Gig Harbor : Washington


What It Is Like to Retire in Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor is a charming and scenic town on Puget Sound in Washington State, with a gorgeous harbor lined with boats, hills and tall evergreens, and one that would compete with any New England town. On a clear day –- and even on some winter days --you can see Mount Rainier to the southeast, 60-odd miles away. It is one of those rare towns where even natives feel blessed to live amid such natural beauty and it’s not uncommon to see even long-time residents jump out of their cars in the PJs on the way to the coffee shop so that they can take pictures of the mountain and harbor to capture colorful sunrises. The small city, which has grown a lot in recent years, has an interesting history dating back to the mid-1800’s, and started as a commercial fishing and boat building community. Today, the town, with a population of a little over 12,000 (2020 Census) is home to many retirees and has become a popular tourist destination. Because Scandinavians and Croatians were among the first settlers to arrive, the quaint town has always been influenced by their cultural heritage and its fishing village appeal. Gig Harbor is easily accessible from Tacoma via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and Seattle is just an hour away.

Watch this short Youtube video prepared by Gig Harbor Guide:


Where to Retire in Gig Harbor and Home Prices

Zillow reported the median home value to be $788,037 in early 2022, an increase of over 20% during the past year. There are many options for housing. Waterfront homes typically range from $2 million to $6 million. View homes will range up to $1 million and beyond. There are many family neighborhoods throughout the city, including Canterwood, a golf/country club gated community with 760 largely craftsman-style homes, which range from $1 million to $2.5 million. Prices in this city are still less expensive than those in the Seattle suburbs to the north, which has attracted lots of retirees in recent years.

What Is Special about Gig Harbor

Other than the great fishing and boating, Gig Harbor is home to locally owned shops and galleries, 3 book stores, city and State Parks for shelling, kayaking, scuba diving, crabbing, and camping. And the view can be to die for. Shopping has become much more convenient, with multiple grocery stores, Costco, Target, a hospital and many restaurants within the city. It also boasts a fully outfitted YMCA, complete with scores of exercise machines and even an indoor walking track for rainy days, and many workout classes.

What Is Not Special about Gig Harbor

High cost of living, above average crime rate, winters are wet and chilly.

Who Will Like Retirement in Gig Harbor

About 28% of the population is above the age of 65, as it is a popular place for retirees who enjoy boating and the outdoors. There are marinas, parks, great restaurants, shops and a new hospital.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Commercial fishing is not as important to the town's economy as it once was. Many white collar workers commute to Tacoma. Health care, education and tourism are important economic drivers in Gig Harbor.

Climate and Physical Environment

January's average temperature is 41 degrees, with July's average at 64 degrees. The annual rainfall here is about 37 inches. Summers here are among the best in the country.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Gig Harbor has many great restaurants and pubs, many of course offering seafood and waterfront dining. The harbor town is in a beautiful setting for boating, hiking and many types of outdoor activities. But for the cultural scene you can head to Tacoma or Seattle, although Gig Harbor has many concerts, an annual Christmas tree lighting, a Lighted Boat Parade, a holiday lighted-car parade, and many other festivals. Organized kayak clubs also exist.


The crime rate is above the national average and is mainly theft and property damage, not violent crime.

Medical Facilities

St. Anthony Hospital is located here and provides many types of health care.


The shopping area of Gig Harbor is walkable and many areas are bike friendly. During the summer months there is a trolley that goes between the waterfront district and the uptown shopping area. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a toll bridge between Tacoma and Gig Harbor.

Valuable Links

Gig Harbor

What people are saying about Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor WA
After an extensive five year search my husband and I boiled it down to Gig Harbor or Port Ludlow. We moved to P.L. in May, 2019. Gig Harbor is lovely. The problem was traffic!!! We almost bought a home three miles from Target. It took us 30+ minutes to get there as it was stop and go (lots of roundabouts) every time we went. The other reason is the traffic where Hwy. 16 meets 5 near Tacoma. It is a nightmare and easily adds 30-40 minutes of crawling onto the trip. It is even ridiculous at 2 am in the morning! We chose Port Ludlow. In 40 minutes we are parked and on the ferry to Seattle. We arrive 40 minutes later, refreshed!.. Our children ride the ferry over and we pick them up. When we want to go north, we take the Kingston Ferry which leaves us above the Seattle traffic fray. Look at Port Ludlow,it\'s absolutely lovely here!
Posted by Deborah Cacho on December 11, 2019

Leave a Comment

To comment you must be a registered member of

Login Here


Create Your Free Membership Account

Suggest a community we want to know about your top retirement spots
Please note that all contributions to Topretirements may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then don't submit it here. By submitting content and/or photographs here you agree to give the rights to use them in any manner without cost or attribution.You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Project:Copyrights for details). DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!

Copyright © 2006-2023 All Rights Reserved.