By in Country Guides November 9, 2020

The OC is a place where many Holywood TV shows and movies were filmed, but surprisingly not the most famous one, The O.C., the hit TV series from the early 2000s. So if you think you know everything about life in OC, think twice. If you want to find out what living in Orange County really looks like, take a look at our guide. We gathered some essential information and facts every newcomer should know.

 Finding a new home in OC is the right decision if living by the ocean is your policy
Looking to settle down in the hottest area in Southern California? Take a look at our guide before you book any services.

Whether you’re planning a cross country or international moving to OC, you should do thorough research because it is more than just another sunny touristy spot on the West Coast in southern California. TV made OC famous worldwide but it also created some sort of an illusion about it, so if you’re moving to Orange County, don’t think you’ve seen it all. Stay open-minded and let OC surprise you.

Things You Should Know Before You Decide on Living in the OC

At the very beginning, we have to point out one crucial thing, OC is not an LA suburb. Many newcomers get confused about this, and since LA is around the corner, they naturally think OC is a part of it, but it is not. OC is conveniently located on the West Coast, right between Los Angeles and San Diego, and it consists of 34 cities. The population of OC continues to rise, and it is currently around 3.18 million residents, which makes it the sixth most populous county in the USA. If you’re looking for reasons to move here, we think 40 miles of gorgeous coastline and a climate with 278 sunny days per year is more than enough for living in Orange County CA.

Want to Know How OC Got Its Name? Read This:

It is actually pretty obvious, but there’s a tale to it. There are not many oranges growing in the OC today, and there were not many more back in 1889. when this name became official. At the time, locals were growing mainly grapes, but in an effort to promote the region, the authorities decided to focus on oranges. It all started from the name, but shortly after, in 1900, there were already a million orange and other citrus trees growing in this region, so it quickly became its main crop. So, how did all those oranges disappear? Once the popularity of OC started growing, the land got expensive, so slowly but surely, trees were replaced by tract houses.

 

Palm trees are a signature sign of Southern California. Park your car beneath them and enjoy the view.
Southern California used to be home to numerous citrus trees, including oranges, but today you won't find them so easily

Is It Expensive to Live in Orange County?

OC is not really known as the cheapest area in the US, but you can still find something for everyone’s budget. Orange County’s cost of living is known for being somewhat high. With the cost of living score around 107, it is a bit higher than the national average, but you can find smaller and more affordable towns further from the coast. If you want to know how much will it cost to stay in some of the most popular cities, take a look at this chart to find out more:

 IrvineNewport BeachSanta AnaAnaheim
Population
220,000
86,000
330,000
340,000
Average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apt, central location
$2,150
$2,200
$2,050
$1,800
Average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apt, outside of the center
$1,950
$2,380
$1,500
$1,500
Average monthly rent for a 3-bedroom apt, central location
$3,350
$5,950
$3,000
$3,000
Basic utilities for 914 square foot apt
$140
$185
$150
$185
A monthly pass for public transportation
$105
N/A
$69
$69
Average net salary, after-tax
$5,750
$8,450
$4,250
$3,950

Source: Numbeo

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Orange County?

The amount of money you’ll need for a comfortable lifestyle depends on a lot of factors. If this is an employee relocation, you probably don’t have to worry about a lot of things because your company will take care of the majority. But if you’re moving alone and you don’t have a job waiting for you, you should prepare your savings. Luckily, many companies from the Fortune 500 list are located here. OC is not just Disneyland, but a thriving hub for business, so prepare your CV and start applying. Your lifestyle and spending habits will determine how much you need and what is comfortable for you, but you’ll need at least around $55,000 per year.

What’s the Cost of Packing Your Stuff and Moving Internationally to OC

If you’re moving across the world to OC to experience living overseas, prepare your documents for moving abroad, and start curating a checklist for moving abroad expenses. Whether you’re moving internationally by sea or by air, you’ll need to count in the cost of boxes and moving supplies, renting storage, packing services, and maybe even oversized freight. Also, overseas vehicle shipping can be a convenient service because you’ll need a car to explore the West Coast. Just make sure you know how to prepare a car for overseas shipping. The best time to relocate overseas to OC is whenever you’re ready, but we suggest you consider moving during the holidays if you’re on a budget.

 

When moving internationally and booking overseas shipping services, make sure to thoroughly inspect the company's policy and reputation
Many people who are moving overseas choose the sunny OC for their new home

What Is the Best Place to Live in Orange County? Irvine, Newport, Anaheim, or Garden Grove?

Before you start packing to move, you should first narrow down your options for house-hunting. It is not just about adjusting to a new country. Every city is a story for itself, so you need to pick the one that suits your needs. Is the proximity to pet-friendly beaches your main criteria if you’re moving with pets? Business opportunities and affordable housing? Best places to live abroad with family and school districts? OC has a suburban vibe, but you can still find very vibrant cities packed with young professionals. Let’s see what some of the greatest places in OC are.

Irvine, a Great Place for Education and Business Opportunities

This is one of the bigger and most popular cities, and it has more than 200,000 residents. It often ranks as one of the safest, best, and even happiest places in the USA. The city is planned and divided into several townships with its neighborhood associations. Numerous parks make it great for people moving with dogs and children, but besides families, it also attracts young professionals and video games fanatics due to the fact that it is home to Blizzard Entertainment, the most successful video game developer.

Newport, a Coastal Gem

This is a coastal gem with around 86,000 residents and some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. The community is very active, outdoorsy, and there’s always something going on by the beach. Whether you want to swim, fish, or sail, you can do it here. This is a clean, safe community, and with 10 miles of coastline, it is a surfer’s paradise. It is very expensive, but it still has that laid back beach lifestyle. Numerous shopping options, top-ranked schools, and great restaurants are only some additional reasons why you’ll never have a dull moment in Newport, regardless of age.

Anaheim, the Most Populous OC Community

The most populous city in OC, Anaheim, is mainly famous because of Disneyland. However, Anaheim is much more than that. Founded by German families back in 1857, Anaheim was mostly focused on agriculture until Disneyland resort opened in 1955. Today it is an important industrial center for electronics and aircraft parts. If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience, visiting Anaheim’s Packing District is a must, but if you’re into sports, you’ll enjoy watching the local hockey team, Anaheim Ducks. And of course, the famous Los Angeles Angels MLB team that plays here is a major attraction for all baseball fans.

Garden Grove, a Strawberry City in the County of Oranges

Although it is not directly at the coast, Garden Grove is only 10 minutes away from Seal Beach. More than half of residents are renting, and the median rent is around $ 1,500. Garden Grove has a large population of Vietnamese-Americans and Korean-Americans, and numerous restaurants serving excellent Vietnamese specialties. Speaking of specialties, here they have a culture of growing strawberries and even a festival with a parade and carnival dedicated to them. If you’re a fan of strawberries, join a population of around 170,000 residents. This is one of the bigger cities in OC that attracts people of all ages. Its motto is “The City of Youth and Ambition,” and its most famous landmark is the Crystal Cathedral, a stunning masterpiece of architecture.

Gather all the pros and cons and compare them to find the right fit for you
Have you picked the right spot for you? There are 34 cities to choose from.

Suburbs to Consider When House-Hunting Around OC

If you’re looking to settle down in a smaller community, some of the best places to live in Orange County CA, are its suburbs. Now, pretty much the entire OC has that suburban vibe, but obviously, bigger cities have its urban core and a hub where everything happens. If you’re looking for a slower pace of life, be sure to check out:

  • San Clemente has a population of around 65,000 residents, and it can be considered a suburb of Irvine.
  • Laguna Beach, Irvine’s suburb, is where you’ll find some of the most expensive properties if you’re looking to become a homeowner. Still, Laguna Beach is a beautiful spot, definitely worth higher rent.
  • Laguna Niguel is located on the southeastern corner of OC, on San Joaquin Hills, close to the ocean. The median household income is almost double that of the national average, and you can find many upscale neighborhoods in this suburb.
  • Rancho Santa Margarita is one of the youngest towns in OC, it was incorporated in 2000, but it already has almost 50,000 residents, and growing popularity, even though it is not on the coast.

 

 It is hard to choose among so many great places, which is why you should dedicate some time to it
Choose your spot next to the ocean and enjoy OC's year-long summer

Take a Look at What’s So Great About Living in Orange County

Although it might seem that all OC cities are somewhat similar, this region is actually very diverse and offers something for everyone. So pack your shoes for exploring and look at some of the fantastic things that could be in your neighborhood if you move to OC.

Is Orange County a Good Place to Live?

If you’re lacking some positive thoughts about moving overseas, we suggest you read a few inspiring quotes about moving. Try not to worry too much about how to keep in touch with friends; we are sure they can’t wait for your invite to come over. Adjusting to a new country might be challenging, especially if you’re going alone, but when you’re moving to such a paradise on earth like OC, trust us, it is all worth it. If you don’t know what to pack, start with your summer clothes because that’s pretty much all you’ll need, and don’t hesitate to book your Orange County international moving company today.