Retirement opens up a wide variety of options that may not have previously been available. No longer are people tied to a particular town or even a specific state for employment, and as their kids are increasingly settled and independent, retirees are freer to live where they want to live, not where they feel they need to live.
For some, the long list of options may be intimidating. How does one decide? Fortunately, there are many articles and websites available to help those ready to move on to the next chapter in their lives consider their choices and come up with one that works best for them.
A U.S. News and World Report article outlines tips for picking a place to retire. When looking at the suggestions in the article, it becomes apparent to anyone who knows the lovely South Coast town of Bandon-by-the-Sea that this is, for an increasing number of people, an excellent place to spend retirement years.
The first suggestion in the magazine article is to look for a town with lower costs than where one is currently living. Bandon currently enjoys a climate of relatively inexpensive homes. Selling a 3 bedroom home in a metropolitan area and transitioning into a similar home in Bandon will likely mean the buyer will have leftover profit to put in the bank. On average, the price of goods and services are similar to other towns in Oregon, so all in all, a retiree will come out ahead.
Retirees are also encouraged to look for a community with a variety of amenities. Retirement doesn’t mean that an active life stops; in fact, many people find that when they stop working, they suddenly have more energy to put into hobbies, fitness, and social interactions. Bandon and the surrounding area is home to several golf courses, including the world-renowned Bandon Dunes. It also boasts three fitness centers with a variety of equipment and classes, including classes and personal trainers who specialize in senior fitness. Just on the edge of the city parks walking trails is the senior center which buzzes with activity. Just next to the senior center is Bandon’s Sprague Theater, which hosts musical and theatrical shows, and the sprawling library, full of all kinds of books, magazines, newspapers, music, and movies. There are several art galleries in town for fans of visual art, including Art-by-the-Sea, an artists cooperative gallery. Bandon’s largest and most beautiful feature, the ocean, supplies residents with a place for daily walks, photography, and sunset-watching, and the beach is ever-changing. One never has the same view twice! There are also many volunteer opportunities in town for those looking for ways to give back to the community.
Bandon can supply its residents with most of their shopping and dining needs as well. Two grocery stores, a natural foods store, a Rite Aid pharmacy, and many other shops supplying food, clothing, hardware, gifts, and other necessities. There are also many restaurants in town to satisfy just about any palate, with options such as pizza, Chinese, seafood galore, pub fare, and nearby Coos Bay expands the options even further.
Although it hosts many tourists in the summer, there is life in Bandon year-round. Festivals and parades are frequent in the summer, fall, and extend even into winter when most businesses and restaurants stay open. There’s always something fun to do for the whole family, and extended family living elsewhere will be tempted to visit often.
High on many retirees lists of must-haves in a retirement town is quality health care. Besides its talented doctors and nurses at its two clinics, Bandon’s 21 bed Southern Coos Hospital and Health Center provides surgery, rehabilitation, inpatient nursing care, laboratory services, imaging and more. Several dentists keep our teeth healthy and gleaming, and massage therapists and an acupuncturist help keep us pain-free.
The U.S. News & World Report article reminds people approaching retirement to consider the political, religious, and social climate of a community when considering a move. For a small town, Bandon’s diversity is remarkable. Conversations with its residents will reveal an eclectic mix of religious beliefs and practices and representation on the entire political spectrum. Regardless of the differences among its people, Bandon remains a very friendly and welcoming town. Nothing makes a person feel at home more than being known by the pharmacist, the librarian, the barista at the coffee shop, and the grocery store clerk; it doesn’t take very long to feel part of the community.
As some retirees find themselves unable to or uninterested in driving, its important to look for a place where there are transportation options. Coastal Area Express carries riders up and down the coast from North Bend to Brookings, and Dial-A-Ride, a curbside service, can help folks get around town.
One of the chief concerns of people shopping for a new town is the climate. As people approach retirement age, they may be looking for a place without extreme weather; the dramatic high and/or low temperatures experienced in other parts of the country sends many looking for a place with a mild climate. Situated on the vast Pacific Ocean and on the north end of the Oregon Coast’s Banana Belt, Bandon enjoys relatively nice temperatures year-round without extreme highs and lows. The average summer temperature is right around 70 degrees, and winter lows are only an average of 44, but it’s not uncommon to see a few sunny and warm days in the middle of winter. Even when the weather does turn rainy, watching dramatic storms over the ocean can be wonderful, especially when in a cozy spot with a hot beverage.
It’s always wise to spend some serious time in a town before making the decision to buy property and move. As a town that also serves tourists, Bandon has many vacation rentals which can be reserved for a few days or even a few months. Visiting several times during different seasons will give the most complete picture of what it is like to live in Bandon.
The Southern Oregon Coast may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering a place to spend one’s retirement years, but Bandon has much to offer and should be high on one’s list. Come, stay a while, get to know some locals, and see for yourself whether it might be the right place for you!