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What other areas are like La Jolla?
Old 07-04-2014, 10:43 AM   #1
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What other areas are like La Jolla?

We are still researching our never ending quest for the perfect retirement spot. We decided our favorite vacation times have been staying in condos in nice resort settings in Hawaii, with La Jolla a close second.

Hawaii is out due to distance from family for now, so what other areas are the most Hawaii-like or La Jolla type areas of California, preferably cheaper than La Jolla? We don't have to be super close to the beach and jobs are not a factor, but we would like a condo with a nice pool or two in a tropical looking complex in a resort like setting in a walkable area. Not too hot so Palm Spring is out.

Any ideas are appreciated.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
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Get a condo with an extra bedroom in Hawaii which sounds like what you really want, based on your post. If you do that, your relatives will come to visit you. I guarantee it!

My mother always felt like she was running a bed and breakfast at our home in Hawaii, because of the constant stream of relatives and friends visiting from the mainland. That's a common situation there and most of our family friends there had the same thing going on.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:09 AM   #3
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Get a condo with an extra bedroom in Hawaii which sounds like what you really want, based on your post. If you do that, your relatives will come to visit you. I guarantee it!

My mother always felt like she was running a bed and breakfast at our home in Hawaii, because of the constant stream of relatives and friends visiting from the mainland. That's a common situation there and most of our family friends there had the same thing going on.
Hawaii is great to visit but we want to travel so Southern Cal would make a better home base for discount air fares or taking driving vacations.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:17 AM   #4
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I was browsing around Zillow in the SD area. Crazy expensive. Some places with way under 1000 sq. feet for about half a million.

What about the other coastal communities to the north, further away from the city center?

Or more inland?

I guess in the suburbs, maybe you don't have the same amenities -- density of restaurants and shops within walking distance, cultural and recreational events and activities, etc.

But presumably the weather would be good and maybe less congestion?
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:18 AM   #5
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You might try looking at the coastal communities north of La Jolla, less expensive and still the beach feel. Starting from the south to north, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside, and inland a bit, Vista. Recently a neighbor's parents moved here from back east for retirement and chose Fallbrook, with a more rural and less coastal feel. Generally, the home prices drop as you go north and inland. Lots of nice places in these areas.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:20 AM   #6
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What do you like about La Jolla in particular?
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:21 AM   #7
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Well, if you want warm/So Cal … perhaps Carlsbad, Oceaside, San Clemente, area would be workable. It's a little far to be commutable to San Diego or LA, so tends to be a little less crowded and *slightly* more affordable than La Jolla.

If you're not tied to SoCal warmth, then you might really like San Luis Obislpo, Santa Cruz or perhaps even the Big Sur area. They are all cheaper than La Jolla and have great funky feel/vibe. Colder water and weather/foggier for sure. Big Sur's towns can also feel a bit isolated - which is ideal for some, but if you want easy airport access, that's not the place.

Last but not least, and again no Cal, you might consider monterey or Carmel. More expensive than others and cooler/wetter, but striking distance to SF.

All have striking natural beauty -- its all about what you prefer.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:29 AM   #8
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What do you like about La Jolla in particular?
La Jolla won't annoy ya
La Mesa what a place-a
Salinas is as keen as it can be........

(Mel Tormé from "La Jolla")
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:42 AM   #9
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What do you like about La Jolla in particular?
The palm trees, beach, climate, resort like complexes we stayed at. DH has always pushed for moving to San Diego even before our semi-ER.

Plus I would like to find an area with lower per sq ft prices than where we are now for retirement. No point in sitting on real estate with access to tech job premiums when we no longer have local tech jobs.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:57 AM   #10
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I live "La Jolla adjacent". I love La Jolla but wouldn't want to live there full time for a few reasons. It's overcast more of the day than other beach areas because of the two deep canyons just offshore that go towards the pier and the cove. This deep water causes a fog layer to form - and Mt. Soledad holds that fog in. I'm just east of there and we make a point of looking towards Mt. Soledad to see if the beach is socked in, before we load the surfboard and boogie boards into the car.

La Jolla also has some traffic patterns that can lead to jams... there are only 3 ways out of La Jolla - to the north up by UCSD, to the west via 52, and to the south, via PB. All get clogged up during commute times.

Del Mar is likely to be as expensive, or more expensive than La Jolla. But there are definitely pockets of affordability (relative term) as you get north of Del Mar. Oceanside is the most affordable of the north county coastal towns.

If you go just east of La Jolla or Del Mar there are affordable options: UC/UTC, Carmel Valley, The east parts of Encinitas. I-5 demarks a big price differential in the north county beach communities.

If you're interested in a lot of local knowledge about communities, real estate values, etc... San Diego has a blog that's nothing but that:
Forums | Piggington's Econo-Almanac | San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
It was started during the lead up to the housing bubble, and remains strong almost 10 years later. The tagline of the blog is "In God We Trust; Everyone Else Bring Data" so people tend to talk factually about areas, statistics, price/sf, etc.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:10 PM   #11
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I was browsing around Zillow in the SD area. Crazy expensive. Some places with way under 1000 sq. feet for about half a million.

What about the other coastal communities to the north, further away from the city center?

Or more inland?

I guess in the suburbs, maybe you don't have the same amenities -- density of restaurants and shops within walking distance, cultural and recreational events and activities, etc.

But presumably the weather would be good and maybe less congestion?
Sure there are expensive parts, but overall SD prices seem to be at least a third less than the Bay Area for what is a different vibe, but arguably just as nice area to live, with newer housing stock.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:50 PM   #12
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Oceanside isn't super appealing to me.
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:05 PM   #13
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You might try looking at the coastal communities north of La Jolla, less expensive and still the beach feel. Starting from the south to north, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside, and inland a bit, Vista. Recently a neighbor's parents moved here from back east for retirement and chose Fallbrook, with a more rural and less coastal feel. Generally, the home prices drop as you go north and inland. Lots of nice places in these areas.
My cousin lived in Encinitas, and I visited often. Nice place, but really
anything from Marin County to the Mexican border is very good if you are close enough to the water.

Ha
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:23 PM   #14
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After several scouting trips around the U.S., DH and I knew we wanted to retire to SoCal. We first moved to an apartment in what was called "La Jolla" but was really in UTC. Driving to the beaches in La Jolla from UTC was very quick IF you avoided the morning and evening rush hours.

After looking at several condos throughout San Diego County, we went a little further north and ended up in south Orange County. We bought a tiny co-op (940 SF MOL) that's a 10-minute drive from beautiful Laguna Beach (again, that's doable by avoiding rush hours). Like La Jolla, there are limited roads from which to access Laguna Beach; traffic on summer weekends is not fun, but that's what's good about being retired! You can go on weekdays without running into much traffic at all.

Laguna Beach reminds me of La Jolla, with its coves and rocky shores, but Laguna Beach is a bit funkier, and dare I say it, more "real." Yes, there are lots of gazillion-dollar houses right on the beach, but the townspeople seem to me to be very friendly and down-to-earth compared to the folks we encountered in La Jolla.

If there's a chance you might be interested in the Laguna Beach area, there are several areas nearby to look at: Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, and a little further out, Mission Viejo. If you'd consider a 55+ community, Laguna Woods has a huge one with very reasonable (for the area) real estate prices. Dana Point is close and very nice, but doesn't have the variety of beaches that Laguna Beach has. You would just need to come out and look things over.
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:51 PM   #15
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Vista, which is slightly inland might be worth a look, although it has nice areas and not so nice areas. Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach are not as chi-chi as LJ but still nice. Inland Carlsbad is possibility. OC is also quite expensive, but cheaper as you go in land. I pushed hard for SLO or Monterey when we were looking, but got nowhere with that idea because of the "cold". Would Ashland or Medford OR be too cold? They are less rainy. What about Baja?
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:57 PM   #16
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After several scouting trips around the U.S., DH and I knew we wanted to retire to SoCal. We first moved to an apartment in what was called "La Jolla" but was really in UTC. Driving to the beaches in La Jolla from UTC was very quick IF you avoided the morning and evening rush hours.

After looking at several condos throughout San Diego County, we went a little further north and ended up in south Orange County. We bought a tiny co-op (940 SF MOL) that's a 10-minute drive from beautiful Laguna Beach (again, that's doable by avoiding rush hours). Like La Jolla, there are limited roads from which to access Laguna Beach; traffic on summer weekends is not fun, but that's what's good about being retired! You can go on weekdays without running into much traffic at all.

Laguna Beach reminds me of La Jolla, with its coves and rocky shores, but Laguna Beach is a bit funkier, and dare I say it, more "real." Yes, there are lots of gazillion-dollar houses right on the beach, but the townspeople seem to me to be very friendly and down-to-earth compared to the folks we encountered in La Jolla.

If there's a chance you might be interested in the Laguna Beach area, there are several areas nearby to look at: Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, and a little further out, Mission Viejo. If you'd consider a 55+ community, Laguna Woods has a huge one with very reasonable (for the area) real estate prices. Dana Point is close and very nice, but doesn't have the variety of beaches that Laguna Beach has. You would just need to come out and look things over.
We have looked at Laguna Woods online and it looks great but we'll probably hold off on the 55+ place until we are sure the kids won't need to boomerang. We looked at the Northern version of Laguna Woods / Leisure world the other week and liked the idea of living at a condo complex like that.

We have looked at Laguna Hills and surrounding area online and that is also another possibility. We are just trying to narrow down the search from up here and decide what areas to target before we take a driving trip. It seems like from the posts on other threads there might be less traffic in San Diego and maybe more affordable places closer to the coast.
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:10 PM   #17
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Vista, which is slightly inland might be worth a look, although it has nice areas and not so nice areas. Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach are not as chi-chi as LJ but still nice. Inland Carlsbad is possibility. OC is also quite expensive, but cheaper as you go in land. I pushed hard for SLO or Monterey when we were looking, but got nowhere with that idea because of the "cold". Would Ashland or Medford OR be too cold? They are less rainy. What about Baja?
I think we have it narrowed down to the North Bay up here, San Diego, OC or simply staying put. We want to stay major metro, coastal and sunny. I would rather not live in a chi-chi place like La Jolla, but we would like to have that kind of climate.

To me "cold" means ten degrees below zero, so I have to laugh when DH says it is too cold here, but the idea of even milder winters is appealing.

All the SD and OC suggestion so far seem nice, with quite a bit more in our price range to choose from than we would have if we stay local.
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:23 PM   #18
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If you want to avoid chi-chi... Consider OB (Ocean Beach). It's kind hippy-esque - but the houses on the hills (basically the west side of Pt. Loma if you look on a map) have some fantastic views. Not as many condo's though.

PB (Pacific Beach) has a lot of condos - many are w/in blocks of the beachs, others are closer to Crown Point and Mission Bay. I have friends who live in that area and love it.

If you don't mind smaller houses (vs condos), there are some really neat gentrifying neighborhood pockets in Bay Park - just east of Morena, south of Balboa Ave. New restaurants/shops seem to be drawing foot traffic and making it a walkable neighborhood. Again, on the hillside you get fabulous views of mission bay and ocean.

La Jolla is very chi-chi except for very small pockets - parts of Bird Rock are still more beachy than wealthy... but even that is changing as people by the bungalows and tear them down for high end homes.
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:26 PM   #19
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San Diego is huge and diverse. I suspect that you can find what you want. The 55+ coastal community is La Costa Glen, but if you aren't ready for that yet, Carlsbad is the coastal place to start. If you want to go inland (horrors! In the summer the tempereature goes over 80!), there is Rancho Bernardo, Scripps Ranch,and Poway where you will be able to find a nice townhouse. The giant sprawl that is Carmel Valley will also fit the bill, but you will need GPS and a trail of bread crumbs to find your way home. You might even consider downtown/Gaslamp/Little Italy if you tolerate hipsters and like restaurants. The prices everywhere, while shocking, are better than the Bay Area, it's just that LJ, point Loma, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Rancho Santa Fe are our version of Atherton
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:35 AM   #20
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Thanks again for all the great suggestions. We can look online and see promising looking condos in our price range, but from up here it is hard to know if the areas are next to glue factories for all we know, so it helps to have an insiders knowledge of places to target.

We definitely would not fit in La Jolla, we just like the weather there, and want to find a more middle class alternative.
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