Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Port Costa, California
An East Bay Town 30 Miles Northeast of San Francisco, Port Costa is Cute and Quirky with Beautiful Water Views
This tiny quirky East Bay town is in a lush canyon 30 miles northeast of San Francisco and is part of the scenic Carquinez Strait shoreline. It started out in 1879 as a bustling ferry landing but saw its population diminish when the railroad built bridges that bypassed the city.
Today, Port Costa is still very much off the beaten path but undergoing somewhat of a renaissance. Its colorful Burlington Hotel, once a flophouse, has been restored to its original Victorian splendor and houses the upscale Bull Valley Roadhouse. The Port Costa Conservation Society has renovated the 1911 school building and turned it into a community center. Although a dog was once voted in as mayor, no formal government exists so it is up to the citizens to mount the yearly talent show, art show and car show. The small, somewhat ramshackle downtown has stone buildings, wood buildings with balconies, a couple of restaurants, a post office, some trees and a dimly lit bar with 250 kinds of beer.
Neighborhoods are overgrown and hilly with funky bungalows and Victorians. Wild turkeys occasionally wander into the road and stop traffic, of which there is little. Much of the bucolic, rolling land around Port Costa is managed by the East Bay Regional Park District and includes the nearby Eckley Fishing Pier and the Carquinez Strait Scenic Loop, which includes 26 miles of the larger Bay Trail bike system.
Population: 250 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 63%
Cost of Living: 97% above national average
Median Home Price: $800,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the 40s, 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 18 inches of rain each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Sutter Solano Medical is six miles away in Vallejo and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Sutter Solano Medical is six miles away in Vallejo and is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: No
Political Leanings: Very liberal
College Educated: 50%
Cons: The earthquake risk is 1,280% higher than the national average.
Is California Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Notes: Shopping and services are in neighboring Martinez or in across-the-bay Vallejo. Port Costa started to lose population in 2015, but it has been rebounding since 2019. Home prices have decreased 9% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although services are limited and most homes have two stories.
Thanks to the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, the Golden State became a U.S. territory in 1847. Soon after, gold was found at Sutter's Mill. The land crowded with fortune seekers, and, shortly thereafter, California entered the Union as its 31st state in 1850.
California has 900 miles of coastline and claims the highest and lowest point in the continental U.S. Its terrain varies dramatically - from sandy beaches to rugged mountains, deserts to fertile farmland. Landmarks like Hollywood, Disneyland, and the Golden Gate Bridge play a large part in the nation's history and imagination.
Although Texas and New York have tried to close the gap, California's economy continues to be nation's largest. Agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, and tourism are some of its leading industries.
Cities of the Golden State have put some odd laws on the books. It's illegal to molest a monarch in Pacific Grove. Want to throw a frisbee on an L.A. County beach? Better ask a lifeguard first. What about bowling on the sidewalks of Chico? Strictly forbidden!
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