What Are Southern California’s Best Cities for Renters

Everyone knows that the perks of living on the West Coast are unparalleled. However, the Golden State’s notoriously high cost of living can easily become a discouraging factor for potential renters, pushing them to look elsewhere. This is definitely a possibility, unless you know where to look.

Amidst all the luxury and expensive cities, California still offers economically sound places to reside. If you’re willing to compromise on your area of choice, you’ll find that the best cities for renters in California can offer you the best of both worlds.

In other words, you’ll pay cheaper rent, live in safe neighborhoods, and take advantage of all the West Coast amenities the best cities to rent in can offer.

Oxnard: Coastal Living at an Affordable Price

Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,959

Situated between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Oxnard is an affordable coastal town with easy access to major cities. The SoCal city boasts seven miles of sandy beaches, fresh farm stands, incredible taquerias, and a harbor that easily takes you to Channel Islands National Park.

Besides great Victorian architecture, renowned museums, and world-class surf spots, this coastal town offers great career opportunities in the agriculture and forestry industries. Quirky local events like the California Strawberry Festival make Oxnard one of the best cities to rent in California without compromising your social life and breaking the bank.

Bakersfield: Affordable Living with a Growing Community

Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,208

Bakersfield is the ninth largest city in the state. It’s also one of the most affordable places to rent in California. You’ll only be about a two-hour drive from L.A. and live in a community that’s growing with families seeking affordable housing and job opportunities in the oil and agriculture sectors.

Fill your free time exploring the Basque restaurants, browsing antique stores, and visiting cultural attractions in the Arts District. Head over to Wind Wolves Preserve for serene outdoor recreation—it’s the West Coast’s largest nonprofit nature preserve.

If you ever feel like you need to escape to a nature-filled retreat, you’ll have plenty of lakeside campgrounds and bucket-list national park experiences nearby. The cheapest cities to rent in Los Angeles County could never live up to Bakersfield.

Eureka: Picturesque and Affordable Coastal Town

Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $750

Located halfway between Mendocino and Crescent City, this harbor town is one of the cheapest places to rent in Northern California while still being incredibly picturesque. Enjoy cool coastal breezes all year long with rolling fog from the ocean and fresh air from Redwood National Park near Eureka.

Known for producing the best oysters and hosting beautifully intricate Victorian architecture in the Old Town area, Eureka is a treat to discover any time of year. Add in the dreamy outdoor escapes, quirky festivals, a rich history, and charming downtown, and you have one of the best places to rent a house in the Golden State.

Ventura: Ultimate Southern California Lifestyle on a Budget

Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,850

Ventura provides you with the ultimate Southern California lifestyle without breaking the budget. With five college campuses nearby, gorgeous historic buildings, and a classic wooden pier, it’s almost hard to believe that this coastal town is one of the cheapest places to rent in Southern California.

Its old-fashioned Main Street adds a certain charm to Ventura. Not only that, but the best surfing spots in the state are found right here.

Explore this beautiful seaside town on a getaway and get a taste of what it would be like to live here. Spend your days eating fresh seafood, strolling through stores, and being surrounded by a wonderful coastal community that embraces the laid-back SoCal beach town lifestyle.

Chico: Fast-Growing City with Affordable Rent

Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $945

Not only is Chico one of the fastest-growing cities in California, but it’s also one of the best cities for renters. The cornerstone of this town is California State University, Chico which has top-rated nursing and fine arts programs. But that’s not all there is to do in Chico.

Find foodie hot spots, cultural attractions, and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation throughout one of the cheapest places to rent in California. You’ll find expansive parks and scenic hikes in places like Bidwell Park in town. However, when the mountains call, the majestic Lassen Volcanic National Park is merely a stone’s throw away.

Simi Valley: A Science Hub and Hikers’ Paradise

A science hub and hikers’ paradise in one, Simi Valley provides you with a great quality of life while featuring some of the cheapest apartments in California. Located between Simi Hills and the Santa Susana Mountains, this city is surrounded by warm and bright red rocks. While being in close proximity to L.A., Simi Valley still provides a small-town vibe to its residents.

As one of the best cities for renters, Simi Valley is also rich in recreation opportunities. Hike amazing trails, check out the Ronald Reagan Library, and catch a movie in the city’s cool downtown. If you ever feel like you need extra excitement, hop in your car and you’ll be in Downtown Los Angeles in less than 40 minutes.

Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,699

Vacaville is a beautiful hidden gem in Northern California. This Solano County city is home to great outdoor recreation areas and well-rated public schools, with quirky town traditions. Mostly favored by young families and professionals, this affordable place to rent in California features something for everyone. On top of all that, Vacaville is ethnically diverse.

Nature lovers can stretch their legs on a hike in the lovely Lagoon Valley, which provides great views of the city and beyond. City dwellers would love exploring the fun Nut Tree Plaza, which offers plenty of shopping and dining sites, as well as rides for kids.

To feel like you’re an active member of the Vacaville community, take part in the Vacaville Fiesta Days, an annual celebration with parades, costumes, music, and food.


Finding affordable rent in Southern California might seem challenging, but cities like Oxnard, Bakersfield, Eureka, Ventura, Chico, Simi Valley, and Vacaville offer budget-friendly options without sacrificing quality of life. These cities provide a mix of coastal beauty, vibrant communities, and ample recreational opportunities, making them ideal choices for renters looking to enjoy the best of what California has to offer.

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