10 Best Places to Retire and Live Comfortably in California


People have traditionally traveled to California to start new lives. Even the most worn-out and jaded retiree will be captivated by the natural delights, which include breathtaking coastal views, formidable mountains, and ancient woods. If you can afford the often-exorbitant housing costs, you can enjoy the outdoors all year round, thanks to the constantly good climate and sunny skies. According to a recent U.S. News survey of the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan areas as potential retirement sites, California is a popular place to retire due to the high quality of life, abundance of work opportunities, and top-rated health care options. The survey includes information on the work market, accessibility to high-quality healthcare, happiness, desire, retiree taxation, and home affordability. Think about retiring in one of these California cities.

1. Visalia

The best place to start your exploration of California’s stunning natural beauty is Visalia. In the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, you can behold the giant trees on Earth. At the same time, Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains close by. Compared to other areas, this city in central California is significantly cheaper. Visalia has much more affordable housing than the bigger coastal cities in California and is one of the best places to retire in California. California’s agricultural San Joaquin Valley is home to the city of Visalia. As of the 2020 census, 141,384 people were living there. In terms of population, Visalia ranks 192nd overall in the United States. Visalia, the county capital of Tulare County, serves as the administrative and economic hub of one of the most prosperous and significant agricultural counties in the nation.

2. San Jose

According to a U.S. News review of Census Bureau statistics, the San Jose metro region has the highest housing expense in the nation. The majority of retirees cannot afford the average property price. Most likely, newcomers will need to rent an apartment. The region offers a multitude of employment prospects and is one of the wealthiest cities in the world. It is home to many major international tech businesses, including PayPal, Cisco, and Adobe. San Jose State University, the oldest public university on the West Coast, is located in this college town.

3. Fresno

The best place to start outdoor retirement excursions is Fresno. Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, the Sierra National Forest, and several lakes are all easily accessible from the city. Along the 62-mile Fresno County Blossom Trail, fruit and nut trees bloom spectacularly every spring. The area also offers an abundance of fresh fruit every summer and fall. Compared to other areas of the state, this city in central California is far cheaper. A significant Californian San Joaquin Valley city is called Fresno, Spanish for “ash tree.” It is the largest city in the broader Central Valley region and the county headquarters of Fresno County.

4. Modesto

Compared to California’s central coastal metro regions, this city in the state’s interior is significantly less expensive. Modesto, situated in the Central Valley, is surrounded by fertile farmland used to raise cattle, almonds, milk, and a variety of other products. The Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team is named after the area’s agricultural products. The movie American Graffiti, written by the man behind Star Wars on his upbringing in Modesto, is celebrated with an annual event.

5. Sacramento

The political heart of the nation’s most populous state, California’s capital city, serves as a center for think tanks, lobbying, and government employment. Several universities, notably Sacramento State University and the University of California—Davis, are located in the region. Sutter Health and the UC Davis Medical Center are two prominent healthcare organizations. Although housing in the Sacramento metro region is less expensive than in coastal areas, it is still pricey compared to much of the rest of the country.

6. Vallejo and Fairfield

Housing will still seem expensive to seniors on a tight budget even though the median home price in Vallejo and Fairfield is less than half that of a home in nearby San Francisco. For just $5.50, seniors 65 and above can board a ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco. Visit the theme park Six Flags the Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo or take a factory tour of the Jelly Belly Candy Company in Fairfield for some unusual entertainment alternatives.

7. Santa Rosa

Consider retiring in California’s renowned Sonoma and Napa regions if your retirement fantasy is to live surrounded by picturesque vineyards or perhaps tend a few vines of your own. Wine enthusiasts could find part-time employment discussing the most recent vintage or giving tours of the establishment at a winery. According to Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index, Santa Rosa performed very well on the happiness metric. Many residents reported a high sense of well-being and said they like where they live.

8. San Diego

Sunsets over the Pacific Ocean and languid days spent exploring the California beach are best experienced in San Diego. La Jolla Cove and Swami’s Beach offer options for snorkeling and scuba diving for retirees who like an active beach lifestyle. The climate in this city in southern California is pleasant all year long. The UC San Diego Health-Jacobs Medical Center and the Scripps La Jolla Hospitals offer medical services. However, it might be tough to find affordable accommodation in San Diego.

9. Los Angeles

Many filmmakers, actors, writers, dancers, and musicians go to the Los Angeles region to work in the film and television industries and connect with other creative individuals. You might be drawn to the region by the consistently sunny days, the Mediterranean environment, the chance to meet Hollywood celebrities, sell your screenplay or get a part in a TV show. The high expense of housing, however, can make it challenging to live comfortably, and a fulfilling retirement job might not be enough to cover the rent. UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are two of the top 20 hospitals in the country which is suitable for Los Angeles.

10. San Francisco

Many high-paying Silicon Valley jobs are available in the city by the Bay, from cutting-edge new startups to well-known IT businesses. You’ll undoubtedly need to work after retiring to pay for the exorbitant housing costs in San Francisco. According to U.S. News, Stanford Hospital and UCSF Medical Center are two of the top 20 hospitals in the nation. This is an excellent place to escape yourself from the heat because San Francisco is known for its chilly summers.


This is one of the most sought-after locations in the country, and many individuals from all walks of life desire to move here because it is home to some of the most well-known big cities in the nation. California is a fantastic area to retire as well! The state has a lot to offer, including fantastic weather and a pleasant, diverse society. Learn more about the top 10 retirement cities in California by reading on!

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