Anywhere in the Pacific northwest would get my vote.
Yeah I have an aunt that lived in Salem, Oregon for a while. It's a real city, but smaller and less crazy-busy than Portland, but close enough to Portland that you can hitch a ride or drive up there to the airport if you need to do major travel. It gets 4 real seasons and is an overall nice place to be. You can choose between living in the more hip and thriving downtown area, or head out to the outskirts so that you're still near town, but with lower costs for large open spaces and more quiet.
Pretty much everything above that was said about Vancouver, Washington applies to Salem, Oregon albeit with the exception of different taxation and of course distance from ocean & Portland. Vancouver, WA is way closer to Portland, but I would say Salem, especially west Salem, gets you a good deal closer to the ocean. With Vancouver, you need to cross the bridge (nightmare traffic!!) and go through Portland before you can even be on the highway to head towards somewhere like Seaside. Maybe you'll get there in 1.5 hours, but plan on more like 2. If there's a wreck on the bridge, forget about, just stay home. From Salem, it's 60 minutes to Lincoln City and you have no major choke points to get to the ocean.
As for taxation, the two states complement each other, but in different ways. Honestly, I think Washington is better for workers but Oregon is better for retirees. Washington has no state income tax, but high sales taxes. Oregon has modest property and income taxes, but no sales tax. If you're retired or working with low income from that consulting business, you'll be in a very low income tax bracket, so you'll still pay very little in income taxes. Meanwhile you'll have that investment money that you are still spending at a level equal to or above your ordinary income level. That's where the "no sales tax" part in Oregon is awesome, hence why I say that Oregon could be more appropriate for retirees, since you generally have very low income, but still spend money locally.