s antique legacy shines at the Star Center Antique Mall, a treasure trove of vintage accessories and unique trinkets. One of Snohomish’s key attractions is its proximity to Seattle, only about 29 miles (or a 37-minute drive) away, bringing the top-rated University of Washington Medical Center within easy reach. Seniors, who constitute 23% of the town’s population according to Niche, find a community of peers for shared reminiscences.

Bainbridge Island

Waterfront view of Bainbridge Island in Washington
Waterfront view of Bainbridge Island in Washington

Bainbridge Island, the jewel of Puget Sound, attracts empty nesters with its year-round mild temperatures, vibrant outdoor adventure opportunities, stunning scenery, and a friendly, open, and predominantly liberal community. The Bloedel Reserve, a serene oasis, is a must-visit for seniors. Meanwhile, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art captivates with contemporary art and crafts from the Puget Sound region. Notably, 33% of the island's population is aged 55 and above. The community is well-educated, with 34% holding a master’s degree or higher, fostering a stimulating intellectual environment. Among the island's healthcare options is the highly-rated Virginia Mason Medical Center.


View of Clarkston, Washington from the southwest via Wikipedia
View of Clarkston, Washington from the southwest via Wikipedia

Clarkston is a charming, small town where residents often know each other by first name, creating a warm, intimate environment reminiscent of a family setting. The town boasts numerous restaurants, offers a variety of outdoor activities along the Snake River (including boating and fishing), and is home to Hell's Canyon, North America's deepest gorge. Approximately 28% of Clarkston’s population is aged 55 years and above, fostering a social circle of similarly-aged individuals. Named after William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, this town is just about 4 miles from Lewiston, Idaho, and features several medical facilities, including TriState Health. TriState Health is highly recommended by its patients, with an impressive 80% patient recommendation rate according to Healthgrades. For seniors, the summer boating season is a highlight and a much-anticipated event.


Arched sign over road welcoming to historic downtown Anacortes
Arched sign over road welcoming to historic downtown Anacortes, via Ian Dewar Photography /

Anacortes is famous for being the gateway to Deception Pass State Park, Washington's most popular park. Known for its diverse landscapes and stunning vistas, this park ranks as the fifth-most beautiful state park in the country. Anacortes offers seniors access to beautiful beaches and miles of scenic hiking trails. With seniors making up about 34% of the town’s population, nostalgic conversations about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or ABBA are common and enjoyable. This town not only boasts an array of amenities, including medical facilities, but is also a mere 16 miles from Mount Vernon, the largest city in Skagit County.


Scenic view looking across Hoquiam river from near Bridge on Riverside Ave. in Hoquiam, Washington
Scenic view looking across Hoquiam river from near Bridge on Riverside Ave. in Hoquiam, Washington

Hoquiam, known for its sparse suburban feel, is a western Washington gem situated on Grays Harbor at the mouth of the Hoquiam River. Although small with a population of about 8,700 residents, it is close to the larger city of Aberdeen, the economic center of Grays Harbor County, and only an hour’s drive from Olympia, the state capital of Washington. Seniors account for about 36% of Hoquiam’s population, as reported by Niche, offering opportunities for shared adventures with peers. Once a booming logging town, Hoquiam has transformed into a peaceful, close-knit community ideal for empty nesters or those seeking a quiet retreat. For senior birding enthusiasts, the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge provides a compelling reason to consider Hoquiam.


Visitors Center At Lynnwood Heritage Park in Washington
Visitors Center At Lynnwood Heritage Park in Washington, via Cindy Shelbey /

For seniors who appreciate the great outdoors, Lynnwood offers excellent options, from beautiful white-sand beaches to scenic forest trails. The town’s downtown is conveniently located near the Puget Sound and Lake Washington. This picturesque setting, along with easy access to Seattle (just a 35-minute drive away), are some of the reasons seniors enjoy retiring here. The impending arrival of light rail will make Lynnwood even more accessible. Additionally, Alderwood Mall's wide selection of shops, restaurants, and clothing stores means residents seldom need to shop elsewhere. With seniors making up about 30% of Lynnwood’s population, it's easy for retirees to connect with fellow empty nesters.

The Takeaway

Washington State, also known as The Evergreen State, is undoubtedly one of the nation's most beautiful states, boasting spectacular desert scenery in the north and the majestic Cascades and Olympics. As the country’s northwesternmost state, Washington is dotted with delightful towns ideal for retirement. Among these, Gig Harbor offers stunning Puget Sound views, Port Townsend captivates with its beautiful Victorian architecture, and Sequim, known as the “Lavender Capital of North America,” stands out as some of the state’s most desirable retirement destinations.

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