Aerial view of Port Townsend, Washington.

6 Towns Perfect For Retirement On The Pacific Coast

The Pacific Coast is one of the most popular regions in the United States. The vast region, which covers several states, possesses unique geological features and characteristics, in addition to mild weather that attracts millions of visitors every year. Furthermore, this region's coastline is globally renowned for its photogenic landscape. This article will explore the top six towns suitable for retirement, strongly emphasizing low house prices, low crime rates, and natural attractions.

Oakdale, California

Historic buildings in the core of downtown Oakdale, California
Historic buildings in the core of downtown Oakdale, California. Editorial credit: Matt Gush /

Also known as the "Cowboy Capital of the World," Oakdale is located in the breadbasket of California amidst the San Joaquin Valley. Predictably, it harbors the Cowboy Museum, where you can venture through time's gateway, explore the region's storied past, and purchase treasures in its cozy gift shop for friends and loved ones. Additionally, Oakdale is a hotspot for sightseeing. Less than a half-hour drive away is the Red Hills Recreation Management Area, where you can traverse seven trails totaling more than 17 miles, giving you access to rare botanical plants, all the lush greenspace your eyes can see, and exotic wildlife such as the iconic American bald eagle, which visits as a resting spot during winter months. And be sure to take advantage of the sprawling Woodward Reservoir Park to unwind and immerse in nature. The park boasts several campsites, trails, and picturesque picnic areas on over 3,700 acres. According to the Realtor's data, the typical listing price as of April 2024 is approximately $659K. Alternatively, RentCafe reports an average rent of $1.6K for those seeking flexibility and less commitment.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Scenic view of Cannon Beach, Oregon
Scenic view of Cannon Beach, Oregon.

This town flaunts the iconic Haystack Rock, a towering sea stack that stands 235 feet into the sky, roughly the same size as a 24-story building, and is considered among the world's tallest intertidal structures. Aside from glorious natural attractions, Cannon Beach flaunts a cozy 1920s-style theater, top-tier beaches, and more than a dozen art galleries, including the esteemed Bronze Coast Gallery, where you can witness some of the finest contemporary and classic bronze sculptures. This town features a hospital, two medical clinics, and a doctor's office to care for your medical needs for added peace of mind. Zillow currently values average house prices at $1.4 million, but don't let this deter you, as the city is experiencing a balanced market as of March 2024, with several houses listed between 600K and $900K.

Port Townsend, Washington

View of Port Townsend from Puget Sound
View of Port Townsend from Puget Sound.

Do you love picturesque coastlines and historic buildings? Port Townsend beckons you. Early settlers called this town "The City of Dreams," predicting it would be the most prominent shipping harbor on the West Coast. While that dream did not materialize for many residents, it remains a dreamy city nonetheless. For starters, Port Townsend offers access to the great waters of the Pacific Ocean with scenic views throughout town. A few include Chetzemoka Park, Point Wilson Lighthouse, and the Better Living Through Coffee Shop in the historic downtown district on Water Street. The latter features fair-trade organic coffee, complemented by an outdoor patio that grants breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean as you savor your warm cup of latte. Living here is relatively inexpensive, with average rent hovering around $1.8K, according to Zumper, while median listings for houses average around $756K per Realtor.

Ferndale, California

 Street in Ferndale, California
Street in Ferndale, California. Editorial credit: mikluha_maklai /

Imagine all the perks of living in sunny California without the high cost of living, dense crowds, and traffic jams — Ferndale, which boasts a population of just 1,481 residents, provides affordable houses for sale with an average price of only $624K. While some may find that pricey, it's considerably cheaper than Los Angeles and San Francisco, where listings hover around $1.2M. Additionally, Ferndale offers a secure environment, averaging a low violent crime rate of just 16.2 per 10,000 people, well below the national average of 22.7. To enjoy the cool breeze of the Pacific Ocean, visit the Centerville Beach County Park, located conveniently 11 minutes away. This secluded beach offers more than nine miles of sandstone cliffs and wildlife, providing the perfect atmosphere to wind down and bask in the sun. Lastly, Ferndale has a bustling downtown featured on the National Register of Historic Places, a medical clinic, numerous coffee shops, and a museum showcasing Victorian-themed collections.

Warrenton, Oregon

Welcome to Warrenton, Oregon sign
Welcome to Warrenton, Oregon, sign. Editorial credit: melissamn /

Warrenton is a nature enthusiasts' paradise and is home to a plethora of natural attractions and parks, all within a 15-minute drive. You can hike the scenic trails of the Delaura Dune Trail, Fort Stevens State Park Campground, and Columbia Beach, to name a few. In addition, it's minutes away from the renowned Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, which grants a picnic area, a boardwalk, a historic canoe landing site, and a lighthouse on a photogenic rocky cliff. To learn about the area, consider a stop at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, where you can witness more than 30,000 collections related to maritime heritage and commerce on the waterfront site. To retire here, a typical house costs around $569K based on 78 homes for sale as of April 2024, while the median rent costs around $1.8K, according to Zumper.

Ventura, California

Beautiful landscape of Ventura, California.
Beautiful landscape of Ventura, California.

Capping off the list is none other than Ventura in sunny California. Like many other towns featured in this article, Ventura is also a coastal city, with the added perk of being less than 70 miles away from the world-famous city of Los Angeles. According to the city's website, the area is experiencing its lowest crime rate in modern history, with just 15.49 per 1000 people, a 59% decline compared to 1994. Beyond that, Ventura offers access to a wide array of stunning beaches, including the Surfers Point dunes, a notable hiking area on the Emma Wood River Trail, and Rincon Beach, a lesser-known hidden gem offering silk-soft sand and idyllic views of the sea at dusk. Moreover, this town features the Ventura Botanical Gardens, a beloved park on top of a hill that provides captivating views of the ocean and more than 160 rare plant species. If Ventura has captured your interest, Rentcafe's latest data suggests apartments typically start at $2.7K and above.

In summary, the Pacific Coast provides plenty of retirement options for those seeking affordable and safe places to settle down and enjoy life's golden years. While each of these towns offers distinct characteristics, they all offer stunning natural attractions, mild weather, and top-notch amenities — the perfect recipe to ensure a comfortable and safe retirement.

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