The Top 8 Counties to Retire In out West

Our research team looked at data covering areas including: the best weather, access to healthcare, high populations of other seniors and retirees, and variety of recreational activities.  But it’s not all about sunshine and relaxation.  This year, our data team took a harder look at the quality of life for a retiree in each county.

Our list takes the typical “pretty places” and common retiree enclaves and mixes them with answers to questions like, “Where can I have reasonably nice weather, but also get out and be active with other people who are retired?”

For 2016, these are our top 8 counties across California, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Idaho to retire in.

1. Ventura County, CA

Great beaches, endless sunshine and proximity to plenty of outdoor activities both on the sand and in the mountains.  Retirees are flocking to towns like Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Ojai and Ventura.  Ventura has it all.


Flickr Erniezhan

2. Yuma County, AZ

You know about Yuma’s legendary sunshine, but what many don’t know about it’s highly-rated healthcare facilities.  If you want to enjoy your retirement surrounded by other retirees, in a desert landscape that doesn’t overwhelm like some other larger metropolitan areas, Yuma is your choice.  It’s one of our favorites for 2016.


Flickr msjritie

3. Placer County, CA

Placer County – home to towns from Roseville out to Lake Tahoe – is a tried and true pick for retirees in Northern California.  Who doesn’t want to spend their leisure years hopping from the crystal blue waters of Tahoe out to a mountain lodge or a charming, historical town?  Placer’s high percentage of residents (or part-time residents) over the age of 55 mean you’ll have no shortage of ski buddies during snow season, too.  Healthcare?  Placer’s near the top in all of California.


Flickr rojer

4. Maricopa County, AZ

Another standout county that’s always on-or-near the top of these lists, Maricopa County earns its place for 2016 on our list.  Scottsdale, Goodyear, Sun City . . . Maricopa offers year-round golf, hiking, and tennis but does it while keeping you close to a booming metropolitan area with access to healthcare and a major airport.  Maricopa defines retirement, for many.


Flickr scottsdaleagent

5. San Juan County, WA

Now the list is getting more interesting.  Like we said, it’s not all about sunshine and golf.  San Juan County in the very northwest of Washington (and the United States, for that matter), is surrounded by water and beauty.  It is also the #1 place in Washington for both access to healthcare and variety of recreational activities.  In short, San Juan County is a gem that is waiting for the over-55 crowd to discover.


Flickr vanherdehaage

6. Island County, WA

Stacked right up there with San Juan County is Island County, which includes the famed Whidbey Island (not to mention 8 others).  It’s green, it’s blue, it’s temperate and it’s relaxing.  On Whidbey, you’ll enjoy retirement in the outdoors with boating and numerous state parks.  The healthcare facilities are also near the top in Washington.


Flickr heathrm69

7. King County, WA

King County is huge, and diverse.  From the city life of Seattle out to its far-stretching suburbs, King County makes our list for top places to retire out west because it undoubtedly has something for everyone.  Picture yourself in a sleepy cabin, accessible only by ferry?  Or are you more of the active, empty-nester who wants to stroll down to Pike Place Market and grab coffee or a fresh lunch?  King County scores highly on every piece of data we corralled.


Flickr miamiboy

8. Orange County, CA

Orange County.  It’s So-Cal beautiful, yet out of the smog and traffic of Los Angeles.  The orange groves may have been plowed over to make resorts and retirement communities, but it’s still beautiful.  Laguna Niguel is an undisputed hot spot for the over-55 crowd, with access to the coast at nearby Laguna Beach, Dana Point and up in to Newport Beach.  And chances are if you retire to Orange County, your friends who chose Arizona will be happy to visit and see the Pacific.


Flickr eric5dmark2