With more than 160,000 square miles of land area, a strong business environment and the largest population of any U.S. state, California harbors an exceptionally broad range of master-planned communities and residential real estate. While California's prosperous economy supports a relatively high cost of living in many areas, the Golden State's extraordinary geography, cosmopolitan culture and dynamic West Coast urban centers make it a highly desirable location for a primary residence, retirement property or vacation home investment.
California Real Estate: Gated communities in California span diverse geographic areas and lifestyles, from exclusive golf resorts to Sierra Nevada ski retreats, wine country estates and active adult retirement communities. Gated enclaves designed for working professionals can be found in or near the state's major metropolitan areas – Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. Retirement communities exist in many settings, including a mix of urban and suburban locations, the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Pacific Coast and the southern deserts. Buyers seeking vacation homes, private golf course communities, equestrian communities or short-term rental properties will find many options in the state's popular coastal, desert and mountain resort areas.
California Weather: Central and coastal regions in California enjoy a mild Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Sea breezes and cooling fog temper the summer heat in areas closest to the ocean, while higher temperatures prevail farther inland. The southern desert regions east of Los Angeles are generally warm in winter, hot in summer, and dry year-round. The Sierra Nevada and northern mountains experience a four-season climate that includes freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall in winter.
Regions in California: Los Angeles, San Diego and the Southern California Coast are emblematic of the California lifestyle, with miles of Pacific Coast beaches, world-famous theme parks and tourist attractions, expansive urban and suburban metropolitan areas, and a culturally diverse population. The Palm Springs/Coachella Valley area east of Los Angeles is particularly attractive to golfers and retirees, with numerous active adult communities and desert resorts. The state's expansive San Joaquin/Central Valley region is dominated by agriculture, while the Central Coast offers a mix of charming small towns and beach communities, rugged coastal mountains, wine country destinations, and the upscale golf courses and seaside attractions of Santa Barbara and the Monterey, Bay region. The Greater San Francisco Bay Area extends from San Jose and the Silicon Valley north to San Francisco and Marin County, encompassing a cosmopolitan and culturally rich urban area. North of San Francisco, the acclaimed wine producing regions of Napa and Sonoma offer an upscale rural lifestyle, with picturesque countryside, world-class restaurants and numerous retirement and resort communities. In the eastern part of the state along the Nevada border, Lake Tahoe and the High Sierra attract people who love winter sports and outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, fishing and mountain biking. These activities are also popular in the Gold Country/Sierra Foothills region, which features lower altitudes, milder winters, and easier access to big cities and the Pacific Coast. Far northern California includes the Klamath and southern Cascade mountains, as well as 250 miles of wild and rugged coastline – areas with relatively low population density and magnificent natural beauty.
Major California Airports:
Los Angeles and San Diego: Los Angeles International Airport, San Diego International Airport, Ontario International Airport, John Wayne Airport, Bob Hope Airport, Long Beach Airport
San Francisco Bay Area: San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, Mineta San Jose International Airport
Central and Southeastern California: Sacramento International Airport, Palm Springs International Airport, Fresno Yosemite International Airport
California has by far the highest population of any state (about 38 million); State Capital – Sacramento; Largest Metro Areas – Greater Los Angeles, Greater San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego/La Jolla, Sacramento; California State Abbreviations – CA, C.A., Calif.
The state's name was originally inspired by a16th-century Spanish novel in which "California" was a mythical island populated by beautiful Amazonian warriors; this was the name early Spanish explorers gave to Mexico's Baja Peninsula, and Spanish mapmakers later applied the label "Alta California" to the vast region north of San Diego. During the Gold Rush, California experienced the largest mass migration in U.S. history, with some 300,000 new residents arriving between1848 and 1855. In today's market, the estimated 12 million ounces of gold extracted from the Sierra Foothills during the Gold Rush would be worth around $15 billion.
Significant California Publications:
Magazines: Los Angeles Magazine (www.lamag.com), San Francisco Magazine (www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco), San Diego Magazine (www.sandiegomagazine.com), Sunset (www.sunset.com), C California Style (www.magazinec.com)
Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com), San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfgate.com), San Jose Mercury News (www.mercurynews.com), Sacramento Bee (www.sacbee.com)
California State Government Resource Links:
Moving to California: www.ca.gov/HomeFamily/MovingToCA.html
Department of Motor Vehicles: www.dmv.ca.gov
Services for Seniors: www.ca.gov/HomeFamily/Seniors.html
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