Moving to Lake Forest

Welcome to the edge of adventure and tranquility--Lake Forest, California. Nestled between bustling cities and serene coastline, this charming locale is the ideal blend of vibrant city life and peaceful suburban retreat. Our comprehensive Lake Forest relocation guide is your passport to explore opportunities in this unique city, making your moving journey thrilling and effortless. Imagine living where others vacation, where the daily grind feels a million miles away. Pack your California dreams and let's dive into navigating your fresh start in this captivating gem of the Golden State.

Moving to Lake Forest, CA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Lake Forest

1. It's One of the Safest Cities Around

Let's kick things off with a big selling point - safety. Lake Forest is often ranked as one of the safest cities in the country. Thanks to the dedicated police force and active community, the city enjoys exceptionally low crime rates. Parents can breathe easy knowing that kids can play outside without fear. Whether you're a homeowner or a renter, safety should always be a top priority, and Lake Forest gets an A+ grade in this department!

2. There's a Lake But... No Forest

Despite the name, there's no dense forest to explore in Lake Forest! The city does however boast two beautiful man-made lakes that act as the community's centerpiece, surrounded by astonishing homes and condos. While the 'forest' may be absent, the number of public parks, playgrounds, sporting facilities, and outdoor recreational areas, will never leave the nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts feeling short-changed.

3. The Schools are Excellent.

One for the families now - the schools here are superb. Lake Forest is known for providing an excellent education to its residents. Many of its public and private schools boast top rankings and have an impressive track record of student achievements. Whether you've got toddlers or teenagers, you can confidently bet on their bright future in Lake Forest's educational institutions.

4. Remarkably Diverse Dining

Foodies, rejoice! Lake Forest has a wonderfully diverse dining scene to sample and savor. From mouthwatering Mexican cuisine to authentic Italian fare, spicy Thai curries to all-American burgers, sushi, Middle Eastern delights, and much more! And for those who love to cook, the weekly farmer's market offers a fabulous array of fresh, local produce. Bon appetit!

5. Secret Gem: Heritage Hill Historical Park

One of the city's hidden jewels is the Heritage Hill Historical Park. This four-acre park contains some of the oldest and most historic buildings in Orange County, dating back to the early 1900s. It provides a captivating peek into the early settler's life and history of the area. The park frequently hosts fun events and walking tours that are adored by adults and kids alike. A blissful escape and a learning experience wrapped into one.

6. Etnies Skatepark: Largest Free Skatepark in the California.

Last but not least, for the adrenaline seekers and weekend warriors, Lake Forest is home to the Etnies Skatepark - the largest free skatepark in California. With 62,000 square feet of skate-able terrain, it's paradise for skateboarders. But it's not just dedicated to skaters; the park also offers numerous classes and camps for BMX riders, scooters and more. So, whether it's practicing your ollie or enjoying a little thrill, Etnies Skatepark is a must-visit!

So, there you have it - just a few of the many reasons why Lake Forest is such an appealing place to live. A safe community with amazing schools, splendid settings, delicious food corner, a sneak peek into history and needless to say, a haven for the sporty-sort. Whichever way you slice it, Lake Forest, CA, just might be the perfect place for your next big move!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Lake Forest

Pros of Living in Lake Forest

High Quality of Life

Lake Forest provides a high quality of life with clean neighborhoods, plentiful green spaces like the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, and excellent schools. The active local community promotes a positive environment in which to raise a family. Not to mention, the city is extremely safe with a lower-than-average crime rate.

Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Lake Forest is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The area is filled with parks, lakes, hiking trails, and beach access is only a short drive away. The local landscape invites residents to enjoy healthy outdoor activities like kayaking, cycling, or simply enjoying a picnic lakeside.

Easy Access to Amenities

The city also offers easy access to a wide range of amenities. There are ample shopping centers, restaurants, and health care facilities within easy reach. Furthermore, the public transportation system is efficient, making it easy for residents to move around.

Strong Sense of Community

Lake Forest enjoys a vibrant community spirit with many annual city-led events, like the autumn Harvest Festival, encouraging community involvement. There are also numerous clubs, societies, and volunteer opportunities where residents can get engaged and find their niche.

Proximity to Major Employment Centers

The city's location in Orange County provides residents with close proximity to major employment centers in the area. It's near Irvine, a hub for technology and finance jobs, making it an ideal place for commuting workers who want a quiet, suburban life.

Cons of Living in Lake Forest

High Cost of Living

The cost of living in Lake Forest is notably higher than the national average. This is primarily due to the cost of housing, which may make the area difficult to afford for some families and individuals.

Traffic and Commute Times

Due to its location in populous Orange County, traffic can be quite heavy during peak hours, increasing commute times. This can be a downside for those who work in nearby cities and need to commute during rush hour.

Seasonal Wildfires

Lake Forest, like much of California, is susceptible to seasonal wildfires. This could lead to occasional evacuations and air quality concerns.

Busy Lifestyle

Despite is suburban feel, life in Lake Forest can be fast-paced and busy. This is particularly true for families juggling work, school, and extracurricular activities. The area's bustle may not suit those looking for a slower, more relaxed pace of life.

Less Cultural Diversity Compared to Larger Cities

Compared to larger metropolitan areas, Lake Forest may offer less cultural diversity in terms of food, festivals and events. However, it's worth noting that the city is developing on these fronts and is accomplishing a growing variety of cultural offerings.

Modern day picture of Lake Forest, CA highlighting pros and cons of living in Lake Forest, CA

Is Lake Forest a Good Place to Live?

Lake Forest, CA is a great place to live because it boasts beautiful natural landscapes, excellent schools, and a strong sense of community. The city offers a variety of outdoor activities with its proximity to both mountains and beaches, it also has a low crime rate and high employment rate. So whether you're an adventure seeker or a family person, Lake Forest has got you covered!

What Is Lake Forest Famous For?

Recreational Fun at Lake Forest Beach and Tennis Club

Known for its beach and tennis club, Lake Forest offers a lot of recreational activities to residents and visitors alike! The club offers a fitness center, swimming pool, tennis courts, beach and lagoon, recreational classes and so much more, making it a wonderful destination for families and sports-lovers!

Unique Shopping at Foothill Ranch

Foothill Ranch in Lake Forest is famous as a delightful shopping destination. Home to a variety of retail stores, world-class restaurants, and movie theaters, it's an ideal spot for anyone looking for a grand shopping experience, savoury meals, or a nice place to catch the latest blockbuster movies.

Natural Beauty of Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Take some time to absorb the scenic beauty that Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park has to offer! Renowned for its 17 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, this park is home to striking rock formations, sycamore and oak woodlands, and a wide array of wildlife. You can enjoy breathtaking views while immersing yourself in raw, natural beauty here.

Heritage Hill Historical Park

Step back in time at Lake Forest's Heritage Hill Historical Park. This little gem includes four fully restored and furnished historic buildings that span the early history of the Saddleback Valley and El Toro area from the Mexican Rancho era. It's a delightful experience for history buffs and anyone interested in learning about Lake Forest's roots.

Capital building of Lake Forest, CA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

The average property tax rate in Lake Forest, CA, as of 2023, is around 0.74%. This rate is lower than the national average property tax rate of about 1.08%.

Sales Tax

As of 2023, the sales tax rate in Lake Forest, CA is 7.75%. This is somewhat higher than the national median sales tax rate, which is approximately 7.3%.

Income Tax

California has a progressive income tax system, and as of 2023, Lake Forest residents are subject to this system. The highest marginal tax rate is 13.3%, significantly higher than the national highest average state tax rate of around 7.53%.

Housing Market

The Lake Forest, CA housing market is considered quite competitive compared to other areas in the US. The median home value is roughly $780,000, noticeably higher than the national median. Home values have risen over the past year, and it's forecasted to continue on an upswing. For renters, the average rent is around $2,500, relatively high vs national averages. While housing costs are high, Lake Forest offers amenities like quality schools, parks, and low crime rates which contribute towards higher housing values. Given the competitive nature of the market, potential buyers and renters must act decisively.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Lake Forest, CA is considerably high compared to other cities. Housing stands out as one of the biggest contributors to this high cost. Goods, services, and transportation also typically cost more than the national average. However, the higher cost of living comes with benefits such as excellent amenities, good schools, and a safer environment. Compared to other California cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, the cost of living might seem more manageable, but it's still considered high nationally.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Lake Forest, CA experiences a Mediterranean-like climate characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Its average annual temperature ranges from 40degF to 85degF, though extreme temperatures are rare. The city receives an annual average rainfall of about 14 inches, primarily in the winter months. Given its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the region is prone to marine layer effects that result in foggy mornings and cool coastal breezes. Regarding natural disasters, Lake Forest is susceptible to wildfires during the dry, hot summer months and earthquakes due to its location within the Pacific Ring of Fire. However, the city's infrastructure is designed to withstand such events, demonstrating resilience in disaster management. Despite the potential risks, the city is renowned for its overall pleasant weather and sunshine, making it a desirable place to live.

Typical weather in Lake Forest, CA

Economy & Job Market


* Technology Services Industry

* Health Care and Social Assistance

* Retail Trade

* Manufacturing

* Educational Services

From its early days as farmland in scenic South Orange County, Lake Forest, CA continually manifests a robust, diverse, and innovative economy. Historically, manufacturing has been a major industry, and Lake Forest has played a significant role in producing goods and products to help fuel the regional economy. Today, however, Lake Forest has evolved just like the farmers who first tilled its soil. The city now maintains a modern, highly productive economy dominated by large corporations in technology, healthcare, retail trade, manufacturing, and educational services. These economic powerhouses provide jobs, generate revenue, and contribute to a stable business environment, adding to the allure of Lake Forest.

For anyone thinking about relocating to Lake Forest, CA, and possibly seeking employment opportunities, rest easy - the prospects are brighter than a sunny Southern California day! Exciting sectors such as technology services and healthcare offer plenty of potential for job-seekers, with companies in these industries often seeking out new talent. Meanwhile, a low unemployment rate demonstrates the general success of the local job market. Lake Forest's economy is teeming with opportunities, and the city is always eager to welcome those who are ready to make the most of them. Top employers in the area include Panasonic Avionics, Apria Healthcare, and Oakley Inc. So, dust off that resume, pack your sunglasses, and get ready to make your mark in Lake Forest, CA!


Traffic and Transportation

Welcome to Lake Forest, CA, where the sweet songs of a radio jingle ease your commute! On average, travel times hover around 24 minutes. In case you thought we only had room for car lovers, don't worry. We're also fond of our public transit riders! Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) buses stop throughout the city, offering finely punctual and economical rides to various destinations. Pssh, the hustle and bustle in town might make one think air travel is a fast-paced fantasy, but John Wayne Airport is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, making long-distance journeys a piece of cake. So, whether you're a happy road warrior, a bus enthusiast, or a sky-high traveler, Lake Forest has got your back, and of course, the ever important cup of coffee for your journey!

What is the traffic like in Lake Forest, CA?

Best Neighborhoods in Lake Forest

1. Foothill Ranch

When it comes to a perfect balance of city living wrapped up with mesmerizing hillside scenery, Foothill Ranch is the place to be. This neighborhood is known for its upscale shopping centers, delectable eateries, and plentiful entertainment options. You won't run out of things to do here. Extravagant hillsides surround the area and provide ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and nature walks. It's also home to popular attractions like the Regal Cinemas and the whimsical Foothill Ranch Library, perfect for bookworms or rainy-day explorations.

2. Whispering Hills

Here's a secret: Whispering Hills is Lake Forest's hidden gem. This peaceful and serene neighborhood is plush with meticulously manicured parks; green is the dominant color here. Residents love the quiet and intimate feeling of the neighborhood, which is accentuated by its quaint, winding roads. Check out the Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center within Whispering Hills, which has sports fields, a gymnasium, and even a recreation center.

3. Portola Hills

For all nature lovers moving to Lake Forest, pack your bags for Portola Hills. Famed for its close proximity to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, this neighborhood is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. The area also boasts top-rated schools, making it an excellent option for families with children. The neighborhood charm is complemented with elegant residential architecture, landscaped sidewalks, and lovely views of the surrounding orange county region.

4. Baker Ranch

Newly built and immensely popular, Baker Ranch is where contemporary meets comfort. This master-planned community is truly a homeowner's delight with features such as swimming pools, sports courts, and recreational parks. While it's one of the newer additions to Lake Forest, it's quickly gaining popularity for its top-notch community amenities, beautiful homes, and an undeniable sense of tight-knit community. Plus, it has some of the best sunset views ever!

5. El Toro

Ah, El Toro: the historic heart of Lake Forest. This Downtown area is brimming with character - Spanish-style architecture and palm-tree-lined streets, anyone? El Toro is filled with opportunities to immerse yourself in art, culture, and history. Be sure to visit the Heritage Hill Historical Park, where you can tour four beautifully preserved historic buildings. Both its vibrancy and convenience are palpable, with the neighborhood offering easy access to many necessities like grocery stores, schools, and restaurants.

In conclusion, Lake Forest, CA, is full of unique and inviting neighborhoods, each with its own unique offerings and ambiance. Whether you're looking for leisure, nature, a sense of community, history, or a lively atmosphere, Lake Forest has a neighborhood that matches your vibe. Now it's just the matter of picking the one that suits you best. Welcome home!

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Things to Do

If you're planning to relocate to Lake Forest, CA, you're in for an excellent southern Californian experience. Lake Forest is a charming place with myriad of eye-catching events and places to explore. Whether it's whimsical dining, outdoor activities, historical visits, or cultural festivities, Lake Forest has got you covered. Here's a roundup of the top seven things you'll love about your new hometown.

1. Head to Heritage Hill Historical Park

No better place to start than being immersed in the local history. The Heritage Hill Historical Park boasts four fully restored, historical buildings that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, making it a historic enthusiast's paradise, not to mention a remarkably picturesque destination!

2. Get a Taste of the Best Local Cuisines

Famous for its varied and exquisite tastes, Lake Forest offers you a chance to savor local gastronomy wonders. Get indulged in diverse cuisines at the culinary hubs like the Avila's El Ranchito, Brizio's Pizza, and the Hat - World Famous Pastrami!

3. Stroll Around Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center

This massive, sylvan 86-acre sports park is perfect for an active family day out, filled with activities like basketball, tennis, baseball, playsets, and more. Besides, the extensive picnic area makes it ideal for those lazy weekend lunches under the sun. Visit the Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center website for more details.

4. Visit the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

Who says moving to the city means you can't connect with nature? Visit the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary for a great outdoor experience. This sanctuary is the perfect spot for bird watching, spotting local wildlife, or just enjoying a hike amidst the serene nature trails.

5. Discover the Secret Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

A somewhat lesser-known spot, this place is a hidden gem for all nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. With more than 2500 acres of riparian and oak woodland canyons, rolling grassland hills and steep slopes of coastal sage scrub and chaparral, it's the perfect place for hiking, biking, or even horseback riding! Find more details about the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park on their official website.

6. Visit the Etnies Skatepark

A hidden gem in the skateboarding world, this is a not-so-vanity place in Lake Forest you've probably never heard about. With an 820-linear-foot snake run and skateboarding bowls of various sizes, it's a dream come true for any skateboarding fan or any adrenaline lover. Visit the Etnies Skatepark website for more information.

7. Explore Foothill Ranch Towne Centre

If your definition of fun includes shopping and dining, then Foothill Ranch Towne Centre is the place to go. With an array of stores, eateries, and cinemas, it is a great place to spend a relaxed shopping day or an eventful weekend.

That's just the beginning of the adventure that Lake Forest has in store for its new inhabitants. It's a city steeped in rich history with a wide range of modern amenities at your fingertips, making it perfect for anyone seeking a high quality of life laced with scenic beauty. Give it some time, and you'll discover more than just seven exciting things to do in Lake Forest, CA.

Things to do in Lake Forest, CA?

Find Movers for Your Lake Forest Relocation

Having explored all the fantastic opportunities and features of Lake Forest, we hope you're already feeling like a part of our community. We understand moving can be stressful. Which is why Great Guys Moving steps in to ease the process. We connect you with top-notch, affordable, licensed, and insured movers to facilitate a smooth transition to your new home. So why wait? Seize the opportunity to receive a free moving quote from us. Start feeling at home in Lake Forest even before you've arrived.

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