Headed to America’s Finest City? You’ll be in good company—namely the 13,000 other people who moved to San Diego County last year. San Diego is a popular destination in California, capturing 8% of the state’s total population, making it the second most populated county, behind #1, Los Angeles. (No surprise there!)

Plus, if you’re headed to San Diego from Hawaii, you’ll be close enough to make regular visits, with plenty of direct flights between the destinations. Perhaps as a result of this proximity, we see plenty of moves in both directions. In fact, according to IRS data, when people leave California, Hawaii is the 17th most popular state destination. (Texas is #1, if you’re curious!)

If you’re interested in moving to Hawaii from San Diego—and you need a little motivation to push you over the edge—check out our article on the top ten reasons to move to Hawaii.

However, if you’re thinking of making San Diego your home, keep reading. We’ll show you all the reasons why people are flocking to this southern California destination, give you a head start on deciding which neighborhood to call your own, and even offer a few tips on making the most of your time San Diego.

Why Make the Move to San Diego?

If the fact that San Diego’s residents were named the second-most attractive in the United States by Travel + Leisure magazine isn’t enough to convince you to make the move to San Diego, maybe these five reasons will push you over the edge:

1. (Nearly Perfect) Weather Year Round

If you’re coming from Hawaii, you’re probably already used to fairly temperate weather. You’ll enjoy similarly steady weather in San Diego. In fact, Zillow ranked San Diego’s weather as the “most pleasant” in the U.S. Temperatures hover between 55 and 75 degrees year-round, with no significant threats of rain or snow. So if you’re sad about leaving Hawaii’s beautiful weather behind, there’s nothing to worry about. Perfectly pleasant weather awaits you in San Diego.

2. Beaches—and the Watersports You Love

If you’re the kind of person who enjoyed Hawaii’s beaches and all the activities the ocean has to offer, San Diego will offer an easy transition. You’ll find miles of beautiful beaches to enjoy, as well as plenty of opportunities for surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, boogie boarding, and even scuba diving. But don’t ditch your wetsuit! Average ocean temperatures in San Diego sit around 68 degrees, which is likely a bit colder than you’re used to in Hawaii. A little neoprene can go a long way toward enjoying your ocean time in San Diego.

3. A Vibrant, Growing Culinary Scene

Whether it’s the abundance of fresh ingredients—like locally caught fish or seasonal produce—or the fact that there’s less pressure on chefs in a smaller market like San Diego, recent years have seen an explosion in the diversity and quality of the culinary scene. If living in Hawaii whets your appetite for exploration of the gastronomic kind, you’ll find it easy to satiate yourself in San Diego.

4. Plenty of Opportunities to Enjoy Nature

Living in Hawaii means being surrounded by nature at pretty much all times. San Diego is no different. The area boasts plenty of scenic hikes through mountain and desert terrain, as well as coastal trails that offer tantalizing views of the Pacific Ocean. As in Hawaii, it’s all waiting for you at the end of a relatively short drive, making it easy to get your nature fix when you need it.

5. Proximity to a Ton of Fun Adventures

As opposed to living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, living in San Diego leaves you perfectly positioned to enjoy a number of quick weekend escapes. Las Vegas is a half-days’ drive. Big Bear Mountain, which offers great skiing and snowboarding in the winter, is just under three hours away. Hop a quick flight to San Francisco to experience a different side of California or take a trip south of the border to visit the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s wine country. These—and more—can be easily accomplished in a weekend with time to spare (no trans-Pacific flight needed)!

Now that you know what’s awaiting you in San Diego, let’s take a quick look at where you might want to live.

What’s the Best Place to Live in San Diego?

san diego trolley

As the United States’ eighth-largest city, San Diego is chock full of diverse places to live. It all depends on what you’re looking for! Whether you want to enjoy downtown living in a place like Hillcrest, Mission Hills or South Park, or you’re more into the coastal living opportunities that La Jolla and Coronado have to offer, a little research will go a long way toward helping you find a place that fits you perfectly.

That being said, we’d love to put one neighborhood on your radar: Del Mar. Just a short, 20-minute drive north from downtown San Diego, Del Mar offers an urban/suburban feel with plenty of quiet neighborhoods and walkable streets lined with galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and more.

Overall, Del Mar is a family-friendly area. Residents have access to a school system that’s ranked in the state’s top ten. Additionally, although Del Mar offers easy access to plenty of shopping and other amenities, many of the homes in the area are clustered in neighborhoods that make it easy to get to know the people living around you.

Del Mar is also a perfect jumping-off point to explore the area, whether you want to enjoy the annual San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar racetrack, drive up the scenic Highway 101 to take in all the charming coastal towns or head east for a hike in the mountains.

Finally, if you’re wondering what kind of activities you’ll enjoy once you move to San Diego, we’ve got some ideas for you.

6 Fun Ways to Enjoy San Diego Living

bell tower balboa park at sunrise

1. Take a Craft Brew Tour

The craft beer scene in San Diego is second to none. More than 120 craft breweries have a presence in the area, including Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey, Modern Times, Green Flash, and many, many more. Pick one and go deep on their beer list or grab a designated driver and make a tour of it. You can easily fill a day—or even an entire weekend!

2. Cruise Balboa Park

Many of the buildings and facilities in Balboa Park were designed to host the Panama-California Exposition in 1915 and then the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935. Today, Balboa Park offers 1,200 acres to explore, which feature 17 museums, as well as the San Diego Zoo. Explore the museums dedicated to the arts and sciences or just stroll the park’s beautiful grounds, and you’re sure to enjoy a great day in San Diego.

3. Take a Road Trip to Julian

It’s practically a San Diego tradition, one we wouldn’t want you to miss. This tiny town, located a little over an hour northeast of downtown San Diego, got its start in the gold rush of the late 1800s. Today, it’s famous for its apple pie, its historic feel, and its gorgeous scenery. Pack a lunch or eat at one of Julian’s several restaurants, but make sure to leave room for a slice of that pie!

4. Visit San Diego’s Unique Safari Park

It’s not only one of the largest attractions in the area but also one of its most unique. San Diego’s Safari Park offers you the opportunity to see an incredible variety of animals in their native habitats, all in one single park experience. Featuring species from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Australia, the Safari Park offers the opportunity to see African rhinos, bighorn sheep, camels, cheetahs, elephants, kangaroos, lions, and lemurs—just to name a few, and all without leaving the county!

5. Visit the USS Midway

If you’ve seen Top Gun, you already know that San Diego is a military town. It’s home to the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel, which offers plenty of opportunities to learn more about the history of our armed forces. The USS Midway is a great place to start. The Midway was the largest ship in the world until 1955, and now she sits in permanent dock in the harbor in San Diego as a museum ship. Take the self-guided audio tour to get a vivid picture of how this ship operated, as well as a taste of what life was like aboard. If you happen upon a volunteer docent, stop and listen to what they have to say. Some of them even served aboard the Midway while she was still active, and they have plenty of stories to share.

6. Take in a Padres Game at Petco Park

Those who have spent any significant amount of time in Hawaii tend to miss a few things about Mainland life, professional sports among them. If you identify with this sentiment, head downtown to enjoy a Padres game at Petco Park. As is true with many major-league ballparks, a night out can be affordable for even an entire family, with “park at the park” tickets starting at $15. And since you’re in San Diego, you’ll enjoy a great selection of craft brews from the beer vendors.

Moving to America’s Finest City

For some, saying goodbye to Hawaii can tug at the heart. However, if you’re headed to San Diego, you’re practically as close as you can be to the Aloha State without being in it. (And it’s a mere hop, skip and a flight to return for a taste of island life!) Plus, you have plenty waiting for you in San Diego: good food, tasty beer, miles of beaches and all the natural beauty of Southern California. Moving to San Diego can offer you an easy transition from island life—and Hawaii will always be there for you if you decide to return.

Need help moving to San Diego—or anywhere else in California? We can also help you move to Hawaii from California. It all starts with a complimentary quote. Just reach out to us to get started.