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West Coast Help
Old 01-16-2017, 03:16 PM   #1
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West Coast Help

My wife and I are planning to exit within the next 1-2 years. Early forties. We live on the east coast, but prefer west coast skiing, mountain biking, etc. We're hoping to take a few long road trips to hit some potential retirement cities. We both love living near the ocean so that's a priority, but it's difficult to find areas where the mountains hit the water. Vancouver would be perfect as there are several ski/mountain biking areas within 30 minutes and Whistler/Squamish just a couple of hours away. However, I imagine the logistics of moving to Canada would great. Ideally, we'd be in a smaller mountain town with skiing/climbing/kayaking/mountain biking out our back door with access to a major metro area within 60-90 minutes. Also, Jiu-jitsu is a big hobby of mine so if you know of good schools... (somehow I can hear my wife chuckling). I appreciate any suggestions we can add to our scouting list. Also, thanks so much for the forum. I don't post much as I don't have much to add to this knowledgeable crew, but I lurk/learn daily.

Take care
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:35 PM   #2
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I don't know what your budget looks like, but you could check out Temecula, CA. It's been growing for the last 15+ years into quite the area. Same with Fallbrook, CA.

Ramona, CA is a small town leading into the mountains and was spitting distance from San Diego. Palm Springs had a lot of retirees; my grandparents loved parking their RV around there for long periods.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:36 PM   #3
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I would suggest the Puget Sound area or Olympic Peninsula for the combination of mountains and sea, and a large city (Seattle) nearby. Or maybe Juneau, Alaska.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:53 PM   #4
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Lake Tahoe? Not the ocean, but still lots of water, skiing, mountain biking, etc.
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:04 PM   #5
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Santa Monica Ca. is where the mountains meet the sea. A beautiful area, albeit possibly a bit pricey. A college mate lived there and I spent a holiday break with his family. They all called it "San Harmonica"
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:18 PM   #6
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For mountains meet ocean, and if the budget is healthy, Malibu, CA might be just the ticket. Because of it's remoteness from LA via the Santa Monica mountains, it's remarkably peaceful.

These would not be skiing mountains, but definitely hiking and biking mountains. For skiing you would have Big Bear, about a 90 minute drive, then Mammoth, about a six hour drive.
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Old 01-17-2017, 01:48 AM   #7
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For mountains meet ocean, and if the budget is healthy, Malibu, CA might be just the ticket. Because of it's remoteness from LA via the Santa Monica mountains, it's remarkably peaceful.

These would not be skiing mountains, but definitely hiking and biking mountains. For skiing you would have Big Bear, about a 90 minute drive, then Mammoth, about a six hour drive.


There are neighboring towns to Malibu like Camarillo , Thousand Oaks, Newbury park that ate also good options . Three is also Cambrian and San Luis Obispo.
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Old 01-17-2017, 05:27 AM   #8
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Anything north of LA the mountains meet the sea. But in California winter sports are a long way from the coast. But it is warmer. Seattle area, Puget Sound. Olympic mountains west of Seattle has amazing hiking. Mount Rainier looms over the entire area. And of course the Cascades.And skiing, there's plenty of that too.

If it is too pricey right next to the water, there are a number of smaller towns near the foot of the Rainier. Enumclaw, Buckley, Puyallup, Bonney Lake. Only 30 minutes to Tacoma. You do need to be prepared for a lot of rain on the coast. It gets a bit better inland.

Washington has no income tax.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:17 PM   #9
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Seattle area...giving away a hidden secret that is does't rain nearly as much as folks think! OK, there I did it. No sales tax, mountains are a 50 minute drive away.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:20 PM   #10
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Auburn, CA or Nevada City/Grass Valley, CA - hour to skiing, two hours to coast, biking/hiking all around. A little warm in the summer but otherwise a beautiful area.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:08 PM   #11
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Auburn, CA or Nevada City/Grass Valley, CA - hour to skiing, two hours to coast, biking/hiking all around. A little warm in the summer but otherwise a beautiful area.
It is beautiful but not too expensive. But also not near the ocean. Not that one can swim in the Pacific Ocean easily--too cold.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:14 PM   #12
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Consider Eugene, OR, moderate climate. An hour's drive to the coast (Florence), skiing at Willamette pass, a city built around bike paths. Two hour drive to PDX.

And yes, the Pacific ocean is cold. People do surf in wet suits.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:41 PM   #13
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Living right on the coast in CA is going to be expensive, but if you have the bucks I'd recommend Santa Barbara or Morro Bay for a combination of natural beauty and year round access to outdoor recreation. If you're willing to drive 20-30 minutes to the beach then there are a whole host of places that have similarly nice year round conditions but cost considerably less (San Luis Obispo, most of Ventura County, etc.)

I live in one of these areas and ride my mountain bike and hike in the local mountains 12 months a year. There's "OK" skiing in the higher local mountains within 2-3 hours, but I usually prefer spending 5-6 and heading up to Mammoth. As far as skiing is concerned I'd say that Mammoth and the larger Tahoe resorts (Heavenly, Squaw/Alpine) offer similarly good conditions and variety of trails. The vertical drop isn't quite as large as you'll find at Whistler up in BC, but the mountains are a lot higher (typically 10-11K ft) so the snow conditions are usually much better. By the same token I feel that the inland ski areas in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming are often drier still and have overall better snow than the California resorts, but there you have to live with winter so it's a compromise.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:57 PM   #14
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A 60-90 mile circle drawn around Portland or Eugene (Oregon) ought to do it for most of the requirements listed by the OP.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:52 PM   #15
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We are having horrible problems with homeless campers along popular biking trails around Portland. Eugene would be the better choice because they cater to U of O students who they want to use bikes instead of cars. Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System | Oregon Trails | TrailLink.com https://www.eugene-or.gov/489/Bike https://www.eugenecascadescoast.org/...g/great-rides/

Add to that a vibrant performing arts community... what not to like? https://www.eugenecascadescoast.org/...arts/calendar/

Be aware that the U of O is known as a 'party school'. You might want to live in neighborhoods away from campus.
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:24 PM   #16
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Ocean does meet mountains on the Central Coast of California, but skiing is a few hours away. Thing is, if you are retired you can travel to the mountains and ski during the week. We have neighbors that ski almost every week during the season.

The Central Coast also has some of the best mountain biking anywhere, especially Santa Cruz. From easy to very expert and more is being added all the time, as there is a very active cycling advocacy community here. There are also extensive mountain bike trails on the grounds of the former Fort Ord in Monterey. There are some new planned communities being built there, and the prices are quite a bit more reasonable than Santa Cruz, which is within commuting distance of Silicon Valley. There are also some interesting communities in and around San Luis Obispo. The smaller, more remote towns are definitely less expensive.

Bellingham, WA is also a very popular mountain bike town, and close to Vancouver, BC but without the issues of being in another country. Bend, OR is also a mountain bike town, not close to the coast, but with good skiing.

Finally, I just received Sunset Magazine's latest issue with 20 best value towns in the west. Nevada City was named Northern California's best affordable city with a median home price of 377,000. Ventura won in the So Cal category with a median home price of 497,000. The other winners were Prescott, AZ, Boise, ID and Vancouver, WA. Many places to check out in your travels!
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:36 PM   #17
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The obvious question is what are your means in retirement? They're throwing names of cities around that are unaffordable for most working people--much less retirees living on a budget.

Put me in for South Lake Tahoe, NV. I just love their warmer weather (than CO) skiing.
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:28 PM   #18
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I would suggest the Puget Sound area or Olympic Peninsula for the combination of mountains and sea, and a large city (Seattle) nearby. Or maybe Juneau, Alaska.
Although I've only traveled (not lived) there, I'd second the Olympic Peninsula. Everything you asked for in your post (including snow skiing) is literally 'out your back door." Suggest you look into Port Townsend & Port Angeles.

The other (secret?) bonus to the east side of the Olympic Peninsula is that it's in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains thus, many places get only 20 inches of rain/year...yes, that's right, half of what Seattle gets.

Olympic Rain Shadow Map and Location

PS: The Olympic Peninsula is less expensive than almost every other place posted thus far, and way less expensive than the Cali locations.
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:33 PM   #19
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Santa Monica Ca. is where the mountains meet the sea. A beautiful area, albeit possibly a bit pricey. A college mate lived there and I spent a holiday break with his family. They all called it "San Harmonica"
Unfortunately, IMO, it has been called the "Peoples Republic of Santa Monica"
Move up the coast a little to Ventura County, the best kept secret in SoCal. Please do not tell anyone I told you
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:55 PM   #20
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No ocean, but my recently retired little sister and BIL are moving to Reno, NV... it has a lot of what you are looking for and no state income taxes.
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