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Retire in Ocean Shores, Washington?
Overview: Spread across the Point Brown Peninsula on Washington's scenic mid-coast, this salty Gray's Harbor town was once a cattle ranch and then a favorite destination for Hollywood jetsetters. It had a rough time in the 1970s and 1980s, but it has doubled in size during the last 10 to 20 years.
Although it is a rural place and accessible via only one road, Ocean Shores is a weekend tourist destination. Lower-end and mid-level motels line the northern end of Ocean Shores Boulevard, which runs along the western side of the peninsula. There are six miles of flat, windswept but accessible saltwater beaches and 23 miles of freshwater lakes, marshes and canals. Kayaking, canoeing and sailing are all close at hand. There is no true town core, but the busier part of Ocean Shores has some fast food places, a post office, a hardware store, a grocery store, some gift shops and such. The Quinault Beach Resort and Casino is here, as is a new convention center, which is the only oceanside facility of its kind in the state.
Neighborhoods are wooded and low density with A-frames, ranch ramblers, cabins, bungalows, Victorian beach houses and more. Residents enjoy a golf course, parks and a marina. North Bay Park on Duck Lake has a boat launch and fishing dock. Stage West offers affordable community theater, and the North Beach Artists Guild maintains a gallery. The Coastal Interpretive Center has exhibits and lectures. Special events include the annual Razor Clam Festival and a wearable art show. The Oyhut Wildlife Recreation Area on the southern end of the peninsula has tidal flats and world-class bird watching.
Population: 6,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 68%
Cost of Living: 4% below the national average
Median Home Price: $140,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and low-70s, and and winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 70 inches of rain and 4 inches of snow each year. Skies are often overcast, and the wind is usually blowing.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Grays Harbor Community Hospital is 20 miles away in Aberdeen and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Grays Harbor Community Hospital is 20 miles away in Aberdeen and is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes, and it runs around the harbor to larger Aberdeen.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
Is Washington Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: This is an isolated place and particularly quiet in the winter when tourists leave. Many homes are vacation homes. Racial diversity is minimal.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the remote locale and distance to a hospital should be weighed.
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.
Population - 7,288,000
Persons 65 years old and over - 15%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 90%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 33%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 12%
White persons, not Hispanic - 69%
Median household income - $61,062
Median home value - $259,900
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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