One of the most storied states in America, the state of California is often the dream destination for people around the country. After famed TV shows such as “The O.C.” made their debut in the 90’s many flocked to the coastal state in hopes of a laid back beach lifestyle.
Between the glamor and beautiful beaches of Los Angeles, stunning coastlines of San Francisco, and wineries of Napa Valley, California is never short of amazing areas to visit and experiences to enjoy.
If you are moving to The Golden State, you may be curious about how your life will differ. Between the cost of living, cultural differences, and the weather, you may be in for a few surprises.
Below are a few key things you must know before moving to California.
Why Move to California?
Endless Attractions: One of the best advantages of moving to California is never running out of places to go or fun adventures to have. Those who are moving to Northern California can explore the wineries in Napa Valley, visit Alcatraz Island, and see the Golden Gate Bridge.
In Southern California, there’s Disneyland Park, San Diego Zoo, and the Santa Monica Pier, not to mention the countless fantastic options for enjoying a day by the beach or going for a hike.
Great Weather, Great Beaches: With an average of 258 sunny days per year, there’s always a good time to head to the beach in Cali.
Some of the best beaches, each with their own allure are:
- Santa Cruz- The beach here connects to a lovely pier of restaurants and entertainment options that are sure to keep the whole family happy.
- Malibu- Famous for its long wave surf breaks, water sports are a big part of the area’s culture.
- Big Sur- The northern beauty of this beach surrounded by greenery is a special sight. Great for a weekend trip away!
- Santa Monica- Known for its amusement park and proximity to the iconic Venice muscle beach. This is one of Southern California’s main tourist spots for all ages.
Some of the Top Rated Restaurants in the Country: When it comes to moving to a new state, the restaurant scene is an important key to happiness.
While the following list may break the bank, it will fill the soul (and belly)!
- N/Naka in LA is a hotspot for authentic Japanese fare
- Quince in San Fran is a chef restaurant that will meet any picky eaters demands
- Addison in San Diego is a two Michellen star jem
- The French Laundry brings tourists from around the world to taste from their tables
- Melisse has an 8-course meal that will have you raving about for days
Best Nightlife Scene: When the strong California sun begins to fade into night you can be assured you won’t be bored. The nightlife of top California cities is ever evolving with new underground spots popping up everywhere.
From the touristy Sunset Strip with the Hollywood stars lining your way to the various bars, to Fresno’s tower district, everyone will find their whisky sour in this state.
Even Disneyland turns into a nighttime scene when the kids head to bed. We are sure you’ll find your favorite local bar in no time post-California move.
How Much Does it Cost to Move to California?
The average California move costs around $5,600. The move can potentially cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on which state you’re moving from, how many bedrooms you’re moving, and how you decide to move (moving truck, shipping container, full-service movers).
|Type of Service||1 Bedroom||2-3 Bedrooms||4-5 Bedrooms|
|DIY/Truck Rental||$350 – $2250||$700 – $4250||$1600 – $4850|
|Moving Container||$750 – $2750||$1200 – $5000||$2400 – $7900|
|Full Service||$1300 – $3900||$1900 – $8800||$3500 – $16500|
To get a better understanding of the cost of moving, take a look at the following articles:
The Pros and Cons of Moving to California
It’s pretty expensive.
California is a great place to move to when you are younger, but there are reasons why people are moving out of California over the past few years. The state is an expensive place to live, actually ranked the 3rd most expensive state in the US.
This is especially true if you are planning to relocate to a major city like San Francisco or Los Angeles. Due to numerous progressive movements and regulations aimed to reduce carbon emissions and help with environmental concerns, the cost of living has been driven way up. Taxes are high, and homes are in demand.
Make sure your California dreamin’ matches your bank account before making the move.
A Lot of opportunity
With all that said, the state of California has a lot of economic opportunities. The state has the 5th largest gross domestic product in the world and ranks #1 in access to funding venture capital endeavors.
The high cost of living means that salaries are higher here. There’s loads of booming industries besides TV and Film where you can find jobs like Biotech, Sustainability, Tourism, and more.
Costs of Living in California
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average cost of living remains around $46,636 per year or $3,886 monthly. Let’s break this down.
|Category||Average Annual Per-Capita Cost in California|
|Housing and Utilities||$9,542|
|Food and Beverages (non-restaurant)||$3,630|
|Gas and Energy Goods||$688|
|All Other Personal Expenditures||$25,138|
Average Cost of Renting a Home California
Average Cost of Buying a Home in California By Region
|San Francisco Bay Area||$1,340,000|
|The Central Valley||$445,000|
|The Central Coast||$900,000|
|The Los Angeles Metro Area||$700,000|
|San Bernardino County||$485,750|
|San Diego County||$743,000|
Getting Around California
The public transportation options in California depend heavily on the area where you live. Some cities, such as San Francisco, have a robust public transit system that means you can get around without a car with minimal hassle.
Other areas, such as Los Angeles, are a lot harder to navigate without access to a car. In the suburbs a personal vehicle is key as even getting to the supermarket in most neighborhoods will feel like a weighted task.
In certain beachfront neighborhoods one may be able to get by with a bicycle, but overall if possible it is recommended to have a vehicle for this sunny state.
Best Schools and Universities
Both in Public or Private, California has some of the world’s most excellent universities. With 23 campuses around the state, California is home to the largest public university in the US, California State University.
It’s also home to Stanford University, ranked #6 among the top private universities in the country, and to the University of California system which boasts campuses both in Los Angeles and in Berkley.
USC, or the University of Southern California, is another world-leading University, also part of the Golden State. If you have college age children or pre-college age, moving to California could be an investment in itself, as local residents pay lower tuition.
Fastest Growing Jobs
According to California’s official government Employment Development Department, there are a handful of jobs that are sure to have openings now all the way up until 2028. So if you’re already working in one of these roles or searching for a good fit before your move, check these out.
Occupational Therapy Assistants, Speech Language Pathologists, Photographers, Physical Therapy Assistants, Information Security Analysts, Physical Therapy Aides, Operation Research Analysts, Phlebotomists, Software Developers and Marriage and Family Therapists.
As one of the biggest tech centers in the world, Silicon Valley, tech is another promising field for a large job market.
Do movers charge the same rates throughout the year?
No, most interstate moving companies vary their rates depending on the season. Movers are busiest through the summer, while the winter is usually their least busy season. If you are relocating in the summer, you may be quoted higher rates than if you were to move to California in the winter.
What is the difference between types of moving quotes?
When a mover provides you with a binding quote, it means they cannot change the terms of your moving contract unless you request additional services before your moving date. Binding quotes provide peace of mind, while non-binding quotes are less reliable.
Movers can change the terms after sending a non-binding quote, even on the moving day. If you are choosing between movers, hire the company that offers you a binding quote. Some interstate moving companies may leave out California taxes in order to make their rates appear cheaper.
What is the traffic like in California?
Traffic in California can vary widely depending on the location and time of day. Some areas, particularly in and around major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, can have heavy traffic congestion at certain times. However, other areas of the state may have less traffic. In general, it is a good idea to allow extra time for your commute if you are driving in California, especially in urban areas.
How is the public transportation system in California?
The public transportation system in California is fairly extensive, with a variety of options available depending on the location. In the major cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, there are extensive bus and rail systems.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the San Francisco Bay Area’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system are two examples of extensive public transportation systems in California.
What are the best places to live in California?
Some of the best places to live in California include San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara.
These cities and towns offer a variety of amenities, including strong economies, excellent schools, and a wide range of cultural and recreational activities. Ultimately, the best place for you to live in California will depend on your personal preferences and needs.
You Can Never Leave the Hotel California
Moving to California could be the start of the best chapter of your life. Whether you’re relocating from a nearby state or across the country, there is so much to love in The Golden State that you’ll never leave.
We hope that your move goes swifty and you can enjoy your California lifestyle!