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As you research, explore, and consider moving to a California community, here’s an overview of what you can expect when living in The Golden State.

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Climate & Geography
Entertainment & Recreation
Cost of Living

California, the land of sunshine, opportunity, and diverse landscapes, offers an equally diverse selection of master-planned communities to match your lifestyle dreams. Envision sprawling estates nestled in Napa Valley vineyards, or a community specifically designed for active adults 55 and over seeking a vibrant social scene in Palm Springs. From the bustling hubs of Los Angeles and San Francisco to the serene beauty of the Sierra Nevada’s, California's eclectic lifestyle communities cater to every taste.

These meticulously planned neighborhoods go beyond just housing. Imagine neighborhoods where parks, schools, shopping centers, and even state-of-the-art fitness centers seamlessly blend together. Many boast resort-style amenities like swimming pools, clubhouses, and walking trails, fostering a strong sense of community. Gated communities prioritize security, offering peace of mind for residents and families.

Whether you're a young professional seeking an energetic social scene near work, a retiree yearning for an active lifestyle in a picturesque setting, or a family prioritizing top-rated schools and a safe environment, there's a master-planned community in California perfectly suited for you. 

California Climate & Geography

California boasts an incredibly diverse climate and geography, making it a land of contrasts.

Regions & Landscape

Coast: California boasts over 800 miles of stunning coastline, ranging from sandy beaches to dramatic cliffs. Think of crashing waves, sun-drenched beaches, and rocky shores.

Central Valley: This fertile valley is California's agricultural heartland, known for its rich soil, vast farmlands, endless rows of crops, and rolling hills.

Sierra Nevada: This massive mountain range runs along the eastern border of the state, offering stunning scenery, snow-capped peaks, and popular ski resorts.

Cascades: The northernmost part of the state extends into the Cascade Range, known for its volcanic peaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

Deserts: Eastern California is home to vast deserts, including Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, and the Colorado Desert.


Coastal Regions: Bathed in the Pacific Ocean's cool currents, these areas enjoy a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wetter winters. San Diego and Los Angeles exemplify this, with average highs in the 70s-80s F (21-27°C) most of the year.  Fog can be common in mornings, especially in northern areas like San Francisco. Rain is more frequent in winters, but overall precipitation is moderate.

Central Valley: Moving inland, the Central Valley experiences a hot, dry summer Mediterranean climate with cooler, wetter winters. Sacramento, the state capital, is a prime example. Summers are hot and dry, with average highs reaching the 90s F (32°C) in peak months. Winters are mild with occasional rain and frosts. Precipitation is lower compared to the coast.

Sierra Nevada Mountains: Higher elevations create a distinct alpine climate. In Lake Tahoe, for example, summers are warm and sunny with cool nights. Winters are cold and snowy, ideal for skiing and winter sports. Precipitation is significantly higher here compared to other regions.

Northern California: This region has a moderately oceanic climate with cooler temperatures and more rainfall year-round compared to southern areas. San Francisco is a good example, with average highs in the 60s F (15-21°C) throughout the year. Fog can be prevalent, especially in summer.

Deserts: Death Valley and the Mojave Desert in southeastern California showcase a scorching desert climate. Summers are extremely hot and dry, with average highs exceeding 100°F (38°C)  regularly. Winters are mild with very little rain.

California Entertainment & Recreation

California's sunshine, diverse landscapes, and iconic cities fuel an array of entertainment and recreation options. Whether you crave heart-pounding thrills, outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, or simply relaxing on a beach, California has you covered.

Hit the Beach: California's iconic coastline stretches over 800 miles, offering everything from world-class surfing in Malibu to sunbathing on Santa Monica Pier.

Theme Park Thrills: Unleash your inner child at Disneyland or Universal Studios Hollywood.  Knott's Berry Farm offers a Wild West adventure, while Six Flags Magic Mountain provides heart-pounding roller coaster rides.

Outdoor Adventure: Hike through towering redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument, or backpack through Yosemite National Park's granite landscapes. Ski the slopes in Lake Tahoe or kayak along the calm waters of Monterey Bay.

Wine Country: Indulge in wine tastings in Napa Valley or Sonoma County, renowned for their world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes. Explore charming towns and savor farm-to-table cuisine.

Cityscapes & Culture: Immerse yourself in the incomparable energy of Los Angeles, explore San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge, or wander the museums and art galleries of San Diego.

Desert Delights: Explore the breathtaking beauty of Death Valley National Park or Joshua Tree National Park. Hike among cacti, go stargazing under vast night skies, or take a jeep tour through the desert landscapes.

California Cost of Living

California has a significantly higher cost of living compared to the national average. Here’s a breakdown as you consider and budget for a potential move to California.

  • Overall: The cost of living in California is estimated to be between 38% - 49% higher than the national average.
  • Housing: Housing costs are the biggest factor in California’s high costs, coming in 97% higher than the national average.
  • Taxes:
    • Income tax: Graduated rate ranging from 1% to 13.3%
    • Property tax: 1% percent of a home’s assessed value (statewide average)
    • Sales tax: 7.25%
    • No tax on Social Security benefits

California Healthcare

California's healthcare system is complex. While it shines in medical innovation and boasts a strong safety net with expanded coverage programs, it's also burdened by high costs and a shortage of providers, especially in rural areas. The state is actively working on solutions to control costs, address provider shortages, and improve health equity for all Californians.

California boasts several world-renowned hospitals and medical centers, including:

  • University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF)
  • University of California, Los Angeles Health (UCLA Health)
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles)
  • Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
  • Stanford Health Care (Stanford)
  • Keck Hospital of USC (Los Angeles)

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