Moving to Orange County, CA in 2023: An Ultimate Guide
Are you looking to move somewhere with year-round sunshine, an epic coastline, and excellent quality of life?
Well, you’re in luck. There are few better destinations than Orange County, CA.
Orange County or the “OC” has everything from mountains to beaches to hiking trails to must-see attractions and so much more. Orange County is only an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and is a safe, friendly, and vibrant destination for locals and tourists alike.
The population of Orange County continues to rise and is showing no signs of slowing down. This is due to the area’s quality educational system, booming film industry, vibrant arts scene, and of course, Disneyland.
About Orange County
Orange County is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in Southern California. With over 3 million people, Orange County is the third-most populous county in California.
The county has 34 independent municipalities, including the three most populous cities Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Irvine. Anaheim is home to over 300,000 Californians and is known for being the “Happiest Place On Earth.”
Many people choose to relocate to Orange County for its lifestyle benefits. But another major benefit is how close the county is to major airports and cities, including:
- Los Angeles (1 hour, 36 miles)
- San Diego (1 hour and 43 minutes, 87 miles)
- John Wayne Airport (14 minutes, 4.5 miles)
- LAX Intl. Airport (1 hour and 15 minutes, 43 miles)
As of 2021, Orange County’s 3 million population consisted of 71% White, 34% Hispanic or Latino, 21% Asian, and 2% Black or African American. Most Orange County residents are between 25 to 34, closely followed by 35 to 44-year-olds.
The most common language spoken in Orange County is English, followed by Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese).
Orange County Weather
One of the primary reasons people choose to relocate to Orange County is the sunny year-round weather.
The climate of Orange County is classified as a Mediterranean climate which brings mild to hot and mainly dry weather.
While Orange County doesn’t have seasonal variation like its Northern counterpart, you will still notice changing seasons. And if you don’t, Disneyland will undoubtedly let you know.
The hottest month is August, with an average of 73°F, while the coldest month is in December with an average of 57°F. Over the year, the temperature is rarely below 38°F or above 93°F.
If you’re relocating from a colder climate, the weather may pleasantly surprise you.
The Benefits of Moving to Orange County
It’s easy to see the appeal in moving to Orange County; blue skies, bluer oceans, and a laid-back environment. While Orange County is part of metropolitan Los Angeles, you will feel worlds away from the City of Angels.
Here are some of the major benefits of moving to Orange County.
Laid-Back With a Unique Vibe
Southern California is known for its relaxed lifestyle. Life in Orange County has a laid-back vibe that you can’t find in the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles. Living in Orange County feels more like you’re in the suburbs without feeling isolated.
Marvelous Beaches and Top Attractions
It’s impossible not to talk about Orange County without mentioning its top beaches and attractions. It’s a premier tourist destination, after all!
From Disneyland to Laguna Beach to Huntington Beach Pier, there is something to suit the adventurous-spirited and the relaxed individual.
People move to Orange County because of its ideal location and proximity to Los Angeles. The county is an hour’s drive to LAX, making it the perfect location for frequent flyers.
The OC provides that Los Angeles vibe with an urban-suburban-coastal twist. It’s the best of both worlds!
Pleasant Year-Round Weather
Temperatures in Southern California are delightful year-round with a low chance of rain and snow. The wind isn’t generally a problem in Orange County either. May is the windiest month, with around 5.1 knots, although this is considered a light breeze.
The warmest time to visit Orange County is during July, August, and September. The heat won’t be an issue, with plenty of beaches to cool down in.
Awesome Hiking Trails
Strap on your hiking boots because Orange County is home to some of the best hiking trails in the state. There are routes for beginners and expert hikers. The best trails include Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Santiago Oaks Regional Park, and Niguel Botanical Preserve.
Safe Place to Live
It might come as no surprise to find out that Orange County is one of California’s safest places to live. Many of Orange County’s local cities rank among the top 20 safest places to live in the state.
The safest cities are Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita, Yorba Linda, Laguna Niguel, and Aliso Viejo.
Orange County Real Estate
Real estate is very sought-after due to the area’s popularity. Choosing where to live in Orange County is not an easy decision to make. With 34 independent municipalities, it pays to do your research.
Given the popularity of the area and its proximity to Los Angeles, it’s no surprise that the cost of living is higher than most.
To live comfortably, you will most likely need to have a six-figure income (if you have a family). If you are single without children, the cost of living will drop significantly.
As of 2023, the median house price is around $1,000,000 while the median rent is $2,559 per month. Keep in mind these figures depend on where you choose to live within Orange County.
The most affordable places to live in Orange County are:
- Buena Park
- Santa Ana
The most expensive places to live in Orange County are:
- Laguna Beach
- Capistrano Beach
- Newport Beach
- Dana Point
As you can see, the closer you live to the beach, the higher the house price. If you are purchasing a property, remember to calculate Orange County CA property tax.
Currently, Orange County property is taxed at a rate of 0.79%. This means that a home valued at $1,000,000 will cost you an estimated $7,900 in annual property tax.
Things to Do in Orange County
It would be easier to list the things you couldn’t do in Orange County. The county is famous for its attractions, including its famed amusement park, Disneyland.
Whether you’re moving by yourself or with your family, you’re guaranteed to find something to do in Orange County. Here are just a few things you can do when you move to the OC.
Laguna Beach Art Galleries
Art lovers will enjoy spending time at Laguna Beach, also known as the “art colony,” to find unique art that you won’t find anywhere else. With over 100 art galleries and artist studios to explore, it will take months to discover them all.
Newport Beach stretches for over 8 miles and offers a relaxing atmosphere with a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Newport Beach is the ideal destination year-round with plenty of activities. They include water sports, surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles.
Heisler Park is within walking distance from the heart of Laguna Beach. This oceanfront park has plenty of walking trails, gardens, tides pools, picnic spots, barbeque areas, and lawn bowling greens.
With so many places to enjoy expansive ocean views, it’s no wonder couples choose Heisler Park to hold their wedding ceremonies.
Shipley Nature Center
The Shipley Nature Center stretches across 18 acres and is open to walk-in visitors on Fridays and Saturdays between 9 am and 1 pm. Shipley invites its visitors to make their way through eight habitats, including Oak Woodland, Redwood Grove, and Riparian Woodland.
Educational tours and events are held throughout the year, focusing on native wildlife, composting, and water conservation.
Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park has 3.2 miles of sandy beach and over 2,000 acres of backcountry wilderness. The park is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
The beach is popular with swimmers and surfers. Visitors can explore tide pools and sandy coves or participate in one of the State Park year-round programs.
Orange County Zoo
The Orange County Zoo is nestled inside Irvine Regional Park among 477 acres of wilderness. Animals on exhibit include black bears, mountain lions, red-tailed hawks, porcupines, and coyotes.
Children can pat domestic goats, sheep, chickens, and pigs in the zoo’s barnyard exhibit.
A list of Orange County attractions isn’t complete without mentioning a trip to Disneyland. Located in Anaheim, Disneyland is a magical wonderland for children and adults alike. Enjoy the rides, meet Disney characters, celebrate your birthday, and see a show or two.
Now that you live here, there’s no excuse not to visit the Happiest Place On Earth!
Employment Opportunities in Orange County California
Orange County is home to many key industry sectors that make it a viable destination for people looking for work from a range of different educational backgrounds.
Some of the major employers headquartered in Orange County are Disneyland, Taco Bell, Boeing, Ducommun Industries, UC Irvine, and many more.
If you’re looking for work, you may find employment in the following industries:
- Travel and tourism
- Film and television production
- Interactive and immersive entertainment
- Aviation and aerospace
- Information technology
Its thriving business economy is one of the many reasons people choose to make Orange County their home. Expats from across the globe choose to settle down in Orange County for the same reason.
Education in Orange County
Many people don’t know that Orange County isn’t just gorgeous beaches, delicious dining experiences, and perfect year-round weather. It also has a fantastic education system with some of the best school districts in the entire state.
Just last year, U.S. News & World Report ranked many Orange County campuses high on the list of nearly 18,000 public high schools.
Orange County is also home to excellent private and public colleges, including:
- Chapman University
- Concordia University Irvine
- Vanguard University
- Soka University
- University of Southern California
- University of California Irvine
- California State University Fullerton
- Orange Coast College
Some of the most popular majors include business administration, marketing, visual and performing arts, law, social work, engineering, and communication and journalism.
Between classes, you’ll often find students strolling around the city, enjoying the sunshine and drinking boba.
If you’re a student searching for world-class education in a safe and enjoyable environment, Orange County might be your ideal location.
Best Restaurants in Orange County
Orange County is often underrated for its food scene, but the truth is that the OC knows its way around a tastebud.
Expect a broad collection of offbeat flavors, nutritious eats, American barbeque, and enough gelato to feed an army when you’re there.
Check out Mama Hong’s Vietnamese Kitchen in Orange and Ha Long Bay Pho and Grill in Tustin for flavors that reflect the OC’s inland residents.
You’ll often find upscale dining with a modern Cali touch on the OC coast. Places like The Bungalow at Huntington Beach and The Cliff Restaurant at Laguna are the perfect spots for a romantic dinner overlooking panoramic views of the ocean.
Shopping in Orange County
Shopping in Orange County is almost as famous as its beaches. From downtown Anaheim to outlet malls, farmers’ markets, luxury boutiques, quality handcrafts, and vintage shops.
Locals and tourists alike agree that some of the best places to shop in the OC include:
- Irvine Spectrum Center
- South Coast Plaza
- Fashion Island
- The Outlets at Orange
- Brea Mall
- Pacific City
Irvine Spectrum Center is Southern California’s most popular shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. Inside you’ll find many must-have brands such as H&M, Levi’s, Nordstrom, Windsor, and more.
Orange County is a shopper’s paradise, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. You can score some fantastic deals on high-end fashions and boutique items.
If you’re looking for fresh produce, you don’t have to look too far. Farmers’ markets are everywhere in Orange County. Take your pick from the following:
- Farmers’ Market in Buena Park
- Newport Beach Farmers’ Market
- Orange County Great Park Farmers’ Market
- Irvine Farmers’ Market
- SOCO Farmers’ Market
- Old Town Tustin OCFB Certified Farmers’ Market
True to its name, Orange County also grows some of the state’s sweetest and most delicious oranges. Be sure to pick up an orange or two and make an authentic, fresh Orange Julius.
Public Transportation in Orange County
Getting around Orange County is still relatively easy if you don’t own a car. The Orange County Transporation Authority (OCTA) is a multi-modal transportation agency serving the Orange County region.
Its comprehensive system includes several key routes, including the John Wayne Airport, Irvine, Santa Ana, and Tustin. Most one-way fares cost around $2, or an OC Bus pass can be used.
OCTA provides all registered college students with an OC Bus pass for the semester.
Other public transportation services include Amtrak, Greyhound, and Metrolink. You can also travel by taxi or app-based rideshares like Lyft, Uber, and Wingz.
Tips for Moving to Orange County
Moving house isn’t easy. It can bring up feelings of stress, grief, and anxiety. Here are some moving tips to minimize stress and ensure your move is as pain-free as possible.
Decluttering before you move means you won’t have to spend time packing up items you no longer want or need. Better yet, you’ll use fewer boxes and spend less time unpacking when you arrive at your new home. Work one room at a time and decide what you need and what you can live without.
2. Make a Moving Checklist
A moving checklist will help you organize your things before you move. It will also help you keep track of where you’re at in the moving process and ensure everything gets done. The more detailed the checklist, the less chance of something going wrong during your move.
3. Pack Early
Packing your entire home is no easy task. It’s easy to avoid packing until the last moment, but this will only cause more stress.
You should start packing at least three weeks before your move date. The earlier you start the packing process, the easier it will be when your move date approaches.
4. Book Moving Services Early
You should book your movers as soon as you know your move date. The longer you delay, the harder it will be to book the exact date you want. This is especially true if you’re moving during peak season or on the weekend.
When you book early, you might be able to take advantage of a discount or special offer, too.
5. Schedule Utilities for Your New Home
Once the dates are finalized, contact your utility providers at your new home to schedule service. At the same time, request service to stop on your move-out date. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your new home only to realize you forgot to connect the utilities.
6. Pack an Essentials Bag
On the night before your move, pack an essentials bag with a change of clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste, medications, and any medications. Keep this bag on you during transit.
If the moving truck is delayed or lost, at least you have some essentials with you. This is especially true for travelers moving interstate or overseas.
7. Invest in Quality Packing Materials
A quality packing box will ensure everything is protected during transportation. You could save money and use old cardboard boxes, but is it worth breaking valuable items to save a few dollars?
Contact your moving company instead of using used boxes from your local supermarket. Most companies use top-shelf packing supplies that are reusable, sturdy, and come in different shapes and sizes.
Bubble-wrap is another essential packing material. Some homeowners underestimate how damaged furniture can get during transit without protection. Save yourself from repairing your furniture by using bubble-wrap liberally.
Did you know there is an art to packing boxes? It’s no use tossing things into a box and hoping for the best. Here are some packing tips to ensure your things arrive intact.
1. Use the Right Size Boxes
The secret to moving is to start with the right moving boxes. Use boxes designed to suit the items you’re putting in them. For example, medium-sized boxes are ideal for items that require a little more space, like non-perishables from your pantry.
2. Put Heavier Items on the Bottom of Boxes, Lighter on Top
Putting heavier items (such as books) on the bottom will avoid breaking lighter items. This will also help your removalists load your boxes onto the truck when it’s time.
3. Don’t Leave Empty Spaces
Fill empty spaces with clothing, towels, or packing paper. Biodegradable packing peanuts are another option for filling up small and large spaces if you have run out of personal items. Some movers won’t move boxes that feel loosely packed or unbalanced.
4. Avoid Mixing Items From Different Rooms
While it might seem easy at the time, you’ll realize you wish you hadn’t when it’s time to unpack. It will make your packing and unpacking quicker and help your movers know where every box belongs in your new home.
5. Tape Your Boxes Well
Never try to tape a box that doesn’t close or has items poking out the top. All your moving boxes should be properly closed and securely taped. Use heavy-duty packaging tape, which offers high-level strength to ensure your boxes don’t unexpectedly open.
Moving to Orange County, CA?
If you’re thinking of moving to California, Orange County, CA is the place for you.
With lovely sunny weather, excellent quality of living, mouth-watering food, and plenty of things to see and do, there isn’t much Orange County doesn’t have.
When it’s time to move, it’s important to hire movers you can trust. Whether you’re moving locally or long-distance, Move Central Movers and Storage can make your move simple and as effortless as possible.
We offer a range of moving services, including unpacking, loading and unloading, furniture disassembly and reassembly, and so much more. We truly are your full-service moving company.
Time to move to California? Let us take care of everything, so you don’t have to.
Contact us today.