Moving From California to Tennessee

Moving From California to Tennessee: Everything You Need to Know

From the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to the banks of the Mississippi River, the beautiful State of Tennessee offers something unique for everyone. Apart from natural beauty, Tennessee is also famous for its music, lots of employment opportunities, and a relatively affordable housing market by the standards of other US states.  

This article covers everything you need to know before moving from California to Tennessee. Read on if you’re thinking about moving to Tennessee and calling the Volunteer State your next home.

Booking trustworthy movers starts here

Compare multiple moving quotes calculated across the same metrics

Why Californians are moving to Tennessee

Californians are moving to Tennessee because of the high income taxes and the ever-rising cost of living in California. Other reasons include exciting outdoor activities, plenty of job opportunities, and affordable education in the Volunteer State.

Here we have listed some most common reasons Californians are moving to Tennessee:

Zero state income tax

Did you know that Tennessee has zero state income tax? That means that Californians who end up moving to the Volunteer State end up saving up to 12% of their income, which they’d otherwise have paid in state income tax in The Golden State. 

Lower cost of living

Affordability is another reason that made people move from California to Tennessee. Real estate household essentials and daily use items (food, groceries, clothing, etc.) are much cheaper in Tennessee than they are in California.

Better employment opportunities

Nashville is one of the top destinations for Californian companies looking to relocate or expand operations. Some of the country’s biggest firms, such as Amazon and Mitsubishi, are planting roots in Nashville and bringing thousands of jobs. 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the largest employer in the city. That is not all. HCA Healthcare Inc., the world’s largest healthcare company, also has its headquarters in Nashville, so there is no shortage of employment opportunities in Tennessee.

How many people move to Tennessee every day?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 36 people move to Nashville, Tennessee (Metropolitan Area).

Nashville, Tennessee

Los Angeles VS Nashville

Los Angeles, California, is one of the most famous cities in the United States. The city has more than 17 million people, making it the second most populated city. On the other hand, Nashville, Tennessee’s capital, is the most populous city in the state, and the 21st most populous city in the U.S. The consolidated population in Nashville was estimated at 678,448 in 2021.

Cost of living in Los Angeles, California VS Nashville, Tennessee

The average cost of living in Nashville, Tennessee for a couple is $3275 per month whereas the average cost in Los Angeles California is $4500.




Rent – House

$1 300

$2 300

Average cost of utilities









Other (transportation, material goods)




$2 675

$3 930

(*Numbeo 2, Insurify, Valuepenguin and  Ehealthinsurance, HomeOwnersInsuranceCover, Numbeo, SmartAsset, SmartFinancial & Ehealthinsurance)

How much is a house in Tennessee?

A house in Tennessee typically costs around $231 682.

How much is rent in Tennessee?

A 2-bedroom apartment in Tennessee typically rents for $1375.

What is the sales tax in Tennessee vs California?

Sales tax in Tennessee is 7%, whereas in California it is 7.25%.

How Much is the Property Tax in Tennessee?

The property tax in Tennessee averages at 0.64% whereas in California it is 0.73%.

(*Fool, HomeSnacks, TN Department of Revenue, CDTFA, SmartAsset TN & SmartAsset CA)

California VS Tennessee weather

In California, summers are usually warm and dry, and winters are cool and partly cloudy. While the climate of Tennessee is hot with humidity in summers, with an average high temperature of 89°F and an average low of 67°F. Winters in Tennessee are mild, sometimes reaching the freezing point with light snowfall. The average temperature in winter ranges from 49 to 30°F. 

Fall seems to be the favorite season of people residing in Tennessee. It has a breathtaking feel. It’s colorful and vibrant. People visit Tennessee from miles away to experience the memorable fall. Spring in Tennessee is probably the most attractive season because humidity is low, temperatures are mild, and nights are chilly.

(*WeatherSpark & The World Travel Guide)

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

LA offers $100 for a 30-Day pass for limited bus lines and metro, while a bus and paratransit 31-Day pass in Nashville costs $84.

(*U.S. Department of Transportation)

Transportation from Los Angeles to Nashville

The total driving time from Los Angeles, California to Nashville, Tennessee is 29 hours and 16 minutes.

How far is Nashville from Los Angeles?

Nashville is 2 004 miles far from Los Angeles, with a time difference of 2 hours (Nashville is 2 hours ahead).

What is the cost to drive from California to Tennessee?

In 2022, the cost of driving from Los Angeles to Nashville is $385.76. The fuel cost per gallon is estimated to be $4.81.


What is the best route to drive from California to Tennessee?

The best route to drive from California to Tennessee is the following:

  •         Start from California
  •         6.5 hours to Bullhead City, Arizona after driving about 380 miles / 610 km
  •         3 hours to Flagstaff, Arizona after driving about 180 miles / 290 km
  •         4.5 hours to Albuquerque, New Mexico after driving about 320 miles / 520 km
  •         4 hours to Amarillo, Texas after driving about 290 miles / 470 km
  •         4 hours to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma after driving about 260 miles / 420 km
  •         7 hours to Memphis, Tennessee after driving about 470 miles / 750 km
  •         4 hours to Tennessee after driving about 230 miles / 360 km

The total trip including the stops is around 2,130 miles / 32.5 hours.

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

The best scenic route to drive from California to Tennessee is the following:





Los Angeles to Bullhead City, Arizona

600 miles


Bullhead City to Holbrook, Arizona

450 miles


Holbrook to Albuquerque, New Mexico

450 miles


Albuquerque to Oklahoma City

500 miles


Oklahoma City to Little Rock, Arkansas

440 miles


Little Rock to Nashville

400 miles

How long is a flight from Los Angeles to Nashville?

The flight from Los Angeles to Nashville is 3 hours 55 minutes.

Cheapest time to fly from Los Angeles to Nashville?

August is usually the cheapest month to fly from Los Angeles to Nashville.

How much is a plane ticket from Los Angeles to Nashville?

A plane ticket from Los Angeles to Nashville starts from $151.

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

(*Cheapflights, Have Dog Will Drive & travelmath)

The best long distance moving companies to Tennessee

The best long distance moving companies to Tennessee 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 Tennessee.

  • 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 Tennessee

When shipping a car or a boat across, plenty of options are available. Depending on your preference, you can choose to ship your car or boat via freight train, shipping containers, ship, or even by airplane.

Cost to ship a boat from California to Tennessee

The average cost to ship a boat from California to Tennessee is around $600 – $1,000.

Cost to ship car from California to Tennessee

To ship a car from California to Tennessee, the average cost ranges from $1000 to $1400. The estimated transit time is 3-4 days.

 (*uShip & Bankrate)

The best places to live in Tennessee


Brentwood, TN

Brentwood is one of the most reputable places to live in Tennessee. The total population is 40,000. It has an excellent education system, good music, and lots of sports. The area has several parks for fun-filled outdoor activities. In addition to that, an airport is also located in this area. However, real estate prices have gone up in recent years.


Franklin, TN

Franklin is one of the desirable places to live in Tennessee. It has a total population of 68,500 residents. The housing cost in Franklin is considerably lower than in Brentwood; however, the household incomes are almost equal to Brentwood. Moreover, the area has a sound education system, a friendly community, and over 200 eateries.


Germantown has a population of 40,000 residents. The cost of living and housing is affordable. This place offers the highest income in the state and has a controlled crime rate. Germantown also has the most robust district school rating.

Best school district in Tennessee

  • Collierville Schools

Located in Collierville, Collierville Schools is one of the top-rated public-school districts. It has 9,188 students with a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1.

  •  Maryville City Schools

Maryville City Schools is located in Maryville. It has 5,443 students with a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. The school has scored a grade A in college preparation, health, and safety.

  •  Williamson County Schools

Williamson County Schools is ranked as the No.1 public school in Franklin and the 3rd best school in Tennessee. It has 41,387 students with a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. 

  • Alcoa City Schools

Alcoa City Schools is a highly rated public school. It has 2,134 students in grades with a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. In addition, this school district is known for having teachers always ready to help students.

  • Greeneville City Schools

Greeneville City Schools is a highly rated school district. The total number of students in this school is 2,940, with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. In addition, this school has ranked as the No.1 safest school in the Tennessee district.   

(*Niche & The Crazy Tourist)

Illustrations-Mes changements d’adresse (1)

Driver’s license & vehicle registration when moving to Tennessee (DMV)

Procedure for new driver’s license and vehicle registration in Tennessee

When moving from California to Tennessee, you must exchange your driver’s license within 30 days of moving, otherwise you may be fined. To exchange your driver’s license, you can apply in person at your local DMV Office or online by using the Driver’s License Application service.

Documents needed for Tennessee driver license and vehicle registration

  • TN driver’s license or ID number
  • Mailing address
  • Last 4 digits of your Social Security number (SSN)
  • Payment for driver’s license replacement
  • Current license or certified copy of driving record or other acceptable ID
  • If you are submitting a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR), it must be original and issued no more than 30 days prior to your Tennessee application date.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal presence.
  • Proof of Tennessee residency with your name and resident address.
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Either the name and address of the lienholder to whom you are making payments OR, in the event of no lienholder, your out-of-state title.
  • Out-of-state license and registration

Home services in Tennessee

Electricity, water & gas in Tennessee

Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Associated is an association of 60 county electric providers and municipalities that provide services to over 2.4 million homes and businesses across Tennessee. You can visit their website to find out about the electricity providers available in your county. For gas and water supply, the Tennessee Public Utility Commission can be contacted, or you can visit their website to get information. TPUC is responsible for setting the service standards and rates of privately owned natural gas, telephone, electric, and water utilities.

Internet and cell phone in Tennessee

The state of Tennessee has a total of 66 internet providers available. It is the 29th most connected state, having access to broadband speeds of 25 Mbps or more. There are a wide variety of options such as: cable, dsl, fiber and satellite in many areas. The best internet providers in Tennessee will have bundling options, various speeds, and multiple package options at reasonable prices.

Insurance in Tennessee

Car insurance in Tennessee VS California

Car insurance is quite affordable in Tennessee compared to California and other states. The average cost of car insurance is $1,338 annually or $111 per month for a full-coverage policy. The cost for a minimum coverage car insurance policy is $371 annually or $40 per month.

In California, the annual insurance cost for a full-coverage car is almost $2,065 or $172 per month, while the yearly insurance cost for minimum coverage is around $773 or $64 per month.

Health insurance in Tennessee

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 Tennessee proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Tennessee as your state and create an account.

Consider getting home insurance in Tennessee

Getting home insurance is a critical type of financial protection from any expected damages caused mainly by natural disasters. Your home will be covered in case it is damaged by bad weather, burglary or natural disasters such as tornadoes, hailstorms and wildfires (some common one’s in Tennessee).

Pros & cons of living in Tennessee


  • The State of Tennessee has an affordable cost of living with a meager unemployment rate
    Tennessee has almost zero income taxes.

  • Tennessee offers the best scholarship programs in the country.

  • Nashville is famous for its legendary music, and Memphis for its delicious food (barbecue).

  • The state has many breathtaking natural landscapes, including more than 900 caves and beautiful autumn foliage.

  • The Volunteer State organizes several fairs and hosts many festivals (such as the CMA Music Festival, Warburg’s Mountain Laurel Festival and the Slawburger Festival).


  • Crowds and urban congestion (especially in Nashville and Memphis) due to rapid population growth.
  • Multiple nuclear power plants.
  • Humid summers.
  • You might have to own a car because the public transport is less established than in California.


 (*Vittana & RetirePedia)

Why some people regret moving to Tennessee?

Tennessee is a great state to live in. The state offers loads of opportunities for employment, recreation, and studies. However, not all people who move to Tennessee are delighted with their decision. Here’s why:

Regret #1

Summers in Tennessee are a big challenge, especially in July and August. The temperature is hot and sticky, and the humidity makes it even worse. 

 Regret #2

Public transport in Tennessee is not well developed. Most citizens own a car, and, for this reason, the rush-hour traffic can get unbearable at times.

 Regret #3

The crime rate in some areas of Tennessee is very high. 

 Regret #4

Thunderstorms and hurricanes are widespread in Tennessee, especially in the late spring and early fall. Driving in winter is quite challenging due to hail storms and severe lightning. 

Fun facts about Tennessee

Fun Fact #1

The Reelfoot Lake in Obion and Lake counties was created due to severe earthquakes in late 1811 and early 1812. 

 Fun Fact #2

We all know that Tennessee is famous for its music. Tennessee is the only state with ten states songs written by different lyricists.

 Fun Fact #3

In 1807, Kingston was named the state’s capital for one day only. This was because the general assembly met there to fulfill the treaty obligation made with Cherokee.

(*Knox News)

Don’t forget to change your address before moving to Tennessee!

Changing your address is an important 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 Tennessee 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!

Moving is often synonymous of stress, long administrative tasks and a significant waste of time and money. MovingWaldo helps you solve all these problems in just a few clicks! After some shameless self-promotion, we invite you to discover our free moving tools available to all.

  • Discover Top-Rated Movers
  • Update accounts
  • Connect Internet, TV and Phone.
  • Secure home and auto insurance
  • Find resources, checklists and more.

We bring together more than 1,000 organizations across the country with a single and simplified form.

Share this article on social media

Relevant for your move

Find a mover

Easily compare multiple quotes

Organize your move

Guided through a checklist

Internet packages

Get up to speed on the new deals

Address change

Update your address in a few clicks

Join the network

Become a trusted vendor in your service area

For agents and brokers

MovingWaldo is a one-stop-shop that simplifies tackling moving tasks

What is MovingWaldo?

We guide millions of families through each step of their moving process, helping them save time and money, and making sure nothing gets left behind.

Trouver un déménageur

Comparez plusieurs devis

Organisez votre déménagement

Guidé à travers une checklist

Changement d’adresse

Mettez à jour votre adresse en quelques clics

Forfaits internet

Soyez au courant des nouvelles offres internet à domicile

Rejoignez le réseau

Devenez un fournisseur de confiance pour desservir votre région

Professionnels de l’immobilier

Prolongez la relation avec vos clients grâce à votre propre plateforme de déménagement personnalisé

Qu'est-ce que MovingWaldo ?

MovingWaldo est un guichet unique qui simplifie la planification du déménagement

You are now leaving the MovingWaldo shop

Talk to our experts about your moving project.

Great ! Expect a call shortly. Our moving expert are available during business hours, Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM EST.

Promo code

Enter your promo code and update your cart.

Get our printable change of address checklist directly in your inbox