Living in Monterey County with kids (Salinas, Santa Cruz: apartment, mortgage, houses)
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I live in Pacific Grove. I have two young children and a 12 year old step daughter who attends PG middle school. There are tons of young families in the area. Our schools are great, there are tons of parks and places to go with children including the beach, aquarium, museums. It is expensive here. But honestly worth every penny! I feel that it is one of the most amazing towns in CA. I didn't grow up here, I've lived in many different parts of CA. I love that Pacific Grove has a small town feel to it. Even though we are right next to Monterey and Pebble Beach, we don't get as much tourist traffic through here. We have all kinds of fun festivals and parades and activities for the community year round. I have also lived in Monterey, Marina and on Fort Ord. Even though I don't know if I will be able to afford to buy a house here any time soon...I can't imagine living anywhere else.
This is great info form someone who lives there with children! Thank you very much. It sounds like a really fun place to live. And I am glad to hear that there are still families with children living there as well.
Hello, I am also thinking of moving to Monterey in the next year. I am in the same situation as you. I have two young children. We are looking for good schools, good place for kids to play and meet other kids, lots of activities for children.
What did you find out? Did you end up renting in PG.
Glad you asked. Here is our update after arriving here about a 1.5 months ago. So far it has been great! There is so much to see and do here it is amazing. We love living so close to one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline with Big Sur to the south:
And Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach in our backyard:
Yesterday we had a picnic along the 17 mile drive just behind our house. We saw deer, sea lions, seals and all kinds of sea birds. The day before we had a good time at the Monterey maritime museum and fisherman's wharf. As a resident of PG and Monterey you get free passes to the aquarium.
The kids have been missing hiking in the mtns some. So today for change of pace we took the family into the Santa Cruz Mtns. for a hike along a stream among the Redwoods and Maples changing color.
On the way home we stopped at the beach in Moss Landing where we hung out and watched seals. My son said today was the best day yet in CA. Santa Cruz is another nice place to go for hiking and the great outdoors.
The thing that I really like about living in PG is being able to get off of work and take the kids down to watch to the sunset after dinner. It is literally only 5 minutes away.
There are a lot of families here. We just took our kids to the Annual PG Butterfly Parade where the local elementry children dress up and celebrate the return of the Monarch Butterfly.
That said it is also a retirement community. I guess that might be considered by some as a down side. Our street does not have a lot of young children running around. But we have had no trouble meeting other families with kids via our normal social activities - homeschool groups and local churches. We are finding it easier to make friends with other families here than we did in Colorado Springs. Because PG is a small town it does seem easier to get to know people. And ppl are very friendly overall.
Hope that helps some,
Last edited by MtnSurfer; 10-13-2008 at 11:04 PM..
Where would you suggest I look to rent? Are you renting a house or apt? What was the going rent? I currently live in the Central Valley of Ca. I am like you, originally from LA. I've driven around the pennisula and just can't seem to find a place that I could see myself living. I think I need to investigate Pacific Grove a little bit more. Out of curiosity what church did you find?
We found our place on Craigslist. You can also check out Apartments.com. They list places from the local paper - Monterey Herald.
I suggest you look into PG, Monterey, Del Rey Oaks and some parts of Seaside and Marina. The latter two have some good and not so good neighborhoods. Before moving we flew my wife out to look for a house to rent. She actually found one in Marina she liked the best. Then just before signing the lease a PG home came up in Craigslist. So we grabbed it. A lot depends on what is available right when you are ready to move. It is a smaller market and the better homes go the fast. So you have to be ready to apply when a good one shows up.
We actually visited about 6 churches in the area before we settled on a smaller one in PG called Lighthouse Christian Fellowship. It is a branch from the larger Calvary Chapel in Monterey. It really depends what you are looking for though. There are a lot of nice larger ones such as Shoreline Community Church.
As always ... great pics. We were in PG just this weekend checking out the monarchs. Maybe you could snap some of those. They told us the butterflies were just beginning to cluster.
PG is yet another gorgeous place. Great scenery and great restaurants also. We ended up riding down Highway One all the way down to Hearst Castle and had dinner watching the sun set. The beauty was breathtaking. And I never get tired of watching the seals, seal lions, etc. either.
That is so true, it was the place to live for those who could not afford Carmel or Pebble Beach. Now the price per sq/ft on residential homes is almost the same.
Yes, and the funny part is that many of the small homes, especially closer to the beach, are on tiny little matchbook lots - definately 'Not' high end. Yet the prices of those old relics are still high even in this down market. I do not think 'Any' home in PG is selling for under $600K.
So while we love living in this city while we rent, we will probably look elsewhere once we decide to buy. Del Rey Oaks, and nicer parts of Seaside and Marina are better priced. The land in PG is really where all the value is. It is truly prime real estate. Where else can drive a few blocks before or after work and see this:
Last edited by MtnSurfer; 10-15-2008 at 07:07 PM..
I apologize Derek that this message is 4 years too late. This is more for people who happen to look at this posting more recent. Monterey is a beautiful, picturesque place. Arguably the most beautiful place in California. But, there is truth between visiting a place and living in a place. COST OF LIVING: Expensive. Median home price is 600k-700k. I made well over 6 figures and found the only home we could purchase was in the Salinas Valley area. I was a victim of circumstance since when I lived there, it was during the housing boom and houses were outta reach. Still outta reach in Monterey. Wikipedia, Salinas. It was the most expensive place to live in the country. Not because houses were of quality. It was the disparity of what houses were going for versus what people earned. CRIME: very low around the peninsula. VERY HIGH inland and around Seaside, and Marina. Google: Operation Black Widow. Should I mention I was caught in a gang crossfire after leaving work one night? Education: Excellent PRIVATE schools. Some of the best in the nation. Pulbic school systems spend around $5,500 per student. National Average is $6,500. There was an elementary school near Cannery Row where we lived. It was shut down. That must say something about new families moving in. WEATHER: 80% overcast. Best time of year is October. You get a mild heatwave around this time, but, starts to cool fast at around 5pm. 7 years we lived there we went to the beach twice. In conclusion. Not the best place to live. Excellent place to visit. Unless you come from old money or are independently wealthy and can live in Carmel (by the Sea or Valley), Monterey, Pebble Beach, or Pacific Grove, I'd live somewhere else.
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