Temecula vs. The Beach
We have lived at the beach for a total of 6 years and inland for 7 years, so yes, I do have some experience living in both places. I found many people who live at the beach are in a vacuum; they live, eat, and breathe their beach town. Some rarely even leave—no, that’s not a joke. I personally know people who don’t even know where Menifee or Murrieta is. I think both Temecula and the beach are great areas; you just have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what personally fits your lifestyle and budget.
Everybody talks about the cost of living at the beach being more expensive than in Temecula. Yes, this is true, especially for housing. Here are a few examples. I’m going to use the beach city of San Clemente in my examples. Reason being? Even beach cities vary in home prices when it comes to purchases and rentals. For example, Laguna Beach is much more expensive than San Clemente. San Clemente would be in the middle of the road in regard to beach housing costs.
If you were to rent a 2000-square-foot home in Temecula, expect to spend anywhere from $300 to $3,400 on rent. depending on the lot size and location. That same 2000-square-foot home in San Clemente is going to run you $4,000 to $6,000 a month. Again, this depends on where the home is located. If this home is right on the beach, it’s going to be more than $5,000 a month.
Buying a home
There are so many variables, but let’s just say it’s almost double for the same house when you compare San Clemente homes to Temecula.
I definitely found groceries more expensive at the beach. Why? The simple answer is, “It’s the beach,” right? In my opinion, I think there are just more options in Temecula. There was or is more space to build grocery stores in Temecula, which means more competition. An example would be where I live in Harveston. There are literally seven grocery stores within five minutes of my house, compared to one in San Clemente. I have a Winco just down the street, which has great prices and is huge! It feels bigger than the whole city of San Clemente. I have a Costco 5 minutes from me, so we can buy in bulk and save money on things we use a lot. In regards to shopping and groceries, I definitely give Temecula the edge.
I haven’t found much difference in pricing in regard to restaurants. There are still good happy hours and brunch deals at the beach. In San Clemente, in particular, one great feature that many people don’t know about is the lack of corkage fees at many of the restaurants. You are able to bring your own bottle of wine, which is obviously a huge saving. There are more choices in Temecula, but most restaurants at the beach are very good. If you’re not good at the beach, you don’t survive. You have to bring something unique to the table. Another thing I liked about San Clemente is that chain restaurants really don’t exist. All of the restaurants we went to often were small, boutique-style places with unique menus, good food that was always good, and great service. We also love the vibe of going out to dinner at the beach. San Clemente was walkable, so you could stop and have a drink at one restaurant, walk 20 steps, and eat at another. I’m going to give the edge to San Clemente when you compare everything.
So I want to be clear: I think both places are safe. Many times, when bad things happen to people, it’s because people put themselves in bad situations. As the old saying goes, nothing good happens after 12. Having said that, the homeless population is much bigger in San Clemente. Petty theft and drug use are common among the homeless. If I left my bike on the porch of my home in Temecula, it would probably still be there in the morning; in San Clemente, not so much. You also have the drug issue, which I felt was more prevalent at the beach. Of course, you’re going to get the people who say, “Temecula is a bunch of tweakers” (even though they have never been here), but I personally haven’t seen one in three months. Every day, you could walk down to the beach in San Clemente and find drug paraphernalia or people high on drugs.
If I had kids, where would I want them to grow up in regard to safety? Probably Temecula, but I might be a little biased on this question. Personally, I have no interest in surfing, and I love golf. Orange County is synonymous with surfing and expensive golf. Temecula: No surfing and tons of golf courses at reasonable prices. My kids would be golfers. This leads us to our next conversation, which is: what city has more things to do? Which city has better activities?
This really just depends on the person. Again, I personally do not surf or like swimming in the ocean. Even though I lived two minutes from the beach, the only thing I would do is walk and watch sunsets. If you do surf, obviously the beach is where you want to be, but from what I saw, it was much more than that. Surfers had this kind of brotherhood, almost. They all knew each other and respected each other. In San Clemente specifically, you would constantly see people running down at 5:30 a.m. in their bare feet just to catch waves. As much as I have no interest in that, I loved seeing it. In general, there always seemed to be something going on at the beach. Between live bands, Sunday fun days, concerts, biking, and beach walks, you never had to worry about what you were going to do on a weekend. The problem? Half the time, the traffic or parking was so horrendous that I didn’t even want to go. But honestly, the parking and traffic get exhausting. It’s funny; before we moved to Temecula, everyone complained about the traffic. Temecula seems like the perfect country for a free year at the beach.
Activities and things to do in Temecula are plentiful, to say the least. Again, it depends on what your idea of fun is and where your interests lie. For me? I love golf, hiking, happy hours, and wine. I have also joined a few sports teams. The best part? I don’t dread getting in my car and going to the softball field only to realize I have to park 3 miles away from the actual field because everything is full. I also love the fact that I can go golfing any day of the week for under $50. Try doing that in Orange County. On a side note, in my opinion, San Clemente has the best golf course for the price in all of Orange County. Last but not least, there are the wineries. I won’t spend too much time on this topic as we have many blog posts on specific wineries on the site. What I will say is that I enjoy going on weekends. For me, it’s not even about the wine. I just love going to hang out and relax. Most wineries have live music, football games on TV, and games to play like corn hole.
Summing up the whole activity thing? I personally prefer Temecula, but both places are fine. I just so happen to be more inclined to do things here in Temecula.
So here is my thought on traffic: it’s worse at the beach, but more people have to commute longer distances living in Temecula. If you compare people in Orange County to people in Temecula, people in Temecula would spend more time in their cars per week on average. There is no evidence to back that up; that’s just my thought.
I grew up in Canada, and one of the biggest difficulties for me coming to California was getting used to the people and culture. This fast-paced life, where nobody seemed to care or know anything about you, was foreign to me. Where I lived in Canada, it was hard to even get out of the grocery store within 30 minutes because 20 people would stop and talk to you. I really missed that, and still do. To find some resemblance of that small-town feel again would be awesome.
Here’s where I’m going to get yelled at. Of course, there are crazies, weirdos, nice people, fat people, and skinny people everywhere. I’m going to talk in generalities on this. In my opinion, I have found that people overall are much friendlier and more down-to-earth in Temecula. A simple example would be our morning walks. At the beach, most people have earphones in, their heads down, or are on their phones. Basically, they are in their own worlds. The odd person wishes you a good morning, but it was far from common.In Temecula, we live in Harveston and routinely walk the lake in the mornings or early afternoons. I honestly believe that 80% of people say good morning or how’s it going and are almost ready to stop and talk if they so desire. From the moment we came to Temecula, people were helpful and went out of their way to help us and/or be friendly. Again, there are those people at the beach, of course, but you also get many people who are selfish, narcissistic, clueless, and ungrateful. Their Instagram profile is the most important thing on the planet, and going into debt for that new BMW or Mercedes is totally worth it. Temecula, in my book, has the win on this.
I could go on and on about the differences. Hopefully, I gave a few examples for people wondering what some of the differences actually are. We are grateful for all of our experiences and places we have lived and traveled over the past 10 years, but we are very happy and content living here in Temecula. It fits our lifestyle, we feel very relaxed, and we are excited to grow our businesses around some great people.
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