Retirees come to Port Angeles, located along the stunning Olympic Peninsula in north western Washington, for its amazing scenery, reasonable cost of living (for a waterfront town), cool climate and its very good medical facility, the Olympic Medical Center. The city is home to about 20,000 people and looks out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A nautical character is palpable, and residents are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Most folks are working class, and Port Angeles retains its authenticity. Of the population, 42% of residents are age 45 or better.
The cost of living is roughly 5% above the national average, and the median home price is approximately $200,000. Residences come in various architectural styles, including standard ranch-style homes and traditional bi-levels.
Port Angeles sits in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and therefore receives substantially less rain, roughly 25 inches per year, than other parts of the Washington coast. The climate is cool but not overly humid. On the comfort index, a combination of temperature and humidity, the city ranks well above the national average. Thanks to the coastal locale, extreme climate fluctuations do not happen here. Summer temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. The sun shines just 135 days of the year, though.
When looking for a place to retire, people often consider the local medical facilities (or they should). Olympic Medical Center has just 78 beds, but it is accredited by the Joint Commission and is a Level III adult trauma center. Both Medicaid and Medicare patients are accepted.
A strong sense of community, summer concerts, a good parks and recreation department, attention to the senior population, with a Senior Center and a good menu of activities, are all Port Angeles highlights. The Waterfront Trail, accessible from many different points, follows around the harbor and offers gorgeous views of the water. Downtown boasts cute shops and restaurants, and there is a ferry to Victoria, British Columbia when the amenities of a larger city are needed.
The crime rate in Port Angles is slightly above the national average, but not worryingly so.
With its maritime charm, low key character, good medical facility and attention to its mature demographic, Port Angeles should be a town at the top of the list when it is time to find a great place to retire.