14 reasons why I decided to retire in Vancouver, Washington
Located on the north shore of the mighty Columbia River, southwest of Washington, is Vancouver, the small town I chose to retire in.
Yes, there is another Vancouver in North America! Many people only know the Canadian city of Vancouver. In fact, Vancouver, Washington is the original Vancouver, with a history stretching back hundreds of years.
Vancouver, WA, combines the advantages of small town living with the amenities of a metropolitan city.
Here are 14 reasons why I decided to retire in Vancouver. Maybe you could be influenced by some of these amenities as well.
1. No state income tax
Washington State is one of nine US states without income tax and does not tax retirement income. Yes there is a sales tax, but I prefer that to state income tax.
2. Cost of housing / property tax
I am drawn to Washington State because of the more reasonable cost of housing and lower property taxes than Portland.
3. Proximity to Portland International Airport
As someone who loves to travel, this is a major consideration for me. i can be at Portland International Airport within 10 minutes. When guests come to visit me, I invite them to text me once they land, collect their bags, and by the time I get to the airport, they’re waiting for me.
Portland Airport has often been named one of the best airports in the country. It is a pleasant place of departure or arrival.
4. Traffic is healthier
Every time I drive in a big city, I remember why I chose Vancouver, Washington, to retire. As my brother used to say when visiting Long Beach, Calif., “It’s so sane here! “
5. I like medical care in a small town
I have the impression that medical care is more personalized in a small town. The medical center I chose is less than 5 km from my home.
6. I love the four distinct seasons
Vancouver remains fairly green all year round. Yes, there is a reason for this! More on that later! Overall, temperatures remain fairly mild. We could have a few days of snow every year. Summers are relatively mild.
Spring brings flowering trees, tulips, daffodils and gardening. My garden also has raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and an apple tree.
Summer has hot temperatures; however, temperatures generally cool down at night.
Autumn brings the beautiful change of leaves and my garden harvest. Fall also brings the state grape and hop harvest, which brings lots of fun experiences!
Winter has its own charms: one being the observation of winter storms and the second the migration of gray whales. Winter also brings the delicious Dungeness Crab. The crab season usually begins just before Christmas and ends in late spring. Many of my perennials start to appear right after New Years.
Yes, winter also brings rain. I’m like, “at least I don’t have to shovel it”, as I must have shoveled a lot of snow in Alberta, Canada! My mom, when she came from Alberta, used to say, “It’s so green here! I would say, “Yes, Mom, there is a reason for that. “
I will rain on snow any day! I can always escape if it rains too much.
7. Proximity to ocean beaches
Two of my happy places are the Ocean Beaches along the South Washington Coast and the Oregon Coast. In less than 2 hours I can walk on the beach or sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean. My favorite places along the Washington coast are Ilwaco and Long beach; my two favorite places along the Oregon coast are Newport and Depoe Bay.
8. Proximity to the mountains
Snow lovers will be delighted to learn that within an hour’s drive from Vancouver are two ski areas at Mount Hood in Oregon: Wood line and Mount Hood Ski Bowl. Timberline is the only North American ski area open year round. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are snowcat rides and snowshoe trails. You can take a day trip or stay at the historic Timberline Lodge. Mt. Hood Ski Bowl is the nation’s largest night skiing area and has an incredible tube sliding park.
9. Proximity to Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Less than 20 minutes from my home in Vancouver, I can enjoy the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The 80-mile canyon follows the Columbia River and forms the border between Washington and Oregon. The geological formations are unique – sheer cliffs drop into the tumultuous waters of the river and over 50 waterfalls will catch your eye. The most famous waterfall is Multnomah Falls, one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks. Head to Vista House Crown Point Panoramic Viewpoint for a breathtaking view of the gorges.
The area is a recreational playground. You can choose to go hiking, camping, kitesurfing, windsurfing, wildlife viewing or taking the time to marvel at the incredible beauty.
10. Close proximity to award-winning wineries / craft breweries in Washington and Oregon
With 1 to 3 hours of driving, I can visit award winning wineries in eastern Washington and central Oregon. In Washington, the Yakima Valley has over 120 wineries and is the largest hop-producing region in the country. Nearby are the 150 cellars of Walla walla, named “The State Wine Destination”. Tualatin Valley, which is part of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, is known as one of the premier pinot noir producing regions in the world!
11. The Beauty of Vancouver’s Waterfront and the Columbia River Renaissance Trail
Recently named by Fobes as “one of the best pedestrian attractions” in the country, Vancouver’s waterfront features 2 miles of paved trails along the mighty Columbia River. There’s something for everyone with six wineries, seven restaurants, historic sites such as the Kaiser Shipyards, and breathtaking views of Mount Hood. The seafront continues until Columbia River Renaissance Trail, a series of paved trails through Vancouver National Historic Preserve, Officer’s Row and downtown Vancouver. People enjoy walking, hiking, biking and jogging along the trails.
12. Proximity to a wildlife refuge and an outdoor education center
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, located just 21 miles north of Vancouver, encompasses 5,300 acres of wetlands, riparian forests and swamps home to a variety of plants, birds, animals and fish. There is both an automatic tour route and a network of walking trails suitable for wheelchairs and walkers. During mating and breeding periods, some parts of the refuge are inaccessible to visitors. Check the website for updates.
The Senior Pass is valid here, like the others past. Otherwise there is a small supplement per wagon / group of four walkers. Many volunteer activities are also available.
Columbia springs is a 100-acre outdoor education center right here in Vancouver. With over 2 miles of trails and boardwalks, people of all ages enjoy the opportunities to connect with nature and learn more about the environment. The fish hatchery, dating from 1938, breeds hundreds of thousands of rainbow trout, rainbow trout and salmon. The area is a pleasant setting for picnics, walking, hiking and biking. Many educational courses are organized. My favorites are the bird watching and nesting box, the building classes.
Many older people enjoy volunteering at the center.
13. Monthly community newspaper dedicated to the elderly
The Message to seniorsr is a great tool to help seniors stay connected and active. Find leisure activities, the 50+ travel program, and information on health and wellness. The 50+ Travel program offers affordable day trips to the Pacific Northwest.
14. Vancouver’s rich history
History buffs will find that there is a lot to explore here in Vancouver.
The Fort Vancouver National Historic Site includes Fort Vancouver, Officer’s Row, Vancouver Barracks and Pearson Air Museum. You can learn about the history of the Pacific Northwest fur trade between 1825 and 1860. The 200-acre site was the center of the Hudson’s Bay Company here in Vancouver. Officer’s Row is a series of 21 Victorian houses built between 1849 and 1906 to house officers of the United States Army.
Lower Vancouver National Historic Reserve includes Waterfront Park and the Kaiser shipyards Overlook, commemorating the ships, tankers and escort carriers built here for the war effort. You will also find commemorative plaques from the Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804-1806. A land bridge connects the two sites.
Vancouver also has the oldest city square in the state, Esther Short Park, anchored by the historic 1867 Slocum House. The two-story Victorian house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information on several of my favorite sites mentioned here, check out my articles on The journey awaits you.
For more information on retirement options, read these articles: