Ten Things I Love About Living In California

A humorous view of our state that, regardless, does contain more than a few nuggets of truth!

If there's one thing I've learned over the course of the many, many trips we've taken throughout the USA since retiring, it's that there are a whole lot of opinions about my native state of California from a whole lot of people that have never lived here. For the most part I find it endlessly entertaining, such as being asked what it's like to live among movie stars. Well, we don't actually because most of them live behind locked gates in very exclusive areas. Or, if it's true that we can sunbathe year round? Sadly, no, though for sure you can do anything other than sunbathe year round!.

And while much of what I've heard opined about is accurate, such as traffic - yep, we have it, but primarily because 10% of you all live here! - much of it is not. For example, doesn't our whole state catch fire every year? Well, no, though the news makes it sound that way. Remember that we're a pretty darn large piece of real estate, so even if a story about California is blowing up the news channels, chances are it's still representing a pretty small segment of our state. Or my favorite, aren't we afraid of those terrible earthquakes? Well, of course, but the truly large ones happen very infrequently, much less frequently than, say, those hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards we keep hearing so much about. ;)

Anyhow, having lived here my entire life I thought it would be fun to list some of the things I love about living in California.

Ten Things I Love About Living In Californian

1. The weather. Number one on my list, and likely lots of other people's list as well, our year round mild weather means that I can be outside doing something active literally 365 days of the year. Even if it's raining, which is the very worst type of weather that occurs here along the coastline, I can still put on my rain gear and go out for a walk.

2. The beaches. Number two on my list, I love, love, love our beautiful coastline, and our glorious beaches. We've traveled up and down our roughly 840 miles of coastline numerous times over the years, and it never, ever gets old. From the sunny, sandy beaches of S. California to the rocky, wind swept beaches of N. California, each is exquisite in it's own unique way.

3. Our geographic diversity. In addition to our beaches, we have easy-to-reach deserts and mountains, which afford us the opportunity to be sunning or surfing at the beach one day, and off-roading, hiking or skiing in our local deserts and mountains the next. It's said nauseatingly often, I know, but that's because it really is true. A one hour drive can literally put you in a completely different weather zone almost any day of the year.

4. The people. People here tend to be friendly to newcomers, primarily because so many people are newcomers themselves. And we're also pretty good about 'Hi' and 'Bye' type of friendships as people move, or get transferred, in and out on a fairly regular basis. Really, as long as you are polite, and speak kindly about our state, we're good!

5. There is always something to do. As in, so much to do! I could go on and on and on here, so rather than listing the things I think pretty much everyone knows about - San Francisco, Hollywood, San Diego, Napa, Santa Barbara, Disneyland, Sea World, Yosemite, Palm Springs - I thought I'd share this fun link instead, listing almost one thousand lesser known things to do in California:

Discover 976 Cool & Unusual Things To Do In California

Seriously, you have to try really, really hard to be bored here!

6. We have more National Parks than in any other state, even, surprisingly, Alaska. There are a total of nine in California, each offering endless opportunities to get lost in the amazing serenity of nature:
  1. Channel Islands
  2. Death Valley
  3. Joshua Tree
  4. Kings Canyon
  5. Lassen Volcanic
  6. Pinnacles
  7. Redwood
  8. Sequoia
  9. Yosemite

7. Our air is cleaner now than it was when I was growing up. Our higher gas prices can be annoying initially, but there's a reason - our air is once again clean. Back in the 60's and 70's, when I was growing up here, we would have regular smog days, where the air was so bad that no outside play was allowed at school. And not only that, it hurt to breathe in to deeply, so we tried not to. Happily, those days are now long gone for the most part.

8. Our multi-cultural heritage. With roots in Asia, Mexico, Spain and the eastern United States, California is a wonderful amalgamation of many cultural influences that make living here endlessly interesting.

9. And speaking of our Mexican heritage . . . I'm just going to go ahead and throw down that I think we have the best Mexican food north of the border!

10. And finally, whatever you might be looking for as a way of life, there's a good chance you'll find it here. You want to live in an affordable or rural area? Check out any part of our state that is 50 miles or more inland from the coast. Mountains with real winter weather? No problem, we've got em. Quiet beaches? Yep, just start looking about an hour's drive from any of our large metro areas. Rip-roaring fun beaches? Pretty much everything else. Big city? San Francisco and Los Angeles. Small big city? Hello San Diego and Sacramento. Horse country? Santa Ynez to Santa Barbara. Hippy culture? Big Sur to Santa Cruz. Hipster culture? San Francisco and any S. California coastal community, excepting perhaps, Orange County where I live. We're awfully pretty here in Orange County, what with our gorgeous beaches, but I think we're considered more conservative than cool!

And lastly, remember that it's SoCal, NorCal, S. California, N. California or plain ole' California, but never, ever 'Cali' unless you are looking to announce to all near and far that you are most definitely not a local.  ;)

So how to end this little love letter to my native state? Why with a promo video of course, because what says 'California' more than a video showing a whole lot of people having whole lot of fun? As someone said to me once, "It's like everyone is packed onto a huge cruise ship going to the same place and having fun despite the crowds."

Yep, that pretty much nails it!


Are you likewise in love with your current state? Please share what you love if so, because one of the best things about blogging is the opportunity to gleans insights into how other folk live!


  1. That is so funny about the 'cali'. Recently we had a visitor from N.J. and all she talked about was how cool 'cali' was. Honestly, at first I didn't know what she was talking about... Funny! We're in Northern California, in the Sierra foothills. We've been here since 1975 so I figure we're 'native' enough. And yes, I love California from Lake Tahoe to the coast!!

    1. Christina, there are some very amusing articles about the use of ‘Cali.’ Look them up sometime when you need a giggle! 😊

  2. Hi Tamara, I think California is very similar to Queensland with sunshine and beautiful beaches. I do want to discover Northern California more though as in the past we have only visited L.A., Vegas and San Fransisco on the West Coast USA. This is a great guide for those wanting to discover more. Have a great weekend!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    1. I wonder if that’s why I fell so hard for Australia during our visit there in 2010 - it reminded me so much of home! Holding onto hope that a good, long return trip there is in our near future. 😊

  3. Ok, I gave in and decided to delete the earlier anonymous post because it didn’t add anything to the conversation. The focus of this post is loving where you live, something we should all aspire to do. Would love to see elequent shares on wherever my readers are from. I love when people love where they live. Kind of like our children . . . there’s plenty of love to go around. 😊

  4. I have to agree whole heartedly with your list!

    1. And for the record Juhli, pretty sure Ventura County is way cooler than Orange County More figuratively than literally, though both fit! ☺️

  5. I love living in the Sonoran desert! (Phoenix,Valley of the Sun) I always thought we would move to a beach area when Ken was done school, but his good opportunity came up in Phoenix and I have loved it from day 1. Go figure. I like the dry warmth and even the heat is ok with me, although I have adapted and don't go JOGGING in the middle of a 107 degree day!! I love palm trees,citrus blooms,majestic cactus, and the beauty of a desert in full bloom. I am a docent at our local Botanical Garden,where I get to share the history of our area and all the natural flora and fauna, with people who visit from all over the world. We have great bird watching all over the state, though I am just beginning to learn about that. I get moody in gloomy weather and rely on our sunshine-y days . Even just visiting back to Philly makes me miss our sunshine and warm breezes,I didn't realize how often it is CLOUDY Back East!! Here in the Valley, We have access to mountains, lakes, hiking trails, gardens, parks, and San DIego is only a 5 hour drive away, LOL! Our cost of living has been lower than it was growing up Back East,I am shocked at what family pay for property taxes in New Jersey!!!!! We would not have been able to comfortably retire with those costs. I got used to lots of house for your money ,and low taxes. The suburbs I live in are safe, I enjoy my neighbors, and I have a Unitarian Universalist church I attend with like -souled folks. We have a nice college town close by (Tempe) where we can stroll outdoors and walk around the Towne Lake. There are many interesting historic towns to visit, like Bisbee,Tombstone,Patagonia... for short getaways. I can ride my bicycle outdoors most of the year, and I get to swim in our pool morning and evening, again, many months of the year. (After living here 30+ years we get COLD and don't swim if it's "only" 80 degrees outside!!) My husband misses the four seasons of our youth, but he travels Up North ,camps regularly and goes ski-ing with his ski buddies. Me, I avoid cold and snow at all costs!! Our traffic is getting busier and I miss when it was a bit quieter. I also wish Phoenix area had remained a bit more loyal to the "feel " of the Southwest,in architecture and neighborhood development.Some people move here from the Mid West and build houses and neighborhoods that look like Michigan.. (beautiful place, but not Arizona!!) planting lawns,trees that are not local.. and this has disrupted local micro- climate a bit.. Tucson has done a better job of keeping Arizona flavor in its development.That said,I'd choose living here all over again. I enjoy traveling to other states for variety, but I am always glad to come back home!!

    1. I LOVE your list Madeline! We’ve taken many trips into AZ by car, RV and motorcycle, and so enjoyed our travels there - Sedona, Phoenix, Flagstaff, the White Mountains, Jerome, Scottsdale, Santa Catalina Mountains, Petrified Forest NP, and, of course, Winslow, AZ, 'cause this girl grew up listening to The Eagles! And seeing Saguaro National Park in full spring bloom is something I will treasure forever. Such beauty!

      And guess what? I attend a UU also, and in fact just returned home from a women’s retreat attended by several UU gals from both Phoenix (Jill S.?) and Tucson!

  6. I live in Alabama and love our sugar white, wide beaches in Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach. I love the river region, with all of the canoeing, hiking, biking, and swimming. I also like North Alabama, where I am originally from, near Bankhead National Forest. The northeastern section of the state, is a lot like Tennessee, without the crowds. I have been to California once (Ontario), and enjoyed it. I was at a conference there.

    1. I just read where you had deleted an earlier anonymous post. I do not know what it said, but that was not me who made the earlier post.

    2. No worries, Anonymous! It was a post that chose to focus on negativity, when my post was anything but. Plus name called . . . so mature. 😚

      I haven’t yet traveled to the Deep South, but do eventually want to get to all 50 US states, so I’ll get there eventually. I’m guessing you are my earlier Montgomery poster? Thank you for returning if so!

  7. Hi there! I followed the link from Picture Retirement and discovered your blog! I live in California too (native, San Diego) and I love it for many of the reasons you list. I'm not sure why some people love to dis California (jealousy maybe? :) ) but, though not perfect, it has so many advantages. As I read about the harsh winters people experience elsewhere, I thank my lucky stars that my parents decided to move here before any of us kids were born.

    I like your blog and am now a follower!

    Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

    1. Hi Janis, I like your blog too, and have followed you for quite a few years already, so welcome! I used to write a fairly extensive blog about early retirement, where I think we first interacted, called Early Retirement Journey. This blog, I must warn, is pretty fluffy by comparison. With all the negativity out there in the social media stream, I just wanted my next blog to be a soft place to land, so imagine my surprise when someone took such great offense to my love letter to my state . . . just goes to show you can't please everyone!

      (And P.S. - so sorry for my delay in responding, but for some reason I don't not yet understand, Blogger has stopped sending me email notifications about new comments . . . . grrr!)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Five Things Making Me Happy Today 7/18

Retirement Seven Years In