Bear Lake Trailhead, Estes Park, Colorado, United States

Moving From California to Colorado: Everything You Need to Know

Colorado has become one of the most desirable places to reside for many Californians. The beautiful views of Colorado’s state and hospitable culture have tempted many new residents. If you plan to leave California and move to Colorado, keep on reading.

In this article, we have covered everything you need to know before leaving California and moving to the city of heaven. Colorado has become one of the fastest-growing states in the US. The mixture of pleasant weather, beautiful views, better employment, and friendly people are the major reasons for migration.

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Why Californians Are Moving to Colorado?

Lower cost of living

Colorado is a state of magnificent natural views surrounded by fresh and clean air. But it is important to know that Colorado is one of the most expensive states in the United States. It is ranked one of the top 20 most expensive states to live in. The cost of living in Colorado is 31 % higher in comparison to the national average. However, it is still 35-40% cheaper than California

Rent and utility costs are much more affordable in Colorado. Also, they have a well-developed healthcare system with lower costs. Colorado has been ranked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of the top 10 providers of medical care in the United States. The state also has the lowest income and property taxes in the country. 

(*Allied Van Lines, Numbeo, Vittana &  ExitCalifornia.org)

Better climate

Colorado has an ideal temperature. It experiences all four seasons. With plenty of sunshine and low humidity levels, the days are usually cool and pleasant. The locals enjoy exploring the outdoor activities, all thanks to the beautiful weather of Colorado. During winter, people of Colorado enjoy skiing and snowboarding whereas the spring is a perfect time to enjoy hiking. Climbing and whitewater rafting are common outdoor activities for residents during summers. While the foliage in autumn is incredibly beautiful. 

(*ExitCalifornia.org)

Job opportunities: aerospace, high-tech & start-ups

Colorado is a fantastic place to find a job. The growing job market offers great opportunities for professionals. Denver is the headquarters of many big companies like Pepsi Center, RE/MAX, JBS USA, DaVita, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and more. The city is ranked Nº1 for aerospace job opportunities, Nº 3 for high-tech and Nº4 for start-ups.

How Many People Move to Colorado Every Day?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 75 people move to Colorado every day.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado Billboard

Los Angeles VS Denver

Los Angeles, California the most famous city in the United States. The city has a population of more than 17 million people making it the second most populated city in the country. Denver, Colorado is the 19th most populated city and 5th most populated state capital of the United States. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network ranked Denver as a Beta world city.

Cost of Living in Los Angeles, California VS Denver, Colorado

The average cost of living in Denver, Colorado for a couple is $2750 per month whereas the average cost in Los Angeles California is $3930.

Expense

Colorado

California

Rent – House

$1500

$2300

The average cost of utilities 

$350

$330

Groceries

$450

$830

Entertainment 

$150

$300

Other (transportation, material goods)

$300

$170

Total

$2750

$3930

  (*Numbeo 2, Numbeo 2, Insurify, Valuepenguin & Ehealthinsurance)

How Much is a House in Colorado?

A house in Colorado typically costs around $491 000.

How Much is Rent in Colorado?

A 2-bedroom apartment in Colorado typically rents for $2000.

What is the Sales Tax in Colorado vs California?

Sales tax in Colorado is 2.9% whereas in California it is 7.25%.

How Much is the Property Tax in Colorado?

The property tax in Colorado averages at 0.49% whereas in California it is 0.73%.

(*tax.colorado, CDTFA, HomeSnacks, Fool, SmartAsset CO & SmartAsset CA)

California vs Colorado Weather

The climate of Colorado is much more pleasant in comparison to California. Colorado has a semi-arid climate. The temperature is usually cool due to low humidity. The winters in Colorado are usually dry, whereas the spring is humid. Summer temperatures are usually between 80-90°F t, while California has hot sunny days. However, the ocean breeze plays an important role in cooling the temperature during the day.

How much does local transportation cost (Denver VS Los Angeles)

On average, the transportation cost (for monthly bus, light rail and paratransit) in Denver is $114 per month, whereas the cost of transportation in LA is $75 per month.

(* U.S. Department of Transportation)

Transportation from Los Angeles to Denver

The total driving time from Los Angeles, California to Denver, Colorado is 14 hours, 51 minutes.

How far is Denver from Los Angeles?

Denver is 1,016.1 miles far from Los Angeles, with a time difference of 1 hour (Colorado is 1 hour ahead).

What is the cost to drive from Los Angeles to Denver?

In 2022, the total driving cost from Los Angeles to Denver is $164.12. The fuel cost per gallon is estimated to be $4.04.

(*travelmath)

What is the most efficient route to drive from California to Colorado?

We recommend the following route for moving from California to Colorado:

The shortest and the best route to drive from California to Colorado can be done in almost 18 hours. Start your trip from Ventura and drive non-stop to reach Telluride, stay there for a couple of hours and then again drive non-stop to reach Colorado.

What is the best scenic route to drive from California to Colorado?

We recommend the following best scenic route to drive from California to Colorado:

Route

Distance

Driving Time

Via I-15 N and I-70 E

1,016 miles

16 hours

How long is a flight from California to Colorado?

The average in-air flight time from California to Colorado is 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Cheapest time to fly to Colorado from California?

August is the cheapest month to fly to Colorado from California, while high season is considered to be November and December. The ticket cost averages at $140.

How much is a plane ticket from California to Colorado?

A plane ticket from California to Colorado starts from $147.  

If you’re taking a flight for your move from California to Colorado and don’t know how to transport your belongings, check out the best long-distance moving companies below. 

(*Cheapflights, Travel Babbo & Megan Starr)

The Best Long Distance Moving Companies to Colorado

The best long-distance moving companies to Colorado will have good reviews, insurance, great customer service, and a straightforward booking procedure. Here are the 5 best long-distance moving companies for your move from California to Colorado.

  • Allied Van Lines
  • Adams Van Lines
  • North American Van Lines
  • Atlas Van Lines
  • American Van Lines

 

Cost of Car and Boat Shipping from California to Colorado

When shipping a car or a boat from one place to another, you will find plenty of options. You can choose to ship your car or boat via freight train, shipping containers, ship, or even by airplane. However, the most used and famous option to transport a car or a boat is through a car transporter. 

Below is the cost of car and boat shipping from California to Colorado through a car transporter:

Cost to Ship a Boat From California to Colorado

To ship a boat from California to Colorado the average cost ranges between $600 – $1000.

Cost to Ship Car From California to Colorado

To ship a car from California to Colorado the average cost ranges between $530 – $840. The estimated transit time is 3-4 days. However, the cost may be different depending upon the size of the car, the terminal where you will drop the car or boat, and the weather.

(*Allied, North American Van Lines & Forbes)

The Best Places to Live in Colorado

Denver

Denver Downtown, Colorado

Denver is the Capital of Colorado. It is the largest city in the state and has numerous offers for the locals as well the migrants. It is also known as the “Mile-High City”. The city has a  great combination of beautiful views, the fastest-growing economy, and great outdoor activities. It is ranked among the best places to live in the country. The Rocky Mountains offer several outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, climbing, and hiking.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The second most populated city of Colorado has a lot to offer its residents. From the magnificent mountain views to the incredible climate, it is surely one of the most attractive cities in the country. It is only an hour away from Denver. The citizens can easily access the facilities of big city life while enjoying a more affordable cost of living.

Colorado Springs

Fort Collins

Fort Collins is ranked as one of the top 100 Best Cities to live in. It offers the best education, flourishing arts, delicious eateries, and shopping. The city has headquarters of high-tech companies like HP and Intel. Fort Collins is also home to The University of Colorado.

(*Livability)

Best School District in Colorado

  • Cheyenne Mountain School District No. 12 

It is ranked as the top-rated school district in Colorado Springs. A total of 5,309 students are enrolled in this school. The student-teacher ratio is 15 to 1. The students of this school district are proficient in math and reading. The school has a safe environment for the students. 


  • Telluride School District No. R-1

The school ranks # 2 among the public school districts located in Colorado. The total number of students is 885 students. According to state test scores, 49% of students are at least proficient in math and 67% in reading.


  • Aspen School District No. 1:

This highly rated school ranks number 3 among the public school districts located in Aspen, CO. A total of 1,653 students are enrolled in this school district with a student-teacher ratio of 13 to 1. These schools offer a great environment for the students and staff. 


  • Boulder Valley School District:

BVSD positions as a leader in academic excellence. The school district has well-qualified teachers, quality textbooks, and programs that help in student success. The total number of students enrolled in this school district is 30,000 across 56 schools.

  • Cherry Creek School District:

The Cherry Creek School District is highly rated and has the most ethnically diverse culture. A total of 56,228 students are enrolled in this district school. The school offers a friendly and safe environment for students.

(*Niche)

Illustrations-Mes changements d’adresse (1)

Driver’s License & Vehicle Registration When Moving to Colorado (DMV)

Procedure for New Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration in Colorado

When moving from California to Colorado, you have 30 days from the time you arrive to obtain a Colorado driver’s license. You can easily apply for a driver’s license online. If you have just moved to Colorado and you have brought your vehicle with you, you need to register it within 90 days of establishing residency in Colorado. Don’t wait till the last minute and register your vehicle online.  You might also be required to fill out an emission inspection form if it is applicable in the county, you’re residing in.

Documents Needed for Colorado Driver License and Vehicle Registration

  • Application for Change of Address Form
  • Your new and old address
  • Credit card for payments
  • License plate number
  • Last four digits of your VIN and SSN
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence.
  • SSN and I.D.
  • Proof of Colorado residency
  • Current vehicle registration
  • Proof of liability insurance 
  • Proof of inspection
  • Proof of ownership
  • Application for Colorado Title and/or Registration
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Home Services in Colorado

Electricity, Water, and Gas in Colorado

To set up electricity, you can either contact or visit the website of Xcel Energy. It’s a reliable option for setting up electricity when you move to Colorado. To set up a water supply, you can contact Tri-County Water.  For natural gas supply, you can contact Colorado Natural Gas by submitting a request on their website.

Internet and Cell Phone in Colorado

Colorado has good internet services at reasonable rates. There are a lot of options available such as fiber-optic, cable net, fixed wireless, and satellite. Satellite is the best option if you are living in a remote area without any other options available for high-speed internet. To save money on the internet and your cell phone plan, it’s a great idea to bundle your internet service with your cell phone provider. The best internet providers in Colorado will have bundling options, various speeds, and multiple package options at reasonable prices.

Insurance in Colorado

Car Insurance in Colorado VS California

California has the most expensive car insurance in the entire country. The annual insurance cost for a full coverage car is almost $2,065, or $172 per month. The annual insurance cost for minimum coverage is around $773. 

The car insurance in Colorado is a little less expensive. The average cost for car insurance in Colorado is $1,435. However, the cost of car insurance in Denver is higher than in any other city in Colorado. The average car insurance cost in Denver is $1,949 per year.

(*The Zebra)

Health Insurance in Colorado

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. Healthcare is regulated by the state in the US and so the state of Colorado proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Colorado as your state and create an account.

Consider getting home insurance in Colorado

When obtaining a home insurance plan, the main thing that you need to check is coverage for natural disasters. In Colorado, tornadoes, avalanches, and flooding can cause damage to a home. So, it is crucial to obtain an insurance plan which will cover the costs of any damage. Also, people who buy a home in Colorado may be required by their mortgage lender to acquire home insurance.

Pros and Cons of Living in Colorado

Pros

  • One of the best healthcare systems

  • Low property tax

  • A lot of winter activities (26 ski resorts)

  • Experiences all 4 seasons

  • Low unemployment rate

Cons

  • The public transport system in Colorado is less established than California

  • Extremely dry climate

  • Snow-covered roads makes driving dangerous during winter (as they don’t use salt)

Why Some People Regret Moving to Colorado?

Here are a few reasons some people regret moving from California to Colorado:

Regret #1

Some people regret moving to Colorado because the state is low on water for quite some time. The citizens are facing a huge drought, which increases their water bills due to lack of supply. Also, if you like water activities, Colorado is not for you as the outdoor recreations also lack water. The city has very few lakes and small beaches. The lack of water is also affecting the agriculture of the state. 

Regret #2

The outdoor recreation space is particularly crowded by residents and tourists of the state. In Colorado Springs, for example, parking at trailheads became an issue. Some spots even require an advanced reservation to camp. 

Regret #3

Many people who have moved to Colorado complain about the effects of high elevation. Indeed, Colorado is the highest American state, therefore some residents deal with altitude sickness. 

(*the Gazette & OutThere Colorado)

Fun Facts About Colorado

Below are some fun facts about Colorado:

Fun Fact #1
Denver is nicknamed the “Mile High City” because it sits exactly one mile above sea level (at an elevation of 5,280 feet).

Fun Fact #2

Colorado is the only place in America where the corners of four states meet. The southwest corner borders Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Fun Fact #3
Grand Mesa has the world’s largest flat-top mountain.

(*CCU)

Don’t Forget to Change Your Address Before Moving to Colorado!

Changing your address is a crucial step when moving to a new place. The process of mail forwarding to the post office is simple and easy. You can either change your address before moving to Colorado online or in person. Besides, you will need to change your address with many other organizations (SSA, DMV, home services, etc.). To get info on what you need to do when moving to another state, check out this complete moving out of state checklist.

Special Mention!

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