You mentioned Sequim. It's a really short drive to the Olympic Mountains and great salt water right there.
It's also got way less rain than 45 miles away. It has a big retirement community and plenty of local services for when you need them.
I haven't done much travelling in the state but I really enjoy living on the KP. I'm close enough to Seattle that I can easily catch a ferry when needed. I have saltwater fishing at my door and a marina to tie up the boat. Traffic is almost nil...I definately can't stand traffic in Bremerton, Silverdale area. Poulsbo traffic on the main drag is tolerable...just.
Port Ludlow and Mats Mats has always struck me as nice little towns...perhaps a bit too rich for my blood though. Port Hadlock would be ok. Dunno...having a place on a good lake would be nice too...I could see myself retired at someplace like Cady.
couple to three years and I'll be pulling the plug...honestly can't wait to get out of this state..20 years is enough....smithers, san diego, tropic's, idaho, oregon...Worst fish and wildlife management I've ever seen in this state...all yours!!!
If Washington is your desire then I'd think about Thurston County (Olympia area). There is a lot of ground available, places in the Olympia area to shop and it's relatively close to the southwest rivers, Columbia, etc. It's also close to the ocean beaches and by way of Shelton, the Olympic Peninsula. The property values a lower and hence less expensive than King and Pierce counties, as well. There is also a big freeway that goes through the middle by which you can get to just about anywhere you want to go. For myself, I live in the Tacoma area and find that I like it quite well however there are few 1 acre parcels for sale unless you get out toward the mountains. It's a matter of taste.
I'm back. Apologies for lack of responses but not being near a computer makes it problematic. A lot of GREAT responses. Overall, I ponder lake-centric or river-centric. Then I thought about the last 30 times I have fished and really enjoyed it... 24 times on lakes, 6 on rivers. Hummm.... as for "California dirt", yes, we see little of it as everything is getting built out. At an upscale community just southwest of us by 2 miles a half acre to acre lot, just dirt... plain olllll dirt... is $1.5-2.0M That's U.S. dollars. People buy "scrapers" for $1.5, demolish them, put up a new home at $500/sq ft. I find it bizarre as I wallow with the working masses in the flat lands. At least for now. I don't need the traffic, whackos (those with "alternative lifestyles") and just plain silliness. Time to move on. I now spend free time researching your suggestions. An extended road trip is required. My sincere thanks to all and "keep those cards and letters comin' " ... enjoy in good health !
Seriously Take a look at the Ellensburg or Cle Elum area. The Teanaway valley just northeast of Cle Elum would be perfect. You could live right on a beautiful trout stream that's just miles from the Yakima river. Ellensburg is small, but it's a college town so there are some advantages from that.
Kitsap County has 114 miles of saltwater shoreline, very good golf courses with easy access, and of course great boating waters. Sea run cutthroat and salmon central for the fly fisherman. Nice properties and easy access to the Olympic Pennisula. The disadvantage is its about 125 miles to the Yakima River, about the same to the Forks area, and eastside (Seattle "S" Rivers) are not quick to get to. Taxes are 8.6%.
Ellensburg is a nice town, but the WIND is a definite drawback! I love the Methow, and have a house there, but for full time living, it lacks some of the creature comforts of a bigger city. That said, it has skiing, xc skiing, and some winter steelhead and trout fishing pretty close, and it is dynamite for fishing lakes, rivers and streams from mid spring to late fall and there is even some pretty decent upland hunting in the fall as well. I plan to spend about half of my time there, now that I'm retired, and the rest in Ferndale (an excellent choice as well for retirement!) with occasional tropical trips in the winter, as well as spending time at my parents house in the Phoenix area as they no longer use it. Rick