Moving to San Juan Capistrano

Orange County, California is infamous for being a hot spot in California and if you’re looking to get away from the city and are in a desperate search for the perfect beach town, San Juan Capistrano is a hidden gem of Orange County that you’ll surely fall in love with. The rolling green hills, small-town feel, and beach access make for the perfect place to call home.

The city its self was built around Mission San Juan Capistrano. Architects drew inspiration from the Mission’s Spanish style and incorporated it into the homes and town buildings as the city grew. Today, the city is split in half by I-5, a major freeway along the coast of the U.S.  It is known to be in the migration path of American Cliff Swallows, so if you are a nature enthusiast and looking to check this hard to spot bird off your list, start packing! Activists were able to successfully bring the birds back in 2017 after a few years in their absence. They even have the Swallows’ Day Parade to celebrate the protected bird.

You might be wondering how you can live amongst Spanish-style strip malls, rolling green hills, and have the beach nearby. We’ve got you covered. Continue reading to find out more about the neighborhoods, transportation, and activities that make this sweet spot in California so sweet!


With over 40 suburban neighborhoods you certainly won’t have to compromise on your new home here. You can take your time and find the best housing option for you! Capistrano Garden Homes is located directly off I-5 freeway giving its residents easy access to get anywhere in Southern California, including the beach! The neighborhood offers both family and modern style homes. According to Nextdoor, its residents love that it is Downtown, has freeway access, and is pet-friendly.

Picked especially for our nature gurus, Four Oaks or The Oak Farms, is the cream of the crop in San Juan Capistrano. This luxury neighborhood is loved by all for being nestled in the rolling green hills, having access to secluded hiking trails, and family-friendly nature. Better yet, the beach is only 10-minutes away. Similarly, Peppertree Bend also offers luxury living north of I-5 freeway. Residents recently voted for their favorite local businesses on Nextdoor. The number one movie theater was voted to be the Cinepolis Luxury Cinema. The best bar was voted to be the Cedar Creek Inn and the best BBQ around can be found at Bad to The Bone BBQ. Not to mention they enjoy family activities, biking, volunteering, and even wine tasting during their free time. What a community to be a part of! This is no place for a penny pinch, however, as homes in these two desirable neighborhoods sell for anywhere between $1.3 and $6 million. Turns out living in the hills with a coastal view and luxury architecture might cost a pretty penny.

Not to worry if you want a more budget-friendly option without giving up the views, beach access, or peacefulness. Alipaz allows you to live in peace and quiet without having to shine up that penny. You can find smaller homes here for as low as $140,000. Large family style homes can be found for sale starting at $500,000. A local favorite in this neck of the woods is Stuft Pizza and brewing voted by neighborhood residents on Nextdoor. Looks like you won’t be sacrificing good food either. The neighborhood starts near the coastline and ends near where State Route 74 and I-5 freeways collide. This offers buyers a choice of sceneries all in the same community from beach views to mountain access.

Things to do in San Juan Capistrano

Certainly, the hiking trails and beaches may keep you busy exploring all that Mother Nature has to offer for a while, but there is much more to San Juan Capistrano, or “San Juan” to the locals than exploring the landscape. For starters, upon moving here it is a must to visit Mission San Juan Capistrano. The traditionally built Spanish style building is what set the groundwork for the entire town and was used and inspiration as homes and buildings shot up around it. To honor the town, you must first learn its history, of course! There is even more history to be discovered as well. In fact, you can get your weekly dose of it at O’Neil Museum of early settlers, Los Rios Historic District filled with small coffee and clothing shops, and surprisingly enough the Zoomars Petting Zoo is even laced with history and Spanish-style decor.

While exploring the beaches and locating the secret beaches (Yes, they exists!)  is one of the best parts of living in the area we will disclose the one that you just can’t afford to miss out on! Thousand Steps Beach is just north of San Juan. Should you visit you better have your hiking shoes on because as the name suggests getting down into this cove is no joke. It may not be 1,000 steps exactly, but it will feel like it! This infamous beach does not fail to rewards its visitors with small caves and clear blue water kissing the sand and giving way to life in the tide pools. You won’t regret the trip, we promise.

As many of the locals shared on Nextdoor, they love their wine. You can find wine just about everywhere in San Juan, but you will meet the locals sipping their favorite glass at Oak Mountain Winery or Rancho Capistrano Winery. Rancho Capistrano Winery offers over 50 varieties of ports, ice, and fruity wines. For special events or even just a day of tasting, Oak Mountain Winery has over 9,000 feet of wine cave tunnels and a fantasy-like scenery. The locals sure do know their wine!


San Juan Capistrano residents work hard to preserve the land they inhabit. Many of the residents use bikes or utilize local trails to get around. Unfortunately, California itself is not 100% biker friendly and thus, you have San Juan Capistrano Traffic and Transportation. You’ll find a Metrolink and Amtrak helpful in long-distance commutes and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) provides bus services around the county for shorter commutes. All of which you will certainly want to consider, even if you have your own car, the California traffic is no joke! The cost of escaping traffic and getting your free time back is only $40 monthly. If you know I-5 traffic, you know it’s worth it. If you are a frequent flyer, for work or for fun, the Amtrack may not work for you, but John Wayne Airport is only a 25-minute drive away!

Schools in San Juan Capistrano

The school system is made up of top quality schools scoring a B+ on Niche’s public school ranking system. Top schools include public schools San Juan Hills High School and Capistrano Valley High school, and private schools St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and JSerra Catholic High School. Education is a top priority the city holds each and every school to the high standards. Higher education options nearby San Juan Capistrano include Saddleback College (4 miles), Soka University of America (8 miles), and Laguna College of Art and Design (8 miles).

Cost of Living

For being settled where the mountains cascade down to the coast, living in San Juan Capistrano is quite attainable. Let’s jump in and take a glance at the cost of living in this coastal region. The median home value is $737,300, but don’t let this scare you away! 76% of residents are homeowners and while this is the cost of a home is higher than the national average the unique real-estate market also offers tiny homes in the area starting at $80,000 and renting is always an option. The median rent asked is $1,886. Jobs are plentiful and the median household income is $81,730, 67% higher than the national average.

All the little costs tend to sneak up on us, so let’s look at some of the averages costs we don’t always think about until it is too late. Utilities, otherwise known as the forgotten bill, on average costs $190 a month for a 915 square foot apartment. We all love a good night out with friends or partners, but sometimes those costs come back to bite us. Here you should be prepared to pay $55 for a three-course meal for two. Sports and leisurely fees will range from $7.50 for a movie to $40.29 for a gym membership. Don’t forget to consider all these costs before you pack your bags, we know it’s an enticing place to move, but make sure the numbers add up right first!

Time to Move

Now, that you have a better understanding of all that it takes to live where the mountains fall into the coast, we hope that you have fallen in love with San Juan Capistrano as much as we have. Whether you take the plunge to paradise tomorrow, next month, or next year, A-1 Self Storage in San Juan Capistrano will be here to take the stress and unease out of your move. Our friendly storage experts are happy to help find a storage unit that will fit your belongings without breaking the bank. For your convenience, we even have all the moving supplies you could ever dream of for sale in the front office. Feel free to give us a call or drop in to say hi and get all your questions answered!

A-1 Self Storage

(949) 491-1590

33000 Valle Rd San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

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