Riverside County Vs Orange County

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Riverside County Vs Orange County

This article will go into great detail about the differences between Riverside County vs Orange County. If you ever want to write a loaded post, this would be it. There are many people in Southern California who have strong opinions on both counties. This article will be honest and take from years of experience living in both Riverside and Orange County.  By the end of this article and video, you will have a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of living in either County and which one will fit your needs and wants the best.

Riverside County and Orange County Statistics

Orange County has a population of around 3.2 million where Riverside County has a population of around 2.5 million. When it comes to population growth, Riverside County is one of the fastest-growing counties in all of California. With a 10.4%  population growth over the last 10 years. Orange County has a 6.4% population growth over the same period. In our opinion, the reason Riverside county is growing at such a rapid pace is the cost of living, especially when you compare it to counties that border the beach.

When it comes to violent crimes, Orange County has 230  violent crimes for every 100,000 people while Riverside County has 295 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. In our opinion, this data can be somewhat misleading. Both Orange County and Riverside County have areas or cities that are very safe and others that we suggest you simply don’t consider when moving. The beach towns of Southern California and especially Orange County will not have the high violent crime that inland cities like Santa Ana, Anaheim, Buena Park, or Garden Grove have. 

Riverside county is similar in that there are very nice cities to live in but also ones you should avoid. The southern part of Riverside County which includes Murrieta, Temecula, or Menifee is very safe with great schools, especially Murrieta and Temecula. There are also many cities in Riverside County where parts of each City are safe and have good schools where others don’t. A great example of this would be Riverside, there are certain zip codes like 9508 or 92506 that have good schools and are relatively safe compared to areas like the east side of Riverside.

Home Prices

One of the main reasons for the mass migration of people to Riverside County is home prices. You can get so much more home, land and have a better quality of life in many areas of Riverside County for a fraction of the price. There are some areas of Orange County that are simply not that’s safe or have horrible school systems but still have home prices 20 to 30% above some great areas of Riverside County.

 We are selling many homes to people moving from Orange County, San Diego, or Los Angeles. People want out of the rat race, less traffic, and more home for the same or less cost.

As of July 2021, the average home price for a home in Orange County is $850,000 where Riverside County’s average home price is $530,000. This data is coming directly from the local MLS. These home prices fluctuate greatly especially in Orange County, depending on where you want to live. Anything along the beach, Irvine, or South Orange County it’s going to be on the higher end when it comes to house prices. In our opinion, the southern part of Orange County is a much nicer area to live but you will pay for it in way of home prices and cost of living.


This is one area that Orange County, especially the beach area wins hands down. When it comes to quality and variety you won’t get much better. If you are a foodie, this could be a  deciding factor for you. As much as we love living in Temecula, restaurants simply don’t compare. San Clemente, Laguna, Newport Beach are all places with wonderful restaurants but you will pay a price for eating anywhere in the cities.

Full disclosure, we did move to Temecula at the beginning of the pandemic which could have something to do with quality and service. It seems everything from airports, services, restaurants has gone downhill over the past couple of years.


Both Orange County and Riverside County have plenty to do. For this article, we are just going to pull from our personal experiences and give you some of the things that we enjoy in both Orange County and Riverside County.

Orange County Activities

Of course, surfing and going to the beach are going to be two of the biggest reasons people think they would enjoy Orange County over Riverside County. In our experience, being by the beach is everyone’s dream. We lived with an ocean view and a 2-minute walk but found we would visit the beach less and less each year.  Life and bills get in the way, yes, those are real. We do not surf and the idea of sitting on the beach sun tanning lost its luster after a while.

 We will caution you, if you do not live within walking distance to the beach it becomes almost a chore to get there at times, especially in the summer months.  Finding and then paying for parking, dragging all of your beach stuff through the crowds does get old after a while.

A few of the things that we loved about Orange County and miss a great deal is being able to walk to some great restaurants, driving up and down PCH while stopping for a drink or something to eat on Sundays at the many beach bars. (Although we did live in northern Orange County in Huntington Beach we preferred living in the southern part)

 Sunday funday’s at the beach during football season is tons of fun. We also miss the variety of activities that the beach community has consistently throughout the year. Concerts, volleyball tournaments, happy hours, and the swap meet are just a few things that we would consistently enjoy doing. 

The biggest downside for me personally was not golfing. The cost can get out of hand very quickly. If you plan on golfing on a weekend at a decent course expect to pay more than $100 per round. For me, that is just a bit heavy on the pocketbook, especially if you want to do it consistently. Luckily, San Clemente does have a public course that is reasonable but overall if you are a golfer and on a budget, Orange County is not going to be for you. 

Finally, to enjoy the restaurants especially around the beach is going to cost you. Expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars on a Sunday going to eat and having some drinks. 

Riverside County

Overall, Riverside has a lot to offer in the way of activities as well. A little different than Orange County but things like Motocross, sandrails, golfing, hiking and some boating are all very popular throughout the county.  Golfing has been a huge Plus, for me, I can now go out and play many different courses throughout the week for under $50 which allows me to play at least four to five times a month without feeling guilty how about spending hundreds of dollars every time I go.  Similar to Orange County, each city has something unique for people to do for the most part. If I was to write about every single city and what it offers this blog post would be 150 pages long which is just not feasible. I suggest you call us if you have specific questions on certain cities in either County


We will stick to a couple of major cities in Riverside County and the different things they offer. Riverside, one of Riverside Counties most well-known cities has a lot of rural property which allows residents to have horses, dirt bikes, agriculture Etc. There’s also a lot of history in Riverside. Much of the downtown area is over a hundred years old and you have places like the Mission Inn with good food and a lot going on, especially on weekends. There are also a great deal of family-friendly neighborhoods with extracurricular activities for kids. Specifically, Orangecrest is an area where we used to live in Riverside. The ZIP code is 92508 and has a  huge park, good schools and a lot of sports available for kids.


Temecula is where we currently live and this area fits our lifestyle in almost every way. When it comes to activities you have the wineries, Old Town with lots of restaurants and bars. Over 10  golf courses within a 25-minute drive, farmer’s markets. Many of the individual communities have pools, volleyball courts, hot tubs, basketball, and much more. Temecula also has the De Luz area which has a great deal of agriculture as well as Los Ranchitos and Meadowview which allow for horses. Temecula is one of those cities that has something for everybody. Adding in the fact that it’s very safe with great schools and you’ve got a nice community or city to live in. 

Weather Orange County vs Riverside County

People talk about the beach having great weather but we like the weather in Riverside County for the simple reason of having the sun more days of the year. Oftentimes, at the beach or in Orange County, you’ll have gloomy mornings with the sun peeking out in the afternoon. Depending on the time of year, you could go days without seeing the sun at the beach. Living inland gives sunshine from morning till dusk unless it is raining. When it comes to the actual temperature, it can get very hot in the summer Inland, up to 110 degrees in some areas. Everybody should understand that it’s not 110 degrees all day long. The mornings are nice for walking, even during midsummer. It starts to get hot around 12 and it will stay hot till around 6 p.m. or just before sunset. One of the things we love about Temecula or Inland Southern California is the fact that summer weather allows you to sit outside with shorts on after Dark and feel very comfortable. It’s almost like Hawaii weather.

Quality of Life in Riverside County Vs Orange County

Everybody wants a good quality of life and both Orange County and Riverside County can give you this. The biggest driving factor to have a good quality of life in Orange County would be money and housing.  As of this article, expect to pay well over $1,200,000 for anything that remotely resembles and nice community in Orange County. In many areas, 1 million won’t even get you a one-bedroom apartment, so you need to do a lot of research and make sure you choose wisely if Orange county is your desired location. If you can comfortably make your house payment And have money left over for extracurricular activities Orange County can be a wonderful place to live depending on the city.

When it comes to Riverside County I would personally stick to the southern area which includes Murrieta or Temecula. Both of these cities are growing rapidly because of safety, great schools, and you guessed it great quality of life. The issue with Murietta or Temecula in Riverside County is the proximity to much of the job market. Both Murrieta and Temecula or commuter towns and many people have to drive to larger cities like San Diego for employment. If you do happen to land a good job in Temecula or Murrieta these are 2 amazing places to live in Riverside County.

Thank you for reading our blog, if you have any interest in moving to Temecula or the surrounding area please read the  Google Reviews here for Greenleaf Real Estate & Appraisal.

We are licensed as both Real Estate Brokers & a Certified Residential Appraiser. We love what we do and will bring a great deal of passion, experience and expertise to the table for you.

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