A group of kayakers enjoy a beautiful summer day on Sand Creek River and Lake Pend Oreille in the downtown area of Sandpoint, Idaho.

6 Senior-Friendly Towns in The Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most valuable and treasured cities and towns in America. Spanning across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, this loose title of a region offers many wondrous, comfortable, and quaint small towns perfect for the retiree. Some have great prices, others already have large numbers of seniors to build a sense of community, and most, if not all, represent a small-town culture that is both rich and vibrant. Learn more about six of the best senior-friendly towns in the Pacific Northwest.

Florence, Oregon

The riverwalk and boats lined along the Siuslaw River banks in Florence, Oregon.
The riverwalk and boats lined along the Siuslaw River banks in Florence, Oregon.

Although it shares a name with a world-famous city, the town of Florence in Oregon is not meant to be slept on. This town of 10,000, where about 40% of its population is over 65, is a spectacle to behold. Surprisingly cheap considering the median gross rent is $1,150, the forms of entertainment and unique spots exclusive to Florence are also awe-inducing.

No trip or stay is complete until visiting the Sea Lion Caves. What could possibly be more interesting than exploring America's largest sea cavern? Well worth seeing for the wild animals and natural rock formations, this privately owned preserve is a must-see. Afterward, head to Exploding Whale Memorial Park, a park filled with shops, restaurants, and a coastline that once saw a beached whale explode with dynamite in the 1970s.

Gearhart, Oregon

Boardwalk leading to the beach from residential homes in Gearhart, Oregon.
Boardwalk leading to the beach from residential homes in Gearhart, Oregon.

Yet another seaside wonder in Oregon, Gearhart's population is disproportionate to its beauty. With only 1,800 residents and a median age of 40, Gearhart has plenty of heart. For those looking to relocate, the median home listing price is around $900,000 (according to realtor.com), but is well worth the price.

The allure of the town is certainly on its coast, as the beaches are clean and the horizon long. Del Rey Beach State Recreation is the local favorite, and a short time by the sand and cool waters ought to say why. If that is not enough, however, the town is known to have many more relaxing ways to pass the time, such as golfing at Highlands Golf Club or enjoying downtown Gearhart's small shops.

Sandpoint, Idaho

Downtown area of Sandpoint, Idaho.
Downtown area of Sandpoint, Idaho. Image credit Kirk Fisher via Shutterstock.com

A town of just under 10,000 in northern Idaho, with nearly a fifth of the population over the age of 65, Sandpoint, is a place to escape from the noise of modern, urban life. For those looking to buy, the town has a median listing home price of $785,000 (according to realtor.com).

Home to the legendary ski resort of Schweitzer, Sandpoint offers more of a mature time while enjoying the view of nearby woodlands, lakes, all while sipping a good wine. Those at the Pend d'Oreille Winery Tasting Room know this well and use the fruity scent of wine to make a sale that pairs with the gorgeous surrounding area of Lake Pend Oreille Cruises and Farragut State Park.

Rathdrum, Idaho

John Brown Elementary, Rathdrum, Idaho.
John Brown Elementary, Rathdrum, Idaho. Image credit Teamcoltra at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A town of culture and one with only 10,000 residents, the average house listing price will run about $627,000, and the median gross rent is $1,189. While it may be on the pricier side, this small town in Idaho more than makes up for it with its authentic feel and unique sites.

For one, the Twin Lakes Village Golf Course is a public plot of green acres filled with scenic trails, ponds, and a well-known bistro by the name of Moon Dollars. Serving quality food accompanied by quality service, the experience is sure to be remembered or looked forward to when walking around Majestic Park (complete with an amphitheater and a sports complex). For a tougher trek, however, Rathdrum Mountain and the StormKing Trails aren't far.

Coupeville, Washington

Waterfront homes in Coupeville, Washington.
Waterfront homes in Coupeville, Washington.

On a small island named Whidbey in the waters of Puget Sound in Washington, there is a hidden sanctuary by the name of Coupeville. Not remote enough to have nothing but not urban enough for the typical city hustle, this town of just under 2,000 people has a median age of 64 and a median listing price of $599,000 for a home.

But what makes the town stand out is the Price Sculpture Forest. 15 acres of woodland were purchased by a kind man who did not want to tear it all down but instead opted for artistic interest and preservation. Now, in the Price Sculpture Forest, sculptures and other artistic pieces litter the area and make for a sight that gives the best galleries a run for their money.

For a more historical site, however, Fort Casey Historical Park is right around the corner. At one time built for an oncoming invasion by sea, the fort has since been preserved and kept from falling into decay.

Oroville, Washington

A beautiful mountain and valley view in Oroville, Washington.
A beautiful mountain and valley view in Oroville, Washington.

Last but not least is another Washington treasure by the name of Oroville. This town of 1,700 people boasts an impressive median home listing price of $378,000, which is lower than the median state average of around $550,000.

For fans of the obscure and odd, one of Oroville's claims to fame is a ghost town by the name of Old Molson Historic Site. Originally abandoned due to a land claim dispute, Old Molson today serves an educational and eerie function; that is, these pioneer buildings, complete with tours, give a glimpse into remote life in the past.

But Old Molson is only a fraction of what Oroville is today. Now, nestled between large lakes and state parks, the outdoor lover's dream of an infinite sky and clear waters is a reality with places like Osoyoos Lake (which is a state park as well) and Similkameen Trail.

Why These Towns?

While the Pacific Northwest is large, these towns' friendly atmospheres make each and every one of them a wonderful place to live or visit. Whether that is through walking in a park, trail, or mountainside, taking a dip in a clean and clear lake, or even visiting historical spots where the air feels different and the knowledge is worthwhile, these towns provide welcoming communities. It is in this spirit that each should be considered carefully but, more importantly, enjoyed.

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