Moving to California – Complete Guide



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Moving to California

There are numerous places of attractions waiting to be explored in California, a paradise in disguise. With a great number of beautiful natural views which include the beautiful mountain range in the Sierra Nevada, the Grand Canyon and world-known cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle; for these reasons, California has become home for many Brits relocating. It is one of the most popular cities in the western part of the United States of America with the residents’ population of about 16 million.

California is known for its flourishing agricultural and technological economies, but it is also a place where people that adores nature can go, as sunshine is always available throughout the year, and it also has intriguing landscape such as deserts, mountains, and pristine beaches. Everyone gets a place in the state due to its large size (840 miles along the western part) and diversity. Be informed that the population here in California is much before you relocate here.

The number of people living here is over 39 million people. However, this doesn’t mean you will find it difficult to get a place to stay. There are a lot of places where you can stay in California and still enjoy yourself, especially the fresh breeze. All you need to know and do base on your relocation to California have been compiled into this article. It only takes a few minutes to read it and get what you need.

California at a Glance

There are few (not so many) golden reasons why California is being regarded as “The Golden State.” California Gold Rush which was started in California in the year 1848 when a duck founded a piece of gold. For this reason, 300,000 people relocate to the area to enjoy what is going on there. California is the largest states when we consider population which is around 39,776,830 people draining the golden sunshine.

Just in 2017, about 240,177 people that contributed to the population relocated to California. When considering size, however, California is not a match to both Alaska and Texas.  Yet, California is not a small state. The state is the 11th densest state in the country, and this is good for people, as they can spread all over the state.

The obsession Americans have for California is unmatchable, from 90210 and Beverly Hills, Los Angeles Law and The O.C., to Charlie’s Angels, these cities are all located at the southern coast of the state. Los Angeles and the fun it offers is not only what California is all about. There are many other things in the state worthy of discussing.

Most people enjoy shiny things, and thus, the reason behind the nickname “The Golden State” is born from the intriguing golden poppies and the flowers that cover the state in spring, making a field looks like there is a fire burning. Let us also discuss what the people are residing in California love doing, their culture, cost of living, housing, and the weather – starting from the later.

California Climatic Conditions

Expect average temperatures annually in California. It is in between the low 40s to 80s during winters and warm, summer, if your focus is on a coastal life as you are relocating to California. During summer, the weather is hotter for those living in the inland, and snowier for those whose house elevation is high. Just as we generally recommend, it is very important to research the weather of the place you are relocating to (in this case, California) to prepare for it whether intense heat or mild rainfall fully.

The weather in California is summarized below by city:

  • San Francisco Bay Area: It is always warm and dry here during summer and can even be hotter if you live a further inland distance away depending on the Bay you visit. Summer is always around 70s and 80s while winter is around 50s apart from San Francisco, which provides cooling effect all through the year due to its closeness to the Bay. There is also a fog around the Bay, and it’s always at its peak from May to July.
  • San Diego: People here experience little rainfall, and the place has a normal temperature ranging from the 60s to 70s all through the year.
  • The High Sierras: The summer is always warm and dry, paving the way for enough snow that could close the roads during winter.
  • The North Coast: Beginning from November to March, it is always rainy here, and the temperature is between the 50s and 60s year-round.
  • Los Angeles: The temperature here is basically around the 60s, but the city sees rainfall ranging from 10 to 15 inches in sizes in winter. The heat here is around 80s during summer.
  • Central Valley: There is a moderate winter here, and it falls into the 50s, while the summer is hot with 100 degrees temperature at times.
  • Gold Country: The winter here is cold and wet while the summer is hot and dry, and can be snowy based on your elevation.
  • Central Coast: There is moderate weather all through the year with rain and fog sometimes, due to the closeness of the place to the Pacific Ocean.


To those with a British passport and are not planning to stay for long, they can visit the United States without going through any Visa process through the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). However, 72 hours before takeoff, you must provide every necessary detail of your trip and plans over the internet.

The process is called the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). You will not be granted entry into the United States of American if you do not have ESTA. A Visa will be required if you will be spending above three months in the country. The Visa can be arranged for you by any company in the USA if they have employed you.

Housing in California

There are many housing options available to you in California, from a studio-like house to a popular Californian-style modern mansion. Before you begin to house-hunt, consider the following information.

According to, the current average home value to those who would like to own a home is $539,400, and the price has increased with 6.1% in recent years. Home costs are closed to around $476,600 although they are posted on the market for a median value of $535,000.

For just about $2,795 per month, you can rent a house if renting is what you prefer. We can conclude that real estate prices in California are high.

Let’s talk about apartments.  states that you will be required to pay an average of $2,265 per month to rent a place in Los Angeles. The price is still fair compared to what residents in San Francisco and Berkeley are paying, which is $3,442 per month and $3,123 per month respectively.

To save your budget, you might focus your attention on places like Fresno or Sacramento, where the average cost is around $990 and $1,292 per month respectively. The decision is finally yours to make, but do not decide out of budget so as not to spend all your income on house rent.

There are many new buildings everywhere in the state, so there is no need to worry about how and where to get one. From San Francisco to San Diego, development is currently ongoing at the western region of the state.

It is also ongoing in Sacramento to San Bernardino, the midline of California. There is, however, not much development ongoing towards the eastern and the northern part of the state – beware.

California Economy

California is a great example of an economic driven state. California alone has contributed up to 20% to the economic growth of the country, and the unemployment rates in cities such as San Francisco are reducing drastically. California is ranked 6th on the list of the largest economy in the world.

Technology is one of the big industries in California. The state also harvests more crops more than any other state in the country, and thus, is a big player in the agriculture and tourism industries.

Job Market

Industries like fashion, fitness, film, music, tourism, and health are some of California’s hotspots. Areas like architecture, construction, and engineering also experience rapid development. The typical salaries based on the industry are stated in the table below:

Job CategoryAverage Salary in USD ($)
Fitness / Hair / Beauty2,367
Pet Care2,000
Fashion and Apparel2,900
Courier / Delivery / Transport / Drivers2,128
Import and Export3,909
Customer Service and Call Center3,544
Administration / Reception / Secretarial3,217
Recreation and Sports3,033
Real Estate3,124
Business Planning4,217
Food /Hospitality / Tourism / Catering4,788
Publishing and Printing4,750
Law Enforcement / Security / Fire4,433
Advertising / Graphic Design / Event Management4,538
Facilities / Maintenance / Repair4,760
Factory and Manufacturing5,307
Construction / Building / Installation5,635
Sales Retail and Wholesale5,773
Purchasing and Inventory5,045
Accounting and Finance5,840
Electrical and Electronics Trades6,715
Public Relations6,865
Science and Technical Services6,258
Health and Medical7,274
Quality Control and Compliance7,528
Information Technology7,533
Human Resources8,000
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology8,173
Teaching / Education8,311
Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense8,366
Government and Defence8,229
Oil / Gas / Energy / Mining9,722
Media / Broadcasting / Arts / Entertainment9,967
Fundraising and Non Profit9,583

Cost of Living

An average household income is $61,000 in California and is higher than the national average which is around $53,000. Given this context, it might be a wise decision financially to relocate to the Golden State, before making such decision; however, you have to take into consideration the cost of living in the state.

After bouncing back from the economic recession, home prices in the state have continually risen beyond expectations over the past years. The average cost of a home in California is now $479,000 although the figure varies depending on the location as some might be higher while some are already increasing. A studio apartment rental fee in California will cost an average of $1,400 while a four-bedroom apartment will cost an average of $3,500.


Westerners based their transportation on cars and their vehicle for moving around because the petrol price in the United States is lower and as well as the wide range of open land in the state.

There are many trusted vehicle hire companies in local towns and airports in California that you can rent a car from, should you decide not to go around with your vehicle when you just relocate to the state. If you are too tired to drive, then you can take a train or coach, just that the journeys will be prolonged, as they are not as fast as taking a car.

Eating and Drinking out

The increased numbers of households that earn huge income make restaurants to be pricey in California. For those working in the entertainment and media industries, they love to be seen in the right place and to this end; most residents also adopt the style, and giving rise to the price of things.

There are, however, numerous restaurants around that will perfectly suit everyone’s pocket sizes. There are popular restaurants among the residents such as Mexican’s, together with grill style eateries and barbeque. You will as well have the opportunity to drink some of the highly rated wines in the state at a lower price in any of the local bars.

Top Cities to live in California

Are you planning a move to California? The outdoor exercises, attractions, and view of nature that reside in California from the rolling hills that are located in the northern part of California to the oceanfront located in the southern part are incomparable with anything.

Below are the best cities in California that you can be proud to call home:

1. Oxnard

You can get a beachfront home at an affordable price in Oxnard, which is just an hour away from Los Angeles to the north. The average home settling in Oxnard is at $332,600 while the average income is $62,349, and these are a big deal for real estate in California.

Among the beauty in Oxnard are the winery visits and strolls on Mandalay Beach as well as Golf. Many crops are also grown in Oxnard because the city is surrounded by fertile agricultural land. The most famous fruit in the state which is strawberry is mostly found in Oxnard, and for that reason, the widely known strawberry festival in California is being held in Oxnard.

2. Fremont

This city located in the San Francisco Bay environment is one of the nice places to call a home, and the reason is clear. WalletHub named Fremont as the happiest place to reside in America, as it consists of residents that are affluent, healthy and friendly while it ranked 11th as the best city in the nation for job seekers according to NerdWallet.

AreaVibes also affirm that Fremont is greatly livable because of the reduced crime rate, consistent housing market and nice weather in the city. The population of the city, according to its official website, is about 226,561 people. The average price for a home in Fremont was $950,000.

2. Ventura

Ventura is one of the 100 best places to live according to Livability and thus makes it difficult to believe that it would not be expensive to live here most especially when you consider the amazing view of the harbor. However, the average household income in Ventura is $66,485, and the average home price is around $428,600, these are way too cheaper compared to the state average.

There are also many amenities being enjoyed by the residents, such as five college campuses and the location for most surfing events known as Surfer’s Point.

Although everyone calls this place Ventra, its official name is San Buenaventura. Only 1 out of the five affordable cities we listed is located out of Ventura County.

3. Los Angeles

There is something for everyone in this southern California city known as a city for dreamers. Los Angeles is known for its exceptional homing for entertainment industries. It is one of the country’s flourishing centers for the film industry, and it is also a home for the Hollywood production studios and Hollywood walk of fame. The city is also one of the high ranking cities when it comes to availability of amenities, the consistent housing market, and sunny weather.

For those who are fond of a cosmopolitan lifestyle, nice outdoors and high-class restaurants, Los Angeles is the best place for them. World Population Review stated that Los Angeles is the most populous city in California with an estimated population of 4 million people. The average price for a home in Los Angeles is $825,000.

4. Simi Valley

Simi Valley is a home for science hub, a paradise to hikers and a memorial to a former United States President. The city earns its place on the list of the affordable city in California, as the average household income is around $89,595, and the average home price is around $438,700.

The economy of the city is being driven by a front runner in rocket and nuclear technology laboratory known as Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The undeveloped area of the valley has a wide range of hiking trail system available for those who love outdoor activities.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that testifies to the life and work of the country’s 40th president located in Simi Valley has been visited recently by people from different destinations.


The quality of education in California should be one of the first important things you look into if you are planning to relocate here. You may even consider planning your relocation around the perfect and suitable educational opportunities for your children.

California has an open admission policy and thus makes it possible for you to send your kids to any school located within your home district, so far, there is enough room to contain them. The top 5 schools in California are listed below and are segmented based on class levels:

Top Five Elementary Schools in California are as follow:

  • Manchester Gate located in Fresno
  • Bullis Charter Elementary located in Los Altos
  • La Jolla Elementary located in San Diego
  • Covington Elementary located in Los Altos
  • William Faria Elementary located in Cupertino

Top 5 Middle Schools in California are as follow:

  • Windemere Ranch Middle located in San Ramon
  • Elkhorn located in Stockton
  • North Star Academy located in Redwood City
  • William Hopkins Junior High located in Fremont
  • John F. Kennedy Middle located in Cupertino

Top 5 High Schools in California are as follow:

  • University High located in Fresno
  • Whitney (Gretchen) High located in Cerritos
  • William & Marian Ghidotti High located in Grass Valley
  • Oxford Academy located in Cypress
  • High Virtual Academy located in San Diego

Top 5 School Districts in California are as follow:

  • Las Lomitas School District
  • La Canada School District
  • Los Altos School District
  • Hillsborough School District
  • Lakeside Joint School District

Most of the top universities in the country are also situated in California. Two of the best and popular universities in the United States, which include the University of Southern California and Stanford University, are situated in California. Other universities that can provide students with quality education at affordable cost include the Californian state university with different branches across the state.

Moving around in California

The most prevailing way to move around in the majority of places in California is by car. That implies that to get around the state, you will be paying for insurance, car leasing or buying, and gas. It cost a lot to buy gas in California. Gas prices in the state rose by 30% increase higher than the average cost in the country just over six months ago. Only Hawaii has its price of gasoline higher than California’s price out of the other states in the country.

The list of affordable car insurance in the country shows that California is ranked 44th out of 50, which implies that the cost of insurance is also high. But by comparing prices from different insurance companies, car insurance shoppers can get a fair and affordable deal.

Weird Laws

Let’s also discuss a very unnecessary but amusing part of living in California. In the cause of our research, we came across some very outdated and shocking laws in California that we think it worth going over again.

  • It is prohibited for people to sleep on a road. Even though it is so boring, sitting in a traffic jam in Los Angeles doesn’t mean you are permitted to sit on the asphalt itself.
  • Men are not permitted to go outside wearing unmatched pants and jacket. Violators may be arrested.
  • Anyone caught detonating a nuclear device within the city limits will be made to pay a fine of $500. This punishment is somewhat too lenient if you agree.
  • Driving a herd of cattle across the streets is unlawful. This is not gonna save you from the traffic jam, so don’t do it. Relax and wait for it like everyone else.

Pros of living in Californians

  • Epic scenery: Everything that could be considered as sources of attraction is all present in California, so it will be safer to say the state has it all. From rivers, palm trees, shorelines, beaches, mountains, the ocean, deserts, field and so on. The sunshine that makes everything shiny almost all the time is also present in California. It is a very beautiful place to be.
  • Celeb sightings: Don’t be surprised that you can just turn around at the bar in California and boom; you are staring directly at your favorite Hollywood star or musician. You can find the most famous people in California, most especially in Los Angeles. For those who love following, sighting or taking pictures of/with celebrities, this is the best place for you.
  • Stuff to do: Although everyone has their different taste when it comes to having fun, don’t worry, California has it in stock for you no matter what yours is. You will never run out of the fun, as the state has a lot of beautiful sceneries and tourism centers coupled with the intriguing natural landscape.
  • Perfect weather: Locals in southern California reported that the weather there is at 70 degrees and sunny. The weather in northern California, however, vary from time to time and thus, when it becomes unbearable for you, just hop in the car and drive your way to the south to have a nice time with your southern friends.

Cons of living in Californians

  • Inner-state rivalry: California is a great example of a state with internal war. There is some kind of bad energies hanging between northern California and southern California, and this sometimes extends to an area closer to Los Angeles known by some as Coastal California (SoCal would be better). So, beware!
  • Traffic: Both California and Hawaii are fighting for the first position when it comes to the worst traffic jam ranking in the country. The traffic jam is so bad that some area may not be through in hours. You’ve got to learn a lot to be able to withstand the boring and calmness that comes with the jam.
  • Angry Mother Nature: Although the weather is almost perfect for residents, sometimes Mother Nature may take a twist. Wildfires, earthquakes, droughts, landslides, and mudslides are all examples of natural disasters that strike in California. This has since looked like it’s some kind of punishment for Californians for living in this almost paradise.
  • The astronomical cost of living: Just behind Hawaii, California was reported to be the 2nd most expensive state to live in 2018, according to CNBC. The cost of living there is easily affordable for celebrities and their likes, but not so cool for average earners like the random Jim and Kim.

Moving your Possessions

The possibility of feeling lonely and needy is high when leaving your family and friends to relocate to a new place, and it can also leave you with an unforgettable experience. However, you will need helping hands to take the stress of moving off you. An example of a reliable moving company that will help you haul your possessions across many distances can be selected from our pool of movers. They offer custom clearance services and arrangement of important documents to go with your move. The company will begin with the packing of your belongings and arrange them expertly to avoid damages to your valuable possessions and make sure the transition is as affordable as possible. Request for a quote today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does California have multiple time zones?

No it does not. Although California is a very large state, the entirety of the state is located within the Pacific Time Zone (PST). This means that time in California is usually 3 hours behind that of New York. The state also observes daylight savings time.

The daylight savings issue may actually become relevant to those in California as there has been an initiative to either adjust how the state changes its clocks, or to give the state a time zone all to itself. For now though, the state is still a PST zone state.

If I move to California, do I need to take a state driving test?

If you move to California from out of the State and already have a valid driver’s license in the previous State, you do not need to take and pass the CA driving exam. However, you will be forced to exchange your driving license for a California one after a period of time or when you go to have the license renewed.

In some instances, such as some State benefits plans, you may need to switch your license into a California one without delay.

To do this you will need to go to the CA DMV with:

  • Ability to make a roughly $40 payment
  • Social Security card (or an accepted equivalent) or military ID
  • Proof of birth date and citizenship (birth certificate and/or passport)
  • Proof of a California residency

What laws in California should I be aware of?

Not many know this, but California has one of the largest collections of laws and regulations in the world. Tough to counteract the ever-increasing weight of the legal structure, Californians are able to participate in government directly with options like initiatives and recalls.

There are some things people new to the state may find surprising. For example, kids in California are not allowed to be served soda or juice with their lunch meals (this applies to school-provided meals, not meals given by parents). Anyone under 18 must be wearing a helmet on bikes or boards, and gun purchases require someone to be 21. Take the time to read through all the laws in your new state.

Where does the name California come from?

So what was California named for? The state name comes from the character of Queen Califia, a fictional queen of the island of California taken from the book “Las Sergas de Esplandián” (The Adventures of Esplandián) a chivalrous romance/adventure written by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo in 1510.

The nickname of California, “the Golden State,” arrived in the late ’60s and is a reference to the gold rush of the 1800s as well as the golden California poppies that grow across the state. The Golden State also shares a theme with the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most famous sites of the state.

How big is California?

For those not from the state, trying to actually picture the size can be difficult. Since California’s shape is so odd, and the geography so diverse, it can be difficult to wrap your head around its size. The state encompasses a space of 155,959 square miles, with an 840-mile coastline.

If you are trying to think of the state’s size by driving distance, you can think of the north-south range taking about ten hours to traverse. If you were to try and drive from the coastline east, you would only need roughly half that time to breach the state border.

Does moving to a new state affect my health coverage?

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, when you move to a new state, you will need to update your health plan. You are unable to keep the health plan from your old state. You should switch over immediately so you are paying for coverage you cannot use.

There will be a whole new set of plans and prices to choose from, and you have a special transition period after a move to help facilitate this.

Wrap up

When deciding on where to live in California, be sure to choose wisely, as there is a fierce feud between the northern and southern California. Each of these cities has its peculiarity. For southern California, it is Mexican food while it is a different kind of food choices in the north. The weather in the north is almost perfect compared to the consistently sunny weather nature in the south. You will enjoy whichever city you choose between the two. Stay tuned for more informative posts!

Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell
He has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. Thomas is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.
Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell
He has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. Thomas is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.

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