Retiring in Oregon: A Guide to the Beaver State for Retirees

Oregon offers a unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and a relaxed lifestyle, making it an attractive destination for retirees.

If you’re considering retiring to the Beaver State, this guide will provide you with an in-depth look at what Oregon, and especially the sometimes overlooked Central Oregon, has to offer. Lush forests, rugged coastlines, charming mountains, friendly small-town vibes—Oregon definitely has a little something for everyone. 

Whether you’ve lived in this beautiful Pacific Northwest state your whole life or are considering a pilgrimage for retirement, our guide to retiring in Oregon will help you assess whether Oregon is right for your golden years. 

Pros and Cons of Retiring in Oregon: An Overview

We should say upfront that New Era Homes is proudly based in Bend, Oregon, so we admit that we might be a little bit biased toward our home state. Nevertheless, we realize that—just like anywhere else—there are pros and cons for retirees who choose Oregon. 

We’ll address a lot more specifics about Oregon below, but here are a few pros and cons about retiring in Oregon for you to consider right off the bat. 

Oregon’s Advantages for Retirees

  • Healthcare — Quality healthcare is a paramount concern for retirees. You want to make sure that you have access to healthcare, and effective care at that. The good news for Oregonians is that we have eight high-performing hospitals scattered throughout the state. While a few are clustered in Portland, St. Charles Medical Center in Bend makes the list, as does PeaceHealth outside Eugene and Asante in Medford. 
  • Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities — You simply can’t think of Oregon without evoking images of inviting landscapes. From deep green forests to splendid rivers and rocky coasts, Oregon definitely has an advantage for those who enjoy the outdoors, and who don’t necessarily want to battle high temperatures to enjoy natural beauty. We have a rich environmental tapestry here in Oregon that provides an invigorating yet serene backdrop for your golden years.

Challenges to Consider

  • Cool Climate — At New Era Homes, we love the climate in Central Oregon. We get to enjoy four seasons without a bone-chilling cold. We also get very little rainfall, which gives us plenty of time to explore the luscious landscapes around us. Still, we understand that a lot of retirees flee to the Sun Belt for a reason. That sunshine can prove irresistible, and the warmth may be beneficial for certain health conditions. Still, the climate in Oregon is rather temperate, and if you enjoy the seasons, it provides an opportunity to enjoy the changes without extremes.
  • Cost of Living — In some areas of Oregon, the cost of living is relatively high compared to other places in the country, especially the South. As the Sun Belt continues to grow and expand, however, the cost of living has risen accordingly, so we will likely see more and more of an evening out in the cost of living over the coming years.

Oregon’s Tax-Friendly Landscape

Oregon is generally a tax-friendly place for retirees. There is no tax on social security benefits, and there is no estate tax or estates worth less than a million dollars. 

Seniors who encounter any sort of hardship in Oregon may also qualify for the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program. If you need it, the program can help you free up income when your property taxes come due. The deferral must eventually be repaid, but the program can help seniors in a pinch.

The Best Places to Retire in Oregon

It’s hard to go wrong anywhere in Oregon. The coast is gorgeous, Portland obviously has all the amenities you could ever want and more, Central Oregon is breathtaking, and the western side of the state is untamed wilderness. 

So while it’s difficult to pick a wrong destination in Oregon, there are probably a few things you want to consider. We also think it’s worth mentioning a few specific locales that are sometimes overshadowed by Portland. 

What to Look for in a Retirement Location

There’s no question that healthcare has to be a priority for retirees. You want to make sure that where you end up has the services you need. Typically, you’ll want to look at metro areas around a central city for quality and diversified healthcare offerings.

Another thing you may want to consider is community involvement. A lot of Oregon’s smaller cities have small-town vibes and a strong sense of community. Of course, there are more than enough things to do in and around Portland, but not all of the fun is relegated to the big city. Taking to explore some lesser-known places may help you strike a nice balance between affordability and accessibility to natural beauty.

Oregon’s Top Places for Retirees

Here are some locales that are worthwhile considering for retirees. 

  • Bend Money magazine regularly lists Bend as a top place to retire, and for good reason. It’s an extremely livable small city with a balance between plenty to do and plenty of nature nearby. Culture abounds with annual events like the Bend Film Festival. The St. Charles Hospital also provides top-notch healthcare to the region.
  • Eugene — A great small city for both the arts and outdoors, Eugene is often ranked among the best cities to live in the country. Close to the coast and the mountains and right off of the pristine Willamette River, there’s plenty of nature. The University of Oregon keeps Eugene interesting, and you simply can’t beat the stunning scenery.
  • Sisters — Close to nearby resorts like Black Butte Ranch and Aspen Lakes, Sisters is an outdoor paradise. Lakes are everywhere you look, and the natural beauty of the area is breathtaking. Sisters is much smaller than the other cities on the list, but with Bend just half an hour down the road, you still have easy access to amenities.
  • Salem — Another top-ranked place to live in the USA, Salem is a gem just outside of Portland. Salem is right in the middle of some gorgeous landscapes, with Silver Falls State Park just a short drive away. As the state capital, there’s always plenty to do!
  • Medford — Medford is a lesser-known town with a population of around 86,000. There are plenty of places to hike and get outdoors, but you also have access to all the amenities you need. The town is home to the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, which US News considers a high-performing hospital in the state.

Natural Beauty of the Beaver State

Oregon’s diverse and stunning landscapes offer the perfect backdrop for an active retirement. You simply won’t find the biodiversity and incredible access to nature in other states as you do in Oregon—and all within a relatively reasonable distance of one another.


The climate throughout the state is generally very agreeable. Oregon doesn’t experience the cold temperatures that some nearby states do, and there’s more sunshine than you’d expect. Yes, the coast can end up with a lot of rainfall, but it’s usually not torrential downpours. That rainfall provides lush greenery for us to enjoy, and gives us some dramatic skies to view. 

As you move inland from the coast, there’s less and less rainfall, and, in fact, Central Oregon can be considered “high desert” for its altitude and lack of rainfall. With four seasons in most places across the state, Oregon offers a diverse yet stable climate that’s inviting for retirees.


The rugged beauty of the Oregon coast includes some really precious spots like Camp Perpetua, Yachats, and Arcadia Beach. You’ll find plenty of seaside cliffs but also encounter sandy beaches, lush vegetation, and other unique rock formations. More than likely, you’ll be drawn back to the coast over and over again.


The Cascades wind their way through Central Oregon and make for a stark contrast with the coast. The mountains exhibit a muted beauty that is stunning in its own right. If you’ve never caught a sunrise or sunset with one of the peaks in the background, you’re in for a real treat. We recommend checking out Mount Washington, Black Butte, and Mount Bachelor among others.


Forests blanket much of Oregon. The tranquility of the woodlands in Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest, and the Oregon Badlands Wilderness are worth detouring for. Imagine walking through towering trees while the forest’s inhabitants create a serene soundtrack. These verdant havens are worth exploring, and provide a great backdrop for an active retirement. 

Other Natural Attractions

We could go on and on about Oregon’s natural beauty. We haven’t even mentioned Crater Lake National Park or the secluded wonder of Upper Klamath Lake. There’s no question that Oregon has incredible ecosystems with an excellent balance between development and untouched wilderness. If you’re thinking about retiring here, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy and active throughout your golden years.

New Era Homes Can Enhance Your Retirement

When you’re thinking about retiring in Oregon, you want to make sure that you have a home that suits your needs. If you want your children and grandchildren to enjoy the Oregon scenery with you, you’ll want to make sure that you’re well-prepared for their visits. What could be better than retiring in Oregon in your own custom home?

Custom Home Building for Retirees

New Era Homes offers a seamless, semi-custom home-building process that’s perfect for retirees. Our uncommon standards elevate every single one of our homes to the next level. We bring extensive expertise to every build, and we’ll walk with you every step of the building process—even if you’re just exploring your options at this point. You simply won’t find better custom homes in Central Oregon at our price point.

Find the Home of Your Dreams in Oregon

We admit that we’re biased toward our home state. We love our home and truly believe that retiring in Oregon is an excellent choice for a lot of retirees. We also want to ensure that you end up in a place that’s just perfect for you. Yes, there sure is plenty to enjoy out of doors in the Beaver State, but eventually, you’re going to want to return home, relax, and perhaps enjoy the company of your children and grandchildren.

Wouldn’t you love to retire in Oregon with a home that exceeds your wildest expectations?

More questions about retiring?

New Era Homes has you covered! Check out our blog posts to learn about the following: