Living In & Moving To Rohnert Park, CA | (2019) Ultimate Guide With Tips

Beautiful road in Sonoma County on a sunny day.

Looking for the perfect place to live and work in California? Rohnert Park is nestled in Sonoma’s Wine Country and offers a family-oriented community with great schools, gorgeous weather, and welcoming neighborhoods. Nestled in the heart of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco’s Bay Area, Rohnert Park also provides some of the most scenic living in the California countryside. Plus, the local economy is thriving, and jobs here are growing year-over-year. Still need more convincing? Here are all the reasons you should consider relocating to Rohnert Park.

Who Lives in Rohnert Park

Rohnert Park has a total population of just over 42,000 people, with a median age of 33 years old. About 46% of the population is married, and 47% is made up of families with children under 18. While three-quarters of residents are Caucasian, nearly 24% of residents are Hispanic, 6% are Asian and 6% are multiracial.

Two-thirds of locals here were born and raised in California, while 18% came here from out of state, and 15% arrived in the US from another country to make Rohnert Park their home. The area leans significantly towards liberal political ideals, although 22% of local voters supported a Republican in the latest elections. Nine percent of voters in the area identify as Independent.

Rohnert Park Cost of Living

When considering any city, it’s important to know what the living expenses will be, especially when it comes to housing. The median property value in Rohnert Park is $377,200, which is higher than the national average, but lower than the median of $458,500 for nearby Santa Rosa. Of the 16,000 households in Rohnert Park, the average citizen pays more than $3,000 per year in property taxes as well.

Of course, not everyone residing in Rohnert Park owns their homes. In fact, more than 47% of locals choose to rent an apartment instead of buying a condo or house. For those looking at rentals, it’s important to note that the average apartment price here is $1,956 per month, nearly $500 per month more than the national average. Rohnert Park is also fairly expensive compared to other parts of the US when it comes to other living costs, including utilities, healthcare, and transportation.

The Best Neighborhoods in Rohnert Park

Beautiful home with a pool, hot tub and covered deck.

Wondering where the best places to live in Rohnert Park are? Whether you’re looking for homes for sale, condos or rentals, there are plenty of options in this beautiful community. The main zip codes in Rohnert Park are 94927 and 94928, and the main area code is 707. Need some help narrowing down your choices? Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods in the area.

  • Sonoma Racquet Club: This condominium community is perfect for those who want to experience luxury living in Sonoma County. The median real estate price at the Racquet Club is $389,000.
  • University Park: This popular neighborhood is characterized by mid-sized, single-family homes on large lots. The median home price is $799,000 making this a more expensive choice in Rohnert Park.
  • Springwood: The condos at Springwood are great for those seeking a one-to-two bedroom home in a community with plenty of amenities. Condos here sell for a median of $390,500.
  • Mountain Shadows: This is a mid-tier neighborhood when it comes to pricing, with a median sales price of $675,000. The neighborhood is known for its close-knit community and has a homeowners’ association that takes care of local maintenance and brings neighbors together.
  • Honey Brook: Another desirable residential area in Rohnert Park, Honey Brook features mostly four-bedroom houses on quarter-acre lots. The median sales price in Honey Brook is $689,000, and most of the houses here were built after 1996.

Rohnert Park Jobs

As a city in Sonoma County’s Wine Country, it’s no surprise that wineries play a large role in this city’s local economy. However, it’s not the only industry that’s taken root here! The top sectors for employment in Rohnert Park include advanced manufacturing, food manufacturing, and medical technology. The area is also home to Sonoma State University, so there are plenty of opportunities for educators as well. Wondering about local salaries? Folks living in Rohnert Park make a median of $62,769, which is about $5,000 per year higher than the American average.

Trying to get a better idea of where Rohnert Park is in comparison to other top CA cities? Click on the links for directions if you need to travel from Rohnert Park to San Francisco which is 60 miles or from Rohnert Park to Santa Rosa which is only 9 miles!

Rohnert Park Schools

Families settled in Rohnert Park will send their children to schools in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District, which includes seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. Technology High School is the highest ranked school in the area, with a 10/10 ranking from in regards to college readiness and test scores. More students at this school take advanced courses than the state average, giving Rohnert Park students an extra edge for college applications.

Things to do in Rohnert Park

Rohnert Park provides for some very convenient shopping including Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and Target. If you are looking for the best movies in Rohnert Park there are lots of choices playing at Reading Cinemas. But there’s even more fun to be had here in Rohnert Park! Here are two of our favorite must-see attractions.

Scandia Family Fun Center


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From floating blaster boats to two award-winning minigolf courses, visiting the Scandia Family Fun Center is the perfect way to spend your next day off with the kids. There’s also a racing track, batting cages for your mini-athletes, and a full arcade full of vintage and new games to explore! Need directions? Here’s how to get there.

Graton Resort and Casino


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For a great night out with friends, head over to Graton Resort and Casino! From table games to slots and a live poker room, you’ll have tons of fun playing all night long. Amazing restaurants make it easy to enjoy a spectacular dinner at the resort, while an ever-changing rotation of headlining acts provide musical and comedy entertainment.

Rohnert Park’s Climate

What’s the weather like in Rohnert Park? The answer is: beautiful and sunny! The average temperature in the community tends to stay in the 60s and 70s all year round, and when you live here, you’ll get to enjoy an incredible 255 days of sun per year. Occasionally it does rain, and the rainiest time of the year in Rohnert Park is from November to March. With the high local temperatures, you can easily leave your snow boots and shovel behind when you move here.

Rohnert Park Restaurants

At the end of a long day, nothing says relaxation like eating a meal you didn’t have to cook! When it’s time for a meal out, here are two of our favorite spots to visit:

Amy’s Drive-Thru


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Looking for sustainably sourced vegan and vegetarian fare in Rohnert Park? Amy’s is the place to go, with dishes including organic burgers, superfood salads and even mac ‘n cheese.


Happy Father's Day !!-Today's special Roll-"Who's your daddy ?! Roll"

Posted by Sushiko on Sunday, June 15, 2014

When you need a sushi fix, Sushiko has everything you could want, from classic tuna and salmon rolls to premium sweet urchin and uni rolls. They also offer chef-created rolls like the Titanic, the Pink Lady, and the Sonoma County roll.

Tips for Moving to Rohnert Park

  • Remember to pack sunblock. There are 255 days of sun here per year!
  • Look at all the neighborhoods. There are dozens of great options to choose from!
  • Have fun! There is lots to do in Rohnert Park.

Need help with your move? Smooth Move USA is the moving company you can trust for a seamless transition. Give us a call today at 661-325-6683 to get started.

Shafter, CA | The 2019 Ultimate Living In & Moving To Guide | Smooth Move USA

Shafter - Ultimate Living In & Moving To Guide

First settled in 1898, the small area of Shafter began with little more than a post office and a couple of local shops to call it home. But it also became host to a Santa Fe Railroad loading dock, which gave the town a decent boost. The fairly quick growth led the town to be incorporated as a city less than 40 years later in January 1938.

And since then, Shafter has continued growing with small groups of people moving to the area year after year.

Located along State Route 43 about 18 miles to the northwest of Bakersfield, this small city has a truly unique history, much of which can be learned about within the Shafter Historical Society and the multiple museums nearby.

1. People of Shafter

A large portion of the Shafter population is of Latino descent with over 81% of people coming from Hispanic backgrounds. The city’s total residence is currently home to more than 18,400 people. Covering an area of about 18 square miles, that gives everyone living in Shafter plenty of breathing room and gives it a rare small-town feel in California.

Family hiking through a forest

It is home to a younger generation with a median age barely over 27 years old. More than one-fourth of the local population are school-age children between 5 and 17, making it a great place for young families to raise their kids.

2. Who was General Shafter?

A drive through the city of Shafter will present numerous locations with names related to a military general. One of the local high school mascots are the Generals, while local restaurants and other parts of town also feature the term “general” everywhere you look.

The city was named after General William Rufus Shafter, a military man who led United States armed forces during the Spanish-American War. He was recognized as a great leader who won numerous battles across Cuba in 1898.

3. Things to Do & Restaurants in Shafter

Though the city is fairly small and spread out, you’ll still find a handful of fun things to do in Shafter. Possibly the most popular attraction around town is the Minter Field Air Museum, which features numerous displays of military aircraft, helicopters, and other interesting vehicles. There are also some fun things to do in Shafter with kids including a visit to either the Insect Lore Bugseum or the nearby Bakersfield Escape Room.

Minter Field Air Museum


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Minter Field Air Museum, 401 Vultee St, Shafter, CA 93263

Insect Lore Bugseum


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Insectlore Bugseum, 132 S Beech Ave, Shafter, CA 93263

Bakersfield Escape Room


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Bakersfield Escape Room, 3616 Coffee Rd C, Bakersfield, CA 93308

We all know after playtime it’s time to eat, and lucky for you there are some great restaurants in Shafter. For some delicious and classic American cuisine, head over to General’s Headquarters for nachos, burgers, soups, and more. Right down the road from there, you’ll also find a great pizza place in the form of Tony’s Firehouse Grill.

General’s Headquarters


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General’s Headquarters, 710 E Lerdo Hwy, Shafter, CA 93263

Tony’s Firehouse Grill


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Tony’s Firehouse Grill, 300 E Lerdo Hwy, Shafter, CA 93305

4. Shafter Cost of Living is Highly Affordable

With the cost of living in Shafter more than 60% lower than average California numbers, you’ll spend less on everything from groceries and healthcare to housing and local transportation costs. Locals enjoy food prices that are as much as 16% less than state numbers, as well as healthcare savings of up to 9%.

The average price of a home in Shafter is currently $196,900, which is about one-third the average cost across the state of California. This amount is on the rise though, as it has gone up about 8.5% in the past year with experts predicting an additional increase of more than 6% in the next twelve months. And even with these lower prices, you’ll find some beautiful homes for sale in Shafter.

Do you plan on renting in the area instead? Average rent prices in Shafter range from about $906 per month to $1,421 per month, depending on the size home you want.

5. Great Local Neighborhoods

Paired with the fact that Shafter neighborhoods are some of the most affordable around Bakersfield, they’re also clean, comfortable, and family-friendly. The city is oddly shaped but offers nice communities all over town. You’ll find places like Flight Park to the southeast, Myricks Corner in the northeast, along with Smith Corner and other neighborhoods by Thomas Lane.

Shafter is located in Kern County and covers four zip codes including 93206, 93263, 93308, and 93314. Phone numbers in Shafter use the 661 area code.

6. Schools in Shafter

Supplementing for the large number of primary-age students in the area, Shafter schools are part of three districts including Richland Union District, Maple District, and Kern District. The city hosts two high schools: Shafter High, home of the Generals, and Central Valley High, home of the Scorpions. Pre-teen students will have elementary and middle school options like Maple Elementary, Golden Oak Elementary, Sequoia Elementary, and Richland Junior High.

7. Job Opportunities in Shafter

Complimentary of the low cost of living for the area, Shafter jobs tend to host a lower household income as well. But there are some good opportunities for work in and around town for the working class. A few of the top employers in Shafter include a Target distribution center, Paramount Farming, Formica, the Cemex Corporation, and America’s Tire.

8. Dry, Warm Weather in Shafter

Shafter weather boasts a warm and fairly dry climate compared to other California cities, but people living in town still enjoy comfortable temperatures all year long.

Aerial view of Shafter, CA

During the summer, temps can get up in the 100s on occasion but will also dip into the 60s. And as winter comes around, you’ll typically see temperatures that vary from lows around 35°F to highs in the mid to upper 50s.

Tips for Moving to Shafter, CA

  • Enjoy a small-town lifestyle you don’t get in too many parts of California.
  • Find plenty of fun activities and places to eat around Shafter.
  • One of the most affordable parts of the Bakersfield metro area.
  • Beautiful local neighborhoods that are family-friendly with good schools.
  • Plenty of job opportunities in town and nearby in Bakersfield.

And if you’re thinking of relocating to Shafter, we’d love to be the team that helps with your transition. Smooth Move USA has been serving Bakersfield and nearby suburbs for more than 13 years. Our experience and top-ranked customer service have set us above the competition when it comes to both local and long-distance relocations.

Give us a call today at (661) 325-6683 to learn all about our moving services. Or fill out the Request a Quote form above to get a free moving estimate from one of our staff members.

Living In & Moving To Tehachapi CA | (2019) Ultimate Guide

Picture of the Tehapachi Mountains with a train going by.

Located in Kern County, halfway between Lancaster and Bakersfield, CA and up several hundred feet, you’ll find the charming mountain city of Tehachapi. With its beautiful surroundings, diverse population and affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder that people are moving to Tehachapi by the dozens. Wondering if this community might be perfect for you? Keep reading to find out.

What Does Tehachapi Mean?

Long before American settlers came to California, this mountainous area was dominated by Native American Tribes, mainly the Kawaiisu peoples. Tehachapi is most likely a variant on the Kawaiisu word “Tihachipia,” which means “hard climb.” Since the city lies at the center of the Tehachapi Valley, has an elevation of 3,970 feet and is surrounded by mountains on all sides, the word perfectly describes what it took to come and settle this community.

Tehachapi’s Population

Photo of a happy multigenerational family.

About 13,000 people live in Tehachapi, marking this as a small, but lively city. While less than half the residents are married, 54% of the population is made up of families with kids, and the community is known for being highly family-friendly. Young professionals make up a significant portion of the population, likely brought to the area by the municipality’s beauty and thriving economy.

Many people are also drawn to Tehachapi due to the city’s diversity and wide range of cultural influences. While caucasian people make up 55% of the local population, 35% of locals are Hispanic and 7% are African American or Black. Hundreds of Kawaiisu Native Americans also still live in the Valley and are recognized as part of the Tule River Indian Tribe of California.

Jobs in Tehachapi

This quaint mountain community is located about 45 minutes away from both Bakersfield and Lancaster, so while it is possible to commute to these larger cities, most folks living in Tehachapi, CA choose to work locally instead. One major employer in the city is the California Correctional Facility, which employs nearly 2,000 workers. The local schools and hospital are also top employers in Tehapachi. Energy also plays a large role in the city’s economy, and the Tehachapi Mountains are sometimes called the “Wind Capital of the West.”

Tehachapi Schools

Families relocating to Tehachapi will be happy to know that this mountain community has plenty of fantastic schools to choose from. Public schools in the city are part of the Tehachapi Unified School District, which includes three elementary schools, one middle school, one main high school, and an alternative education school as well.

Tehachapi High School is part of the East Kern Regional Occupation Program, which offers career-oriented studies in fields such as nursing and hospitality, and also offers several Advanced Placement courses for students who want to attend a two or four-year University.

The community is also home to several private schools, including the highly rated Heritage Oak Schools, which serves students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Heritage Oak is a Christian academy that focuses both on spiritual and academic growth.

The Best Neighborhoods in Tehachapi

Aerial view of a nice neighborhood on a sunny day.

Wondering where to live once you relocate to Tehachapi? In addition to the main downtown area, this vibrant city has several suburban neighborhoods in the valley, each with their own unique flair and culture. The main zip codes in the municipality are 93561 and 93581; the main area code is 661. To help you find the perfect community, here is a quick view of some of the city’s top neighborhoods.

  • Stallion Springs: This is one of the largest neighborhoods in the greater Tehachapi area, mostly made up of small-to-medium single-family homes. The median home price in Stallion Springs is $383,472. A major draw to the area is the extensive trail system, which includes more than 30 miles of horseback riding trails!
  • Golden Hills: If you want affordable housing that’s close to Downtown, Golden Hills is the perfect neighborhood for you. The community offers a mix of single-family houses and apartment buildings, with a median home price of $243,542 and a median rent of $1,165.
  • Bear Valley Springs: Located 20 minutes outside of Downtown, this is another rural community in Tehachapi, which is dominated by medium and large detached homes on large plots of land. Most of the real estate here is owner-occupied, and the median home price is $355,552.

Tehachapi’s Cost of Living

In comparison to other parts of Southern California, the cost of living in Tehachapi is 32% lower across the board. Housing in the city is actually lower than the national median costs, which is rare for anywhere in California. The median home value in Tehachapi is $180,300. While a majority of residents own their homes, about one third choose to rent instead and pay about $792 per month for their apartments or condos.

Utilities are one aspect of life in Tehachapi that is expensive, and payments for heat, electricity, and water here are 36% higher than the national average. Most people living in Tehachapi own two cars and commute about 20 minutes to work, so it’s important to keep an eye on fuel and repair costs as well when you move to this mountain city.

What’s the Weather Like in Tehachapi?

Like most of Southern California, Tehachapi is known for its scores of sunny days and seasonably mild climate. The average temperature in Tehachapi ranges from just under freezing, up to the high 80s throughout the year, with an overall average around 55 degrees. Because of this mountain community’s high elevation, you will see about 14 inches of snow per year, usually between November and March.

Things to do in Tehachapi

Tehachapi Depot Museum

Travel back in time when you step into the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum, located in the heart of the city on West Tehachapi Boulevard. Built after the original train station burned down in 2008, the Museum offers unique insights into the transcontinental trains that were essential to Tehachapi’s original settlers. The Depot is also on the National Register of Historic Places!

Tehachapi Mountain Park


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Looking for the best way to enjoy a sunny day in the mountains? Tehachapi Mountain Park offers incredible hiking trails, plus equestrian trails perfect for horse lovers. At the top of Woody’s Peak, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Valley. You can also get closer to nature by spending the night in one of the Park’s 63 campsites.

Need help finding the park? Click the link for directions.

Restaurants in Tehachapi

After a long day of exploring the city, there’s nothing like a delicious meal at one of Tehachapi’s top restaurants. While there are dozens of eateries to choose from in and around downtown, here are two local favorites you can’t miss.

Redhouse BBQ

Craving the sweet, smoky, tangy taste of the perfect BBQ? Head over to Redhouse BBQ to enjoy the best of slow-cooked ribs and chicken, slathered in a homemade BBQ sauce.

Kohnen’s Country Bakery

The link between you and us? Our freshly baked bread, of course.

Posted by Kohnen's Country Bakery on Saturday, April 27, 2019

Kohnen’s Country Bakery isn’t just another place to find bread and pastries. It’s the best place to find authentic German baked goods, from Grau Brot rye bread to decadent German Chocolate Cake, plus German-inspired sandwiches. They even serve imported German beers to enjoy with your meal!

Tips for Moving to Tehachapi

If you’re looking for a city with a small town vibe that’s the perfect place to raise a family, develop your career, and enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in California, then relocating to Tehachapi is right for you! When considering this lovely community, keep the following points in mind:

  • It’s one of the few places in CA with a low cost of living.
  • You’ll get to enjoy plenty of warm, sunny days.
  • Schools here are top-notch.
  • You’ll be part of an energetic, diverse community.

For more information about moving to Tehapachi, or for assistance with your transition, you can reach out anytime to the professionals at Smooth Move USA. We offer a wide range of local and long distance moving services to fit your needs, so contact us today to get started!

Novato, CA | The 2019 Ultimate Living In & Moving To Guide | Smooth Move USA

Novato, CA - Ultimate Living In & Moving To Guide

Along the US-101 highway right next to San Pablo Bay rests the small California town of Novato. Located about 12 miles north of the city of San Rafael, this charming spot features a tight-knit community of people who tend to stick around once they get here. It has stood the test of time since it wasn’t incorporated until 1960, even though it was first founded back in the 1840s.

Originally home to a variety of large orchards and vineyards, Novato has evolved into an outdoor paradise with elegant homes and quiet neighborhoods.

Anyone interested in moving to Novato will learn everything they need to know about living there in the points mentioned below. We’ve covered everything from the local population to the cost of living so you know exactly what to expect.

1. People of Novato

Considered a balanced area of retirees and established families, the city has a median age of 45 years old. Compared to many other parts of California growth has been slow as time has progressed, with only a few hundred people transferring to Novato each year. As of right now, the Novato population is around 54,790 residents.

Many residents love living in the area due to the simple 1-hour drive from Novato to San Francisco, which is less than 30 miles away. It makes for an easy commute or a nice day trip to the big city.

2. Novato Offers Plenty of Open Space

The city of Novato is known for its many green areas and local parks. Within the less than 30 square miles of the city, you’ll find five separate nature preserves including Deer Island, Indian Valley, Ignacio Valley, Pacheco Valley, and Loma Verde. Each of these areas provides access to their own perks and amenities.

Novato, CA Nature Preserve

Visit any portion of the 3,600+ acres of open space to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and some of the most beautiful views you’ll see in California.

3. Things to Do and Restaurants in Novato

The list of fun things to do in Novato doesn’t end with its local nature preserves though. On the far east side of town, you’ll find even more outdoor fun at the Hamilton Wetlands, where you can take audio tours, go bird watching, or walk along the trails that lead to San Pablo Bay. And if you’re more interested in a crazy adrenaline rush than a simple hike, head over to Skydive Golden Gate at Gnoss Field Airport and jump out of a perfectly good airplane (with a parachute, of course).

Hamilton Wetlands


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Hamilton Wetlands, Novato, CA 94949

Skydive Golden Gate


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Skydive Golden Gate, 351 Airport Rd, Novato, CA 94945

Then, when hunger strikes and it’s time to eat, head out to one of the many great restaurants in Novato. Visit the close quarters of Marvin’s Restaurant for a delicious homestyle meal between breakfast and lunchtime. And for dinner, enjoy the eclectic flair of the Wildfox Restaurant for some of the best pizza in town.

Marvin’s Restaurant


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Marvin’s Restaurant, 1112 Grant Ave, Novato, CA 94945

Wildfox Restaurant


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Wildfox Restaurant, 225 Alameda del Prado, Novato, CA 94949

4. Novato Cost of Living Stats

With an average household income in the range of $90,000 per year, the cost of living in Novato matches these numbers. Though locals pay less than national averages for home utilities and healthcare, other expenses like groceries, local transportation, and especially the housing market tip the scale back to the other side.

The average price of a home in Novato is $838,300. And while the market warmed up over the past year by rising about 3%, it is expected to cool off over the next 12 months and drop up to 1%.

Average rent prices in Novato $2,301 per month for one bedroom or studio apartments $4,586 per month for bigger homes that have either four or five bedrooms.

5. Wide Range of Neighborhoods in Novato

Novato neighborhoods were recently ranked among the 100 best places to live in the United States and it’s no surprise why they made the cut. Houses in the area offer varying styles that range from small doublewides to extravagantly large single-family homes. If you’re thinking about moving to Novato, make sure you look through the top neighborhoods like San Marin, Bahia, Green Point, Hamilton, and Pacheco Valley.

Neighborhoods in Novato, CA

Novato is part of Marin County with local zip codes of 94945, 94947, and 94949. Local phone numbers are assigned area codes of either 415 or 628.

6. Local Schools in Novato

Although the number of young students in the area isn’t high, the town is still home to a number of good schools within the Novato Unified School District. Parents can choose from strong primary programs at locations like Novato Charter School, San Ramon Elementary, and Lu Sutton Elementary, as well as Sinaloa Middle School or San Jose Intermediate for kids between 6th to 8th grade. The district also has three high schools including Novato High, San Marin High, and Marin Oaks High.

Novato is home to one community college within its borders known as the College of Marin.

7. Novato Job Opportunities

If you’re thinking about living in Novato and have been wondering about local jobs, you’ll find some solid options covering a variety of industries. One of the city’s largest employers is BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc, a biotech company with its main focus on enzyme replacement therapies. Another employer in the area for individuals in healthcare is the Novato Community Hospital, which is managed by the Sutter Health System.

The local Novato Unified School District also employs a large number of teachers, admins, and additional staff across their campuses.

If you are planning on working in the big city, you’ll enjoy a fairly easy commute from Novato to San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge about 30 miles away. The trip will rarely take more than an hour depending on traffic.

8. Comfortable, Cool, California Weather

Nestled on the west side of San Pablo Bay, Novato weather is cool and comfortable. Summer temperatures rarely surpass highs in the mid-80s and lows in the 50s, while winters will almost never see temps that dip below 40°F. The area also gets a healthy dose of rain each year with about 38 inches annually.

Tips for Moving to Novato

  • Great communities for all, whether you’re retiring or moving here with family
  • Check out all the beauty of local nature preserves in Novato
  • Search through local Novato neighborhoods to find the best fit for your budget and lifestyle
  • Find a great job either in town or commute to San Francisco
  • Prepare for some of the best weather in the country

Now that you know relocating to Novato is right for you, would you like some help with your transition? Smooth Move USA has been serving the area since 2006, so we’ve been around the block a time or two, or three. Our professional moving services take the stress off your shoulders, allowing you to simply enjoy your new home once you arrive.

Call our elite team today at (661) 325-6683 to learn all about what we can do for you! Or fill out the simple Request a Quote form at the top of this post to get a free moving estimate for your upcoming relocation.

Ultimate (2019) Guide to Moving to Petaluma, CA

Moving to Petaluma, CA

Less than an hour from the coast and two hours north of San Francisco, you’ll find the beautiful, tranquil city of Petaluma. This city in the heart of California’s Wine Country is a top choice for families, with plenty of work opportunities, stunning homes, and top-rated schools. If you’re moving to Petaluma, you’re making a fantastic choice, but if you need more information before making your decision, keep reading.

Who Lives in Petaluma?

Today, Petaluma is home to a population of about 60,000 people across the city’s 14.5 square mile area. The median age in the city is 41.6, though the largest age bracket among residents is children aged 5-17. About three-quarters of the population is white, while 20% identify as Hispanic or Latino, and 4.5% are of Asian descent.

The median household income for people living in Petaluma is $81,000, which is $26,000 higher than the national median! The majority of residents earn their income through a salary, though about 18% of the population is self-employed. Overall, the city is moderately liberal; Sonoma County is commonly regarded as a “blue” area, and generally votes Democrat.

Schools in Petaluma

Families living in Petaluma are spoiled for choice when it comes to schools; between private and public institutions, the city has 74 schools in total. Two of the main public high schools in the area are Petaluma High School and Casa Grande High School. Casa Grande High School offers 18 Advanced Placement courses, as well as unique learning programs like Small Learning Communities for 11th and 12th-grade students. Petaluma High School also provides AP classes, as well as leadership opportunities through organizations like SkillsUSA.

Petaluma Jobs

Wondering what the top industries and employers are in Petaluma? The city’s local economy supports more than 30,000 jobs across numerous occupations. Healthcare is the largest industry in the area, followed by Retail Trade and education. Top employers in the city include Aabalat Fine & Rare Wines, Calix Inc, and Petaluma Valley Hospital. Since Petaluma is part of Sonoma County’s Wine Country, the wine industry is also a major part of the local economy, and many locals work at vineyards and tasting rooms throughout the County.

Best Petaluma Neighborhoods

Wondering where to live in Petaluma? The city has eight main neighborhoods, along with smaller housing developments for you to choose from, each with its own unique community feel. Finding the perfect neighborhood can take some time, but we hope the list below helps get you started:

  • Maker Alley: Want to live just steps away from Petaluma’s top breweries and distilleries? Them Maker Alley might be the perfect residential area for you! The area is characterized by its industrial buildings and loft-style apartments.
  • Adobe: If you’re looking for a family-friendly neighborhood in Petaluma, you need to check out Adobe. This large neighborhood is comprised of quiet streets with homes mostly built in the 1950s.
  • College: This Petaluma neighborhood is bordered by the Petaluma Junior College Campus. Here you’ll find a mix of student housing and apartments, along with high-end homes on large plots of land.
  • Oakhill Brewster: Homes in this desirable Petaluma neighborhood sell in the mid-$700,000s on average. The district is known for it’s beautiful Victorian, craftsman, and bungalow-style homes, and is conveniently located near local parks and Downtown.

The Weather in Petaluma

Like much of California, Petaluma benefits from amazing year-round weather. The city gets 260 sunny days every year, compared with the national average of just 205. Normally, the average temperature stays between 40-80 degrees, though it can dip into the 30s or rise into the low 90s depending on the time of year. Petaluma receives less rain than the national average, and you won’t find any snow in this west coast paradise!

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Petaluma?

The reality is, living in Petaluma isn’t cheap. The median home value in the area is $557,000, and about 60% of all homes in the city cost at least $500,000. Property values have only increased in recent years, so we might expect the cost of living here to keep going up. While two-thirds of residents choose to own their homes, the remaining third of the population is made up of renters, who pay an average of $1,500 per month for their apartments.

Other Petaluma living costs are also expensive, including healthcare, groceries and goods & services. Transportation costs in the city are 34% higher than the national average, and both repairs and fuel here cost more than in other parts of the country. Since most families in Petaluma own two vehicles and commute nearly 30 minutes to work, those expenses can quickly rack up.

Things to do in Petaluma


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One of the best parts about living in sunny California is the amazing weather and the coast’s incredible scenery. So it’s no wonder that the best things to do for fun in Petaluma is to get outside! While there are plenty of different green spaces in and around Petaluma, here are two of our favorite spots to visit.

Shollenberger Park

Spanning 165 acres, this wetlands park is the perfect place to get up close and personal with California wildlife. The park has three different trails open to both pedestrians and cyclists, each between 1 1/2 – 2 miles from start to finish. A variety of birds nest in the park, making this a perfect place to visit if you enjoy bird watching!

  • Park Hours: The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, usually from about 8AM-6PM
  • Directions: 1400 Cader Ln, Petaluma, CA 94954
  • Visitor’s Center Phone: (707) 778-4303

Helen Putnam Regional Park

Helen Putnam Regional Park is another stunning park, located on Petaluma’s southeastern edge. The park offers 6 miles of looped trails, which are open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians! Like Shollenberger Park, this is a perfect area to visit for birding and has a fishing pond. You’ll also find playgrounds for kids, picnic areas, and some of the best panoramic views of Petaluma around.

Petaluma’s Top Restaurants

El Roy’s Mexican Grill

Hungry? Come by and get something to go or dine in! 210 Edith St, Petaluma Ca

Posted by El Roy's Mexican Grill on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In addition to their sit-down restaurant, El Roy’s Mexican Grill also has a food truck that you can find in Petaluma, usually accompanied by a long line of customers. The large menu includes a variety of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more.

Pub Republic


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Enjoy organic, locally-sourced meals when you visit Pub Republic in Petaluma any night of the week. The upscale pub cuisine includes everything from juicy half-pound burgers to fresh and light salmon, making it a perfect choice for everyone in your party.

Old Chicago Pizza Restaurant


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Some days, there’s just no substitute for a fresh-from-the-oven, deep-dish pizza. On those days in Petaluma, locals flock to Old Chicago Pizza, where you can choose from a variety of toppings for a personalized pizza experience that will keep you coming back for more.

Moving to Petaluma Tips

Petaluma is a paradise city, surrounded by the beauty of nature and full of friendly, welcoming people. We hope this complete city guide has helped to show you all the reasons you should move to Petaluma! Before you relocate, here are a few last tips for moving to Petaluma:

  • Visit neighborhoods you’re interested in to get an in-person feel for the community.
  • Talk to locals about why they love living here. You can visit any local eatery to get a good idea of what the area is like (plus
  • you’ll get to enjoy a delicious meal!).
  • Choose a local moving company you can trust. This will make the whole moving process easier and less stressful!

If you have more questions or want help with your relocation, the team at Smooth Move USA is always here for you. Give us a call today at (661) 325-6683 to get started on your journey towards living in Petaluma.

Moving to San Rafael, CA (2019) | What Is It Like to Live There? | Smooth Move USA

Moving to San Rafael - What Is It Like to Live There?

Looking for a place to live that is close enough to visit San Francisco on occasion without having to deal with the hassles of a big city? Well, if you head north from downtown across the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll find the small area of San Rafael, CA less than 20 miles away.

This beautiful suburb has spectacular views of mountains in one direction and captivating looks at San Francisco Bay in the other direction. Around town, you’ll find large homes in affluent neighborhoods, along with some fun local activities.

There are so many great reasons to move to San Rafael and we’ve put together this comprehensive guide with everything you should know about living there. Take a look below for all the details!

1. Population and People of San Rafael

San Rafael is a wealthy city that has produced a number of famous celebrities, athletes, and musicians. Its population of 59,000 residents makes it feel like a small town compared to many other California cities. But the area offers a number of popular amenities and things to do.

Two of the most recognizable names from the city include James Hetfield, who is the lead singer of Metallica, and Carlos Santa, the highly respected Mexican-American guitarist. Another celebrity from the city is Michael Savage, the well-known author and former host of his radio show called Savage Nation. Another face you may even see around town is Michael Johnson, the massively successful 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold medalist sprinter who currently lives in San Rafael.

2. Origins of George Lucas’ Filmmaking Career

Have you ever heard of a man named George Lucas? You know, the one who created the timeless epics of Star Wars and Indiana Jones? Yeah, that guy.

In the year 1971, George Lucas came to San Rafael to film his first full-length major motion picture called THX 1138. And it was there that he started his movie production company which he named Lucasfilm Ltd. Since that time, Lucas has produced a variety of characters we all know and love from Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader to Indiana Jones and Short Round.

Numerous areas around San Rafael were used in filming scenes for Lucas’ film called American Grafitti, as well as for multiple Star Wars movies. Clips were shot at local buildings such as the Marin County Civic Center, which also inspired the look of many buildings within the Naboo city of Theed in episode one, The Phantom Menace.

3. Things to Do and Restaurants in San Rafael

If you’re looking at living in San Rafael, you’ll find a wide range of fun things to do there, including visits to the nearby state and county parks. China Camp State Park is a popular picnic area along San Pablo Bay where you can go camping and hike along more than 15 miles worth of local trails. Just about five minutes away from there, you’ll find McNears Beach County Park, an open area covering 55 acres with a swimming pool, tennis courts, and even a fishing pier.

China Camp State Park


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China Camp State Park, 100 China Camp Village Rd, San Rafael, CA 94901

McNears Beach County Park


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McNears Beach County Park, 201 Cantera Way, San Rafael, CA 94901

Once you’ve spent a day out on the town and worked up an appetite, why not stop by Sol Food for some contemporary Puerto Rican cuisine? If you’re in the mood for soups, salads, or sandwiches instead, head over to Theresa & Johnny’s Comfort Food. And for the best Mexican food around town, you won’t want to miss a visit to Taqueria San Jose.

Sol Food


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Sol Food, 903 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901

Theresa & Johnny’s Comfort Food


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Theresa & Johnny’s Comfort Food, 817 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

Taqueria San Jose


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Taqueria San Jose, 615 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

4. Classy, Affluent Neighborhoods

Anyone moving to the area will obviously want to know where to find the best neighborhoods in San Rafael. And covering only about 22 square miles of Marin County, you won’t have to go far to find the place that works best for you.

At the northernmost point of San Rafael, you’ll find a rural part of town known as Lucas Valley which was named after John Lucas, a 19th-century rancher (no relation to George Lucas, in case you were wondering). From there, you can head towards the middle of town to Los Ranchitos. Just south of the civic center, this area was developed around the 1950s and split up into large lots between one to two acres each.

And in the neighborhood on the far east of town, you’ll run into an area called Peacock Gap. Up against the bay, this community includes a golf club, local park, and is the location of McNears Beach as well.

San Rafael is a member of Marin County and covers the following zip codes: 94901, 94903, 94964. If you’re looking to change your phone number once you move in, you’ll likely get an area code of either 415 or 628, depending on your area.

5. San Rafael Has a High Cost of Living

Though the area has much to offer by way of beauty and opportunity, you can expect a high cost of living in San Rafael, even by California standards. The city is known for its large, upscale homes that come with matching price tags. When it comes to transportation expenses, the cost averages about 26% higher than the national averages for things like auto insurance, local transit, and gas prices.

Boats docked at harbor in San Rafael, CA

Potential homeowners looking to buy a property in the area will love the many house styles available to them, but should also be prepared to pay for the rising home values. Currently, the average cost of a home in San Rafael is $1,042,300, which is about 4.6% higher than it was last year. The prices aren’t exactly skyrocketing right now, but there are still projections estimating an additional 2% increase in the next 12 months.

Alternatively, if you are looking to rent a home, you’ll be joining nearly half the area’s population who do the same. The average price of rent in San Rafael is between $2,410 per month for a one bedroom location and around $5,000 or more for a home with 5+ bedrooms.

6. Great Primary and Secondary Education Options

San Rafael schools are split into two main districts: San Rafael City School District and the Dixie School District. There you’ll find strong programs at the elementary schools such as Dixie Elementary, Sun Valley Elementary, and Vallecito Elementary. While junior high aged kids between sixth to eighth grade can attend Miller Creek Middle School or James B. Davidson Middle School.

The two top-rated high schools in the area include Terra Linda High, the home of the Trojans, and San Rafael High, the home of the Bulldogs.

The only university in the city is the Dominican University of California, which is ranked among the top 25 Regional Universities in the West. Their academics include undergrad and graduate programs in arts, business, psychology, and more.

7. San Rafael Has a Diverse Job Market

Are you looking up jobs in San Rafael? Well, it’s home to a number of large companies with some fantastic opportunities such as BioMarin Pharmaceuticals. Forbes recently named BioMarin the 4th Best Midsize Employer in America, as well as the number one company in the ‘Drugs & Biotechnology’ industry.

Woman looking at specimen through microscope

Other major employers in the city include Autodesk, a multinational software corporation, and Westamerica Bank, a leading financial corporation covering much of northern California.

8. San Rafael Weather

The small San Francisco suburb joins the ranks of other cities in California known for their cool, comfortable climates. It is a rare thing for the temperature to go outside the range of between 41°F and 85°F at any time of year. You can expect long, dry summers and cool, partly cloudy winters with about 40 inches of annual rainfall.

Tips for Moving to San Rafael

When it comes to living in San Rafael, there are essentially four things you’ll want to know:

  • It’s a small-ish suburb of San Francisco with about 59,000 residents.
  • There are plenty of great activities around town.
  • Neighborhoods and homes are beautiful but expensive.
  • You will absolutely love the weather.

If everything about this amazing place sounds like a good fit for you, we’d love to help with your upcoming transition. The team here at Smooth Move USA is fully prepared and ready to make your move to San Rafael a smooth and simple process

Call us today at (661) 325-6683 to learn more about our services or fill out the form at the top of this post to request a free moving estimate.

Tips and tricks on how to get started with packing for your move


Are you moving and not sure on how to tackle this seemingly monumental task? It is not as hard as it may seem. The best way to get started is to wrap most items to protect them from scratching and breakage, before packing cartons. There are a variety of materials available, including bubble pack, foam peanuts and tissue. However, most professional moving companies use bundles of clean, unprinted newsprint (you can find those at your moving supply store).

Start by placing a small stack of paper on a flat, uncluttered table or countertop. Round glasses and jars can be rolled up in two or three sheets of paper; always begin from a corner of the sheet and fold the sides in as you roll.

Large or odd-shaped items require a similar technique. Place them in the center of the sheet and bring the corners together. It may be necessary to flip the item over and wrap it again from the other side. If in doubt, use more paper! When the corners are brought together, secure them with tape.

It is best to line the bottom of each box with a few inches of wadded paper to ensure enough padding. Then place large, heavy items on the bottom and lighter, more fragile items on the top.

Plates, books and things of a similar shape, should be loaded vertically to utilize their own maximum structural strength. Don’t overload cartons; keep them to a manageable weight. Fill in any voids and top off loaded cartons with wadded paper. Then tape cartons securely to avoid shifting while en route.

How to move your copier, printer or books


It is not uncommon for your move to include a copy machine and/or printer as well as a number of books. You might have asked yourself, how do I pack these items, so they do not break during my move? There are a few suggestions that will help making this task an easy one. There is one thing to consider, if your home copier turns out to be larger than desk size, it is highly recommended to have it serviced by a professional before it is being transported.

Here are a few steps to prepare your copy machine for moving:

  • Remove the paper tray and cartridge.
  • Secure the document cover, exit tray and alternate paper tray before packing.
  • If your unit comes with shipping pins, which keep the internal parts in place during transit, they should be removed from the storage location on the document cover and placed according to directions in the owner’s manual.

How to handle your printer:

It is best to remove the toner and laser cartridges of any laser printer. Dispose of them safely and get new ones at your new home or office. If your printer is a different type of  printer, then the print head should be secured by a professional, with preparation depending on the model.

How to move your books:

Even in our digital age, we cherish our books and want to make sure that they do not get ripped or otherwise damaged during a move. It is advised to pack books of the same general size together, in small book cartons.

Pack them either flat, or with the spine touching the bottom of the carton. Do not pack with spine facing upward, as glue can break away from the binder.
Expensively bound volumes of those of sentimental value should be individually wrapped before packing.