These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In California


We analyzed over 394 places in California to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of California.

But where exactly in California? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in California that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Maywood don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Golden State to retire:

  1. Maywood (Photos)
  2. Cudahy
  3. Lawndale
  4. Holtville (Photos)
  5. Parlier
  6. Hawaiian Gardens (Photos)
  7. Bell Gardens
  8. La Puente (Photos)
  9. Lynwood (Photos)
  10. Orange Cove (Photos)

Why did Maywood take the top spot? And where are Los Angeles and San Diego?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in California.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Golden State

To create our list of the best places in California to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Golden State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 394 places from across the state.

For these 394, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (As measured by population density)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 394, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Maywood, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Maywood

Maywood, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 27,672
Cost Of Living: 125
Distance to Closest Airport: 13 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,221
Maywood ranked 1st overall thanks to it’s 132nd place rank for cost of living and it’s 38th place safety rank.

2. Cudahy


Population: 24,106
Cost Of Living: 113
Distance to Closest Airport: 13 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,713
Cudahy ranked 2nd overall thanks to it’s 89th place rank for cost of living and it’s 93rd place safety rank.

3. Lawndale

Lawndale, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 33,161
Cost Of Living: 144
Distance to Closest Airport: 4 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,673
Lawndale ranked 3rd overall thanks to it’s 200th place rank for cost of living and it’s 84th place safety rank.

4. Holtville

Holtville, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,230
Cost Of Living: 101
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,765
Holtville ranked 4th overall thanks to it’s 37th place rank for cost of living and it’s 101st place safety rank.

5. Parlier

Parlier, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,953
Cost Of Living: 95
Distance to Closest Airport: 15 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,340
Parlier ranked 5th overall thanks to it’s 10th place rank for cost of living and it’s 182nd place safety rank.

6. Hawaiian Gardens

Hawaiian Gardens, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,468
Cost Of Living: 125
Distance to Closest Airport: 20 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,645
Hawaiian Gardens ranked 6th overall thanks to it’s 132nd place rank for cost of living and it’s 81st place safety rank.

7. Bell Gardens

Bell Gardens, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 42,805
Cost Of Living: 134
Distance to Closest Airport: 14 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,910
Bell Gardens ranked 7th overall thanks to it’s 160th place rank for cost of living and it’s 121st place safety rank.

8. La Puente

La Puente, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 40,384
Cost Of Living: 135
Distance to Closest Airport: 20 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,426
La Puente ranked 8th overall thanks to it’s 163rd place rank for cost of living and it’s 55th place safety rank.

9. Lynwood

Lynwood, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 71,233
Cost Of Living: 127
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,562
Lynwood ranked 9th overall thanks to it’s 139th place rank for cost of living and it’s 214th place safety rank.

10. Orange Cove

Orange Cove, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,566
Cost Of Living: 97
Distance to Closest Airport: 24 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,683
Orange Cove ranked 10th overall thanks to it’s 20th place rank for cost of living and it’s 85th place safety rank.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in California goes to Maywood.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Pismo Beach
  • Redding
  • Morro Bay

For more California reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In California

City Rank Population Cost Of Living Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Maywood 1 27,672 125 13 1,221
Cudahy 2 24,106 113 13 1,713
Lawndale 3 33,161 144 4 1,673
Holtville 4 6,230 101 12 1,765
Parlier 5 14,953 95 15 2,340
Hawaiian Gardens 6 14,468 125 20 1,645
Bell Gardens 7 42,805 134 14 1,910
La Puente 8 40,384 135 20 1,426
Lynwood 9 71,233 127 11 2,562
Orange Cove 10 9,566 97 24 1,683
Fontana 11 205,228 121 8 2,153
Imperial 12 16,583 108 12 307
Eastvale 13 58,217 153 6 1,697
Bell 14 35,927 129 13 2,602
Inglewood 15 111,012 136 3 3,173
Imperial Beach 16 27,180 142 12 1,942
Sanger 17 24,741 104 10 2,611
Laguna Woods 18 16,347 124 31 758
Lemon Grove 19 26,421 137 9 2,426
Baldwin Park 20 76,511 136 21 2,040
Lomita 21 20,652 168 11 2,091
Norwalk 22 106,360 139 18 2,178
Paramount 23 54,941 124 14 2,997
Rialto 24 102,418 115 12 2,423
San Fernando 25 24,396 134 23 1,971
Bellflower 26 77,687 142 16 2,466
Compton 27 97,740 119 10 3,834
Torrance 28 147,307 198 8 1,885
South San Francisco 29 66,587 197 2 2,147
Placentia 30 52,168 177 18 1,560
East Palo Alto 31 29,353 155 13 2,377
Huntington Park 32 58,921 127 11 3,759
Calexico 33 39,750 104 1 4,342
South Gate 34 95,219 130 12 3,353
Los Angeles 35 3,918,872 164 5 2,610
Chula Vista 36 260,598 147 12 1,970
Artesia 37 16,789 150 19 2,043
Sunnyvale 38 149,596 253 5 1,686
Stanton 39 38,594 141 25 2,093
Monterey Park 40 61,001 172 17 1,852
Reedley 41 25,273 105 19 2,607
San Gabriel 42 40,200 187 20 1,587
Pomona 43 151,807 127 9 3,412
San Mateo 44 102,224 233 5 2,126
La Habra 45 61,660 154 21 1,871
Hawthorne 46 86,938 151 3 3,733
Rancho Cucamonga 47 173,309 149 5 2,279
Belmont 48 26,918 283 8 1,515
Farmersville 49 10,699 93 43 2,028
Pico Rivera 50 63,724 136 18 2,565
El Cajon 51 102,894 146 14 2,506
El Monte 52 115,665 144 23 2,201
Fresno 53 513,807 105 4 4,570
Redondo Beach 54 67,664 224 6 2,372
Alameda 55 77,409 209 2 2,413
Clovis 56 102,148 124 4 3,211
Soledad 57 25,616 117 72 1,112
Newman 58 10,808 105 49 1,683
Santa Ana 59 333,605 144 27 2,111
La Mirada 60 49,130 158 23 1,473
Montclair 61 38,294 129 5 4,481
Guadalupe 62 7,252 106 134 1,075
Cypress 63 48,978 172 22 1,639
Montebello 64 63,416 146 17 2,496
Alhambra 65 84,866 167 18 2,251
Diamond Bar 66 56,456 182 12 1,365
Lakewood 67 81,054 156 17 2,392
Davis 68 66,886 173 12 2,300
La Palma 69 15,834 187 22 1,635
Grand Terrace 70 12,393 122 16 2,146
Glendale 71 197,895 189 18 1,646
Covina 72 48,539 147 16 2,509
Sacramento 73 484,530 113 11 3,724
Aliso Viejo 74 50,219 170 33 613
Los Altos 75 30,238 463 9 1,088
Hercules 76 25,011 149 21 1,251
Carson 77 92,780 143 11 2,646
Santee 78 56,839 148 14 1,625
Fillmore 79 15,391 132 42 1,091
San Bruno 80 42,736 203 3 2,723
Downey 81 113,223 152 15 2,806
Cupertino 82 60,297 340 7 1,767
Rosemead 83 54,507 155 20 2,445
San Pablo 84 29,991 119 17 4,678
San Diego 85 1,374,812 164 6 2,329
Ontario 86 169,389 127 1 3,001
Citrus Heights 87 85,954 117 16 3,583
El Centro 88 43,699 102 8 5,176
Azusa 89 48,498 133 18 2,536
Colton 90 53,856 101 15 3,178
Lindsay 91 13,052 97 52 2,175
Corona 92 161,614 149 13 2,234
Gonzales 93 8,401 113 64 1,464
San Ramon 94 74,366 229 15 1,036
Corcoran 95 22,917 97 48 1,649
Manhattan Beach 96 35,573 388 3 2,572
Piedmont 97 11,201 396 7 2,142
Santa Paula 98 30,283 137 47 1,756
Mountain View 99 78,827 259 8 2,237
Selma 100 24,228 103 15 4,705
La Mesa 101 59,125 157 10 3,030
Kerman 102 14,424 104 19 3,438
Anaheim 103 346,776 156 16 2,680
Mission Viejo 104 96,178 186 31 972
Hermosa Beach 105 19,726 296 5 2,940
Woodland 106 57,552 122 8 3,568
Santa Clara 107 122,725 212 2 2,794
Kingsburg 108 11,716 113 19 3,004
Mcfarland 109 13,391 94 80 2,202
Orange 110 139,919 176 23 1,703
Albany 111 19,420 212 12 2,621
Upland 112 75,851 160 5 3,078
West Covina 113 107,634 150 17 2,840
South Pasadena 114 25,936 240 18 1,947
Walnut 115 30,026 202 14 1,075
Lake Forest 116 80,658 182 28 974
San Leandro 117 89,039 153 3 4,633
Tustin 118 79,396 183 25 1,874
Burlingame 119 30,118 371 2 2,646
Woodlake 120 7,567 98 42 2,008
San Jose 121 1,009,363 197 7 2,756
Long Beach 122 469,793 158 17 3,137
Rancho Santa Margarita 123 49,038 172 29 469
Emeryville 124 11,111 146 9 15,480
Yorba Linda 125 67,362 211 15 1,108
Oakland 126 412,040 156 3 7,590
Madera 127 63,398 103 23 3,313
Chino 128 83,670 144 6 2,392
Lincoln 129 45,675 143 20 1,050
Twentynine Palms 130 25,848 87 33 1,404
Elk Grove 131 163,634 131 22 2,257
Riverside 132 318,678 122 14 3,529
Port Hueneme 133 22,126 130 47 1,970
West Hollywood 134 35,661 187 10 4,464
Pacifica 135 38,844 202 5 1,876
Milpitas 136 73,447 194 5 3,053
Rocklin 137 60,509 145 19 1,799
Palos Verdes Estates 138 13,582 398 10 927
Buena Park 139 82,771 156 23 2,714
Hollister 140 36,901 146 45 1,718
Vista 141 98,560 151 31 2,055
Roseville 142 128,276 140 15 2,543
Colusa 143 5,935 112 41 1,920
Chino Hills 144 77,266 174 10 1,412
La Verne 145 32,078 166 10 2,699
Ione 146 7,056 112 42 935
Rancho Palos Verdes 147 42,412 277 13 1,169
West Sacramento 148 51,386 117 10 3,030
Duarte 149 21,792 146 21 1,863
South El Monte 150 20,566 142 21 3,729
Santa Monica 151 92,247 295 6 3,646
Saratoga 152 30,830 431 8 995
San Bernardino 153 214,581 98 18 5,297
Campbell 154 40,788 226 5 3,601
Cotati 155 7,415 146 49 1,389
Canyon Lake 156 10,985 139 31 1,283
Westminster 157 91,635 166 27 2,623
Fowler 158 6,083 111 10 3,402
Rohnert Park 159 41,928 141 50 2,134
Dublin 160 54,523 190 17 1,591
San Marcos 161 91,479 156 27 1,620
Fullerton 162 139,491 171 22 2,541
Hillsborough 163 11,312 719 4 919
Santa Clarita 164 180,303 148 32 1,521
Sierra Madre 165 11,067 230 25 948
Murrieta 166 108,583 136 40 1,405
Fremont 167 227,934 206 9 1,840
Solana Beach 168 13,312 255 18 1,577
Oakley 169 38,968 129 34 1,319
Laguna Hills 170 31,127 191 32 1,561
Fountain Valley 171 56,670 194 30 1,956
Livingston 172 13,703 104 66 2,152
Laguna Niguel 173 64,984 211 36 964
Williams 174 5,160 104 42 1,356
Escondido 175 149,912 141 28 2,360
Watsonville 176 52,915 141 31 3,314
Brawley 177 25,776 97 21 4,224
Moreno Valley 178 202,061 111 24 3,461
Chowchilla 179 18,195 98 36 2,313
Newark 180 44,677 170 11 2,417
Moraga 181 16,977 279 10 930
Mountain View 182 78,827 259 20 2,237
Clayton 183 11,655 204 21 986
San Dimas 184 34,109 160 12 2,052
Indio 185 85,401 114 16 3,133
Whittier 186 86,630 157 22 2,869
Folsom 187 74,960 157 23 1,846
Huntington Beach 188 198,724 202 28 2,329
Riverbank 189 23,761 110 59 3,013
Signal Hill 190 11,404 142 16 4,735
Simi Valley 191 126,126 162 29 1,393
Danville 192 43,758 266 15 1,042
Claremont 193 35,827 171 8 2,489
Waterford 194 8,708 104 67 2,457
Berkeley 195 118,585 231 10 4,665
Desert Hot Springs 196 28,092 96 9 4,727
Mendota 197 11,394 98 36 3,150
Huron 198 6,821 105 44 3,181
Napa 199 79,567 157 40 1,965
Hughson 200 7,160 121 60 2,150
Dana Point 201 34,009 222 41 1,570
Porterville 202 58,472 100 62 2,329
Banning 203 30,643 104 23 2,437
Seaside 204 34,120 141 51 1,825
Ceres 205 47,231 105 55 3,660
Hayward 206 154,507 149 8 3,545
Windsor 207 27,318 154 65 1,244
Pasadena 208 140,268 194 21 2,754
Yucca Valley 209 21,362 96 20 2,846
Avenal 210 13,590 105 55 1,265
Dinuba 211 23,465 100 23 4,773
Richmond 212 108,303 120 17 4,731
Menlo Park 213 33,319 368 14 1,851
Rolling Hills Estates 214 8,206 307 12 1,474
Orinda 215 18,936 314 11 1,008
Arvin 216 20,562 90 89 3,209
Moorpark 217 35,594 175 35 887
Arcadia 218 57,755 249 24 2,110
Winters 219 6,974 120 23 2,523
Dixon 220 19,144 131 21 2,512
Coachella 221 43,826 96 22 3,007
Norco 222 26,809 153 9 2,566
Poway 223 49,675 181 20 1,018
Exeter 224 10,504 107 46 3,351
Loma Linda 225 23,859 129 20 3,059
Beverly Hills 226 34,627 578 9 3,413
Orland 227 7,504 104 79 1,905
Morgan Hill 228 41,839 198 22 1,618
Sonoma 229 10,952 172 41 1,826
Yucaipa 230 52,886 122 31 1,983
Coronado 231 24,852 288 5 2,261
Highland 232 54,490 115 25 2,872
Fairfax 233 7,598 208 27 1,579
Pittsburg 234 67,998 121 26 3,730
Camarillo 235 66,630 172 40 1,556
Gustine 236 5,684 97 51 3,430
Irvine 237 246,992 215 27 1,281
Los Altos Hills 238 8,376 703 11 895
Pleasanton 239 77,046 237 18 1,693
San Marino 240 13,324 433 20 1,696
Hanford 241 54,912 99 31 3,937
Cerritos 242 49,797 189 20 3,235
Rancho Cordova 243 69,482 119 20 2,805
Los Banos 244 37,012 105 63 2,790
Delano 245 52,538 96 74 3,237
Lemoore 246 25,169 104 33 3,095
Encinitas 247 62,160 224 22 1,628
Los Gatos 248 30,491 329 9 2,095
Mill Valley 249 14,318 287 21 1,389
Visalia 250 128,738 106 37 3,324
Lodi 251 63,842 115 42 3,735
Marysville 252 12,176 101 31 4,870
Lincoln 253 45,675 143 49 1,050
Oceanside 254 173,829 146 34 2,666
Wildomar 255 34,775 127 36 1,693
Petaluma 256 59,757 165 42 2,131
Menifee 257 84,978 126 34 1,892
American Canyon 258 20,334 138 31 3,063
Lompoc 259 43,678 119 127 2,305
Livermore 260 86,493 181 24 2,008
Glendora 261 51,285 160 15 2,548
Oxnard 262 204,752 142 48 3,548
Villa Park 263 5,922 300 20 1,502
Coalinga 264 16,609 96 56 2,625
Pinole 265 19,040 141 20 3,681
Agoura Hills 266 20,689 216 24 1,213
Salinas 267 155,889 128 49 3,992
Vallejo 268 119,644 116 26 4,940
Brentwood 269 56,923 152 31 2,375
Perris 270 73,718 108 28 2,828
Tracy 271 86,382 139 36 2,767
Carpinteria 272 13,553 212 69 1,593
Tiburon 273 9,170 424 17 1,177
Ripon 274 14,971 136 50 1,843
San Clemente 275 65,082 222 41 1,161
Beaumont 276 42,191 114 25 2,476
Palo Alto 277 66,649 415 12 2,037
Calabasas 278 24,091 250 19 1,124
Martinez 279 37,544 153 19 2,788
Atherton 280 7,127 751 14 1,094
Atwater 281 28,906 105 62 4,172
Rio Vista 282 8,055 122 36 1,911
Hesperia 283 92,664 103 28 2,804
Modesto 284 208,512 109 54 5,223
Patterson 285 21,205 114 43 3,140
Escalon 286 7,382 119 58 2,451
Truckee 287 16,231 168 24 1,121
Manteca 288 73,570 125 48 3,093
Monrovia 289 37,090 175 23 2,062
Gridley 290 6,558 97 46 3,888
Temecula 291 108,965 142 42 2,418
Benicia 292 27,780 168 24 1,835
Stockton 293 301,443 106 51 5,684
Vacaville 294 95,607 134 31 2,986
Hemet 295 82,748 103 28 4,576
Brea 296 41,351 182 17 2,846
Sebastopol 297 7,630 192 57 1,756
Lafayette 298 25,381 300 12 1,796
Palm Springs 299 46,714 123 2 6,458
Pacific Grove 300 15,546 207 51 2,129
Carlsbad 301 112,008 198 27 1,727
El Segundo 302 16,901 237 1 3,467
Palm Desert 303 51,045 133 10 4,541
Ridgecrest 304 28,604 99 108 2,055
Costa Mesa 305 112,439 191 32 3,361
Thousand Oaks 306 128,623 194 32 1,342
Cloverdale 307 8,763 135 77 2,122
Concord 308 126,938 151 21 4,459
San Juan Capistrano 309 36,006 193 38 1,235
Los Alamitos 310 11,661 235 22 1,886
La Habra Heights 311 5,406 227 21 1,054
Apple Valley 312 71,455 103 39 2,611
Paradise 313 26,396 104 73 2,151
Grover Beach 314 13,484 145 124 2,788
Merced 315 81,461 104 55 3,930
Paradise 316 26,396 104 78 2,151
Pleasant Hill 317 34,395 184 17 5,227
Turlock 318 71,166 114 59 4,049
Antioch 319 108,675 127 29 4,636
Santa Rosa 320 173,165 149 56 2,590
El Cerrito 321 24,646 138 14 4,069
Adelanto 322 32,311 90 37 3,029
Goleta 323 30,671 208 89 1,490
Novato 324 54,790 190 30 1,551
Tulare 325 61,664 100 44 4,072
El Cerrito 326 24,646 138 15 4,069
Auburn 327 13,858 137 30 2,446
Lake Elsinore 328 60,230 114 29 2,971
Santa Cruz 329 63,310 199 16 5,992
Palmdale 330 156,823 108 46 2,588
Victorville 331 121,320 95 35 4,134
Scotts Valley 332 11,824 196 21 2,376
Willows 333 6,080 98 65 3,108
Sausalito 334 7,115 253 17 3,555
Commerce 335 12,997 127 15 8,017
Calistoga 336 5,281 166 54 1,439
Santa Maria 337 103,642 127 133 3,361
Firebaugh 338 8,176 97 41 4,574
San Jacinto 339 46,375 105 27 4,260
Capitola 340 10,109 183 26 6,499
Susanville 341 15,555 106 78 2,712
Walnut Creek 342 67,568 205 15 3,719
Lancaster 343 159,651 105 53 2,851
Rancho Mirage 344 17,876 160 6 3,949
Indian Wells 345 5,194 203 13 2,425
Oakdale 346 21,796 119 65 3,968
Seal Beach 347 24,510 225 23 2,121
San Francisco 348 850,282 243 36 6,098
La Quinta 349 39,801 143 18 3,545
Newport Beach 350 86,813 371 35 2,291
Shafter 351 17,801 93 94 2,853
Calimesa 352 8,379 114 31 3,293
San Rafael 353 58,948 221 23 3,150
South Lake Tahoe 354 21,506 135 40 2,920
Mammoth Lakes 355 8,035 138 70 1,729
Fairfield 356 110,953 128 38 3,958
Placerville 357 10,540 121 42 3,130
Tehachapi 358 13,179 107 82 2,731
Marina 359 20,816 147 47 2,502
Redlands 360 70,442 133 24 4,236
Santa Cruz 361 63,310 199 27 5,992
St. Helena 362 5,995 236 49 1,034
Ukiah 363 15,884 124 92 4,312
Atascadero 364 29,516 148 104 1,761
Ojai 365 7,581 182 59 1,714
Solvang 366 5,552 189 108 1,621
Santa Fe Springs 367 17,436 143 19 6,870
Clearlake 368 15,070 93 58 5,162
Bakersfield 369 367,555 104 103 4,427
Yreka 370 7,598 98 46 4,738
Barstow 371 23,438 88 64 4,258
Blythe 372 19,675 91 68 4,249
Arroyo Grande 373 17,842 176 123 2,286
Healdsburg 374 11,614 181 68 2,212
Taft 375 9,128 101 100 3,527
Chico 376 89,377 123 74 3,975
Laguna Beach 377 23,204 353 36 2,266
Oroville 378 18,884 101 55 5,745
Corning 379 7,548 107 90 4,557
Santa Barbara 380 90,922 247 80 2,959
Grass Valley 381 12,861 135 46 6,103
Eureka 382 27,002 113 127 8,595
Fortuna 383 11,917 114 139 4,439
Fort Bragg 384 7,260 130 129 3,898
Big Bear Lake 385 5,149 125 36 5,942
Monterey 386 28,472 186 52 3,993
Red Bluff 387 14,065 107 107 7,394
Malibu 388 12,853 461 22 2,621
San Luis Obispo 389 46,716 185 117 3,594
Arcata 390 17,775 124 121 4,388
Anderson 391 10,156 105 126 7,020
Morro Bay 392 10,519 166 116 2,699
Redding 393 91,320 115 127 4,964
Pismo Beach 394 7,984 192 124 5,172

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