Photo: Shutterstock/Joshua Resnick

12 Things You Miss When You Leave California

by Julia Kitlinski-Hong Mar 30, 2017

Deciding to come to California is easy. No matter where you are in the Golden State, you’re never more than a few hours from your perfect outing, whether that means surfing Pacific waves, skiing Sierra Nevada peaks, or touring world-class cities. Leaving California, on the other hand, can be much harder, leading to side effects like sunshine withdrawal and insatiable cravings for Tex Mex. Of all the ways California enchants, these are by far the hardest things to give up once you’ve had a taste of the West Coast lifestyle so many rock stars have rhapsodized about.

1. Ideal weather

People enjoying the sunny weather in Mission Dolores park

Photo: canadastock/Shutterstock

With a mild climate around the state, it’s easy to forget that this is not the case everywhere else in the country. A winter on the East Coast or in the Midwest will make you grateful for all that California sunshine. A summer in the South will make you realize that the Golden State is pretty blessed in the weather department. Even the beautiful Pacific Northwest comes with a little too much rain for our taste.

2. Fresh produce

Photo: Anita Warren-Hampson/Shutterstock

With Central California having ideal soil to grow a wide variety of crops, Californians are spoiled with fresh fruits and veggies year-round. Farmers’ markets are the best places to see these seasonal displays, where you can get your weekly produce haul without having to step inside a Sprouts.

3. Being close to the ocean

Photo: ianmitchinson/Shutterstock

Fresh seafood, stunning coastal views, and a natural regulator for a mild climate. Having the Pacific as your neighbor has endless benefits. It isn’t until you leave the coast and are in a landlocked state that you realize how much you miss the salty ocean breeze and being able to drive down the PCH at sunset.

4. Dressing casual

Wearing sweatpants or workout gear is a typical uniform for us Californians. We don’t feel the need to dress up unless it’s a special occasion (and even then most of us opt for jeans). If it looks like we’re wearing our pajamas to the grocery store, we probably are and we’re not ashamed to admit it.

5. The artistic spirit

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Maybe it’s all that California sunshine, but this is a state of dreamers. From musical endeavors to innovative ideas, nothing seems too outrageous. From Hollywood to Silicon Valley, there are creative hubs all around the state that welcome those who think outside of the box.

6. Plenty of outdoor spaces


Photo: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

It is hard to stay indoors in California when there are so many different national and regional parks beckoning. From the majestic Yosemite National Park to lesser-known (but equally stunning) places like Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. It is easy to be in the great outdoors all day, every day.

7. Diverse landscapes

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From the fertile valleys of Central California to the dry desert plateaus of Death Valley, California is a state that is hard to define geographically. If you want the snow, head up to the mountains; for the beach, head down south for some beautiful seaside destinations. If you want the unusual, go to a place like Mono Lake, where the eerie landscape transports you to another planet.

8. Vibrant cities

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San Francisco and Los Angeles are the main cities in California, but they are by no means the only interesting ones. There’s Sacramento, the state capitol that has a great farm-to-fork scene, San Diego with world-class museums, and Oakland that has plenty of its own character and charm.

9. Inventive food

Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Sushiritto, Kogi BBQ, Namaste Pizza, California is known for embracing fusion food. With a wide variety of different types of cuisines throughout the state, chefs are not afraid to be creative in the kitchen and borrow different flavors to make a new one.

10. Pride parades

Photo: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

California goes all out when it comes to celebrating gay pride. Whether you are in West Hollywood or the Castro, there is no holding back. This is the time to dress up and wear whatever you fancy (the more rainbows the better) and no one will bat a fake pink eyelash.

11. Meeting people with unusual names

Blame it on our hippie roots up north or the Hollywood mentality down south, but Californians love to give their kids wacky names. Although plenty of Californians chose common names like Sophia and Jacob for their children, you’re bound to run into a girl named Luna or a guy named Slater more often than not.

12. June Gloom

For us Californians, the start of summer means pulling out the sweaters and embracing the gray skies and cooler temperatures. For visitors, it may seem depressing, but locals see it as an excuse to drink steaming bowls of ramen or pho and meet friends for a warm cup of coffee or tea.

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