6 Affordable Places to Consider Retiring in California

Think of this: sunny beaches, warm sand, interesting people. Doesn’t it sound like the ideal place to retire to? Well, folks, I’m only talking about California! The Golden State is definitely one of the best choices to retire, at least until you start looking at the cost of living.

Don’t worry! There are still some places that won’t break your retirement funds in half. You can browse these options and convince yourself that there are, in fact, a couple of places that are quite affordable for a decent living in Cali. Don’t forget to write down in the comments section what you think!

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Sacramento is very close to San Francisco, wine country, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the Sierras, which puts Sacramento in a very enviable position for those retirees who are still very active.

The leafy downtown riverfront has quite a historic “Old Town”, and the city’s dining scene is known as “farm-to-fork”, which enhances access to the Central Valley’s fresh, local produce.

The median home price in Sacramento is $325,000, and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1550 a month. Besides the very desirable downtown residential area, various Sacramento neighborhoods earn an A+ or A+ grade.

The state capital has a population of 490,000-plus, and it’s the fastest growing city in California. The busy Sacramento Senior Citizens Club has various activities to offer, from computer and tech training, even to monthly casino trips, and B Street Theater has acting lessons too, not to mention that Crocker Art Museum has lots of classes on art history, crafts, and even studio painting.


Redding is a medium-sized city of 90,000 in Northern California, and it’s extremely underrated as a retirement destination. It has Mount Shasta as a backdrop, plus the Sacramento River running through the town.

It’s nothing that Redding can’t offer, as you will find their tons of outdoor opportunities. Oh, and the weather! Summers are very hot and dry there, while winters can be quite cold and wet.

Since 2018, the average home price is $270,000 and the average rent on a two-bedroom unit is $926 per month. If you’re looking to be closer to transportation, the city has a great Amtrak station in town and lots of shuttles to the airports in Sacramento and San Francisco.

There are daily flights on Redding’s regional airport to and from San Francisco, but the city is also extremely accessible by car, as it’s only a two-hour drive to Sacramento.

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If your ideal retirement place doesn’t have any crowds, traffic, and pollution, consider moving to Eureka. This small town has a population of only 27,000, and it’s located in Humboldt County, on the Northern coast of California. However, it boasts spectacular scenery and a mild climate throughout the whole year.

Not to mention those pretty Pacific beaches and towering redwood trees, Eureka is nothing less than a haven for nature enthusiasts. As for its economy, Eureka has become a bit sluggish since the decline of the logging and mining industries, which were very popular in the region.

Even so, as a retiree who’s not seeking full-time employment, the city’s higher-than-average unemployment rate won’t affect the quality of your life. Retirees can actually spend their days hiking among the redwoods or even strolling along Humboldt Bay.

Rio Vista

This affordable small city will give you one of the best experiences, as it is located right along the Sacramento River in eastern Solano County. It has a population of about 8,000 and extremely easy access to the larger Sacramento and San Francisco. Rio Visto is famous for its annual “Bass Derby and Festival” in October, which is a great attraction for sports fishermen, but also music enthusiasts.

If you’re a wine lover, then you probably know already that Rio Visto is less expensive when it comes to wines, but it’s still 25 miles west of Lodi, which is famous for its wine festivals. The home prices here are below the state’s average, with a median of $396,500.

For example, the two-bedroom rentals’ median price is $1200 a month, and the city is beloved by outdoor enthusiasts. And speaking of this, seniors can be active throughout the whole year, as there’s an extremely moderate and pleasant climate. The Delta Breeze transportation system travels all around the town, and between other cities too!

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Palm Springs

If there’s an oasis where you can enjoy your golden years, trust me, it’s Palm Springs. This resort town of 48,000 is extremely affordable and sunny the whole year. It’s full of golf courses, so it’s no wonder Palm Springs is now a magnet for seniors.

It has a dry climate, picturesque landscape, art, and culture, so it doesn’t surprise anybody that Palm Springs is listed as one of the best places to retire in America! The median home price here is $420,000, which is well below the California average home price of $499,000), and a two-bedroom rental is running on $1124 on average. Retirees could enjoy an active lifestyle in Palm Springs, with lots of outdoor activities and cultural events.

As for transportation, getting around the town and out of Palm Springs is super easy, not to mention that there’s an international airport right next to the downtown area, but also a local bus service, and access to Amtrak and Greyhound.


Oceanside is on the northern border of San Diego County, and it’s continuously attracting retirees for its easy climate and breezy lifestyle (see what I did there?!). In comparison with beloved Southern California, Oceanside real estate is WAY more affordable.

The median house price here is $520,000, and a two-bedroom rental is usually $1934. On the rental front, there are lots of active retirement and 55-plus communities, but also senior apartments. Also, a good deal of military officers and military retirees are living here.

Even so, the crime rate is a bit higher than the average (curious, right?). Retirees usually love walking along the beach, or on the famous Oceanside Pier, or going to various community events and festivals throughout the whole year!

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and check out the Golden State TODAY!

If you enjoyed reading this article, we also recommend reading: Ready to Retire in Beautiful Florida? Read These 7 Things First!


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