When you think of your childhood, what comes to mind? Was it showing off your rollerblading skills at JellyBeans? What about playing soccer with your friends or going to the local Y summer camps?
Did you love your elementary schools and were you able to walk to school alone when you got older?
You likely had some very fond memories of childhood that you want to pass on to your children. You also likely have things you would change if you could. So what are some important factors to think about when you do start thinking about where to raise your children?
Crime levels, the quality of schools, and proximity to other children for your kids to make close friendships with are probably some of the key aspects to think about when deciding where to raise your family.
The first decision to make is what state to raise your family in. Well, that is an easy one: California.
California is one of America’s most famous states and for a good reason. Who wouldn’t want to grow up under the palm trees, walking up and down the streets of San Francisco, and hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail?
California has something for everyone. You can be a surfer, a climber, a city-dweller, or even just a cafe-hopper.
But within California, what are the best cities for families? Which cities are both affordable and packed with family-friendliness? HomeSnacks has figured out the answer to those questions for you.
These are the best cities to raise a family in California for 2019:
- Imperial (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Moorpark (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Palo Alto (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Los Gatos (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Folsom (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mission Viejo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Camarillo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Torrance (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- San Marino (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Moraga (Photos | Homes For Sale)
We analyzed 349 cities in California to determine which one was the best for families. This ranking was made by seeing which cities were the most “family-friendly,” or which states had the least crime, the best schools, and the most fun activities.
Want to guess which city made first? If you haven’t heard of Imperial, California, then keep reading, because this is the best city for families in California for 2019.
Imperial is located near Chula Vista and San Diego and is packed with everything families need and love. You can even travel to Mexico for an international dining experience if you want.
Want to see how your favorite city or hometown in California stacked up? Read on to learn more about our methodology and to see what makes each of our top 10 cities for families so great.
Or, check out some more reading about California and the best places for families in the country:
- Best Places To Live In California
- Cheapest Places To Live In California
- Best Cities To Raise A Family In America
- Best States To Raise A Family In America
How do you determine which place is best for families in California anyways?
To give you the places in California which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s family-friendly and what isn’t.
So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.
How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Golden State
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of California, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:
- Crime (Both violent and property)
- Quality of local schools
- Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
- % of households with children
- Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)
We then gave each city a Family Score.
The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For California, that meant a total of 349 cities.
Read on to see why Imperial is where all the families are headed, while Clearlake is probably a place made for singles.
The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In California For 2019
The most family friendly city in California for 2019 is Imperial. Kudos to Imperial!
One the fastest growing cities in the state, and located just North of Mexico, any family would be lucky to call this Imperial County city home.
This city scored off our charts with an 8.5/10 snackability rating with an emphasis on affordability, education, and family friendly amenities.
Not surprising considering they are a year round destination for family fun. Imperial boasts multiple golf courses, sand dunes for dune buggy enthusiasts and campers, and an abundance of creatures to hunt for sport.
You don’t have to have a boatload of kids to keep your family entertained if you want to live in our second most family friendly city in California for 2019.
Why? Moorpark has one of the highest percentages of families with kids on our list, so there will be plenty of kids to play with when you move here.
And when you need a place to let your kids burn some energy, look no further than this Ventura County city: they have over 20 parks!
There are also plenty of high paying jobs, great schools, and it’s crazy safe.
Located in slightly northwest of Los Angeles, Moorpark should be California’s poster city for family friendly. #GoodWork
When your city is on ‘the map’ for tech companies like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Apple,you better make sure you bring it. And that’s exactly what our third most family friendly city in California for 2019, Palo Alto, has done.
This city in Santa Clara County scored off the charts in housing, education, and family friendly amenities.
And for all of those parents who don’t want their kids to fly the coop for college, Palo Alto University and Sofia University are located in this tech hub’s backyard.
And speaking of tech hub, the median household income for Palo Alto is $152,000/year. That’s a whole lot of opportunity for families to earn that vacation cheddar.
We’re pretty sure if you asked your kids if they wanted to live in a city named for ‘cats’, they would give you a hard yes. Well, you’re in luck because our fourth family friendly California city for 2019 is Los Gatos.
This city in Santa Clara county is family friendly San Jose-burb with tons of family friendly things to do.
Surrounded by multiple state and county parks, this Northern California tech community has amazing shopping, art galleries, museums, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the coast.
And if you’re stressed about where to send your kids to school, you can stop now. Los Gatos has multiple blue ribbon elementary schools and golden apple secondary schools.
Our fifth most family friendly city in California for 2019, Folsom, comes to us from Central California.
This Sacramento County city crushed our snackability scale with high marks across the board. It’s like a big California playground for big and little kids alike.
Known for Folsom Lake College, Folsom Dam, Folsom Lake and the Intel Corporation, this city’s family household median income is close to $110,000/year. Just think of all of the Folsom family friendly activities you afford with all that dough.
They definitely know what they’re doing in the city that’s ‘Distinctive by Nature’.
They are on a mission in our sixth most family friendly city in California for 2019, Mission Viejo, to make their city safe, affordable, and fun for all families.
We think they are on the right track because they scored one of the highest snackability scores on our list: a whopping 10/10!
We believe that for a city to be truly family friendly, it needs to be safe, hip, diverse, and it has to have a ton of family friendly activities. They scored an 8.5/10 for safety, an 8.5/10 for diversity, and a 10/10 for amenities.
Mission Viejo’s goal is to “Make Living Your Mission”. We think you’re doing just that.
Welcome to Camarillo. This city in Ventura County has one of the highest scores on our list for family amenities and it’s our eighth most family friendly city in The Golden State for 2019.
Located slightly northwest of Los Angeles, and just a hop, skip, and a jump from the coast, Camarillo has something for everyone. Amazing food, 26 parks, and facilities like aquatic centers, BMX tracks, equestrian centers, and skateparks…to name a few, dot the city’s landscape.,
Camarillo is famous for sticking to tradition. So if you’re looking for a city with quaint, quiet neighborhoods, idyllic community parades and gatherings, and residents who want to keep the city in the hands of its people, Camarillo is your city.
Head South from Camarillo, take a right at Los Angeles, towards the coast and you run into our ninth most family friendly California city for 2019: Torrance.
This little California gem is one of the fastest growing cities in The Golden State. Did we mention one of the safest too? So it was not a surprise to us that they scored a 9/10 on our snackability scale with an emphasis on safety, amenities, and jobs. Busy people don’t have time to be naughty, right?
Torrance runs a tight ship in terms of education. They have to. They have over 30 schools to maintain in their district. So kudos to Torrance for scoring a 9/10 for education on our scale.
Located at the base of the Angeles National Forest, just outside of Pasadena, is our ninth most family friendly city in California for 2019: San Marino.
San Marino scored a 9.5/10 on or snackability scale with an emphasis on low crime, education, and family friendly amenities.
This family friendly city comes with a price tag. You are going to have to get a job at one of their many companies. According to the job research site, Zippia, top employers in software, banking, and lengineering have been keeping San Marino families employed, entertained, and happy.
Just over the Golden Gate Bridge, East of Oakland, is our tenth most family friendly California city for 2019: Moraga.
Moraga had one of the highest scores on our snackability scale: a big ‘ol 10/10. They scored strong across all criteria, but they made the most magic happen with a 10/10 in education and a 10/10 for housing. The residents, here, are smart, hard-working Californians..
Moraga scored an 8.5/10 in terms of jobs. The household median income, here, is $116,000/year. With that income, the less time Moraga residents have to worry about those “bill’ things; thus, the more time they have to spend with their families.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family In California
If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in California ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.
Here’s a look at the best cities for singles California according to the data:
- Grass Valley
For more California reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In California
- 10 Safest Places In California
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In California