San Juan Islands : Washington

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What San Juan Islands is like for active adults
If you are one of those people who has always wanted to live on an island, the San Juan Islands are your chance (actually you have 450 chances, although only 4 of the islands have ferry service). Located off the coasts of Washington and British Columbia, the islands are both a tourist destination and a retirement community. The setting, the tranquility, and the scenery are world class.

Orcas is the largest of the San Juans at about 57 square miles and a little over 4,400 residents. Eastsound is the largest town on this island. Other hamlets there include Orcas, West Sound, Deer Harbor, Rosario, Olga, and Doe Bay. Nearby San Juan Island has slightly more residents (6,800). It has the only incorporated town in the islands, Friday Harbor, a quaint and historic fishing village. Life in the San Juans is quiet and tends to center around outdoor activities like hiking, bird and whale watching, kayaking. There is one golf course that we know of. The wintertime is even quieter once the tourists have left. Click here for more information on taxes and what it is like to retire in Washington State. Here is an excellent source for further information about the San Juan Islands.
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Where to Live & Real Estate Values

The real estate market and development is very active, although we are not aware of any specific 55+ or active adult communities. Many of the people who live on the San Juan Islands are retired.  

The median sale price according to Zillow in mid-2012 was $215,000, but this number can be misleading; listings included small apartments from just over $100,000 to multi-million dollar homes. There is an active program for low to mid-income residents where property is purchased, a community of several houses are designed (mostly between 8 and 14 homes), and families apply to participate in the program.  Each family then helps to build the (green) homes and upon completion everyone owns their own home with a relatively small mortgage payment.  It sounds at least theoretically possible  for retired people to participate in this program.

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What is special about this retirement community

Being able to live on an island; incredible scenery and outdoor activities; small town charm; Mount Constitution; Moran State Park; Obstruction State Park; Madrona Point Park; Rosario Resort and Spa (on National Register of Historic Places); outstanding boating; whale watching; Aproximada (the Boat Builder); San Juan Island National Historical Park

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What is not special about this retirement community
The towns are small and these are islands – you have to want to live in a small world, or have another place to escape to. No one wants to see these islands become too developed. It is expensive to live here.
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What kinds of people like retiring here
San Juan Islands attracts a community who want to live in a very small island community surrounded by world class scenery and recreational opportunities.

Use this link for a page that explains the various types of retirement communities
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Local economy is driven by
Tourism, boating, summer camps
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Climate and Physical Environment
San Juan Islands (there about 450 of them, 4 have ferry service) are located in Puget Sound on the east coast of Vancouver Island and to the west of the state of Washington, north of Seattle. The climate is temperate; it rarely gets above 70 degrees in summer, it occasionally snows in winter. The islands get about half the rain of nearby Seattle.
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Restaurants & Cultural Scene
There is a summer arts fair in July .The event is located outdoors in beautiful Friday Harbor, along historic Court Street. There is also an active senior center. Movies are shown at the Palace Theatre. Check out the San Juan Island Artists Community.  Visit the Whale Museum.
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Crime

Crime here is very low.

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Medical facilities
The nearest hospital is in on the mainland in Anacortes (29 miles)
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Transportation
The Washington State Ferry provides daily service to the mainland at Anacortes (WA), with limited service to Sidney (British Columbia). There are daily commercial flights from Orcas Island Airport (Eastsound).
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Valuable Links
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What people are saying about San Juan Islands

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Facts about SAN JUAN ISLANDS
  • State: WA
  • Environment: Rural,Coastal,Boating Community,Biking Community,
  • City Population: Less than 10,000
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 21-40
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 41,001-60,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $200,001-$300,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: 2000-4000
  • Total Crime Index: <80 (Very low)
  • Cost of Living Index: 111-120 (high)
  • Culture Index: 81-90 (low)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: No
  • Name of the Guide: jfb48

Can you add to or correct these Facts? Or do you have a photo of this community we could use? If so, please click on Edit these facts

Vote on the Ratings for San Juan Islands
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1. Overall Retirement Ratings Discuss

1. Rating: 3.0/5 ( 6 votes cast)

2. Expense:
Inexpensive to Luxury Discuss

2. Rating: 3.7/5 ( 3 votes cast)

3. Taxes:
Inexpensive to Expensive Discuss

3. Rating: 2.3/5 ( 6 votes cast)

4. Culture:
None to Cosmopolitan Discuss

4. Rating: 2.0/5 ( 1 vote cast)

5.Recreation:
None to Summer camp Discuss

5. Rating: 4.0/5 ( 1 vote cast)

6. Transportation:
Boondocks to World Hub Discuss

6. Rating: 1.0/5 ( 1 vote cast)

7. Security:
Dangerous to Ft. Knox Discuss

7. Rating: 4.0/5 ( 2 votes cast)

8. Medical Facilities:
None to Excellent Discuss

8. Rating: 2.3/5 ( 4 votes cast)

9. Political Situation:
Conservative to Liberal Discuss

9. Rating: 3.0/5 ( 2 votes cast)

10. Environmental:
Oblivious to Ultra-Green Discuss

10. Rating: 4.0/5 ( 2 votes cast)