Ocean Shores : Washington

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What it's Like to Retire in Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores is a small coastal community in the state of Washington, which sits on Point Brown Peninsula, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Grays Harbor.  The community is home to 5,622 residents (2012 census), with over 30% age 65 years and older. Ocean Shores’ six miles of beach and wildlife has made it a popular tourist destination for decades, with close to 4,000,000 visitors each year. 

In the late 1920’s the area was a sprawling cattle ranch but was sold to Ocean Shores Development Corporation in 1961, which had planned to build a large California- style resort.  Although the resort idea never materialized, plots were sold, roads were laid and Ocean Shores began to grow with a construction boom that included marinas, shops, hotels and a golf course.  Pat Boone, a popular singer and movie star in the 1950’s, bought into Ocean Shore Estates, from which he hosted his famous Celebrity Golf Tournaments.  In 1969, Ocean Shores was declared “The Richest Little City” and had 900 permanent residents.  Today, visitors flock here to enjoy the beach, bird watch, fish, and attend the many outdoor activities and festivals that Ocean Shores has to offer. Picture of Digging for Razor Clams courtesy of Wikipedia and Distressa.


Where to Retire in Ocean Shores and Home Prices

The median sale price of a home in Ocean Shores was $165,240, in late 2015, according to Zillow.com.  Of course location matters, a home on the lake or an oceanfront home will cost much more.


What is special about Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores is six miles of beach, fishing, open spaces, parks, wildlife areas, and a favorite bird-watching spot with over 280 bird species.   The community hosts many festivals and offers outdoor recreation of every kind.  It is a popular tourist destination with many restaurants and art galleries, a golf course, and a casino. 


What is not special about Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores is a tourist town which attracts over 4,000,000 visitors each year, so it does get crowded;  the average annual rainfall is about 70 inches, although most of that occurs in the winter;  The nearest large airport is 125 miles away.


Who will like retirement in Ocean Shores

Retirees who want to live in an coastal environment with a low cost of living, low crime rate, and love the great outdoors, would enjoy living here.


Local economy is driven by

The economy in Ocean Shores is driven by tourism and education.


Climate and Physical Environment

Ocean Shores experiences a mild climate, with moderate temperatures, never too hot or too cold. The average January temperature is about 42 degrees and the average July temperature is about 60 degrees.  The annual rainfall is approximately 70 inches, and it can occasionally snow.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Ocean Shores is an outdoor orientated community with a host of recreational and outside activities to prove it.  There are of course a lot of restaurants, many of them seafood, and family-fun places to visit;  The Coastal Interpretive Center features hands-on learning while featuring the history of Ocean Shores; the Oyehut Wildlife Area, and Damon Point for bird watching; parks on Duck Lake offer boat launches and fishing piers; Ocean Shores is also home to the Stage West Community Theater which is a live theatre performing arts organization.

If you like festivals and celebrations, then Ocean Shores is the place to be.  With over 25 various events and programs scheduled each year, it is easy to see what the draw is as a tourist destination.  The Sand and Sawdust Festival features master sand sculptors and woodcarver competitions; the Beachcombers Fun Fair is an annual event held in March with exhibits, seminars and a children’s science fair;  The Irish Music Festival is the West Coast’s largest; the Razor Clam Festival & Seafood Extravaganza celebrates the natural bounty of coastal life; The Associated Arts of Ocean Shores hosts an Arts and Crafts Festival which is one of Western Washington’s largest, and is an end of summer annual event.  And if it rains, there is always the casino.



Ocean Shores has a low crime rate, with most of the crimes being theft.


Medical facilities

Grays Harbor Community Hospital is about 15 miles away in Aberdeen.



Ocean Shores is serviced by Grays Harbor Transit system; the town offers excellent biking with numerous bike trails, and there are bike lanes throughout the city.  You can also bike from one side of the peninsula to to the other to enjoy the scenery;  the nearest large airport is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, about 125 miles away.


Valuable Links

Visit Ocean Shores

The City of Ocean Shores

Irish Music Festival

Ocean Shores


What people are saying about Ocean Shores

Mountains vs. Seashore
My dog and I love the outdoors, so when I retire in a year I think we will go to either the mountains or the seashore. I\'m looking at Larimer County Colorado (Estes Park/Ft. Collins) and the Pacific Coast of Washington. Ocean Shores is on my short list. I\'ll visit for the first time in a few weeks. Would appreciate any thoughts and insights.
Posted by lindsey@usa.net on March 06, 2016
This comment was made by Sam B.
Elevation is +/- 5Ft above sea level to about 36 Ft. above sea level on south end of the point near the golf course....Implications of this for the whole Point is that there is a large tsunami risk. Even with warning systems presently installed, exit from Point Brown is only one lane and about 6 miles beyond the community to higher ground ( wherever that is designated)Aditionally, the community is underfunded for sea rescue of swimmers and surf fishing folks caught by rip tides or big waves and the equipment is not available but stored at the fire department.
Posted by admin on April 21, 2015

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Facts about OCEAN SHORES
  • State: WA
  • Environment: Coastal,Small Town,Boating Community,Outdoor Oriented,
  • City Population: Less than 10,000
  • Median age of Population: 45-64
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 41-60
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 41,001-60,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $100,000-$200,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: 2000-4000
  • Total Crime Index: 81-90 (low)
  • Cost of Living Index: 81-90 (low)
  • Culture Index: 101-110 (slightly above average)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: No
  • Name of the Guide:

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Ocean Shores retirement communities
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