John and rissy have given you good answer so far. I'll add this:
All of the neighborhoods that rissy have suggested are in-city neighborhoods. If you are looking for a small town feel, you'll need to go further out. You've mentioned "close enough to Seattle and the Ocean as well". Seattle sits on Puget Sound (kind of like a large bay). It's not really possible to be near to Seattle and to the ocean, which is a several hour drive away. But you can be near Puget Sound....
1. if you don't mind a ferry ride into Seattle you can be looking at the Olympic Peninsula. Smaller towns over there to consider include Port Orchard, Poulsbo, and Bremerton. Vashon island has almost a rural feel to it and has direct ferry service into Seattle also.
2. To the North, you'll find suburban development north until you get past Marysville, which is a solid 1 hour drive into the city. Towns to consider to the north include Snohomish, Woodinville, Edmonds. You'll find the prices get higher the closer to Seattle you get, and the closer to Puget Sound you get, so of these three, Edmonds will be the most expensive for similar homes.
3. If you need to be near the water, then I suggest not looking east of Lake Washington. There are lots of lovely towns there, but prices are high and that's putting you further away from Puget Sound or the ocean.
4. To the south you have suburban development through Tacoma unless you look east towards Mt. Rainier. Renton has some nice neighborhoods, and the towns along highway 167 have a smaller town feel to them (Puyallup, Black Diamond and the like).
The weather in the state is divided by the Cascade mountains. To the east of the mountains it is dry, hot in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter. To the west of the mountains (Seattle area) is wet with lots of grey, damp days. Temperatures are moderated by the ocean, and we have cool weather September-June with only occasional snow. Summers are warm during the day and usually cooling off at night. You can live in one of the mountain towns and you'll have much more snow, but that puts you further away from the ocean.
Disaster risks include earthquakes and volcanoes. If very close to the ocean tsunami are also a risk if there is an offshore earthquake. But none of these things happen very often. More likely disaster risks are flooding and downed trees from high winds in winter.
Cost of living here is similar to Chicago, and cost of living in the suburbs will be similar to living in the Chicago suburbs. We have no income tax. Sales tax varies from town to town but averages 8.5%. Gasoline tends to be priced at the high end of the national average here due to gasoline taxes. Property taxes here are moderate. My home is worth about $350,000 and my annual property taxes are about $4,000. Electricity here is cheaper than in other places because we have hydro power. Food costs tend to be higher here (no-one doubles coupons and costs are generally higher because most of it is trucked in for 10 months of the year).
Edited to add:
Small town near ocean leaves you in Aberdeen, Ocean Shores or Port Angeles area. None of these places is that convenient to Seattle, and none of these places have large industries to support jobs. So your ability to get a job will depend a lot on what kind of skills you have that would apply in small towns.
Of these three, Port Angeles is the least "beachy", but the most likely to have jobs. The town (and the neighboring town of Sequim) are on the water (but not on the ocean). Ocean beaches aren't too far away, and the state parks on the straits (such as Dungeness Spit) are lovely too. Crime rates are low here, and should not be a concern in any of the small towns on the Olympic Peninsula.
I suggest a visit. You may find that Puget Sound is "ocean" enough for you - it's a pretty big body of water and you get much of what people love about the "ocean". Bellingham WA is a good town to look at on the Sound - smaller in scope than the greater Seattle area but large enough to have jobs, and close to Canada.