Gig Harbor has long been a favored retirement location in Western Washington. Loads of waterfront, one of the most picturesque small towns on the Olympic Peninsula, and lower crime rates are just a few reasons. Retirees make up about 24.6% of the population according to the website Smartasset.com which ranks Gig Harbor as the 4th best place to retire in the US.
In the 1980s Gig Harbor started to really catch the eye of many retirees. At the time it was a much smaller, quiet fishing town known as a boater’s weekend destination. The Narrows Bridge separated it from the more urban area of Tacoma lending a sense of safety and tranquility.
Residents enjoy the outdoors at parks and trails, golf courses, the charming views of Gig Harbor, the gentle breezes of Puget Sound, the restaurants and shops downtown, and the newer Uptown Gig Harbor. A temperate climate and access to sports and cultural activities are also big draws.
The main harbor, downtown, is host to a number of large marinas making it an ideal place to own a boat or fish from a pier. Many of the downtown shops in the 70s, 80s, and 90s contributed to the developing appeal to senior living by catering to the retirement crowd of boaters visiting downtown.In the last 10 to 15 years, Gig Harbor has exploded with growth. It has become a bustling town with many new developments and amenities. While this has taken away some of the attractions for retirement, by increased traffic, and higher living expenses, but with that growth, it offers more local amenities than it did in those early days.
A large modern hospital, medical centers, a large YMCA with classes for seniors, land new large developments that cater to retirees like Heron’s Key, in some ways make it more retirement friendly than ever.
In the past one had to cross the bridge frequently to get to Costco and other shopping amenities but now there are many of the same big box retail options right in Uptown or Gig Harbor North.
Despite all this growth, Gig Harbor continues to have a small-town feel and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest along with the amenities of larger cities and unique offerings such as the Gig Harbor Yacht Club and Canterwood Golf and Country Club.
Conclusion: Is Gig Harbor a Good Place to Retire?
For those with the means to live in town with a higher-than-average housing cost, Gig Harbor is a favorite for many retirees to live out their golden years. With natural beauty a stone’s throw away in any direction, plenty of golf and walking trails, this town is a very enjoyable place to live. Add to that a local hospital and two major hospitals in Tacoma, just across the bridge, and many seniors find that Gig Harbor is an ideal retirement community.