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Washington Relocation Guide

Are you considering relocating to Washington State? Known as the Evergreen State, Washington offers a unique blend of vibrant urban centers, stunning natural landscapes, and a high quality of life. Whether you’re drawn to the dynamic city life of Seattle, the tech hub of Redmond, or the serene beauty of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington has something for everyone. This comprehensive Washington relocation guide will provide you with all the essential information to make your move smooth and successful. From understanding the state’s geography and climate to finding the perfect place to live, we’ve got you covered.


Why Move to Washington?

Washington is an attractive destination for many reasons. Here are some key benefits of moving to Washington:

  • Natural Beauty: From the Cascade Mountains to Puget Sound, Washington’s landscapes are breathtaking.
  • Quality of Life: Excellent healthcare, top-rated schools, and safe communities.
  • Strong Economy: A robust job market with opportunities in various sectors, particularly technology.
  • Outdoor Activities: Year-round outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, kayaking, and boating.
  • Cultural Richness: A vibrant arts scene, diverse culinary offerings, and numerous festivals.
  • No State Income Tax: Washington is one of the few states with no state income tax, which can lead to significant savings.

Understanding Washington’s Geography and Climate

Washington’s diverse geography and climate contribute to its unique charm. Here’s what you need to know:

Geographic Regions

  • Western Washington: Home to major cities like Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, known for their urban amenities and proximity to Puget Sound.
  • Eastern Washington: Features cities like Spokane and the Tri-Cities, characterized by a more arid climate and agricultural lands.
  • The Olympic Peninsula: Known for its rainforests, rugged coastline, and the Olympic National Park.
  • The Cascade Range: A mountain range that offers numerous outdoor recreational activities, including skiing and hiking.
  • The Columbia River Gorge: Known for its scenic beauty and outdoor activities like windsurfing and hiking.


  • Varied Climate: Washington’s climate varies significantly by region. Western Washington has a temperate maritime climate with mild, wet winters and cool, dry summers. Eastern Washington has a more continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.
  • Microclimates: Due to its diverse geography, Washington has many microclimates, with variations in temperature and precipitation depending on elevation and proximity to water bodies.

Cost of Living in Washington

Washington offers a moderate cost of living, though it can vary by region. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Housing: Home prices and rental rates vary significantly by region, with higher costs in urban areas like Seattle and lower prices in rural areas.
  • Utilities: Utility costs can be higher in winter due to heating needs, but are manageable with energy-efficient practices.
  • Groceries and Healthcare: These costs are generally on par with the national average, ensuring daily living expenses remain reasonable.

Finding a Place to Live

Choosing the right place to live in Washington depends on your lifestyle, work, and personal preferences. Here are some popular options:

  • Seattle: The largest city, known for its vibrant arts scene, excellent dining, and numerous parks and recreational areas.
  • Bellevue: A tech hub with a mix of urban amenities and suburban charm, located just across Lake Washington from Seattle.
  • Tacoma: Offers a mix of cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and a strong sense of community.
  • Spokane: Located in Eastern Washington, known for its friendly atmosphere, good schools, and access to outdoor recreation.
  • Redmond: Home to Microsoft, offering a strong sense of community and excellent schools.
  • Olympia: The state capital, known for its historic charm, cultural attractions, and access to nature.
  • Smaller Towns and Rural Areas: For a quieter lifestyle, consider towns like Bellingham, Port Townsend, or Walla Walla.

Employment Opportunities

Washington’s job market is diverse and robust, with opportunities in various sectors. Key industries include:

  • Technology: Washington is home to major tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon, particularly in the Seattle area.
  • Healthcare: The state has numerous hospitals and medical research institutions.
  • Education: Opportunities in public and private schools, as well as higher education institutions.
  • Aerospace: Boeing is a major employer, particularly in the Puget Sound area.
  • Agriculture: Eastern Washington is known for its apple orchards, vineyards, and wheat fields.
  • Tourism and Hospitality: Major tourist destinations and a thriving hospitality industry.
  • Manufacturing: Washington has a strong manufacturing sector, producing everything from electronics to food products.

Education and Schools

If you have children, understanding Washington’s education system is crucial. The state offers a mix of public, private, and charter schools, with a strong emphasis on academic excellence. Higher education options include the University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle University, and several community colleges.

Healthcare and Medical Facilities

Access to quality healthcare is essential when relocating. Washington has a range of medical facilities, from large hospitals in urban areas to smaller clinics in rural regions. Major cities like Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma have well-equipped hospitals, while telemedicine services are becoming increasingly available for those in remote areas.

Transportation in Washington

Washington’s transportation system is well-developed, making it easy to get around. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Driving: A car is essential in most parts of Washington, especially if you live outside urban areas. The state has a well-maintained network of highways and roads.
  • Public Transit: Seattle and other larger cities offer public transit options, including buses, light rail, and ferries.
  • Air Travel: Major airports include Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Spokane International Airport, and Paine Field in Everett, providing convenient access to domestic and international flights.
  • Commuter Services: Washington offers various commuter services, including Amtrak, regional transit systems, and ride-sharing programs.

Preparing for the Weather

Washington’s weather can be quite variable, so it’s important to be prepared for different conditions:

  • Rain Gear: Invest in good-quality rain clothing, especially if you’re moving to Western Washington.
  • Winter Gear: In Eastern Washington and mountainous areas, you’ll need good-quality winter clothing.
  • Vehicle Preparation: Ensure your vehicle is equipped for winter driving, with snow tires or chains if necessary.
  • Home Preparation: Properly insulate your home and ensure your heating and cooling systems are in good working order.

Embracing the Washington Lifestyle

Living in Washington offers a unique and fulfilling lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you adjust:

  • Outdoor Activities: Washington is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities like hiking, skiing, boating, and fishing.
  • Community Involvement: Washingtonians are known for their friendliness and strong sense of community. Get involved in local events and activities to build connections.
  • Local Culture: Embrace the local culture by exploring Washington’s history, attending cultural festivals, and supporting local businesses.

Challenges of Living in Washington

While Washington offers many benefits, it also presents some challenges:

  • Rainy Weather: The western part of the state, particularly the Seattle area, can be quite rainy, especially in the winter months.
  • Traffic Congestion: Urban areas, especially Seattle, can experience significant traffic congestion.
  • High Cost of Living in Urban Areas: Cities like Seattle and Bellevue can have a high cost of living, particularly in terms of housing.
  • Limited Public Transit in Rural Areas: Outside of larger cities, public transportation options are limited, making a car necessary.


Relocating to Washington is a decision that promises adventure, opportunity, and a high quality of life. By understanding the geography, climate, cost of living, and employment opportunities, you can better prepare for the move. Embrace the outdoor lifestyle, get involved in your community, and enjoy all that Washington has to offer. Whether you’re drawn by the stunning natural landscapes, the rich cultural heritage, or the friendly communities, Washington welcomes you with open arms.

In summary, moving to Washington requires thorough planning and preparation, but the rewards of living in this incredible state make it all worthwhile. From the bustling cities to the serene countryside, Washington is a place like no other. So pack your bags, prepare for the adventure of a lifetime, and get ready to experience the charm and beauty of Washington.


ExploreWashington.co is a division of Explore America Holdings, LLC. All information on this website is for informational and entertainment purposes only.