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best places to retire in oregonIf you’re a fan of the great outdoors, maritime communities and the arts, you may want to retire in the Beaver state. The best places to retire in Oregon offer plenty of opportunities to stay active well into your golden years with activities including hiking, mountaineering and water sports. But picking the spot that’s just right for you can be a challenge. So the retirement experts at SmartAsset did the homework for you and devised a list of the top 10 best places to retire in Oregon. Of course, strategizing your own retirement once you’re there is a challenge of its own. But if you’d like some professional guidance, you can use our free financial advisor connection service. It links you with up to three financial advisors in your area who can help. You can also check out our list of the top financial advisory firms in Oregon.

How We Determined the Best Places to Retire

We analyzed several factors while creating our list of the best places to retire in Oregon. For instance, we considered the tax burden you’d face in certain areas, as you wouldn’t want your hard-earned retirement savings eaten up by Uncle Sam. We also examined the cost of living in Oregon, access to healthcare access, recreational activities and attractions to make sure your retirement is as lively and fulfilling as possible. In the end, ten contenders came out on top. Read on to learn to see which locations made the cut and why they are the best places to retire in Oregon.

1. Roseburg

All the outdoor enthusiasts who want to keep adventure in their lives well into their golden years will feel right at home in Roseburg. The town rests in the heart of a famous recreational region known as the Land of Umpqua. It’s surrounded by waterfalls, pristine valleys and plenty of hiking trails. You can also go fly fishing in the famous North Umpqua River or explore more than two dozen wineries. In addition, living in Roseburg gives you easy access to a 600-acre wildlife safari and Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. And according to Zillow, the current median home value in Roseburg is $215,000. This rate falls below the reported state median of $334,100. But the organization also projects home prices will rise in Roseburg. So it helps if you’re aggressively saving in tax-advantaged savings vehicles like individual retirement accounts (IRA) or 401(k) plans. The overall tax burden in Roseburg falls at a mid-range 13.4%.

2. Hood River

Another one of the best places to retire in Oregon if you love the great outdoors is Hood River. It sits in the Columbia River Gorge area. And it’s surrounded by several hiking trails and mountains including Mount Hood. So you can camp outdoors on a budget. But if you really want some adventure, Hood River serves as the wind surfing capital of the world. Hood River also offers a lively downtown area filled with attractions like galleries and restaurants. Art buffs can check out the International Museum of Carousel Art. They can also take part in traditions like the Blossom Festival and Harvest Fest, which attracts people from across the country. In fact, tourism acts as a major driver of the local economy, so people who want to keep working in retirement have easy access to seasonal jobs.

Our data shows that Hood River houses about 6.88 medical facilities per 1,000 people. This figure makes it the town with the easiest access to healthcare on our list of best places to retire in Oregon. But considering rising healthcare costs, it’s essential to save for future medical expenses as soon as possible. You can do this with the help of a health savings account (HSA). The money you put into an HSA grows tax free. You also avoid taxes on withdrawals if you use them on qualified health expenses.

3. Brookings

According to our research, seniors make up a quarter of the population in Brookings. And it’s no surprise. Brookings reflects the picture that comes to mind when you dream of an ideal retirement. Think miles of pristine beaches, palm trees and year-round warm weather. And like many parts of Oregon, Brookings can serve as an outdoors enthusiast’s paradise. Recreational activities include fishing, kayaking and backpacking. It also boasts an active downtown area where festivals, yard sales and gallery events are the norm. So you’d be hard pressed to find yourself bored in Brookings. And according to Zillow, the median home price in Brookings is $335,00. This figure is on par with the state median. However, there are plenty of Oregon first-time home buyer programs you can take advantage of.

4. Florence

Seniors make up a surprising 40.3% of the population in Florence, Oregon. And the average age hovers around 50. That climbs above the state average of about 47. So if you’d like to be among fellow seniors, this town at the mouth of the Siuslaw River may appeal to you, especially if you prefer a maritime community. In fact, it offers a boardwalk, a marina, and a vibrant downtown area that often hosts festivals and other attractions. The town is also home to Lane County Community College. So if continuing education is on your agenda in retirement, Florence might be the place for you. And if retirement is still a couple of years away, you can take advantage of saving for this education through a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan. A lot of people think these are meant for children, but anyone can open a state-sponsored or advisor-sold account to fund his or her own education regardless of age.

5. Ontario

If you’re looking for more of a city vibe among our list of best places to retire in Oregon, you might feel at home in Ontario. It stands as the biggest city in Malheur County. And it sits along the scenic Snake River at the Idaho border. The town offers several recreational opportunities for seniors. In fact, our data shows it has about 1.17 retirement communities per 1,000 people. That figure puts it ahead of all other entries on our list.  And the adventurous can visit nearby Hells Canyon, which offers the deepest river chasm in North America and some of the highest summer-time temperatures. Plus, the area houses about 2.71 medical facilities per 1,000 people.

6. Grants Pass

Big fans of the arts may find Grants Pass appealing. The town sits along the Rogue River, where you can enjoy frequent parades and festivals. You can also go fishing and white water rafting, of course. Other attractions include the Art Along the Rogue festival and the Back to the Fifties antique car festival. The downtown area also houses the historic Rogue Theater. In addition, Grants Pass surrounds about 2.14 medical centers and about 0.93 retiree communities per 1,000 people.

7. Ashland

best places to retire in oregon

Ashland stands as a mecca for the arts. It hosts the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival theater. Ever year, it attracts more than 400,000 people from around the world. TIME magazine once listed it as one of America’s best theaters. And its downtown area boasts plenty of Victorian houses and Elizabethan-themed shops. You’d also have plenty of opportunities to hike, fish and paddle along places like the Klamath River. The town also sits a few miles from California’s wine country. And according to our research, it surrounds 1.56 recreational centers and 0.44 retiree communities per 1,000 people.

8. Dallas

Dallas, Oregon is home to a few retiree centers including the non-profit, faith-based Dallas Retirement Village. Our data shows it hosts about 0.94 retiree communities per 1,000 people. It’s also home to the Polk County Courthouse and several other historic buildings. In addition, the small town has seven city parks, so you have a few places to enjoy with your grandchildren. And for some adult fun, you can explore one of the many wineries that surround Dallas. Furthermore, our research shows that seniors make up 20.2% of the population.

9. Astoria

Anyone looking to retire in a peaceful maritime community in Oregon that’s filled with creatives should look no further than Astoria. Lying along the Columbia River, this town attracts fishermen and thrill-seekers. Common activities also include parasailing, scuba diving and paddle boarding. Its downtown area hosts many attractions, including the Columbia River Maritime Museum. And being so close to the ocean, you can bet you’ll find plenty of top seafood restaurants. You’d also have access to a few golf courses, including the Lewis and Clark Public Golf Course. And with a population of around 10,0000, it’s definitely among the cozier and more intimate locations on our list. In fact, seniors make up a healthy 20.2% of the population. You’d also have access to a good amount of medical centers.

10. Prineville

Some 19.7% of seniors call Prineville, Oregon home. And as it rests along the Crooked River and surrounds the year-round Meadow Lakes Golf Course, it’s no surprise why this town keeps attracting visitors and retirees. Seniors would have plenty of opportunities to stay active in Prineville with its biking and hiking trails. You can also go on the Central Oregon Farm and Ranch tour or visit the Prineville Reservoir State Park.

best places to retire in oregon

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Photo credit: ©iStock.com/FatCamera, ©iStock.com/thinair28, ©iStock.com/Dendron

Javier Simon, CEPF® Javier Simon is a banking, investing and retirement expert for SmartAsset. The personal finance writer's work has been featured in Investopedia, PLANADVISER and iGrad. Javier is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He has a degree in journalism from SUNY Plattsburgh. Javier is passionate about helping others beyond their personal finances. He has volunteered and raised funds for charities including Fight Cancer Together, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
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