Moving to California

So, you've decided to take the plunge and move to the Golden State, aptly known as California! With its sun-kissed beaches, sprawling vineyards, diverse landscapes and a promise of new adventures, it's no surprise that you've been charmed by its allure. But before you immerse yourself in the land of dreams, our comprehensive California relocation guide will unravel all the essential elements you need to consider, ensuring you're not just California dreamin', but actually well-prepared for this exciting new chapter in your life.

Moving to California landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to California

1. California is a land of extremes and microclimates

While California has a reputation for endless sunshine and beautiful weather, you'll discover that the state is actually a land of extremes and microclimates. From sunny Southern California beaches to cold, foggy San Francisco days, you'll experience it all living here. Be sure to pay close attention to the climate in the specific area you're considering moving to – temperatures can vary drastically within just a few miles.

2. Get ready to indulge in diverse cuisine

California is a melting pot of various cultures, which is clearly reflected in its cuisine. From authentic Mexican food in Southern California to fresh seafood and sushi in the Bay Area, you'll find something to satisfy your taste buds in this state. Food trucks and farmer's markets are also major attractions, with many offering unique, artisanal food products. Plus, you can always enjoy farm-to-table dining given the state's abundance of fresh produce.

3. The cost of living can be (very) high

Golden State living isn't cheap, so it's important to be prepared when moving to California. From high housing costs to expensive fuel, you'll likely be dealing with a higher cost of living than you're used to. Major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco can be particularly pricey, but more affordable living can be found in smaller cities and suburbs. With a little research and planning, you'll be able to find a location that fits your budget.

4. Earthquakes are a fact of life

If you're moving to California, you should know that earthquakes are a fact of life. The state is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means it's affected by numerous fault lines running deep beneath the Earth's surface. While major earthquakes aren't exactly a daily occurrence, smaller quakes are not uncommon. Be prepared by having an emergency plan in place, and ensure your home and belongings are protected with appropriate insurance coverage.

5. Avocados are the unofficial state fruit

Okay, so maybe this isn't completely unknown, but it's still worth mentioning. When you move to California, you'll quickly learn that avocados are a way of life. From avocado toast to guacamole, you'll run into this delicious, nutrient-rich fruit at every turn. California produces more avocados than any other state, so you won't have to worry about running out of your favorite green ingredient. Embrace the avocado lifestyle and never look back!

6. The state is serious about environmental protection

California is widely recognized as a leader in environmental protection and green energy. Strict air pollution regulations, mandatory recycling, and a strong focus on renewable energy sources are just a few examples of the state's commitment to preserving the environment. This may mean minor inconveniences (like no single-use plastic bags in stores) or more costly regulations (like more expensive gas), but you'll likely develop a greater appreciation for Mother Earth during your time here.

7. The traffic is often as bad as they say it is

Trust us, the traffic in California can be frustrating – especially if you're in a heavily-populated area like Los Angeles or San Francisco. Commutes can be long, and parking can often be a challenge. Be prepared to factor traffic into your daily life, particularly if you work or have appointments during peak travel times. Carpooling, public transportation, and alternative travel methods like biking can help to lighten the traffic burden.

In conclusion, moving to California may come with its challenges, but the beautiful weather, diverse culture, and plentiful opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors will surely make it worth your while. Stay informed about the various aspects of the state, and embrace the unique lifestyle that California has to offer. Before you know it, you'll be a true Californian, avocados and all!

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Pros and Cons of Living in California

Pros of Living in California

Year-round pleasant weather

One of the biggest advantages of living in California is the state's sunny climate. Residents enjoy mild temperatures throughout the year, making outdoor activities an always available option. California's Mediterranean-like weather is a major reason why many people choose to call it home.

Diverse outdoor recreational opportunities

From skiing in the Sierra Nevadas to surfing in the Pacific Ocean, California offers a wide range of outdoor activities for residents to enjoy. The state's diverse landscape includes forests, mountains, deserts, and beaches, providing endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Strong job market, particularly in technology and entertainment sectors

California is home to Silicon Valley, Hollywood's entertainment industry, and various other economic hubs that draw in professionals from all over the world. Job opportunities in tech, entertainment, healthcare, and more are plentiful, making California a desirable place for people seeking to advance their careers.

Vibrant and diverse culture

California's diverse population creates a unique melting pot of cultures. Residents have the opportunity to experience cuisines, arts, festivals, and traditions from around the world without ever leaving the state. The diversity of California's population fosters an inclusive and vibrant atmosphere.

Renowned universities and educational institutions

California is home to some of the world's most highly regarded universities, including Stanford, University of California-Berkeley, and California Institute of Technology. In addition to higher education, the state also offers excellent public and private K-12 schools, making it an appealing place for families with children.

Cons of Living in California

High cost of living

California is widely known for its high cost of living, driven largely by its expensive housing market. The cost of living varies by city, with areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles on the higher end. If you move to California, you may have to make adjustments to your lifestyle, budget, or be prepared to pay a premium for living in this popular state.

Traffic congestion and longer commutes

California's highly populated cities have notoriously heavy traffic. Commute times in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego can be long and frustrating. If you plan to live and work in California, be prepared to face long commutes and plan around peak traffic hours.

Natural disasters and environmental concerns

California's geographical location makes it prone to several types of natural disasters, including wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts. These events can be disruptive and sometimes dangerous, so it's essential to be prepared and have adequate insurance coverage to help manage the risks associated with living in California.

High state income tax

California has some of the highest state income tax rates in the nation. Depending on your income, your tax rate can be as high as 9.3% for those who earn more than $58,000 annually, in addition to federal income tax. This can be a financial challenge for some who are considering moving to the golden state.

Large population and crowded urban areas

Given California's status as the most populous state in the U.S., you'll find crowded urban areas and limited personal space in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. If you're seeking a smaller town atmosphere or less densely populated areas, you may want to consider other states or explore lesser-known Californian cities.

Nighttime picture of California highlighting pros and cons of living in California

Is California a Good State to Live In?

California is a great place to live because of its diverse landscape, beautiful weather, and abundant opportunities for work and leisure. Residents can enjoy stunning beaches, world-class wineries, and easy access to some of the most iconic landmarks and natural wonders in the United States.

What Is California Famous For?


1. Beautiful Beaches

California is known for its stunning coastline, which stretches 840 miles and is home to some of the most picturesque beaches in the world. From the sunny shores of San Diego to the rugged cliffs of Big Sur, there's a beach for everyone to enjoy and soak up the sun.

2. Hollywood and the Movie Industry

The Golden State is the birthplace of the American movie industry, and Hollywood, located in Los Angeles, is its beating heart. World-famous film studios, iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the bustling entertainment scene contribute to California's legendary reputation in the world of film and entertainment.

3. Silicon Valley and Tech Innovators

California's Silicon Valley is home to some of the world's most innovative tech companies and startups, earning it the nickname the "Tech Capital of the World." From industry giants like Apple and Google to nimble newcomers, the Golden State continues to be the hub for groundbreaking advancements in the field of technology.

4. Wine Country and Vineyards

With a diverse climate and rich soil, California's abundant Wine Country boasts over 4,000 wineries, making it the fourth largest wine producer globally. The Napa Valley and Sonoma regions, among others, welcome millions of visitors each year for wine tastings and picturesque vineyard experiences.

' Capital building of California in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

California's average property tax rate is 0.76%. Although this rate is below the national average, the high property values may still result in expensive property tax payments. In comparison to other states, California ranks 34th in terms of property tax levels.

Sales Tax

California's statewide base sales tax rate is 7.25%, making it one of the highest in the country. Local municipalities can add additional sales taxes, which results in an average combined rate of 8.68% across the state. When comparing the combined tax rate to other states, California ranks as the 10th highest in the nation.

Income Tax

California has the highest top marginal state income tax rate at 13.3%. The state has a progressive income tax system, with rates ranging from 1% to 9.3% for the majority of residents. When compared to other states, California's income tax rates are considerably higher, and the state is often referred to as one of the most tax-heavy in the nation.

Housing Market

California's housing market is notably more expensive compared to other states, with median home prices at $818,260 in 2021, almost double the national average. Renters face similar challenges, as average monthly rent of a 1-bedroom apartment is around $2,000. All major metropolitan areas in California face rising prices and limited affordable housing. However, California offers highly-regarded schools, diverse job opportunities, and attractive weather, making it a popular destination. Potential buyers and renters should carefully consider local job markets, financial resources, and community preferences before deciding to invest in California's vibrant but pricey housing market.

Housing market analysis of California

Cost of Living

The cost of living in California is significantly higher than most other states in the US. With a cost of living index of 151.7, California is more expensive than average, primarily due to high housing costs and transportation expenses. Prices in other categories such as groceries, health, and utilities are also above the national average. As a comparison, Texas, a popular destination for relocating Californians, has a cost of living index of 93.9, making it considerably more affordable. This stark difference impacts the choices and quality of life for residents in California.

Weather & Natural Disasters

California's climate is diverse and characterized by a range of weather conditions due to its varied topography, extensive coastline, and vast size. Coastal areas typically enjoy a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Conversely, inland regions can experience more extreme temperature variations with scorching hot summers and cold, snowy winters, particularly at higher elevations. The state's desert areas, such as the Mojave, are characterized by hot, dry conditions with very little precipitation.

California is no stranger to natural disasters, with wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts being particularly prevalent. Wildfires occur annually and are fueled by hot, dry weather, high winds, and abundant vegetation. Earthquakes are another significant threat in the state due to its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and numerous active fault lines. Additionally, California has faced numerous periods of severe drought in recent decades, resulting in water shortages and impacts on agriculture, ecosystems, and communities.

Economy & Job Market

Entertainment and Film Production

Technology and Information

Agriculture and Food Production

Tourism and Hospitality

Energy and Renewables

California has long been known for its rich economic opportunities and diverse industries. Historically, the state has been the heartbeat of film production in Hollywood, which continues to be a major player and major employers in the state that supports tens of thousands of jobs. Other industries have also thrived, including agriculture, with the state acting as the nation's primary food producer. California is also central to the technology and information industry, as Silicon Valley is home to some of the biggest names in the tech world, such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. Additionally, the beautiful landscapes found in the Golden State make the tourism and hospitality industry an important part of the state's economic fabric. Lastly, California has been actively pushing for a clean-energy future, turning to renewable energy investments and green jobs for economic growth.

For someone considering a move to California and planning to look for a job after the move, there's certainly good news. Due to its thriving economy, the state's employment prospects and job opportunities are flourishing. There is a diverse range of industries to choose from, and each one presents its own potential for growth. California's employment rate has been steadily climbing, making it a great place for job-seekers. The state has some of the highest-paid jobs in fields such as technology, medicine, law, and engineering. However, competition is fierce, so be prepared to bring your A-game to the job-hunting scene! Areas such as Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are teeming with job opportunities. Can't wait to join the "California dream" revolution? You're not alone! Wishing you all the best in your exciting job-hunting adventure in the beautiful Golden State. Suns out, job apps out!

Traffic and Transportation

California, the golden state with its stunning coastline and buzzing metropolises, might just be the ultimate dream destination for many! But what's fun without a bit of hustle and bustle, huh? So let's talk traffic and transportation—the Californian way!

Are you eager to know if you'll have time to chit-chat with the barista in the big cities, or will you need to speed through that freshly brewed coffee? LA and SF have average commute times of about 29 and 33 minutes, respectively. If that's too long for you to sit (darn traffic, right?), public transportation is there to save the day! LA flaunts the extensive Metro system, while SF rocks cable cars, BART, and Muni—don't forget to 'gram those iconic rides!

And hey, what's a Californian adventure without hopping from one gorgeous spot to another? For all you globetrotters, the state cradles a myriad of world-class airports like LAX, SFO, San Diego International, and many more! Get your bags packed and say, "California here I come!"

What is the traffic like in California?

Things to Do

California, the Golden State, is a destination seeped with awesome adventures, breathtaking landscapes, and an endless array of activities to keep you entertained from sunrise to sunset. Whether you're a thrill-seeker looking for your next adrenaline fix or a self-proclaimed foodie hunting for the next must-have dessert, California has it all, and then some. With so many top-notch sites, it’s hard to narrow it down, but we’ve got seven of the best things to do in California to help you get started on your quest to discover the best this state has to offer.

1. Explore Yosemite National Park

Home to breathtaking waterfalls, towering granite cliffs, and lush meadows, Yosemite National Park is an absolute must-see for any nature lover. Head to Glacier Point for incredible panoramic views of the park, try your hand at rock climbing in El Capitan, and keep an eye out for the numerous wildlife species that call Yosemite home. Visiting the park during different seasons also offers unique experiences, from long hikes in the sun in the spring to skiing in the winter!

2. Take a Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip

One sure-fire way to truly appreciate the beauty of California is by driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. Stretching 655 miles along the picturesque Pacific coastline from southern to northern California, this unforgettable journey offers jaw-dropping ocean views and an opportunity to explore charming towns, such as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Santa Barbara, and Monterey. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Bixby Creek Bridge before concluding your trip at the majestic Redwood forests in the north!

3. Get Starstruck in Los Angeles

A trip to California wouldn’t be complete without visiting the glitz and glam of the City of Angels. Try your luck at spotting a celebrity along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, soak in the stunning cityscape views from Griffith Observatory, or enjoy a sun-soaked beach day at Santa Monica Pier. And of course, no trip to LA is complete without a stop at Universal Studios to immerse yourself in the magical world of filmmaking and theme park attractions!

4. Rediscover The Mystery of Winchester Mystery House

For a uniquely Californian experience, step inside the mesmerizing Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. Built in 1884, this sprawling Victorian mansion is famously known for its bizarre and inexplicable architecture. With 160 rooms, including staircases leading to nowhere and doors with brick walls behind them, this labyrinthine mansion is sure to leave you spellbound. Take a guided walkthrough tour or the Flashlight Tour during Halloween and Friday the 13th events for an extra spine-tingling adventure!

5. Indulge Your Taste Buds in Napa Valley

Calling all wine enthusiasts! Kick back and relax at one of Napa Valley's picturesque vineyards for a day of supreme wine tasting and culinary delights. Boasting over 400 wineries, you can immerse yourself in the exquisite tastes of some of the finest wines on earth, alongside an indulgent meal at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in the area. Plus, take in the gorgeous rolling vineyards and picturesque countryside by taking a hot air balloon ride for the ultimate Napa experience.

6. Take a Step Back in Time at Bodie State Historic Park

Immerse yourself in the eerie ghost town of Bodie, a well-preserved relic of the wild west era. Located in the Eastern Sierra near Bridgeport, this once-bustling gold mining town now sits in "arrested decay," with roughly 100 structures, including a church, saloon, and a jail, frozen in time. Get transported back to the late 1800s as you wander through these remnants of history.

7. Witness the Beauty of Salvation Mountain

Last but not least, prepare to be dazzled by the colorful Salvation Mountain. Tucked away in the Southern California desert near the Salton Sea, this man-made folk art masterpiece was created by Leonard Knight as a tribute to love, joy, and peace. The whimsical, technicolor mountain features bible verses, hearts, and flowers, making it an unparalleled art experience.

California is truly an oasis of entertainment, adventure, and discovery. From the incredible landscapes and parks to the fascinating art installations and museums, there’s something to delight everyone in this sun-kissed state. So pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and begin your California adventure with these seven unforgettable experiences!

Things to do in California?

Find Movers for Your California Relocation

As you embark on your exciting new chapter in California, let the professional and reputable movers in our network make your transition as seamless as possible. Great Guys Moving takes the hassle out of finding the perfect moving company by connecting you with top-rated, licensed, and insured movers who provide quality service at affordable rates. Don't miss out on all the Golden State has to offer – submit your moving details and allow Great Guys to swiftly connect you with your ideal moving team. Don't hesitate; request your free moving quote today and start your California adventure right!

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