Momma Told Me: What Makes California One Of The Best Places To Live

Blog Archive

What Makes California One Of The Best Places To Live
I've lived in California my whole life.

That's if you exclude the very first year of it, and the year I spent in Rhode Island during my college years. So we'll say I've lived here for 29 years, to be accurate. That's still a really long time.

Of course California is YUGE, and I've lived in many parts, as well as traveled to every border and corner. One of the things I love most about California is the depth of cultures, terrain, and climate you can find simply by driving a few hours in either direction. To say that I will ever truly be done vacationing in my own state would be a lie. That doesn't mean I don't venture outside our borders, of course, but it certainly is nice to feel like your home state has so much to offer you could never truly get bored of it.

Perhaps that's why so many people dream of, and work towards, moving to California.
Today I'd like to share a little 'native' insight about what truly makes California an amazing place to live. I feel like, as many places do, we have several stereotypes to overcome, and several that we are proud to embrace. If you or someone you know is considering moving to California the following article is for you.

#1: It's all fun and games....and celebrities.

Through the years, especially when I travel to other states and interact with their locals, I've realized that many people had the perception of California as being glamorous, and in general one big party.

While it's true, we do have several major cities tailored around the sole concept of entertainment and relaxation California is a very large state with over 37 million residents (the most of any continuous states) and there are 141 countries worldwide with less land mass than the Golden State. What that means is that, much like those who live out of state, many of us California natives plan vacations to hot spots such as Hollywood and San Diego much like any other tourist would. We just have the please of 'resident' discounts and the ability to visit much more often if desired.

So, will you rub elbows with celebrities every day after yoga or lunch?

Well, maybe- Many of the celebrities who work in California on films, TV shows, or more don't necessarily reside in California. Some have vacation homes, or elaborate mansions up on rolling hills behind tall gates, but, for the most part, many run ins with celebrities happen by luck in between filming or interviews/appearances. Sure, your chances are probably greater here in California than other parts of the country, but that would be true in Texas if they were filming the next Pirates of the Caribbean there, for example. We just happen to be a hot spot for filming and entertainment so celebrities are often coming and going through our major cities.
#2 There's plenty to do besides theme parks.

One could go to theme parks until they know the employees regularly- we have several major theme parks in Central and Southern California and many of us locals will invest in season passes to attend anywhere from 3-4 times a year to every other day during the off season. But, again, the state is big and theme parks aren't always such a giant attraction when you live close enough to visit them on any given day- there's plenty of other things to explore throughout the state.

If you head out to the coast and travel in either direction you're sure to reach countless historical points of interest, such as missions, any many of the largest marine and aquatic aquariums in the country. It's safe to say that children being raided anywhere near Los Angeles County have an amazing roster of field trips to explore throughout their education.
3. You're going to live in a mansion.

Your budget, naturally, will dictate a lot about where, and what, you live (in). 

I'm not going to lie- living in California is far from the cheapest state one could choose to live in. In general the average studio rate (keeping in mind this is a big state with rural to big city living) is about $968, and the average 3 bedroom house is $2027 a month.

Because the cost of living in California is often more than what most people moving to the state are accustomed to many people will rent as they get settled into their new job and search out their ideal community within this large state to truly settle down in. The good news is that there are plenty of things one can do here in California. I often like to joke that residents 'make up their own jobs'- but that's really because us Southern California millennials have mastered the art of being a 'Jack of All Trades'. I'm never surprised when I ask someone I meet at a bar or show what they do for a living and they answer dog walker/social media specialist/hand model.

So, you may not live in a cliff-side mansion with an ocean view, but the great news is that there really are no bad flats here in California. There's always an adventure to be found right outside your door. is a great resource to learn more about the best California communities and the living options available to you.
#4. The Pacific Ocean

California has 3,427 miles of ocean shoreline and another 32,050 miles of lakeshore. You're never really too far from a body of water to relax by, or play in, when you live in California. While your career, and or budget, will often dictate to what part of the state you move you'll never be more than a half day's drive from the Pacific Ocean; those living inland at cities such as Los Angles are often less than 40 minutes-2 hours away in traffic. That's what I call the best of both worlds- and many who work in California enjoy camping and traveling to our beaches on the weekends.

Lucky me, I live in a coastal community just a 5 minute drive from the shore.

Keep in mind, when considering places to live, that Southern California shore communities will often be 20+ degrees cooler during the hot Summer months.
#5. A dog's day

One of the things I really love about living in California is just how dog friendly so many parts of the state are. I'd say it's the entire state, really, but I can't speak on behalf of an entire state. Just know that many communities have, very nice, dedicated dog parks. It's not uncommon to see several dogs running alongside owners on bikes or skateboards, and trotting beside them at farmer's markets. Several of the coastal communities even have a majority of storefronts which put water and biscuits out for pups traveling with their owners.

In fact San Francisco and San Diego, CA both make the top 10 list for most dog friendly cities in the country, while local to me Long Beach comes in close behind.
#6. Express yourself

While Californians sometimes get a reputation as being 'granola eating skateboarders' you'll find a wide variety of people here. I like to think that's because people are drawn here for the gorgeous beaches and the promise of infinite possibilities. Yes, many people come here with stars in their eyes, and that tends to give us a melting pot of unique individuals.

This also means that residents tend to be highly accepting and welcoming as well as very expressive. Many major cities are filled with gorgeous sculpture and architecture installations that enrich their community. Art is very important in and around Los Angeles county where freeway walls are often commissioned with a rotating display of street art.

There is no lack of local activities, cultural integration opportunities, and artistic displays.
#7 Get out and do something

Whether you live inland, in a major city, on the shore near the beach, or up in Northern California with the redwoods there's always a plethora of physical activities and explorations at your disposal. It is not uncommon for residents to learn how to skydive for a birthday, take a loved one on a hot air balloon ride for an anniversary, plan a hike on a weekend, camp the beach for surf swells, or leisurely enjoy flying a stunt kite.

I often hear those out of state question our choice of yoga pants as the unofficial state uniform- yes we have hot yoga and many do zumba or pilates (if that's their thing) but there's so much more. My neighbor has a trailer full of 'toys' (ATV, land yacht, etc) he likes to take out to the salt flats once a month, a close friend is learning to paddle board at the marina, and my father's girlfriend regularly runs miles a day through palm tree lined down town.

Not only do we have ample great weather to get out and be active in but we have several types of terrain which truly enable all sorts of fun and exploration year round. It's definitely hard to sit on the couch with all this sunshine and great weather!

#8. Things only locals eat

Remember how I said California was a true melting pot? Foodies will love living in Southern California where the ethnic composition is so rich that you can truly enjoy authentic cuisine from numerous countries. Here in Southern California, on the coast, we have an amazing range of Philippine, Mexican, Italian, and Korean cuisine- it's not hard to discover a hole in the wall with the best slow cooked authentic flavors you'll taste outside someone's grandmother's home.

We also have a few naturally sourced ingredients that California is abundant in- my favorite being strawberries and avocados.

My grandfather has been visiting us here for 30 years now and every visit he demands 'those California strawberries'. Why? Because my local hometown is one of the top 4 producers of strawberries for the country! We have field upon field of beautiful red berries- and those ship locally within the state for the freshest berry flavor at amazing local prices.We also have a special variety of strawberry known to be especially big- and perfect for dipping!

When I lived in Rhode Island for a year I remember how hard it was to find fresh berries, and the exorbitant prices I had to pay when I did.

Avocado is just one more West Coast luxury we have in abundance- I buy a bag of 6 HASS avocados from the corner stand twice a week for just $3. You can't beat that!

#9 It's full of palm trees

Growing up, the first 10 years of my life, we lived in a small 2 bedroom condo with a 10 x 8 concrete patio. I still remember the week my parents spent carving out a 4 x 4 square in that concrete to fill with dirt, rocks, and a baby palm tree. I didn't get what all the fuss was then, and, when we moved some 6 years later it was as if we had our own mini island. People seem fascinated with them.

I won't lie- in Southern California it's hard to go anywhere and not spot a palm tree within a block in either direction. I think it's our official plant- they are truly everywhere, especially in major down down areas. We have 2 in our backyard this very minute.

But, of course, there are plenty of other beautiful natural attractions- you don't have to venture far North to begin seeing the stunning Redwoods creep down along the forest line. Certain stretches of highway offer an amazing view of blanketed California Poppy flowers in the Spring, and the Pacific Coast is often sprinkled with meadows of the Douglas Iris.

Perhaps, most importantly, if you have a brown thumb like me, the warm and often dry climate is perfect for near impossible to kill succulents. Those of us unable to maintain a lush green lawn due to lack of time often replace our front yards with cacti and succulents for a flawless yard year-round.
#10. It's unlike any other state

This is true, of course, for every state.

Where you live is no small decision, especially when choosing where to live in such a large state with such diverse offerings. It's best to look into renting a room/apartment/property prior to buckling down and buying. As easy as it is to get around this wonderful state you just never know what gem of a city you'll discover to best suit your lifestyle. To learn more about California living be sure to check out this helpful resource from


  1. Good way of explaining, and fastidious piece of writing to take facts

  2. Very neat blog. Really thank you! Great article you show us here

  3. Simple but very precise information... Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

  4. I need to thank you for this great read!! I certainly loved every bit of it.

  5. I truly like your technique of writing a blog. I saved it as my favorite

  6. Good day very cool blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb