3 Communities in Eastern WashingtonView All
Eastern Washington was made for active adults looking to enjoy their time in the great outdoors. Home to several state parks and nature preserves, the area’s prime spot is the Cascade Range, which blocks the rainy weather from Eastern Washington making this region a warmer, more dry area.
Climate and Geography
The most noteworthy geographical element in Washington is the Cascade Range, a mountain range that effectively splits the state in two. Key geographical features in Eastern Washington include the Columbia River, the Columbia Plateau, and the Columbia Mountains, as well as the eastern portion of the Cascades.
In terms of climate, Eastern Washington is essentially the opposite of the rest of the state. The region sees very little rain, and it’s generally cooler, especially in the winter.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
Like its border state and other nearby areas, Eastern Washington’s big draw is an abundance of outdoor adventure, whether it’s hiking or river rafting. With less rainy weather than the western half of the state (over 300 sunny days per year on average), Eastern Washington residents have plenty of opportunity to get outdoors.
Just some of the outdoor recreation areas include Colville National Forest, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Centennial Trail, Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, and several options on the eastern side of the Cascades.
Most of the region's culture and entertainment can be found in its biggest city, Spokane. Lovers of fine arts will enjoy the Spokane Civic Theatre, the Spokane Symphony, and several concert halls. Museums in Eastern Washington include the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, the Yakima Valley Museum, and REACH Museum.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Eastern Washington has a significantly lower cost of living than the rest of the state, and it generally comes in below the national average. Spokane itself is under the national average in everything but housing and transportation, in which it’s just slightly over. Even then, the median home cost in the city is well below the national average. Leaving Spokane and heading into Eastern Washington’s more rural areas, the cost of living becomes slightly lower in most aspects.
The state is generally considered tax friendly because it has no state income tax and no Social Security tax. Beyond that, no retirement income is taxed. Property taxes in the state are considered average. There are also several tax breaks senior homeowners can take advantage of, including the Property Tax Deferral Program for Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons.
In Gallup’s Well-Being Index, Spokane comes in around average in most areas; its best categories being community and financial.
Eastern Washington doesn’t have any hospitals ranked by U.S World News & Reports, but Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and MultieCare Deaconess Hospital come in at No. 3 and No. 18 in the state, respectively.