Conveniently located between San Diego and Los Angeles, Orange County is one of the most popular suburban areas for living in Southern California. There are plenty of reasons why moving to Orange County is a great idea. An hour away from the two major cities, the area provides both big-city experiences and small beach town delights with incredible outdoor opportunities.
Every city in the area has something to offer. When looking for a place, check if there are any good restaurants, beaches, shopping malls, and other amenities nearby. If you’re moving abroad to the US from one of the friendliest countries in the world, an excellent overseas moving company can provide you with a free estimate. In case you’re wondering how to live in another country, there’s a whole section in the guide dedicated to immigration. Without further ado, here are all the things to know before moving to Orange County.
Is It Expensive to Live in Orange County?
The Orange County cost of living can be a lot for some. According to specialized website BestPlaces.net, the median home value is about 29% higher at $712,500 compared to California’s $552,800. If you’re looking to rent, a one and two-bedroom apartments cost about $1,632 and $2,037 per month, respectively, which is similar to the Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim metro area where they go for $1,604 and $2,055. The transportation costs are notably lower than in most of California, though, for around 13.5%. Overall, living here is about 12% more expensive compared to the average California prices.
What Salary Do You Need to Live in Orange County?
An average resident in OC earns about $34,416 per year, compared to the US average of $28,555. The median yearly household income is significantly higher, at $75,998 compared to the nation’s $53,482. Around 18% or residents earn about $100-150k per year, with 9.8% earning $150-200k and 13% getting paid over $200k. To afford an average priced home through traditional means, a resident would need to make about $167,670 per year, while a household would need $112,930 a year to buy a typical house. If a family of four earns $87,450 a year or less, they are considered as low income. This amount is the eighth-highest limit for a low-income family in the US.
The Economy in OC Is Great for Doing Business
With Los Angeles in the north and San Diego to the south, the OC is located in one of the prime economic powerhouses in the world. According to Deloitte Tech 500, six OC-based tech companies ranked among the fastest-growing tech businesses in North America, each having more than 100% growth in revenue in the past year. When looking to invest in property, the OC ranks as 8th on the country’s top 10 real-estate markets to watch out, among the 78 rated US metropolitan areas (according to Emerging Trends in Real Estate). Based on a Venture Capital Report by Dow Jones Venturesource, over $1.14 billion worth of venture capital investments in 2016 were distributed among 61 local deals, funding various industries, including medical devices, biopharmaceutical, and high-tech.
Which Cities to Consider When Moving to Orange County, CA
The definition of the right city is different for everybody, depending on your living style. After you narrow down your list to two or three locations, you have a decision to make. Keep in mind these next few factors when deciding on a neighborhood:
- Job Location – The area is infamous for its occasional traffic jams, especially near Los Angeles. Since LA is only an hour away from the OC, it’s wise to determine your commute in advance.
- School Districts – Some of the best schools in the country are located in the area. If you’re an immigrant, this is one of the best places to live abroad with family. Check out what school districts serve in the areas you’re considering.
- Activities – Lookup if the areas you’re interested in have beaches, restaurants, and shopping centers nearby.
From mountain-like cities to urban and beach towns, these next few places in Orange County offer something for everyone.
San Clemente Provides a Small Beach Town Feel
One of the top beach towns in OC, San Clemente is right next to the ocean and has plenty of hiking trails going along the coast. It has a certain small-town feel that other cities in the area lack. You can visit San Clemente Pier, State Beach, or the Casa Romantica.
Some of the Best Beaches Are in Laguna Beach
If you’re looking for a beautiful spot to sunbathe and have some fun on the coast, then this is a perfect choice for you. What’s even more interesting is that the city’s rich culture. It has some fantastic summer concerts, art festivals, and shows, with vibrant art and music scenes.
Newport Beach Offers Plenty of Activities
Being one of the more active towns in OC, it’s home to the Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Bay Nature Preserve, and Balboa Pier. The city offers various activities, from visiting the Orange County Museum of Art to going shopping, fishing, surfing, or engaging in other outdoor activities.
Mission Viejo Has a Mountain Town Feel
Mission Viejo feels like a mountain town despite being only 30 minutes away from some great beaches. It’s one of the largest planned communities built in a single project in the US. Located at a lake surrounded by hills, this is a great place to call home.
Irvine Is One of the Largest Cities in OC
Even though it’s located in the middle of a suburb, Irvine still has an urban feel. Being a business hub and one of the largest cities in Orange County, it’s mostly known for its large open spaces. With more than 20 parks in the community, it’s a great choice when moving with dogs. It displays a rich restaurant scene, with plenty of diverse cuisines such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican.
For more info about some of the OC cities, check out this video:
Important Things to Do Before the Relocation
Once you set your move day and found a home in the OC, there are a few things you still need to finish. Every international moving requires extra alertness during the current corona situation. Hire a good overseas shipping company that follows all the safety procedures necessary to minimize possible contamination of oversized freights. These also provide custom crating, among many other packing services. After you’ve secured a good mover, take care of tasks such as arranging utilities set up, updating your address, and, if possible, checking out your new home and inspecting it.
What to Do When Immigrating to the OC
Before final arrival in Orange County, you’ll first need to gather all the documents needed to travel abroad. Depending on your country of origin, you might need a visa. Even when you’re moving to another country for love, one of the best ways to immigrate to the US is to get a work permit. Most of the process will depend on your Orange County international moving company, so have a list of relocation questions to ask your employer in OC. Of course, you must have a reasonably clean criminal record, with no violent crimes or any other illicit work in your history.
How Can Immigrants Adapt to Local Life After Moving to OC
After the shipping overseas is finalized, the next logical step when moving internationally is to adapt to the local life in Orange County. Breaking the language barrier is one of the first things you should do when learning how to live abroad. Luckily, even if you were living overseas in a country with a first language other than English, the US has plenty of minority hubs, just like its expat communities abroad. These are an excellent way for you to make connections in your new local community while you figure out how to stay in touch with friends. By making contact with the residents, learning the language abroad will be much easier, not to mention engaging in many useful and fun local activities.
Also, driving is almost a must in Orange County, so if you have a car, you can move it to California by getting overseas vehicle shipping services.
There Are Many Different Fun Things to Do in OC
You might be wondering, Is Orange County a good place to live? The answer is a resounding yes. Whether you’re looking for an excellent spot to eat, go shopping, or go out for a walk, there’s something to do for everyone.
Beaches and Numerous Outdoor Activities
Even when living a bit more inland, beaches are never too far away in OC. There are over 40 miles of coastline to explore, from San Clemente in the south to Seal Beach up north. Plenty of California’s famous beaches, such as Laguna, Huntington, and Newport Beach, are all in OC. There are so many of them in the area you’ll feel like you’re moving to the Bahamas. Just know that they can get pretty crowded during the weekends and in the summer.
When it comes to other outdoor activities, you’ll struggle to pick what to do on the weekends. Many of these can help you mitigate any moving stress you might have experienced. Outdoor sports enthusiasts can go hiking, camping, mountain biking, surfing, kayaking, and even snow skiing, among others. You can also explore some interesting sights such as red rock canyons and sea caves. Some good places to check include Crystal Cove State Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. If you’re interested in whale watching, check out the Ocean Institute and Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
Check Out the Disneyland Amusement Park
There are multiple theme parks in the area. You can visit Disneyland in Anaheim. “The happiest place on Earth” has a season pass that allows you to experience everything it has to offer. If you don’t own a pass, you can go to Downtown Disney and check out their shops. You’ll experience their famous Disney magic without spending a dime. Another park attraction we recommend you check out is Knott’s Berry Farm.
Enjoy Tasty Food After Shopping
The OC might not be as good as LA when it comes to shopping, but there are quite a few great options. If you’re looking for some of the high-end stuff, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and Fashion Island in Newport most likely have what you need.
After you’ve had your share of shopping, you can enjoy some incredible ethnic cuisine. Little Saigon‘s name is appropriate since Garden Grove is home to the country’s largest Vietnamese minority. Its Vietnamese dishes are a thing to behold. Little Arabia in Anaheim provides Mediterranean fare and hookah lounges. For incredible Korean, check out Harbor Blvd. Unless you’re moving to Italy for food, some amazing Italian cuisine restaurants are right here in OC, such as Roma D’ Italia or Cortina’s Italian Market.
Living in the OC Is a Great Choice
Moving across the world can be an exciting and life-changing experience. If you’re moving overseas to the OC from one of the best places to live abroad, it’s essential you iron out all the details regarding the relocation. With plenty of excellent open areas, delicious food, and a surprisingly small-town atmosphere, the OC has some great locations for living. If you’re in doubt, we hope that this guide can help you make a smart decision and move here.