There is no escaping the fact that the Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful beaches and mountains in the United States. It is also no secret that when it comes to livability, the Pacific Northwest also scores very highly. If you are looking to live and work here, then here is our quick guide to some of the best kept secrets the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Located at the mouth of the Siuslaw River on the central Oregon coast, Florence is tucked away at the northern end of a 48 mile run of sand dunes most of which forms the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The whole green valley stretches out east before meeting the forested Coast Range foothills. This magnificent setting is a joy to behold and so it is no wonder that it’s what the residents love most about their town. Florence has a real sense of community and this makes a big difference to the quality of life. In Florence you can have it all, a different hike every day, a walk on the beach and a beautiful garden to call your own. With low crime rates and a low cost of living, Florence scores 77 for ‘livability’ from AreaVibes, a site that focuses on all the best places to live in the US.
A 20 minute boat ride is all it takes to reach the beautiful Whidbey Island and suddenly you find yourself transported to a gem of a place. Filled with acres of green grass, rolling farmland and outstanding views of the Puget Sound, you’ll think you have been transported to another world. Just one hour north of Seattle, Langley has all the charm of New England and is a perfect town at the edge of it all. Despite the island’s easy access, the town has retained a small town feel and local character, making this one desirable place to live. Smaller is smarter according to the residents here and as of yet, houses prices have not yet reached astronomical heights.
Port Angeles, Washington
Once an ageing mill town, Port Angeles is on the rise due to the fact that it is accessible, appealing and very affordable. Port Angeles might just be the next big thing when it comes to America’s great coastal towns. It boasts an enviable position sitting bang in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and lying in the shelter of the graceful Olympic Mountains. This sheltered spot means that Port Angeles escapes much of the rain which troubles other regions and residents here can expect a good 300 days of sunshine. The town has struggled in the past, but all that seems to be on the change as the town’s potential for growth takes hold. Scoring 74 with AreaVibes for livability, Port Angeles offers a low cost of living and has high graduation rates.
Hood River, Oregon
The hood river has been drawing windsurfers and kite boarders to the area for years and lately they have been joined by mountain bikers and white water paddlers, all keen to enjoy some of the best outdoor activities in the Pacific Northwest. If you love the great outdoors, then the Hood River is a must. This place is on the up judging by the superb range of new restaurants, bistros, bars and sushi joints popping up in the neighborhood. Just an hour east of Portland, Hood River is tucked between the huge basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge. This recreational boomtown however also has a serious side and offers potential residents low crime, a stable housing market and high graduation rates. AreaVibes score Hood River at 80 for livability.
Do you know of any Pacific Northwest’s hidden gems which we might have missed? If so let us know in the comments box below.
David Wilson is a writer discovering the best places to live, work and play in the United States.