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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Gig Harbor, Washington?

Once an isolated fishing town on northwestern Washington's breathtaking Puget Sound, picturesque Gig Harbor is now only 12 miles away from Tacoma via the Narrows Bridge. Commuters have mostly replaced commercial fishermen and boat builders, but the town still oozes maritime character and works to preserve its past.

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Gig Harbor is a green, clean, quiet, well-kept place. Uptown (the town center) has a small outdoor mall and is the site of movie theaters, a history museum, summer concerts and a farmers' market. There are a couple of other small shopping malls, as well. The Paradise Theatre has a busy production schedule, and residents enjoy two orchestras, a community chorus, a film festival, an art festival and the fun Blessing of the Fleet Festival. The Eddon Boat Building is part of a city park that has water access, and the Bogue Viewing Platform has enthralling views of Mount Rainier.

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Two state parks to the west of Gig Harbor offer maritime recreation and a saltwater shoreline. The Purdy Sand Spit consists of tidelands, a boat launch and is a favorite windsurfing locale. Homes range from stately Victorians to ordinary ranch ramblers.

Population: 10,000 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:  49%

Cost of Living:  65% above the national average

Median Home Price: $760,000  

Climate: Port Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. The area is usually overcast, with a nearly constant drizzle.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  Yes

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?    Yes

Public Transit:   Yes, a trolley

Crime Rate:   The violent crime rate is well below the national average, but the property crime rate is above the national average.

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Liberal

College Educated:  50%

Is Washington Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:   Some residents complain about mold and mildew. The earthquake risk is 280% higher than the national average.

Notes:   The streets roll up at 7 p.m.. More shopping and services are located next door in Tacoma. People seem to either love Gig Harbor or not like it much at all, and the ones who dislike it mostly complain about the weather. Growth has been 20% within the last 10 years, and home prices have increased by 24% since last year.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes, but probably not for people who love sunshine.

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Washington:

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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