The Essential Guide to Your California Move

Written By

Machaela Casey
A semi truck drives on an open highway on a sunny day

Helpful Things to Know When You Move to California

Sunshine. Surfing. Silicon Valley. These are just some of the images that come to mind when thinking of California. However, the “Golden State” is so much more. Home to big cities and small towns, California also boasts many national parks, including Yosemite, Death Valley, and the Redwood National Forest.

Palm trees pictured with a sunset in the background

If you’re wondering, “is California a good place to live?”, we can help. At Nelson Westerberg, we’ve helped all kinds of clients move to California. And, we even have a regional office in the state. As professional California movers, we know California moves. Read on for an overview about living in California. Then, look for our tips on how to make your move a success.

California Fast Facts

According to U.S. News and World Report, California is 163,694 square miles and is home to 39,512,223 people. This makes California the third largest and the most populous state in the United States.

California is a state with a booming economy. In fact, California has the 5th largest GDP in the world, ranking ahead of Germany and Russia. Main industries in California include technology, healthcare, tourism, agriculture, and hospitality.

Northern vs. California: Key Differences

If you’re wondering where to move in California, you need to know something first. Within this large state are two distinct areas that locals refer to as “SoCal” for Southern California and “NorCal,” for Northern California.

Southern California consists of the bottom 1/3 of the state-from Los Angeles and San Diego south to the Mexico border. Southern California is known for its beautiful Mediterranean climate. Temperatures average 70 degrees year round, with warmer weather coming in late summer. Beaches here are filled with families, tourists, and surfers.

Northern California stretches from San Luis Obispo County north to Oregon. This region is known for its mountains, forests, and rugged Pacific coastline. San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Jose are the largest cities in this region.

The weather here is slightly cooler, with more rain and fog in the San Francisco Bay area. Northern California is also home to Silicon Valley, headquarters of tech giants Google and Apple. Some of the best universities in the world, the University of California Berkley and Stanford, are also located here. NorCal also boasts world-renowned wineries in the Napa Valley.

Pros of a CA Move

California is home to the largest economy in the United States. In 2022, for example, the state experienced job growth of 3.6%, higher than the national average of 3.0%. The largest gains by industry were in professional and business services, education health care, hospitality, and construction.

The weather is also a huge bonus for people considering a California move. Southern California boasts mild temperatures all year round with nearly full sunshine. However, there are other climates in California as well. Up in the mountains, be prepared for colder temperatures and ice and snow in the winter.

Cons of a CA Move

The down side: it’s expensive to live in California. Housing, transportation, and medical care are all more expensive in California than in most other places in the U.S. In addition, California has the highest income tax in the country, ranging up to 13.3% for those in the highest tax bracket.

Finally, know that if you’re moving to California, you’ll most likely be spending much more time in your car. Some cities like San Francisco have a reliable public transportation system. However, for many Californians, commuting means getting in the car. You’ll likely spend a lot of time driving and navigating busy traffic on your way to work.

Is It Worth It to Move to CA?

A move to the “Golden State” requires thought and planning. As with any big decision, it’s important to do research beforehand. Know the job and housing markets. Be realistic about what you can afford and how much certain neighborhoods will cost. Compare the cost of living in your current city to the cost of living in your desired city.

Bottom line: California is a good place to live if you’re moving there for a job and have already secured affordable housing. It’s essential that before you move, you compare your current cost of living to the one you can expect in California.

Top Services to Support Your California Move

Any move is easier with support from qualified professionals. If you’re already living in California and are looking to move to a different part of the state, you may need to hire local movers. However, if you’re moving to California from another state, or if you’re moving a great distance, long-distance movers may be your best bet.

Local Movers

Any move under 400 miles that doesn’t cross state lines is called a local move. If you aren’t moving very far and if you have a smaller shipment, you may want a DIY move. You can rent a truck and haul your own shipment. Or, you can rent a truck and hire a labor-only team to load and unload the truck.

Long Distance Movers

A move of any distance that crosses state lines is called a long-distance, or interstate, move. This type of move requires trucks that are legally licensed to cross state lines. In addition, for a move of significant distance, you may want support services to make your move easier. We offer the following services to help you with your move:

Packing and Unpacking: Our professional packers will arrive at your address with all of the materials needed to pack your entire home for shipment. Then, they’ll move through your entire space, carefully packing boxes for transport. Next, they’ll load the truck and deliver your shipment. Finally, upon arrival, they’ll unpack everything, down to the last box.

Vehicle Shipping: You may not want to drive your vehicle to California. Our vehicle shipping services will haul it for you. We can transport almost any vehicle-motorcycles, boats, RV’s, automobiles, and more.

Storage: We can provide secure storage and warehousing to meet your needs. Whether you require temporary or long term storage, we’ll provide it. We have an affiliate-owned network of warehouses in every major and secondary city in the U.S.

Moving Out of California

Decided to leave California for something new? No problem. We can help with that, too. With regional offices throughout the United States, we will move you anywhere in the United States, and even abroad. Contact our closest office to get started:



New Jersey


Your California Mover

If you’re considering a move to or from California, we’re your California mover. With a regional office based in Chino Hills, we’re here and ready to help. Whether your moving to San Diego, San Francisco or the Los Angeles areas, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Together, we’ll create a customized moving plan to simplify your next move.