16 Things to Know Before a Military Move to San Diego

San Diego coast

Post from MilitaryByOwner

Have orders for a military move to San Diego? It’s a place like no other! And if you’re not from there, well, it can be quite different than any other place you’ve lived. It’s fun, it’s busy, and it’s adventurous. But among the good vibes you’ll feel, there are a few more things you should know before you make your way there.

1. It’s An Outdoor Culture

There are more than the beaches to draw people out of their homes year round. Go anywhere — restaurants, breweries, wineries — and you’ll find outdoor seating and even heat lamps to keep you comfortable long after the sun goes down.

Then, of course, there are all the outdoor adventures around the area like various hikes, parks, and local attractions.

2. There’s An Endless Supply Of Authentic Mexican Food

One thing’s for sure, you’ll never want for tacos again. Just be sure to try the California burrito!

3. Craft Beer

If craft beer is your thing, then you’ll feel right at home. Because if there’s anything San Diego loves more than tacos, it’s craft beer. There’s no shortage of breweries, microbreweries, and gastropubs here. So get Uber on speed dial and start working up your tolerance now so you can be sure to check out each one.

4. It’s Great For The Health-conscious

Organic food, farmers markets, and healthy restaurants are the thing here. And you can be sure that you’ll see people outside exercising all day every day—which will either make you feel right at home or very aware of how little interest you have in joining them.

5. The Beach Is Everywhere

San Diego is right on the coast and the beach stretches for miles. There are endless beaches with names but ultimately, it’s all the same stretch of sand so don’t get overwhelmed by all the formal titles (you’ll likely do better choosing a specific meet-up spot by identifying landmarks in town).

6. The Water Is Cold

You might be thinking it’s so warm there year-round, the water must be too…well, it’s not. It’s the big, open, Pacific Ocean and it doesn’t heat up quite like the Gulf or a bay does. Sure, you’ll see people neck-deep in the water year-round, but more often than not, they’re surfers and they’re wearing wetsuits.

Having said that, there are a handful of places to take your kids where the water is more pleasant—Mission Bay Park and La Jolla Cove just to name a couple.

7. The Desert Is Beautiful

It might not be what you’re used to. There’s not a lot of green, the yards aren’t big, and there aren’t a ton of trees. But, it’s gorgeous and you’ll learn to love the view if (you don’t already).

8. You Might Need To Downsize

You won’t find the same size house for your money here as you would in say, North Carolina. So, you’ll need to prioritize distance to base, quality of home, size of home, and location to find the right home for you at your San Diego duty station. And it’s quite possible that you sacrifice size of home to accommodate for other features.

9. Renting Might Be Better Than Buying

Depending on the market when you get to the area, you might be better off renting. The San Diego market fluctuates drastically (there was an 8% increase last year alone), which makes buying a home here a very strategic transaction.

10. You’ll Still Need A Car

Unlike most big cities where you can get by using public transportation, you’ll want to keep your car here. Aside from downtown itself, the city’s footprint is actually quite large and attractions are widespread.

11. Expect Lots Of Traffic

If you have flexibility, navigating time and direction of travel should help you. But, there are a lot of people packed into San Diego County and it’s probably going to take you way longer than it should to get somewhere. I-5 and I-10 get backed up fairly quickly, and if you try to go through town, the traffic lights will get you. Just expect it and you won’t get too mad.

12. You’ll Be Hot And Cold At The Same Time

Since humidity is low, you’ll find yourself very warm in the sun. Then you’ll step into the shade at the same time, same day, and immediately feel cold. It’s an anomaly.

13. You Won’t Find Traditional Seasons

Sure, the temperature will fluctuate a little throughout the year, but you won’t find dramatic drops or rises. You will, however, learn to have layers throughout the day or otherwise you’ll likely change your outfit three times a day (and no one wants to do that much laundry).

14. Fires Are A Common Thing Here

Forget about tornadoes. Fires are the more common concern here. But don’t worry, although they pop up out of nowhere, officials do a great job keeping residents up to date about evacuations and road closings.

15. Everyone Loses Their Minds Over Rain

I witnessed a checker at the grocery store and my friend cancel their plans because it was drizzling. So when I say that people lose their minds over rain, I mean it. Rain in Southern California is the equivalent of the Midwest getting a blizzard.

But you’ll soon share the same wonder. Rain is infrequent enough that it does become a little newsworthy. Be sure to take full advantage and snuggle in with a book or a good movie.

16. You’ll Get The Travel Bug

It’s not that you’ll want to leave; it’s that there are so many adventures to be had. Within a day’s drive you can go to Anza-Borrego, LA, Disneyland, Big Bear, Sequoia National Park, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley. Be sure that you visit those locations before you leave!

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