San Diego is also home to a large military presence, including many military bases, the country’s largest complex of Naval bases and the Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton. The city remains a popular destination for military retirees.
San Diego offers seemingly endless options for outdoor activities and adventure, including the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and SeaWorld San Diego. The city is surrounded by miles of perfect beaches, as well as canyons, mountains and mesas.
Con: High cost of living
Best For: Beach lovers
Cost of Living: 30.5% above national average
Median Home Cost: $370,500
Top State Income Tax: 13.3%
Crime Rate: 25.7% lower than national average
Much of that hilly land has been designated as parks, including Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Cleveland National Forest, with plenty of options for hiking, bicycling and bird watching. The abundance of outdoor activities and thus, active residents, is related to San Diego’s low rates of diabetes, cancer and hypertension.
San Diego’s primary downside is its generally high cost of living. Median home prices run over $370,500. Still, the city houses more than 100 neighborhoods, including ultra-exclusives locales like La Jolla, to more affordable destinations for retirees, like East Village.
The city is also home to a world-class teaching hospital, more than 2 dozen colleges and universities, as well as a vibrant dining and culture scene, including many museums, theater, symphonies and opera.