7 Great Places to Retire in the Pacific Northwest

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Senior at Crater Lake in Oregon
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Many people approaching retirement consider locations that are temperate, scenic and quiet for their golden years. Hence the allure of beach towns — and much of the Pacific Northwest has all of those qualities plus more.

There aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can look out over the ocean and see mountains. The Pacific Northwest — or PNW — is also home to some of the nation’s lushest old-growth forests. That’s despite also having populous, sprawling metros like Portland, Seattle and Vancouver.

While there’s no official definition of the Pacific Northwest, it generally includes all of Oregon and Washington state plus the Canadian province of British Columbia. Going by that definition, here are some great retirement destinations in the PNW.

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Klamath Falls, Oregon
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This city in south-central Oregon gets nearly 300 days of sunshine per year and is known for having “the highest concentrations of bald eagles in the Pacific Northwest.”

Despite the name, there aren’t any traditional waterfalls in town. But there are several beautiful options close by, including in Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake.

The cost of living in Klamath Falls is slightly below the national average.

Coos Bay, Oregon

Coos Bay, Oregon
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This affordable coastal city — the cost of living here is 87% of the national average — is full of history, with European explorers reaching the area as far back as the 16th century. The city itself was founded in 1853, and it’s been an important port for the region ever since.

More than 22% of its population are age 65 or older, and the city notes “a combination of great weather and scenic beauty make the [Coos] Bay Area a golfer’s paradise.”

Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon
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Bend, a city of about 100,000 in central Oregon, is known for its mild weather and art.

It’s centrally located for outdoor activities and exploration, from skiing Mount Bachelor to spelunking Skylight Cave and lava fields. There’s desert country and waterfalls, and of course, many parks.

All of this does come at a cost — living here is about 30% more expensive than the national average.

Sequim, Washington

Lavender fields in Sequim, Washington
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This small city in western Washington skews older than many — more than a third of the population are seniors.

One reason might be Sequim’s proximity to the Olympic Mountains, which provide more than a beautiful backdrop. They also create a “rain shadow effect,” resulting in the city getting less than half the average yearly rainfall seen in famously gloomy Seattle.

Despite that, the city is relatively close to rainforests, and it’s known for its fields of lavender and Dungeness crab.

The cost of living here is about 10% higher than the U.S. at large.

Spokane, Washington

Houses in Spokane, Washington
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Spokane, a midsize city in northeastern Washington state, has increasingly been touted as a great place to retire, in part on the merits of its affordability and health care.

The cost of living here is slightly below the national average. It gets more than its fair share of sun and has well over a dozen golf courses in driving distance.

Langford, British Columbia

Lighthouse in Langford, British Columbia
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Langford is a relatively young city: officially incorporated in 1992, with one person serving as mayor almost the entire time since. It sits on the southern end of Vancouver Island and grew out of the provincial capital, Victoria. Thus, it provides easy access to that much larger city but also a wealth of hiking trails, lakes and other natural wonders.

“We are so fortunate on Vancouver Island to be surrounded by the ocean, mountains, forests and an abundance of trails and parks. As a Langford resident, you are gifted with such landscapes a stone’s throw away,” the city’s website says.

And you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it. It has — by Canadian standards — a mild climate year-round, with an average summer temperature in the low 60s but reaching into the mid-70s as well. The winter average is close to 40 degrees.

Kelowna, British Columbia

Kelowna, British Columbia
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Kelowna, also located in the southern part of British Columbia but much further inland, has a cost of living below that of U.S. cities such as Spokane. Its average temperature reaches about 73 in the summertime and just barely freezing temperatures in the winter.

The temperate climate makes for lovely wine country, and there are more than 40 wineries within a 20-minute drive. You can also golf nine months out of the year and enjoy your pick of water or winter activities.

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