The Best Places to Retire in California

By in News

• Six Most Popular Cities for Retirement in California •

Many of us have big plans for our retirement, and those plans often include a new place to live. Maybe you’ve known where you want to retire for years, or you have a general idea of the area & climate you’re looking for. But you still don’t have a set plan for how to get there just yet. At the end of the day, deciding where to retire and how to sell and buy house at same time comes down to both emotional and financial decisions.

California has long been one of the top choices of retirees, which comes as no surprise, given the state’s natural wonders. Whether you’re looking for breathtaking ocean views or dramatic mountains and forests, even the most skeptical retiree is sure to find a place that’s just right for them.

Six Best Places to Retire in California

The weather in California is also among the best in the world, with a pleasant climate and sunshine that allows residents the chance to enjoy the outdoors all year round. According to U.S. News, the high quality of life, combined with top-rated healthcare, makes California one of the best places to retire.

If you’re wondering where you should spend your golden years, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a closer look at some of California’s best places to retire.

Best Places to Retire in California

San Jose

San Jose is one of the wealthiest cities in the world and can be a great fit if you’re looking for a luxury home in a city with lots to offer. Home to San Jose State University (the oldest public university on the West Coast), San Jose is a college town with plenty of things to see and do. With a median home price of over one million, San Jose may be out of range for many retirees’ budgets, but it remains a popular choice year after year.

Median home price: $1.4M
Population: 1M

San Francisco

San Francisco is another popular choice among retirees and is home to many Silicon Valley companies, ranging from the latest innovative startup to famous tech giants. San Francisco has famously cool summers, making it the perfect place if you’re looking to get away from the summer heat. San Francisco is also home to breathtaking fog, which is gorgeous as it covers the Golden Gate Bridge.

Median home price: $1.6M
Population: 884K

Santa Barbara

Home to some of the best scenery around, Santa Barbara is ideal for retirement. Watch Pacific Coast sunsets from the comfort of home, surrounded by beautiful architecture and lush, tropical landscaping. Home to great surfing as well as relaxing, Santa Barbara holds some of the best real estate in California and makes a perfect place for active retirees to enjoy the outdoors all year round.

Median home price: $1.7M
Population: 92K

San Diego

If you’re looking for ideal, nearly perfect weather in your retirement town, San Diego can’t be beaten. Spend your days walking the shores of the California coastline or snorkel and dive at La Jolla Cove. San Diego is also home to great healthcare, including Scripps La Jolla Hospitals and the UC San Diego Health-Jacobs Medical Center. Here are some of the best neighborhoods to live in San Diego.

Median home price: $944K
Population: 1.4M

Santa Rosa

If beautiful vineyards and scenic views surround your retirement dream, look no further than Santa Rosa. Many retirees even work part-time in Sonoma and Napa Valleys at wineries, talking with visitors about vintages and blends. Santa Rosa has some of the happiest residents around, with many people reporting a high sense of well-being and enjoying where they live.

Median home price: $698K
Population: 177K


Situated farther inland, Modesto offers more affordable real estate than you’ll find closer to the coast. Located in California’s Central Valley, Modesto is home to rich farmlands that support cattle, milk, almonds, and more. Fun fact: Star Wars creator George Lucas wrote the film American Grafitti about growing up in Modesto, and the movie is celebrated each summer with a festival in its honor.

Median home price: $436K
Population: 218K

The Bottom Line

No matter where you decide to retire in California, Reali is here to help you sell and buy. With the help of Reali, you can make cash offers for homes — and then sell your old home for more. Reali unlocks a smarter, less stressful path to your new home. Your home is your biggest investment, so make the most of it. Buy your new house with the power of cash, move in faster than ever before, and let a local Reali Agent handle the rest. Call us at (858) 880-0195 or email to get started.

* Median home prices as of February 2022.

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About The Author
Portia Green, REALTOR®

Portia Green is a highly experienced full-time REALTOR® specializing in the representation of Sellers, heralded by her clients as data-driven and an effective negotiator. Producing $25M total in residential sales volume, Portia's goal is to help her clients achieve the best results when selling their homes and to make their experience an enjoyable one. She has successfully sold real estate since 2008 and has gained an in-depth knowledge of local real estate markets & seasonal trends. Portia has achieved a 100% customer satisfaction rating and wants to share her expertise & personal service with you in the sale of your home. When listing your home with Portia Green and Compass, you'll receive the hands-on service you need and desire. Portia will help you manage the entire process of selling your home from pricing, preparing and staging the house, to marketing, negotiating offers, inspections, all the way to closing. She will recommend skilled vendors for any job needed, personally host Open Houses, and ensure that all showings are accompanied. At Compass, Portia offers a wise no-nonsense way to sell your home for the best price and the least hassle. With a keen eye for staging & preparing listings to maximize Buyer appeal, all of Portia Green's listings are professionally photographed using HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography to provide the highest quality photos in the industry. Professionally printed marketing materials are prepared for all Open Houses. We also capture a 3D scan of your home that creates an interactive walkthrough online along with a custom-designed floor plan and targeted digital marketing campaigns on Google & the most popular social media channels. Compass participates in the Multiple Listing Service, which is the local real estate database of homes listed for sale that all REALTORS® use in helping their Buyers find houses. Your home will appear on every real estate website, in its best light, making a stunning camera-ready debut. Portia Green's home valuation expertise and extensive experience in comparative market analysis will help price your home accurately. She has refined her skills to help you pinpoint which features of your home will result in more showings and better results. Her mantra is for you to be ready to sell your home and feel good about that first. Portia knows that home inspectors always find a problem; that drones take some of the best photos in town; and that her eyebrows will grow to the floor in the time it takes her to read everything that's happening with your HOA, but that doesn't mean she won't do it anyway. Eyebrows be damned. You'll always need a place to unplug, connect, dream, grow, or just be yourself. That makes what Portia does even more meaningful. She’s ready to go the extra mile to help you find just the place. Whether you're selling your very first home, offloading an investment property, or want a vacation getaway with passive income, she is attentive to the details of every home sale. Portia helps busy people navigate this crazy real estate market like a pro, so don't be shy. Every great relationship starts with free advice and a friendly chat. Ask as many questions as you need to. Selling houses is her jam!