Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Oak Harbor, Washington
Tucked on Washington's Scenic Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor Boasts Pretty Views, a Nice Downtown, an Often Empty Beach and more.
Tucked on the northern end of northwestern Washington's picturesque Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor is a waterfront town about two hours north of Seattle. The rocky cliffs of Deception Pass and the Deception Pass Bridge are minutes away. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is just outside of town.
The 1930s construction of the bridge, which links Whidbey Island with Fidalgo Island to the north, and the 1942 arrival of the naval station are what put Oak Harbor on the map. Today the town is Whidbey Island's largest incorporated population center. The downtown is dotted with boutiques, restaurants, historic buildings and galleries, as tourists come to enjoy the maritime culture and authentic, weathered charm. The Whidbey Playhouse has a robust schedule and always needs volunteers. The town marina hosts all sorts of pleasure craft, and Scuttlebutt Park has a mini-pier for small boats. North Beach sits beneath the Deception Pass Bridge and is popular with tourists, while Dugualla Bay's beach is only known to locals and is often empty (except for some wildlife).
Homes are primarily ranch ramblers and raised ranch ramblers. Lawns are lush, sprinkled with pine trees, oaks and flowering bushes. Properties on the southern end of town have pretty views of Penn Cove.
Population: 25,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 27%
Cost of Living: 13% above the national average
Median Home Price: $475,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 24 inches of rain and six inches of snow each year. Skies are often overcast.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Whidbey General Hospital is 10 miles away and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital is Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Skagit Valley Hospital is 17 miles away and is accredited by DNV-GL, a relatively new accreditation organization.
Public Transit: Yes. It is provided by Island Transit and is free.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 32%
Is Washington Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The earthquake risk is 128% higher than the national average.
Notes: Oak Harbor is popular with military families. The town gets its name from the garry oaks that dot the landscape. The population has grown 9% during the last decade and home prices have increased 3% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Washington was the 42nd state to enter the union on November 11, 1889. The initial state constitution proposed women's suffrage and prohibition. Both ideas were removed from the final document. Women did not gain the right to vote in the Evergreen State until 1910.
The country's 18th largest state has six distinct geographic areas. The northwest corner contains the rugged Olympic Mountains. The Coast Range, in Washington's southwest corner, include the Willapa Hills. The Rocky Mountains and Cascade Mountains also cut through the state. The Columbia Plateau has fertile land. A large portion of the population lives in the Puget Sound Lowlands. Ports like Anacortes and Skagit have helped the state maintain its role as a leader in trade.
West of the Cascades, the climate can be mild and humid. Washingtonians east of the Cascades may experience warmer summers and cooler winters. Annual precipitation there can be as little as six inches. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are a rarity, but coastal flooding, freezing rain, and high winds are possibilities.
Pacific Rim commerce is a major economic driver. Other key businesses are the manufacture of jet aircraft, computer software development, online retailing, mining, tourism, and wood products. Washington contributes red raspberries, apples, and hops to the nation's food basket. It leads the country in hydro-electric power generation.
Washington is the only state in the Union to be named after a president. It's highest point, Mt. Ranier, was named after a British soldier who fought against America in the Revolutionary War.
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