Best Places to Retire in California

California does not have an active program to attract retirees to this state. CA is such a large state that it offers every type of retirement lifestyle. For example you could retire to a small town in the northern or interior sections of the state, a beautiful city on the ocean like San Diego or Santa Barbara, or something in the mountains or desert.


Here are some of our favorite places to retire in CA:

  • Jackson, CA - Jackson is a small town in California's historic mining area. It offers some of the old and new in a small town environment.
  • Berkeley - Home to the University of California, this beautiful town looks out onto San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Berkeley is expensive, but you will never be bored.
  • Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful cities anywhere. Although it too is very expensive, if you have the resources there is just about everything to like in this shopping town along the coast.
  • San Luis Obispo - Also along the Pacific, San Luis Obispo is a college town (Cal Poly) and a little more laid back. It was founded by none other than Father Juniper Serra.
  • Roseville - This town has one of the most ambitious projects anywhere to make Roseville a best place to live. Vernon Streetscape Project is complete; its Historic District and Riverside Corridor Streetscape Projects will be next.
  • Laguna Woods - One of the largest and most famous active adult communities in the nation is located in Laguna Woods. It's in the hills close to the beaches of Orange County.
  • Lake Tahoe - This vacation paradise in the Sierras is also becoming a retirement destination for many Californians. There aren't many towns per se, but there are plenty of places to live.
  • San Diego - For the best weather in the country retire in San Diego. There are tons of retirement communities. Many former military people retire here because of all of the military facilities available.
  • Palm Springs - One of the original retirement towns is the resort of Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles. The area now encompasses many different towns, all filled with gated and active adult communities of every description.
  • Chico - In the Sacramento Valley Chico is the cultural and economic capital. So there is a lot going on. Chico has another advantage over many popular California retirement towns - it is a lot more affordable.
  • Eureka - Call it funky, this northern California town has one of the richest concentrations of Victorian homes anywhere outside of Cape May NJ. This old logging and shipping town is on the coast well above San Francisco.
  • More Best Places to Retire in California
  • Active Adult Communities in California
  • Retirement Guides to Other States

Click here For a Directory of California's Best Active Adult Communities