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Living in Oak Harbor Washington - EVERYTHING You Need to Know

View from Flinstone Park in Oak Harbor Washington

What is Living in Oak Harbor Washington Like?

Oak Harbor, Washington, located in Island County, is home to almost 25,000 people. The city offers its residents a mix of urban and small-town living, making it an attractive location for locals and tourists. Oak Harbor is located on Whidbey Island and offers easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating. The city is near State Route 20, which runs along the island, providing easy access to other towns and attractions. Oak Harbor embodies the Pacific Northwest lifestyle with its lush greenery, mountain views, and proximity to Puget Sound. Oak Harbor residents and visitors enjoy recreational activities such as kayaking, hiking, and exploring the nearby Deception Pass State Park. The Best of Oak Harbor includes a historic downtown, modern shopping centers, and residential neighborhoods with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains.


One of the main attractions in Oak Harbor is the historic downtown area, which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to gather and explore the charming streets. Deception Pass State Park is another attraction in the area, which offers hiking trails, beach access, and stunning views of the surrounding water and mountains. Oak Harbor has several other parks, including Windjammer Park and Fort Nugent Park. These parks offer amenities such as playgrounds, sports fields, picnic areas, and walking paths, providing plenty of opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors.


You'll find several significant employers in and around Oak Harbor, Washington. The Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, the WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, and the Oak Harbor School District are all larger employers in the area. Many small businesses and shops also employ those living in Oak Harbor, Washington.

The cost of living in Oak Harbor, Washington, is slightly higher than the national average but still relatively affordable compared to other cities in the region. Housing costs are a primary component of Oak Harbor's cost of living. The average home value in Oak Harbor is around $475,000, making homeownership somewhat attainable for many individuals and families in the area. There are various housing options available in Oak Harbot to suit its residents' budgetary and living needs, including single-family homes, apartments, condos, and townhouses.


If you're searching for a smaller town with a slower pace, a delightful downtown area, top-notch schools, and plenty of outdoor activities, Oak Harbor, Washington, would be an excellent spot for you! Continue reading to discover more about living in Oak Harbor, Washington, and learn about its neighborhoods, schools, cost of living, and some pros and cons of living in this charming city. This knowledge should assist you in determining whether living in Oak Harbor, Washington, is the right call for you!      

The Moving to Oak Harbor Washington Team

Let our team of trusted professionals help you buy or/and sell a home in Oak Harbor, Washington. To connect with a local expert/real estate professional in Oak Harbor, Washington, CLICK HERETo start receiving emails with homes that match your criteria anywhere in Washington, CLICK HERE and sign up for Listing Alert. With a little info on what, where, and how much, you'll get newly listed homes matching your criteria sent to your inbox as they hit the market. This can give you a big leg up in your home search.

The first step in the home-buying process is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Todd Davidson is an experienced mortgage broker and can help you get the best financing option for your home purchase. Not quite ready yet? Todd can help you put together a plan to get you there. Whether you're thinking a few months or a year or more if you want to buy a home, reach out to Todd and he can help. CLICK HERE to email Todd and set up a call to get the process started or just call him at 971-275-2465. 

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Todd Davidson

Mortgage Broker

What is the Cost of Living in Oak Harbor Washington?

If you're exploring a move to Oak Harbor Washington, or any place, the cost of living would be a significant factor in your decision-making. I calculated the REAL cost of living in Oak Harbor, Washington, by factoring in today's costs for housing (rent and own), utilities, food, transportation, healthcare, and other necessities to live. To live in Oak Harbor, Washington, and rent, you would need to make $42,000 a year. To live in Oak Harbor, Washington, and buy a home, you would need to make $67,000 a year. Rental amount is based on current low end cost of studio or one bedroom, purchase is based on recent low end sales of a three bedroom and monthly payment with 20% down.

Cost of Living

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Top Neighborhoods in Oak Harbor Washington

Oak Harbor itself is not divided into distinct neighborhoods. However there are several areas within the city that are known for their unique characteristics. Here are six notable areas in Oak Harbor along with information on attractions, housing types, and other points of interest:

  1. Downtown Oak Harbor: Downtown Oak Harbor offers a bustling urban experience with various attractions. The neighborhood has charming local shops, delicious restaurants, and cozy cafes. Residents and visitors can enjoy community events like the Oak Harbor Music Festival and the Farmer's Market. Housing options in this area include a mix of historic homes, apartments, and condominiums. Some properties may offer water views. Additionally, Windjammer Park, a waterfront park with a beach, picnic areas, and a playground, provides an entertaining outdoor space for relaxation and recreation. The Oak Harbor Marina, located nearby, is another popular attraction that offers opportunities for boating and fishing.

  2. Penn Cove: Located near Oak Harbor, Penn Cove is a neighborhood known for its picturesque beauty and thriving shellfish farming industry. One of the main attractions here is the opportunity to explore the mussel and shellfish farms by taking a boat tour or indulging in freshly harvested seafood at local restaurants. Housing in Penn Cove consists of various options, including waterfront properties, charming cottages, and single-family homes. Many of these homes offer stunning views of the cove and the surrounding natural beauty. Additionally, nearby Coupeville, a historic town adjacent to Penn Cove, boasts charming shops, art galleries, and annual events like the Penn Cove Water Festival.

  3. North Whidbey: North Whidbey is a neighborhood around Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. One of the main attractions here is the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Aviation Museum, which showcases aviation's rich history and significance in the region. North Whidbey also offers beautiful beaches and hiking trails, with Deception Pass State Park being a prominent natural attraction. Housing in this area varies and includes single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. Some neighborhoods have a more suburban feel, providing a peaceful and family-friendly environment. Outdoor enthusiasts will particularly enjoy the recreational opportunities, including fishing, kayaking, and scenic walks along Deception Pass Bridge, an iconic landmark connecting Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island.

  4. West Beach: West Beach is a serene neighborhood known for its stunning sandy beaches and peaceful waterfront. It is an ideal destination for beachcombing, picnicking, and enjoying breathtaking sunsets over the water. Housing in West Beach primarily consists of single-family homes, many of which are located along the beach or offer water views. Living in this area provides residents with direct access to the tranquil beach environment and the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings. Additionally, Joseph Whidbey State Park, located nearby, offers scenic trails, picnic areas, and a boat launch, providing further opportunities for outdoor recreation.

  5. Strawberry Point: Strawberry Point is a charming residential neighborhood in Oak Harbor with a private beach access point. The neighborhood's main attraction is its waterfront, which provides beach walks, wildlife spotting, and relaxation opportunities. Housing in Strawberry Point primarily consists of single-family homes, including some waterfront properties. The area offers a peaceful and idyllic setting, with many homes featuring large lots and providing ample privacy. Additionally, Fort Ebey State Park is nearby, offering camping, hiking, and panoramic views of the coastline. The park also boasts historical bunkers from World War II, adding an intriguing historical element to the area.

  6. Sliver Lake: Situated in Oak Harbor, Silver Lake is a neighborhood centered around a serene lake. The lake is a focal point and provides fishing, boating, and bird-watching opportunities. Living in Silver Lake allows residents to enjoy a tranquil and scenic environment with easy access to recreational activities on the water. Housing in Silver Lake encompasses a range of options, including lakefront properties, cabins, and single-family homes. Additionally, the Whidbey Golf Club is located nearby, featuring an 18-hole golf course with beautiful views of the surrounding area. Golf enthusiasts can indulge in their favorite sport while taking in the neighborhood's natural beauty.

If moving to Oak Harbor, Washington, and you'd like to buy a home in one of these fabulous neighborhoods, CLICK HERE to sign up for LISTING ALERT to be the first to know when a home matching your criteria gets listed for sale in Oak Harbor, Washington.

Orca Spotted Near Oak Harbor

20 Pros and Cons of Living in Oak Harbor Washington

Living in Oak Harbor Washington Pros

  1. Natural beauty: Oak Harbor is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including scenic views of Puget Sound, nearby beaches, and picturesque forests.

  2. Outdoor recreation: The area offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching.

  3. Mild climate: Oak Harbor enjoys a relatively mild climate compared to other parts of the country, with cool summers and mild winters.

  4. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island: Oak Harbor is home to the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, which provides economic stability and employment opportunities for the local community.

  5. Charming downtown: Oak Harbor's downtown area is filled with quaint shops, restaurants, and cafes, offering a delightful atmosphere for strolling, shopping, and dining.

  6. Community events: The town hosts various community events throughout the year, including parades, festivals, farmer's markets, and art shows, fostering a strong community spirit.

  7. Strong military presence: The presence of the Naval Air Station contributes to a supportive and patriotic community, with a strong military presence and support for service members and their families.

  8. Good schools: Oak Harbor has reputable schools that provide quality education, making it an attractive place for families with children.

  9. Affordable cost of living: Compared to some nearby cities, Oak Harbor offers a more affordable cost of living, including reasonably priced housing options and lower overall expenses.

  10. Access to amenities: Despite its smaller size, Oak Harbor provides essential amenities such as healthcare facilities, shopping centers, recreational facilities, and a range of local services.

Living in Oak Harbor Washington Cons

  1. Isolation: Oak Harbor is located on Whidbey Island, which can feel isolated due to limited transportation options and the need to take a ferry to reach the mainland.

  2. Limited job market: The job market in Oak Harbor can be competitive and limited, particularly outside of the military and government sectors.

  3. Traffic congestion: During peak hours, traffic congestion can be an issue, especially on State Route 20, which is the primary access route to Oak Harbor.

  4. Limited healthcare options: While there are healthcare facilities in Oak Harbor, the options may be limited compared to larger cities, and specialized medical services may require traveling off the island.

  5. Seasonal tourism: Oak Harbor experiences a significant influx of tourists during the summer months, which can result in crowded streets, higher prices, and increased demand for services.

  6. Limited cultural amenities: Oak Harbor does not offer the same range of cultural amenities and entertainment options found in larger cities, such as museums, theaters, or music venues.

  7. Challenging weather: The Pacific Northwest climate in Oak Harbor is characterized by mild, wet winters and cool, dry summers, which may not appeal to those who prefer warmer or sunnier climates.

  8. Limited shopping options: While there are local stores and businesses in Oak Harbor, the variety and selection are limited compared to larger cities or shopping centers.

  9. Limited diversity: The population of Oak Harbor may lack diversity compared to larger urban areas, which can result in a less culturally diverse community.

  10. Limited nightlife: The nightlife scene in Oak Harbor may be quieter compared to larger cities, with fewer options for dining, entertainment, and social activities after dark.

Deception Pass Bridge

FAQs About Living in Oak Harbor Washington

What is Oak Harbor Washington known for?

Oak Harbor, Washington, is most known for its annual Holland Happening Festival, which takes place every April and celebrates the town's Dutch heritage. The festival attracts visitors from all over the region and features various events and activities such as a parade, street fair, carnival rides, and traditional Dutch food. The festival is a fun-filled celebration of Oak Harbor's unique culture and history, and has become an iconic symbol of the town and the surrounding region.


What cities and attractions is Oak Harbor close to?

Oak Harbor, Washington, is located in Island County, part of the Puget Sound region in the northwestern part of the state. The city is approximately 90 miles north of Seattle and 50 miles south of the Canadian border if driving. Oak Harbor is close to several other cities in the area, including Anacortes, about 20 miles away, and Everett, about 60 miles away driving. The city is also within easy driving distance of other popular destinations in the region, such as Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island, and the Olympic Peninsula. Oak Harbor's central location in Island County makes it an excellent starting point for exploring the surrounding natural beauty and nearby cities.


What is the weather like in Oak Harbor Washington?

Living in Oak Harbor, Washington, you can expect mild weather throughout the year. In the winter months, the average high temperatures range from 45°F to 50°F, and the average low temperatures range from 32°F to 35°F. The city occasionally experiences light snowfall during the winter, with an average of 7 inches of snowfall annually. Summers in Oak Harbor are mild, with average high temperatures ranging from 70°F to 75°F and occasional hot spells in the 80s and 90s. The city receives around 33 inches of rain yearly, with most precipitation occurring in the fall and winter months.


Does Oak Harbor have good public schools?

Students in Oak Harbor, Washington, attend public school in the Oak Harbor School District, which serves the city of Oak Harbor and some surrounding areas. For the 2022-23 school year, ranks the Oak Harbor School District #35 out of 252 school districts in Washington it ranked, giving it an overall A- rating. The district is committed to providing a well-rounded education, including arts and athletics, and offers a variety of programs for students with different interests and needs. The district has a diverse student body and strong partnerships with local organizations and businesses. If your kids attend school in the Oak Harbor School District, they should get an excellent education!


Is Oak Harbor safe?

Living in Oak Harbor, Washington, you'll find it a pretty safe place. Property crime rates in Oak Harbor are lower than the national average, and violent crime rates are significantly lower than the national average. states Oak Harbor has a crime rate lower than 63% of all US cities. If living in Oak Harbor, Washington, you should be pretty safe.


What is there to do living in Oak Harbor Washington?

Living in Oak Harbor, Washington, you will always have things to do. The city is surrounded by natural beauty, including the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, offering ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and fishing. Oak Harbor boasts several parks, including Windjammer Park and Fort Nugent Park, which feature playgrounds, picnic areas, and scenic walking trails. The city hosts several annual events, including the Oak Harbor Music Festival, which attracts visitors from around the region, and the Whidbey Island Fair, offering carnival rides, live music, and agricultural exhibits. If you're looking for a day trip, Oak Harbor is located near attractions like Deception Pass State Park and the Coupeville Historic Waterfront. Whether you enjoy outdoor activities or cultural experiences, there is always something to do in Oak Harbor, Washington.


Who are the large employers in Oak Harbor?

If living in Oak Harbor, Washington, some of the top employers include the Whidbey Health Medical Center, which employs over 500 workers, the Oak Harbor School District, which employs over 500 people, and the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, which employs over 6,000 people. Other notable employers in Oak Harbor include the City of Oak Harbor, Walmart, and various retail and hospitality companies. With a diverse range of employers, residents of Oak Harbor can find opportunities in healthcare, education, government, and more.

I want to relocate to Oak Harbor.  How do I make it happen?

You've come to the right spot if you're looking to move to Oak Harbor, Washington.  There’s a lot of information on this website to help including some helpful links below. If you want to ask questions, try our Facebook Group > Moving to Washington  where we have broad group of locals to answer any question you might have. If you’re looking to buy a home in the Oak Harbor area, getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be your first step. For Mortgage Info, reach out to me. I would love to tell you more about what living in Oak Harbor, Washington, is like as well as help with your mortgage if you decide to purchase a home.

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