Best Places To Retire In California | Ultimate Guide

With the myriad of cities in California, finding the most suitable city after retirement can be a confusing task.

With the nice weather, friendly and diverse community, and nice beaches, the different cities in California are basic hotspots for seniors searching for suitable spots for relaxed and smooth living. California is known for its stunning ocean views, forests, and mountains, attracting tourists and retirees looking to settle down.

The various cities in California are top choices for retirees due to basic features like outstanding health care facilities, a strong economy, and diverse job opportunities open for retired personnel. The beautiful climate and sunny weather allow the state’s residents to indulge mostly in outdoor activities.  

Are you curious about finding out the best places to retire in California? This article will focus on reviewing the benefits of retiring in California and the top best cities in California to retire in to help you have the best retirement experience.

What Are The Benefits Of Retiring In California?

California is a top retirement stop for retirees because why not? The city of California offers various educational, cultural, and recreational choices to its residents. Residents of California are privileged to impressive life amenities like better healthcare and general increased quality of life. Retiring in California comes with a wide variety of benefits which include:

1. Income Tax Exemption

Despite being one of the most taxed states in the united states, seniors in California enjoy the benefits of a senior income tax exemption in addition to the personal exemption.

Seniors in California are qualified to receive benefits that permit them to increase the general exemption rate.

As of the end of 2021, the Californian government gave the retired residents of the state the choice of increasing the personal exemption for all file statuses. These various exemptions and tax benefits for seniors in California make it one of the best places to retire.

2. Abundant Culture

The cities in California offer their residents a wide range of diverse cultures to experience. California is one of the cities where you can find different cultures living and co-existing with high respect for the culture and beliefs of others.

Different cultures can be observed in California, from traditional Japanese food and various Hollywood and Bollywood show to stores selling freshly baked french pastries capable of making you feel a wisp of the french culture.

California can boast of these diverse cultures due to the city’s impressive features that attract people from various cultural backgrounds.

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3. Financial Oppportunity

Retired residents known as “Retired but not tired” are blessed with the various employment opportunities available to residents of California.

California boasts a considerably higher income rate than some other states in the united states. The estimated average median household income in California is $8,000 per annum.

The median household income in California is considerably higher than the national average. Most places to retire in California offer various financial and steady employment opportunities. 

You may also want to check out the 9 States With No Income Tax in 2022

4. Beautiful Weather

The weather in various cities in California varies with the latitude and distance from the coast. Generally, most Californian cities have beautiful weather which enables residents to enjoy various outdoor activities.

Most tourists and people looking to settle select cities in California as a destination due to their mild climate. The climate attracts retirees from various parts of the country as the sunny days enable them to sit back, relax, and soak up the amazing sun.

The sunshine-filled days in California cities enable you to engage in various activities like hiking and surfing.

Cost Of Retiring In California

Over 60% of Americans are generally not ready for their retirement stage. A typical American spends about $50,000 every year. To afford a comfortable retirement, you must factor in various expenses like health care, unforeseen expenses, housing, and general financial security. Retiring in California costs more, with the city having the cost of generally living above the national average.

To enjoy a comfortable retirement in this state, you must have an average of about $1 million. The city of California is expensive to retire in due to the long average life expectancy rate of state residents. The general landscape of the city offers residents opportunities for various outdoor and exercise activities necessary for healthy living.

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Top Best Places To Retire In California

With all the beautiful features of the pristine state of California, what is the best part of the state to retire in? The following are the most affordable and comfortable cities in the state of California to enjoy your retirement stage.

1. Santa Rosa

Being the main city in California’s wine country, Santa Rosa is a major city in Sonoma county. The charming city is a popular retirement destination spot for various reasons like its various outdoor activities, pristine weather, and friendly culture.

The city is located at the heart of the wine country and has an active urban culture. Santa Rosa is one of the most affordable cities to retire in California.

The people of Santa Rosa are friendly and settling in the city after retirement is an easy affair as you get to interact easily with people from all walks of life. The city of Santa Rosa is known for providing the residents with various activities that fit their orientation.

2. Sacramento

Located east of San Francisco, Sacramento is the capital of California. The city has various old buildings preserved, rebuilt, or restored hence making the city a popular tourist destination. The city has an active adult community.

Retirees in Sacramento enjoy an urban setting, exquisite health care, various means of transportation, and different cultural centers. The city has above-average health facilities which is a great benefit for 65+ seniors who might require constant check-ups. The cost of living in the city can be quite high.

3. San Francisco

The city of San Francisco is also known as the city by the bay. The city has various job opportunities, high-paying silicon valley jobs, and various startup tech companies. The weather in San Francisco is one of the best in the state, the cool summer makes the city one of the best places to escape the hot weather.

The people of San Francisco are very friendly. The health care sector in the city is very impressive with hospitals like Stanford and UCSF Medical center being recognized as one of the best health facilities in the United States.

4. San Diego

Are you looking to sit back and enjoy the pacific ocean sunsets during retirement? Then San Diego should be on your top list of destinations for retirement. The beautiful city despite being very expensive has various natural landmarks and features which endears it to people. Choosing to retire in San Diego gives you the opportunity of enjoying an all-year-round pleasant temperature. San Diego is a popular retirement spot with various outdoor activities and beautiful coastlines. The state also offers its senior residents good health facilities through the UC San Diego Health, Jacobs medical center, and others.

5. Salinas

The city can maintain a cool temperature due to its proximity to the pacific ocean. Farmlands surround the city. The cost of living and housing in Salina is considerably cheaper than in most cities in California. The city of Salina has an impressive score on Sharecare’s community well-being index, showing residents of salina as having an outstanding sense of general well-being. The state records a population of about 433,400 and is known to have one of the most friendly people residing there.

6. Los Angeles

The population of people living in Los Angeles includes wide broadband of actors, filmmakers, dancers, and musicians. LA also known as the city of angels is one of the most diverse cities in the universe. The city of Los Angeles is a constant destination for various actors and stars trying to hit a break. It is said that anything can happen in LA, you can go from being a nobody to a star in minutes.

Being home to most of the elites of the society, housing and the general cost of living in Los Angeles is not really on the cheap side. Despite the cost, the city is a popular destination spot for retirees due to its diversity of culture. Having top medical facilities in the state, LA is one of California’s best places to retire.

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7. Vallejo

Vallejo is very close to San Francisco this is one of the main reasons why people choose to live here. Living in Vallejo affords you the choice of living very close to San Francisco for half the cost of living and housing prices. Retirees are enamored with the city of Vallejo due to its affordability compared to other California states. The city boasts a friendly and vibrant community capable of making outsiders feel instantly welcome. Vallejo is one of the best places to live in California.

8. Santa Barbara

Reviewing the best places to live in California without mentioning Santa Barbara is impossible. The city of California is located between the pacific ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains. Santa Barbara is well known for surfing. The city has beautiful weather which allows retirees to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest. Santa Barbara has various mission-style architecture.

Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful cities in California. This beautiful city offers its residents perfect weather to sit back and enjoy the beaches. With the national park and Los padres national forest, this city’s residents can go sightseeing. Retirees searching for an adventurous retirement will love Santa Barbara. 


Finding the best place to retire is essential to deciding if you’ll enjoy your retirement. The different cities in California offer you the best places to retire. Most of the cities in California are not affordable but makeup by having outstanding features like beautiful weather, nature, and diverse cultures. This article has carefully highlighted the best places to retire in California. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do I need to retire in California?

To retire comfortably in the state of California starting today, you will need to have saved at least $65,000.

How much do Retirees spend in California?

According to the BLS data, retirees spend an average of $45,756 a year, or roughly $3,800 a month.

Why do people leave California?

The main reasons people say they want to leave California are taxes and cost of living.

What is the monthly retirement income from social security?

In 2021, the average monthly retirement income from Social Security was $1,543. In 2022, the average monthly retirement income from Social Security is expected to be $1,657


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