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Top California cities for empty nesters

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Finding the perfect spot to enjoy those golden years isn’t just about picking a place. Above all, it’s about choosing a lifestyle. In California, empty nesters have a buffet of cities tailored to their unique tastes, blending tranquility, easy access, and a wealth of activities. It’s all about striking that sweet spot. Whether the heart yearns for the cultural buzz of city life or the soothing rhythm of coastal retreats, there’s a spot in California that feels just right. And when it’s time to make that move, leaning on best movers in California ensures the journey to this new chapter is as seamless as the California sunset. Let’s go over some of the top California cities for empty nesters.

Top California cities for empty nesters

After your kids move away, California is a great place to relocate to. Before you explore the California residential movers, make sure to know about some places that stand out. It offers so many benefits that you, as parents, can enjoy. From the entertainment and fun to the beautiful weather, there are certain things that  California offers you. However, what are some places in the state that favor empty nesters the most? We suggest looking at places such as:

  1. Seaside
  2. Morgan Hill
  3. Salinas
  4. Los Gatos
  5. Pacific Grove
  6. Monterey
  7. Santa Barbara
  8. Ojai
  9. Encinitas
Two people exploring the top California cities for empty nesters
There are so many cities that California offers that can fit your needs


Seaside sounds like a little slice of paradise for those hitting the sweet spot of their lives, doesn’t it? It’s almost inviting you to contact movers Seaside CA residents recommend. Imagine waking up to the sound of waves without the worry of breaking the bank too much. Sure, living costs are a tad higher than the usual U.S. standard, but hey, it’s California. We’re talking about a place where you can comfortably live the dream with a yearly income of about $100k if you’re flying solo.

And let’s talk safety. Seaside is the kind of place where you can take a late-night stroll without constantly looking over your shoulder, thanks to its impressively low crime rates. Health care might pinch the wallet a bit more, but at least you’ve got peace of mind knowing you’re covered.

Plus, the climate? Pure Mediterranean climate. It’s all about sunny days, cool breezes, and a lineup of outdoor fun that’ll keep your calendar as full as you want it.

Morgan Hill

Morgan Hill is the perfect spot for empty nesters craving a mix of rural vibes and suburban ease. Yes, living here means digging deeper into your pockets, with living costs towering 86% above the U.S. average and housing a whopping 219% higher. But what you’re paying for is a slice of peace near the tech hustle of Silicon Valley without losing the slow, sweet pace of life. This city is a haven for safety and top-notch healthcare, albeit pricier, reflecting its high quality of life. Despite the steep costs, Morgan Hill offers a vibrant community life, abundant recreational activities, and excellent accessibility. It’s a compelling choice to explore the movers Morgan Hill CA citizens vouch for and those seeking a serene yet engaging lifestyle in their golden years, balancing modern conveniences with natural beauty.


Are you ready to choose one of the moving companies Salinas CA residents recommend? Then, make sure to explore the area. Salinas, fondly dubbed the “Salad Bowl of the World,” offers empty nesters a vibrant mix of agricultural wealth and cultural richness, all at a more wallet-friendly California price tag. Living here costs about 50.6% more than the average U.S. city, yet it’s a bargain by California standards. Homes average around $665,400, striking a middle ground in the state’s pricey property market. While Salinas battles higher-than-average crime rates, safer neighborhoods do exist. Healthcare, though costlier, is within reach. The city’s mild climate and close-knit community vibe, alongside ample parks and cultural spots like the National Steinbeck Center, promise an engaging, active lifestyle amidst the scenic Monterey Bay Area.

Green mountains
Salinas is among the top California cities for empty nesters

Los Gatos

Los Gatos stands out for empty nesters with its blend of scenic beauty, vibrant community, and outdoor accessibility. With living costs 131.0% above the U.S. average, it’s pricey, homes average $2,313,600, but offers safety and top-notch healthcare, including renowned services from El Camino Health. But there are so many other reasons to explore the moving companies Los Gatos residents vouch for. The city’s crime rates are commendably low, ensuring a secure environment for its residents. Recreational activities are plenty, supported by the city’s favorable location, while its welcoming community and diverse local businesses foster a strong sense of belonging. Despite the high cost of living, Los Gatos’s mix of suburban comfort, natural beauty, and community spirit makes it an appealing option for those seeking quality of life in their later years.

Pacific Grove

There are so many reasons to consider hiring movers Pacific Grove CA locals rely on. Let’s go over some basic ones. Pacific Grove, charmingly dubbed “Butterfly Town, USA” for its monarch butterfly sanctuaries, is a coastal jewel that invites empty nesters with its stunning views and historical allure. Life here does come with a price tag above the national average. That’s mainly due to the lofty housing costs in this sought-after area. The general high quality of life, including accessible medical care in neighboring locales, adds to its attractiveness. The town is alive with outdoor options. Enjoy everything, from its breathtaking shores to exploring historical sites and parks. All of those are fostering a sense of community. Events and initiatives galore, Pacific Grove thrives on engagement, with easy access to the broader Monterey Peninsula’s splendors, underscoring its allure for those dreaming of a serene yet active coastal experience.


Monterey, with its coastal allure and rich cultural scene, offers a special lifestyle for empty nesters, albeit at a cost above the national average. The steep prices, especially for housing, mirror its appeal. Safety is a key feature, creating a secure living environment, while healthcare, though costly, is readily available, ensuring high-quality medical support. The city is a playground for leisure, from the historic Fisherman’s Wharf and the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium to outdoor pursuits encouraged by the gentle climate. Strong community ties are evident through diverse cultural events and programs, enhancing the sense of belonging. Monterey’s efficient transport and accessible neighborhoods make getting around a breeze, making it an enticing option for those seeking a vibrant yet serene retirement spot despite the financial considerations. Do you need any other reason to call up the Carmel Valley CA movers residents trust?

Monterey Bay
Monterey has its place among the top California cities for empty nesters

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a haven for empty nesters, offering a perfect mix of relaxation and culture under its sunny Mediterranean skies. This beautiful city, however, does come with a hefty price tag, particularly in the housing market, where costs soar above both national and state averages. Safety and access to quality healthcare, albeit at a higher cost, add to the city’s appeal, ensuring a serene living environment. Santa Barbara’s beaches, along with its culturally rich downtown, offer endless recreational and leisure opportunities. The city’s strong sense of community, bolstered by various events and cultural institutions, enriches residents’ lives. Efficient public transport makes exploring the city a breeze, offering a balanced, fulfilling lifestyle despite the financial considerations. Santa Barbara’s unique blend of scenic beauty, vibrant community life, and ample amenities makes it an attractive spot for a rewarding retirement experience.


Ojai is one of the top California cities for empty nesters. Above all, it’s a peaceful haven for empty nesters who cherish wellness, artistic culture, and the great outdoors, all at a leisurely pace. The cost of living in the city of Ojai is about 34.6% above the national average, a testament to its desirable lifestyle despite recent rises in transportation, food, and housing expenses. Safety and accessible yet affordably priced healthcare make it attractive for health-conscious retirees.

High housing costs reflect its appeal but are crucial for budget planning. Ojai’s vibrant community life, abundant in nature activities, health retreats, and art, fosters a strong sense of belonging. Its serene setting is complemented by good transportation links, offering easy access to Ventura County and cities like Los Angeles and Santa Barbara for urban adventures. Ojai’s mix of tranquility, wellness, and community spirit makes it an enticing choice for those seeking a fulfilling retirement, even with higher living costs in mind.


Encinitas offers empty nesters a vibrant mix of leisure, outdoor fun, and community life, enriched by its iconic surfing scene and commitment to sustainability. Living here, however, is pricey, with costs 68% above the national average and housing a staggering 208% higher. These numbers are crucial for those mulling over making this beautiful city their home. Despite the steep living expenses, Encinitas shines with safety and accessible, albeit slightly costly, healthcare. It boasts a variety of activities, from botanical gardens to surf-friendly beaches, all fostering a close-knit, eco-conscious community. The city’s well-connected transport system further enhances its appeal, easing access to San Diego and beyond. Encinitas is a gem for those seeking an active, community-focused lifestyle amidst natural splendor, provided they’re ready to navigate its higher cost of living.

Palm trees in one of the top California cities for empty nesters
Enjoy what Encinitas has to offer

The main factors in choosing the top California cities for empty nesters

Now that you know our favorites, it’s time to talk about why we’ve picked them. Of course, this list of factors can help you out, even if you’re picking any other place. Check out the main factors to consider, including:

  • Cost of living
  • Safety and healthcare
  • Recreational activities
  • Community engagement
  • Accessibility and transportation

Cost of living

Understanding the cost of living is key when deciding where to set up camp, especially because it directly ties into your ability to manage everyday expenses like housing, groceries, medical care, and getting around. This factor is particularly vital in budgeting, shaping how well your earnings support your way of life or aspirations for an upgrade. For those stepping into retirement or whose nests have recently emptied, a more manageable cost of living can stretch those fixed incomes, ensuring a cushier, worry-free retirement phase. Plus, getting a grip on living costs is crucial when weighing job opportunities or career shifts, making sure that a bump in pay genuinely means a step up in lifestyle comfort.

Safety and healthcare

Safety and healthcare stand out as top priorities when picking the prime spots in California for empty nesters. Take Yorba Linda and Laguna Niguel, for example. These cities are known for their safety, greatly reducing the chances of facing crime and ensuring residents can live with ease. On the healthcare front, innovations like AI are revolutionizing how care is accessed and delivered, making it more efficient and effective. This progress, coupled with a focus on primary and preventive care through Advanced Practice Clinicians, highlights the importance of having quality healthcare services that are both comprehensive and cost-effective. Together, these aspects lay the groundwork for a content, secure lifestyle for California’s empty nesters.

A doctor
One of the major factors will be your safety and healthcare options

Recreational activities

Recreational activities play a significant role in choosing the top California cities for empty nesters, offering a wide range of options that cater to diverse interests. California’s unique geography provides access to both beaches and mountains, allowing for a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, skiing, and biking. Cities that offer extensive parks, walking trails, and green spaces further enhance the appeal, encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle.

Community engagement

Being part of an active community is key for empty nesters deciding on the best California cities to settle in. California offers endless opportunities for socializing, volunteering, and joining clubs that align with personal interests, deeply enriching retirement life. Cities with vibrant community centers, various volunteer groups, and hobby clubs enable empty nesters to meet peers, give back, and enjoy hobbies in a welcoming setting. This involvement not only builds a sense of community and purpose but also boosts both mental and physical health. Activities like local art classes, gardening clubs, or volunteering at charities enhance life quality, drawing empty nesters to cities where they can fully embrace their retirement years.

Accessibility and transportation

When empty nesters are scoping out the best spots in California to settle, easy access to transportation can make or break their decision. Living in cities that boast a solid public transportation network, like buses, trains, and light rail, means getting around can be a breeze, even for those who’d rather not drive. It’s a game-changer, especially for folks looking to keep their carbon footprint in check. But also for those who simply prefer the convenience of public transit. This accessibility isn’t just about practicality. Above all, it opens up a world of possibilities for exploring and enjoying the broader community.

A person in a bus
Transportation is a crucial factor when picking the right place to move to

Enjoy your new home

California’s array of cities offers something unique for every empty nester, blending serenity with vibrant lifestyles. These destinations, selected for their safety, healthcare, recreation, and community vibes, provide a stellar backdrop for a fulfilling retirement. Choosing a city here means embarking on an exciting phase of life, filled with opportunities for making new memories. The path to the right city is deeply personal, yet with expert movers’ help, the transition to some of the top California cities for empty nesters can be smooth and thrilling.

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