The charming town of Solvang, California. Editorial credit: HannaTor /

8 Top-Ranked Towns In Southern California For Retirees

In many minds, Southern California is associated with pretty beaches, palm trees, and incredible weather. While it is not as cheap a retirement venue as some Southern states such as Mississippi or Oklahoma, these features can make one flourish and bloom into his golden years. Plus, medical access here is fairly good, if not excellent. From Seal Beach to Ojai, discover below eight top-rated towns in Southern California for retirees.

Seal Beach

Seals at Seal Beach, California
Seals at Seal Beach, California.

Seal Beach is in Southern California's Orange County, which retirees love for its delightful blend of nice weather and pretty beaches. The community at Seal Beach is friendly, and amenities abound, including parks, libraries, and restaurants. Besides, Seal Beach is just 30 miles from downtown L.A. Even San Diego, California's second-largest city, is only an hour and a half away by car. Seal Beach, therefore, may miss anything — but not the amenities a retiree would prioritize — such as excellent hospitals. According to, seniors aged 55 and above constitute a massive 58% of the town's population. As an empty-nester, opportunities to meet similarly-aged folks are so numerous that you may need to do some thinning. Finally, homes at Seal Beach fetch a median price of $351,000. By California standards, this sounds like a giveaway.


The charming town of Solvang, California.

The charming town of Solvang, California. Editorial credit: Benny Marty /

For its authentic Danish culture, the many awesome wineries that abound in its precincts, and its small, intimate feel, Solvang should be on every retiree's radar. The environment here comes with the feeling of living in a large theme park — while the community is known to be generous and caring — even if a bit affluent. While the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital will be at your doorstep and is among the town's decent collection of reputable health facilities, more medical options abound in Santa Barbara, just 33 miles down the road. With a median age of about 51, retirement here may just come with the opportunity to make new friends and expand one's social circle. Solvang is also fairly diverse and boasts a significant presence of Hispanics (20.1%).

Palm Springs

Palm Springs, California.
Palm Springs, California.

Aside from the feeling of being welcomed and cared for, Palm Springs, an iconic Southern California resort town known for its desert beauty, has many features retirees often prioritize. One can be star-gazing, lounging by the pool (Tahquitz Falls is particularly awesome), or enjoying early-morning hikes in any of the area's scenic trails. And if recent data is anything to go by, homes in Palm Springs fetch a median price of $665,000. This is relatively affordable, especially considering California's median home price is $739,100. Plus, Desert Regional Medical Center, recognized for the Joint Replacement Excellence Award, will be at your doorstep. Better still, since Rancho Mirage is only 11 miles down the road, the highly-ranked Eisenhower Medical Center can be an option. 

Rancho Mirage

Upscale neighborhood in Rancho Mirage, California.
Upscale neighborhood in Rancho Mirage, California. Editorial credit: Angel DiBilio /

Not only does Rancho Mirage give retirees the chance to retire close to one of the best hospitals in Southern California, but it also boasts a wonderful community, provides quick and convenient access to a nice airport (Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), and offers a heaven-like golfing experience. This Southern California is slower, quainter, and seems purposely designed for retirees. This fact is lent credit by the town's median age, which stands at a mellowed-out 65 years. You will enjoy chatting and laughing about your retirement experiences with folks going through the same experience. As of January 2024, homes in Rancho Mirage were fetching a median price of $915,000.


Vacation homes along the sea in Avalon, California.
Vacation homes along the sea in Avalon, California.

Looking like a transported European village, Avalon is so charming it can easily make a retiree look half his age. While small and home to just about 3,200 residents, Avalon is vivacious and features a decent collection of grocery stores, small mom-and-pop shops, and other hard-to-live-without amenities. Catalina Island Medical Center, for instance, is right in town and caters to the medical needs of retirees. That said, Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, recognized for America's 50 Best Hospitals Award, is just 30 miles across the water. You can make catching magical sunsets by the water a routine. Also, Hermit Gulch Campground is serene and peaceful and is an excellent venue for those seeking some minutes of seclusion.

Pismo Beach

Beachcombers stroll along the shore in Pismo Beach, California
Beachcombers stroll along the shore in Pismo Beach, California.

Pismo Beach offers retirees the chance to catch waves on the world's largest ocean, take evening walks on a beautiful pier, and explore caves near Dinosaur Park. Retirees love this town, and if the data is anything to go by — they seem to vote with their feet. Pismo Beach's median age, for instance, stands at 58.2 years. This implies you will find folks who know something about The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, and Lionel Richie. While you can find essentials within town, San Luis Obispo is just a 15-minute drive away. In case of a medical emergency, one can get to the French Hospital Medical Center in S.L.O in a jiffy. French Hospital Medical Center is the recipient of several awards, including the Patient Safety Excellence Award. Still, if you prefer buying property to renting, you may need to set aside $925,000, the median price of homes in Pismo Beach.

Los Osos

Montana de Oro State Park, Los Osos, California
Montana de Oro State Park, Los Osos, California. Image credit: David Seibold via

Retirees will love a sweet mix of suburban and rural feel here, in environs where a majority of residents are homeowners. While one should never throw caution to the wind, Los Osos will tempt first-time residents to lower their guard. This is because residents here are so warm and welcoming. Since San Luis Obispo is the town's next-door neighbor, a retiree will not need to worry about medical access, shopping venues, and other big-city amenities. Also, the most recent data from Redfin shows homes in Los Osos fetch a median home price of $830,000. However, that may be a small price to pay for the town's safe neighborhoods, beautiful beaches, friendly community, and outdoor offerings, including the spellbinding Sweet Springs Nature Preserve.


Mission and statue in downtown Ojai, California
Mission and statue in downtown Ojai, California.

One of Southern California's most underrated towns sits in the picturesque Ojai Valley, about 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles. A farmers market will ensure your table is constantly replenished with a constant supply of locally sourced fresh produce — while the area's serene mountain views can set your age back by years. The town's 7,420 residents have a median age of 49 years. According to, seniors aged 55 and above comprise 44% of the town's population. This means almost every second person down the street is a fellow empty nester and shows the town offers awesome social support. Also, Ojai Valley Community Hospital is highly ranked and has been recognized for the Outstanding Patient Experience Award. Still, Ventura and Santa Barbara are just down the road.

The Takeaway

Southern California residents sometimes proudly claim that their weather is for people — not penguins. In your golden years, you may want to prefer a warm climate and guard against exposure to extremely cold temperatures. And if you love retiring right on the water, beautiful natural scenery, and outdoor adventure, you may need to look no further. Fortunately, this region of California is dotted with numerous towns ideal for retirement. However, if seeking specific recommendations, Seal Beach, Solvang, and Palm Springs are among the top-rated towns in Southern California for retirees.

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