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Regional Guide Series: Moving to Southern California


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Moving to Southern California is an adventure full of sunshine, beach days, and big cities. Like anything else, the key to a successful PCS move is preparation. From finding your niche in your new area to navigating public transportation, we’ve got you covered with this guide for moving to Southern California.

Your Guide to Moving to Southern California


The California culture is a unique one. The state is a melting pot, and the culture is reflective of the diverse residents. California is a huge state filled with world-class cities, medium-sized towns, and charming rural areas. The result is a variety of cultures, depending on location.

The typical Southern California resident leads an active, healthy lifestyle, enjoys some form of board sport, and spends time outside in the mostly-sunny climate. 


Southern California is sunny and warm, with temperatures typically staying between 65 and 75.

Throughout the region, the further you are from the coast, the more extreme the weather gets. If you head east and gain enough elevation, winters are snowy, and summers are hot and dry. But even near the beaches, good skiing is always within reach, and many Southern Californians participate in winter sports.

Shopping & Errands

To get to know your new California home, familiarize yourself with the area’s shopping, big box stores, and grocery stores. You can use online reviews and on-base recommendations to guide you, and residents can find everything from chain stores to small, local grocery stores. Fresh produce is the name of the game in this sunny state, and there’s sure to be at least one (if not more!) local farmers market in your new neighborhood. 


California’s “car culture” has resulted in more traffic on the freeways and more expensive parking options. Rush hour is usually from 7 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 6 pm.

The more rural areas of Southern California will have less traffic. Still, if you are moving to a major city, you might want to consider using both a personal car and public transportation. If you’re traveling up and down the state, the Pacific Surfliner is a beautiful train ride that hugs San Diego's coast to San Luis Obispo. The Coaster commuter train is also a great route that will take you from Camp Pendleton/Oceanside down to downtown San Diego for just about $10.

Things To Do

Southern California is packed with things to do that will please every member of the family.

For the workout or outdoor junkies, California’s many natural landscapes and national parks provide countless opportunities for adventure. In the wintertime, Big Bear and Mammoth Mountain are popular places to participate in snow sports. In the summer, surfing, skateboarding, and rollerblading are all popular activities.

The shopping scene in California is unmatched. Luxury shopping (or window shopping) opportunities are plentiful in Los Angeles, home to the world-famous Rodeo Drive. You can find charming boutique shops throughout the state, and outdoor malls are available so you can shop while soaking in that California climate.

Other activities to enjoy in California include visiting one of the many amusement parks (hello, Disneyland and Universal Studios!), botanical gardens, and zoos (the San Diego Zoo is a must).


California school districts vary greatly, so make sure to do your research before moving to ensure your kids are going to a school that aligns with their goals. Although you can easily find quality public schools with supportive teachers and nurturing environments, California is also home to some of the country's best private schools.


No matter where you live in Southern California, you’re sure to find a community that makes you feel at home. With millions of people inhabiting the state, the options are endless for meet-up groups, parent groups, fitness clubs, or book clubs. If you move to a Liberty Military Housing home, this sense of community comes included. We regularly host events for our residents that the whole family can enjoy. 

Health & Fitness

Many Californians are passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle. Residents can find countless group fitness classes, farmer's markets, wellness centers, and vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

That’s not to say that the typical Californian doesn’t enjoy the occasional burrito or two - in fact, they have access to some of the best in the country! They just balance it out with running, jogging, swimming, hiking, and other physical activities. Some locals enjoy working out at the many top-notch gyms and fitness centers, and some opt outside for their exercise. 


While healthy restaurants and eateries are located on every square block, California’s food scene is just as diverse as its population. The area is famous for its Mexican food, which ranges from 5-star-fancy to food-truck-casual. Either way, it’s off the charts.

When it comes to fast food, one place takes the cake - In ‘n’ Out Burger. This place is known across the country and has built a reputation for itself as the only place to go for burgers in California. Adored by locals and sought after by visitors, In ‘n’ Out Burger is a must-try for new residents. 

Lincoln Military Housing in Southern California

Lincoln Military Housing proudly offers military service members and their families premier off- and on-base military housing across Southern California, including Camp Pendleton, China Lake, El Centro, Miramar, San Diego, Seal Beach, Twentynine Palms, and Ventura. If you are about to call Southern California your new home, apply for military housing today and become part of the Liberty Military family!

If you are about to call Southern California your new home, apply for military housing today and become part of the Lincoln Military family!

Whether you’re moving to California to try something new or are called there for a PCS move, there’s nothing not to love about this region. From the sleepy beach towns to the rush of the city, Southern California residents will be the first to tell you the benefits of moving to The Golden State. Prepare for your move by knowing the culture, where to shop, how to get around, and how to meet new people.

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