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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Arcata, California

On the Edge of Pretty Arcata Bay in Scenic, Rugged Northern California, Arcata is a Very Mellow, "Granola" Town and Home to Humboldt State University

Overview:   Snuggling the shore of Pretty Arcata Bay on the scenic, remote and rugged northern California coast, Arcata was founded as a timber town in the mid-1800s. Today it is a very laid back, "hippie" kind of place and the site of Humboldt State University (population 8,200 students).

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The downtown Plaza has a large lawn with palm trees and gardens and is the center of community life. It hosts concerts, a large farmers' market, a Samba parade, a kinetic sculpture race and is surrounded by shops, used bookstores, coffee houses, breweries, live music venues and locally owned eateries (chain restaurants are deliberately limited). Many buildings are well-preserved, mixed-use historic landmarks dating from the 19th-century. The city's performing arts scene includes a light opera, plays in the park, and a community theater. Arcata also maintains its own forest, marsh, wildlife sanctuary, community farm, community garden, community pool and community ropes course.

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Neighborhoods are wooded, with ranch ramblers and Victorians, some in better shape than others.

Outdoor adventure beckons at every turn, with mountains, rivers, wild beaches and huge stands of old growth redwoods just outside of town. The scenic drive called Avenue of the Giants and the Headwaters Forest Reserve are two good places to see the majestic trees up close.

Population:  18,000 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:  26%

Cost of Living:  3% above the national average

Median Home Price: $335,000

Climate:  Summers are cool with temperatures in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s.  Each year, on average, the area receives 50 inches of rain and a dusting of snow. Overcast skies and fog are common.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  Yes 

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?  No, but St. Joseph Hospital is eight miles away in Eureka and is accredited.

Public Transit:   Yes

Crime Rate:   Meets the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:   Very liberal

College Educated:   50%

Is California Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   No

Cons:   The earthquake risk is 485% higher than the national average. Arcata has struggled with the timber industry's decline in recent years, and its higher than average poverty rate is partly due to this. Most of the higher rate, though, is attributed to the large student population.

Notes:   College kids are occasionally elected to the city council.    HSU does not have much of a party reputation - nightlife is generally quiet - but students do hang out in the bars on the Plaza. This region is known as the Redwood Curtain, as the redwoods once separated the area from the rest of California. The area is also known for its marijuana production, which happens on neighboring farms and in people's homes, and for its marijuana consumption, which also happens in people's homes. As a result, locals say that the odor of pot occasionally lingers in the air. Arcata has grown by 4% during the last decade.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes, if looking for a very mellow, cool, foggy and somewhat remote town.

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California:

Thanks to the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, the Golden State became a U.S. territory in 1847. Soon after, gold was found at Sutter's Mill. The land crowded with fortune seekers, and, shortly thereafter, California entered the Union as its 31st state in 1850.

California has 900 miles of coastline and claims the highest and lowest point in the continental U.S. Its terrain varies dramatically - from sandy beaches to rugged mountains, deserts to fertile farmland. Landmarks like Hollywood, Disneyland, and the Golden Gate Bridge play a large part in the nation's history and imagination.

Although Texas and New York have tried to close the gap, California's economy continues to be nation's largest. Agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, and tourism are some of its leading industries.

Cities of the Golden State have put some odd laws on the books. It's illegal to molest a monarch in Pacific Grove. Want to throw a frisbee on an L.A. County beach? Better ask a lifeguard first. What about bowling on the sidewalks of Chico? Strictly forbidden!

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Stats:

Population - 39,802,500

Persons 65 years old and over - 13%

High school graduates, age 25+ - 81.0%

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 32%

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 39%

White persons, not Hispanic - 39%

Median household income - $64,500

Median home value - $399,000

Social Security Taxed - No

Source: U.S. Census

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