Dec 29, 2022

The 10 best coastal cities to retire to in California

Manny Cominsky

Retiring to a coastal city in California can be a dream come true for many people. With its warm weather, stunning beaches, and diverse culture, California has long been a popular destination for retirees seeking a high quality of life. From the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles to the quaint and charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, there is something for everyone in California. If you are considering retiring to a coastal city in California, you will have no shortage of options. In this article check out some of the best coastal cities in California to retire to, and explore the reasons why they might be the perfect fit for you. 

San Diego 

San Diego is a bustling city in southern California that is situated on the Pacific coast. It is renowned for its stunning beaches, top-notch dining options, and thriving artistic community. For individuals looking for top-notch healthcare, San Diego is a terrific destination to retire because it is also home to a number of prominent hospitals and medical institutions. With year-round average temperatures in the mid-60s to mid-70s, San Diego enjoys a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. San Diego is also a convenient location for day getaways and brief vacations because it is only a short drive from Mexico.

San Diego is known for some of the country's most beautiful and iconic beaches, like in historic Coronado.


With a range of beach-side cliffs, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a charming town located on the central coast of California. It is known for its beautiful beaches, world-class restaurants, and vibrant arts scene. Carmel-by-the-Sea has a refreshing breeze that residents describe as a constant breath of fresh air. Similar to other cities mentioned on this list, Carmel-by-the-Sea also boasts beautiful golf courses that are sure to keep you entertained.  

Santa Barbara

Known for its Mediterranean-style architecture, beautiful beaches, and world-class wineries, Santa Barbara is a picturesque destination that feels like a slice of paradise. Santa Barbara has a warm and sunny climate, and the city is also home to a number of hospitals and medical facilities. With plenty of hiking trails, perfect weather, and a main street that is filled with restaurants and boutiques, you’ll never be bored in this quaint town. Santa Barbara is also home to a number of excellent golf courses, making it a great place for retirees who enjoy hitting the links. 

Spend time relaxing, enjoying nice restaurants, and shopping in Santa Barbara's iconic and peaceful downtown.

Pacific Grove

Nestled along the central coast of California, Pacific Grove is a charming city that boasts beautiful beaches, quaint Victorian homes, and a peaceful atmosphere. Overall, Pacific Grove is a great place to enjoy outdoor activities such as walking, biking, and golfing. In addition to its healthcare offerings, Pacific Grove has a strong sense of community and a variety of social and cultural activities for retirees to enjoy. These factors, combined with its beautiful setting and relaxed atmosphere, make Pacific Grove an attractive destination for those seeking a high quality of life in retirement.

San Francisco

San Francisco is known for its vibrant arts scene, world-class restaurants, and iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Furthermore, being located near Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, and Reno, there are plenty of options for residents to explore. Although it is more expensive, San Francisco has some of the nation’s best food, accompanied by a thriving city that has plenty of entertainment and a beautiful natural environment. For these reasons, we believe that San Francisco is a wonderful city to retire to in California. 


If you're considering retiring in Monterey, you'll be pleased to know that the city offers a high quality of life for its residents. One major advantage is the relatively low traffic, which allows for easy travel around the city and access to all of its amenities. In addition to being able to reach the beach in a short drive, Monterey has a diverse range of restaurants and cuisines for you to enjoy. The city also has a strong educational system and healthcare system, ensuring that your needs in these areas will be well taken care of. Speaking of education and adventure, Monterey is also home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Overall, Monterey is a great place to retire and enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle. 

Historic Fisherman's Wharf is one of the many coastal attractions in Monterey.


Eureka, California is definitely a retirement destination worth considering. Located on the Humboldt Bay, Eureka is a charming port city that is rich in history and culture. With its stunning Victorian architecture and 13 distinct neighborhoods that meet the criteria for the National Register of Historic Places, Eureka has been deemed the West Coast's version of Williamsburg, Virginia. One of the standout features of Eureka is its thriving art scene. The city has been named the #1 best small art town in America by John Villani's book "The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America," and regularly hosts events like the monthly "Arts' Alive!" gala. With more than 40 businesses and galleries participating, it's a great opportunity to explore the local art scene. Eureka is also surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including Redwood National Park. Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in the city's art and culture scene, explore the great outdoors, or simply enjoy a laid-back lifestyle in a charming and historic setting, Eureka has a lot to offer. 

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is a town located in California that is known for its art scene, beaches, and outdoor activities. Local beaches, such as Aliso Beach, Thalia Beach, and Rockpile Beach, are extremely popular surfing spots. Boating and whale-watching cruises are also available in the area, and the town is also known for its scuba diving and snorkeling spots, such as Christmas Cove and Cleo Street Beach. Laguna Beach hosts several art festivals each year, including the Summer Means Art Festivals, the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, the Festival of Arts, and the Pageant of Masters. The town also hosts First Thursday Art Walks, where residents can visit over 40 local galleries and see public art installations. Inland, Laguna Beach has three main parks with hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the Hortense Miller Garden and the Laughter Yoga Institute. Overall, Laguna Beach is the perfect place to retire for those who enjoy adventure and outdoor activities. 

Laguna Beach is an incredibly popular retirement destination in southern California.

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, California is a great place to retire due to its excellent weather and rich beach culture. Additionally, with over 300 days of sunshine each year and no days at or below freezing, Huntington Beach has a comfort index of 9.7 out of 10, making it one of the best places in the world for weather. As the host of the U.S. Open Surfing Championship, Huntington Beach is known as "Surf City," and boasts plenty of entertainment on the coast. In addition to these benefits, Huntington Beach also has lots of outdoor activities to enjoy as well as a wide range of retirement communities to choose from. Overall, Huntington Beach is a great place to retire for those who value safety, good weather, and an active outdoor culture.

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, also known as "SLO" or "Happy Town," is an excellent place to retire due to its many cultural and recreational opportunities. Located on California's Central Coast, San Luis Obispo is known for its stunning natural beauty including rolling hills, breathtaking ocean views, and spectacular beaches. The city is also home to a thriving wine industry with numerous vineyards, which offer numerous opportunities for wine tasting. In addition to its natural beauty, San Luis Obispo is a vibrant and culturally rich city, with a wide range of cultural attractions including galleries, museums, and performing arts centers. The city also has a vibrant downtown area, with events such as the popular San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market and Art After Dark. In terms of healthcare, San Luis Obispo is a great place to retire. It is home to two major private hospitals, French Hospital Medical Center and Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, which offer a range of medical and surgical services. Overall, San Luis Obispo is an excellent place to retire, with its beautiful natural surroundings, cultural attractions, and excellent healthcare.

California is home to some of the most beautiful coastal cities in the country. Whether you are looking for a bustling metropolis or a charming small town, there is something for everyone in California. With their warm and sunny climates, top-quality healthcare, and excellent golf courses, California’s coastal cities are sure to provide you with an amazing retirement lifestyle. To learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior living more affordable for you or your loved one, send us an email at or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and is on a mission to make senior living affordable for everyone.

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