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Old 12-17-2011, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Oceanside, CA
16 posts, read 10,184 times
Reputation: 26
Default Where to live in CA? (need Trader Joe's, hiking, more...)

I hate to start another "tell me where to live" thread, but I'm having a hard time deciding, so I figured why not? I've lived in California for most of my life, except the last 3 years in Austin, Texas. My wife and I can't wait to get back! We're totally open to northern or southern California, as we've lived in both and liked both.

We've lived in Sacramento and while we liked it there, we're looking for something a little different. We thought we had decided on Temecula, but after visiting we found it to be a little too much like Sacramento (suburban, main "feature" is proximity to other cities). My parents currently live in El Cajon, which we like as well.

Here's our requirements:

1) within driving distance of a Trader Joe's (Costco would be nice too)
2) within driving distance of good hiking trails
3) not too much traffic (this pretty much rules out anywhere around LA, greater SD feels tolerable)

Price range: would like to rent something for under $1400/month

That's really about it. We also plan to get a large dog soon after we move and have a child soon after that. I'm able to work from home and neither of us love big cities, so we're willing to live somewhere off the beaten path. We're definitely homebodies, with day-hiking and eating out being our main excursions. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
3,609 posts, read 6,447,693 times
Reputation: 3092
Well,

The under $1400/mo with a large dog will be your biggest challenge. That usually means a house with a yard. It seems like we've had many similar posts asking the same things recently. East SD County may possibly work - El Cajon, La Mesa, Poway, etc... For Central Cal check out Los Osos, Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, etc...

I prefer the Central Coast after living in LA County most of my life. My wife's family is also in East SD County. But SD is still too crowded for us. It really depends on what you are looking for. Some like city life with more people, shopping malls, etc... We prefer more wide open spaces and natural beauty.

Derek

Last edited by MtnSurfer; 12-17-2011 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:53 PM
 
Location: California
24,520 posts, read 14,862,900 times
Reputation: 16498
What about something like Chico? You are close to nature, Bidwell Park, Costco and TJ's. You can life close in, around the college, or on the outskirts. It's affordable and not in close proximity to anything. lol.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:11 PM
 
2,736 posts, read 2,846,771 times
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I am not that familiar with CA but I live in Thousand Oaks and though I don't hike I was told in the area people do. There are a few Trader Joes and a Costco near. 1400 you may find a 1 bedroom apartment. It is expensive area. Not sure about the dog and weight limits I would think that varies. I am a home body too. I like being close to malls,restaurants,movies,there is a plaza theater that has plays near etc. What do you do for a living? I would think that may be a factor in terms of location
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Oceanside, CA
16 posts, read 10,184 times
Reputation: 26
Thanks for the suggestions! I guess the hard part is just deciding on an area of California! Having lived in northern California for 20 years, I have a certain nostalgia for it, but southern California seems more exciting, but maybe too busy for my taste. I guess that makes central California the perfect fit? Anyway, based on your reccomendations and others in this forum, here's my list of places to investigate more:

Northern
South Lake Tahoe
Auburn
Redding
Chico / Paradise

Central
Santa Cruz County
Atascadero
Scotts Valley
Los Osos

Southern
Temecula
El Cajon
Fallbrook

I'm currently working in web development at an agency, but I'm transitioning to full-time freelance, so I'm planning to work from home by the time I move.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:41 AM
 
268 posts, read 428,608 times
Reputation: 170
I'll tell you right now Santa Cruz county/Scotts Valley is expensive and traffic is crazy. SLO county is what you are looking for. If you need to visit the ghettos of LA or SF your half way in the middle.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:20 AM
 
2,864 posts, read 3,062,014 times
Reputation: 5979
Bishop is 50 miles from the greatest hiking in California: Mammoth and Yosemite and you could easily find a place to rent for $1400 a month.

If you want So. CA try Monrovia or Duarte. You're a short drive from hiking Mt. Wilson and within an hours drive of San Gorgonio hike, Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Bernardino or Cucamonga Peak.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,192 posts, read 2,895,507 times
Reputation: 1917
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp killer View Post
I'll tell you right now Santa Cruz county/Scotts Valley is expensive and traffic is crazy. SLO county is what you are looking for. If you need to visit the ghettos of LA or SF your half way in the middle.
The traffic is crazy for commuters on hwy1 (north in a.m. and south in p.m.) and hwy17 to and from San Jose, etc. during commuter times.
Other than that, traffic isn't really that much of an issue.
With the exception of some congestion in parts of Santa Cruz proper during commuter times and in the summer, it's easy to get around the county without hassle.
Scotts Valley (which is in Santa Cruz county o.p.) is nicely situated.
It's far enough away from the ocean so the fog is less of an issue in the summer and yet it's a really quick and easy drive to the coast (with the exception of p.m. commuter time as traffic is heavy coming back from San Jose)
The Forest of Nisene Marks SP (http://parks.ca.gov/?page_id=666 - broken link) is in Aptos and it's a great place to walk, run, hike, and mountain bike with over 30 miles of trails and just a couple of miles from the coast.
There's a Trader Joe's in Capitola (right off 41st avenue ... a long "commercial stretch" with everything you could possibly need).
Renting is expensive in the county although $1400 will due .. it just won't get you what it gets you in Austin or in Sacramento.
You'll need to be open and more flexible about housing because that's the main challenge in the county .... there are too few affordable good rentals.
Being willing and able to live in a more remote ("off the beaten path") is a plus although even rural rentals are in high demand.
Be aware that living in the redwoods (as wonderful and magical as they are) in the winter can be a challenge if you're adverse to damp and dark.
And in the summer they are heavenly especially when it's a hot day.
Don't limit yourself to Scotts Valley (or any town) if you're considering Santa Cruz county.
Corralitos, just as an example, is relatively close to Aptos and you can often find some good rural rentals ... some quite special and they tend to be a bit more affordable ... but just a bit.
The dog will make it more difficult to find something appropriate and you may want to downsize in that regard ie; consider a medium size dog (or a small one).
Landlords are less open to really big dogs ... go figure since it's the smaller ones that are more likely to yap incessantly and pee and poop inside.
To me, being on the Monterey Bay is worth it if you can swing it without getting torqued financially.

Last edited by jaijai; 12-18-2011 at 11:55 AM..
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:27 PM
 
Location: San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
6,390 posts, read 2,867,823 times
Reputation: 2622
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulysses61 View Post
Bishop is 50 miles from the greatest hiking in California: Mammoth and Yosemite and you could easily find a place to rent for $1400 a month.
50 miles??? Heck from Bishop you can bicycle up to South and North Lake, and you are in the grand crescendo of the Sierra Nevada
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Paradise
164 posts, read 182,018 times
Reputation: 155
I just moved to Chico, then Paradise, and I find it great! There's a Costco and TJs, but there is also a decent market of local, independent shops as well. I've only been here for a year, but there are some great hiking and outdoor opportunities...

Nearby opportunities:
Bidwell Park (of course!)
Some great rail-to-bike path rides like the Midway, Paradise Trailway, etc.
Lake Oroville and its associated lakes (afterbay, forebay)
Plumas National Forest (Feather Falls Trail is close!)
Table Mountain for wildflower and waterfall hunting
Grey Lodge for bird-watching
The Sacramento River is also very accessible and scenic.
The Sutter Buttes

Within a couple hours drive:
Mt. Lassen NP
Most of the Northern Sierras (From Tahoe, through the Sierra Buttes, to Bucks Lake, to the Bizz Johnson trail)
Mt. and Lake Shasta
Redding with their nice bike paths along the Sac River
Sacramento Area Recreation
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