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View Poll Results: Which area should we move to based on our criteria?
Monterey County (Pacific Grove, Monterey town, Carmel Views) 2 50.00%
San Luis Obispo County (Arroyo Grande, Cayucos, SLO town, Pismo Beach) 1 25.00%
Santa Cruz County (Aptos, Capitola, Rio del Mar, Selva Beach) 1 25.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-11-2012, 06:22 PM
5 posts, read 14,840 times
Reputation: 12


My husband and I just got back from a 14 month around-the-world trip. We still think after seeing so much of the world that the California Coast is some of the most beautiful landscape in the world. Before our trip we were living in Marin County, north of San Francisco, and we decided to leave as we were tired of the rat race, the lack of community, and the extremely high prices of homes.

We both have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past twenty plus years, and we want to find a new place to live along the California Coast that has better work-life balance, a good sense of community where people want to know their neighbors, plenty of open space, people around our age (30s and 40s), access to running/hiking/biking trails, close to nice beaches, safe, not much traffic, and not too conservative with more affordable homes than Marin and San Francisco.

Another consideration for us is finding work as we are pretty much starting over. We both have our college degrees with years working in technology, education and the environmental fields, and we have previously owned a business. One of us is planning to try to find full time work; while the other is going to try to start a business. We also want to avoid a long commute, as my husband used to commute over an hour each way into San Francisco and it is so draining.

We have spent the last two months traveling down the California Coast all the way to San Diego, and we have pretty much narrowed it down to three areas all along the Central Coast with our favorite areas noted as follows:

Monterey County (Pacific Grove, Monterey town, Skyline Forest, Carmel Views)
Santa Cruz County (Aptos, Capitola, Rio del Mar, Selva Beach, Soquel)
San Luis Obispo County (Cayucas, Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo town, Pismo Beach)

We have been making lists of positive and negatives of each area, and it seems like all the areas have negative considerations as there is no perfect place after all. Monterey tends to be older and foggy. Southern Santa Cruz County seems to have little or no work with bad traffic and some congestion. San Luis Obispo has a nuclear plant nearby, is far from any major airport, and is a little far from our families who still live in the Bay Area.

Given everything we have included in this post, we would love feedback on which area or areas you think would match what we are most looking for. We are planning to move shortly after the new year and, hopefully, buy a home a year after that. We greatly appreciate any feedback and help making this important decision. Thank you!
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:45 PM
Location: Santa Monica
36,531 posts, read 14,606,967 times
Reputation: 14228
I can't offer advice from the inside cuz I'm trying to relocate to coastal CA myself from Ohio. I just wanted to add that you have pretty much nailed the best places along the coast to live as Far as I can tell after hours and hours and hours of research. I originally had Ventura #1 cuz of the influx of government jobs but couldn't deny the Monterey Peninsula or SLO's beach towns after chewing the numbers. I've spent quite a lot of time in coastal CA but most of that has been Ventura south.

SLO town has jobs but I'm not sure the beach towns have much from what I've seen. Then again the cost of living in those beach towns can't be beat. SLO's crime rate is low too.

Pacific Grove is just so beautiful and VERY family friendly. You can walk/jog/ride your bike along the coastal trail.

Pismo Beach is kind of like the southern version of Pacific Grove with the family/older population.

I don't know why I responded to this lol. Like I said, you've nailed it. I honestly don't think you can go wrong here. Obviously SLO will net you warmer water and air temp than Monterey and Santa Cruz. That may be a factor.

Flip a coin! You win no matter what.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:22 PM
345 posts, read 945,988 times
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Well I can tell your right now I'd definitely do Monterey County or SLO County over Santa Cruz County. Just nicer places to live in both those counties. Santa Cruz has it's issue with drugs and homelessness and that would be your "main" city for stuff if you lived in Aptos or Capitola. Job situation might be better but you might need to make the treacherous commute down 17 every morning. Not recommended.

Just heed my advice and go with SLO or Monterey County .
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:56 AM
29,748 posts, read 32,791,408 times
Reputation: 31867
I think the biggest factor is really where you will be able to find work. Unless you have a fat investment portfolio or can start a business where location doesn't matter; or if you don't need a large income, the work issue seems to be the determining factor. None of those 3 areas are well known for good paying jobs...which leaves you in Marin or some other part of the Bay Area, where you are now. While all of those areas may be cheaper than Marin County, that isn't really saying much. The cost of living in all 3 areas is still quite high compared to prevailing incomes.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:53 AM
Location: San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
6,390 posts, read 8,455,463 times
Reputation: 2622
There are many entrepreneurs in SLO, Cal Poly grads who did not want to leave, created businesses, and do very well. The new CEO of Go Daddy lives in SLO and plans to work from home as much as possible as he did at Microsoft.

Your only limit is you.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:10 PM
Location: Knoxville, TN
155 posts, read 240,255 times
Reputation: 221
Default Re: Monterey County vs. San Luis Obispo County vs. Santa Cruz County

What did you decide?

I'm looking into SLO as well!
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:19 PM
Location: Vancouver, WA
6,448 posts, read 14,238,166 times
Reputation: 7493
Originally Posted by scottcolby View Post
What did you decide?

I'm looking into SLO as well!

This post and poll is 5 years old. One of the things I've discovered after being on here for a while is that there are more one thread visitors than most other forums. So its normally better to start a new post than wait for the original poster to respond. Looking at his history that was the first and last time posting on the forum.

Regarding which county, they all have their pros/cons depending on what someone is looking for. Any one of them could be a great place to live if its fits your lifestyle and you can find work there.

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