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Moving to Texas from California 🌴🌵Guide | Where to Move from San Diego: Dallas vs Austin vs Houston

Thinking about leaving San Diego? You won’t be alone. It may be America’s Finest City, but the idyllic San Diego climate and lifestyle comes at a high cost. If you’re leaving San Diego, Texas is probably high on your list of destinations.

California has been the top state of origin for people moving to Texas for nearly 20 years with the share of Californians moving to Texas increasing every year since 2011! Texas is the best state to move to from California if you’re looking for a lower cost of living and affordable home prices without giving up vibrant city living and a warm climate.

Here’s how to move from California to Texas, what you need to know, and the top destinations when moving out of San Diego.

Moving Out of California: Is Texas the New Golden State?

In the last census, the Golden State lost a Congressional district and Texas gained two thanks to an influx of new residents, many of them from California. While California’s population has remained stable, for the last 20 years, it’s relied on natural population growth and international migration – otherwise, the population has been in decline for two decades with people leaving California.

In 2019 alone, about 560,000 people moved to Texas. How many Californians moved to Texas? Nearly 82,000 per year! Between 2010 and 2020, nearly 700,000 Californians relocated to Texas. That’s more than the population of Sacramento or Fresno!

Thanks to its lower cost of living, economic opportunities, and ever-growing share of California transplants, Texas is being called the new Golden State.

After leaving San Diego, you’ll find out that everything is bigger in Texas – and more affordable!

Why Are Californians Moving to Texas? | Top 3 Reasons for Moving from California to Texas

Why is everyone moving to Texas? For Californians, and particularly people in Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Bay Area, there are three big reasons.

#1. High Cost of Living in California vs Texas

As you might imagine, the high California cost of living, and the much more affordable lifestyle in Texas, is the biggest driver for people moving from California to Texas. A recent survey even found 53% of California residents (and 63% of millennials in the Golden State), would consider leaving due to cost of living alone.

A large share of people moving to CA have an annual income of at least $100,000. Most people leaving earn less than that.  

It’s simply challenging for many Californians to keep up with rising home prices and rent, let alone high grocery costs, transportation, and notoriously high taxes in California.

When you compare California vs Texas taxes alone, it’s easy to see the appeal. Texas has no state income tax and California has the highest income tax rate in the country.

By comparison, Texas offers a warm climate and affordability. Virtually anywhere you move in Texas will be more affordable than the San Diego cost of living!

#2. Strong Economy in Texas & Job Opportunities

Texas and California couldn’t be farther apart when it comes to economic policy: one has a model of strong regulation and high taxes while the other has more limited government oversight and lower taxes. While California far outpaces Texas economically, the strong economy and diverse job opportunities are still a big reason the Lone Star State looks so attractive.

It isn’t just people leaving California – it’s also companies, particularly Silicon Valley companies like Hewlett Packard and Oracle which moved their headquarters.

Between January 2018 and June 2021 alone, 265 California companies moved their headquarters out of the state – and 114 of them landed in Texas. The Bay Area was the hardest hit region in CA.

If you’re looking for good job prospects in energy, tech, health care, biotech, and advanced manufacturing, you’ll find them in TX.

#3. Affordable Home Prices in Texas vs California

Dreaming of owning your own home? More affordable housing is one of the top cited reasons why everyone is moving to Texas.

California is notorious for high home prices that have pushed lower- and middle-income households out of the market. The $900,000 median home price in San Diego alone, combined with stiff competition among buyers, limited inventory, and homes selling an average 6% over list price, means buying a home in San Diego can seem like an impossible dream.

The Texas median home price of $419,000 is a huge draw and makes homeownership within reach.

When you move to Texas from California, you’ll find homes are 59% less expensive and 14% larger! 

Here’s the difference in median home prices and square footage between popular Cali to Texas moves.

Reasons Not to Move to Texas

Make sure you weigh the pros and cons of moving from California to Texas before you take the plunge. Here are the biggest drawbacks of leaving America’s Finest City.

  • Politics may be a drawback. San Diego is not the conservative bastion it once was. You may appreciate relocating to a more conservative state, but it may be a drawback.
  • It’s hard to drive to different cities, states, and environments. San Diego offers warm beaches and mountain hikes, but you’ll find also ski resorts within easy driving distance! Texas is so large, it’s very hard to even drive between major cities let alone reach another state or climate.
  • Most Texas cities are very car-dependent. Sure, most of San Diego is also car-dependent, but there are many walkable urban neighborhoods and public transportation options. It’s also bicycle-friendly. Most cities in Texas have very limited public transit and walkability due to infrastructure as well as the heat!
  • You’ll spend a lot of time in traffic. San Diego traffic is better than most major cities with 32 hours lost to traffic every year compared to 58 hours in Houston.
  • Texas has a lot of extreme weather. Are you up for leaving San Diego weather in exchange for hail, tornadoes, hurricane season, and monsoon season?

Things to Know Before Moving to Texas from San Diego

The differences between Texas vs California living can take some adjustment. Here’s advice for anyone moving to Texas from San Diego and SoCal.

  • Looking for a more conservative or liberal city? If you want to avoid culture shock, keep in mind Austin is by far the most liberal city in Texas, El Paso is historically Democrat, and Dallas is fairly liberal. You’ll find many conservative suburbs in Dallas and around Houston, while smaller cities and suburban areas tend to be more conservative.
  • Get ready for hot, humid summers. When you say goodbye to the ideal San Diego climate, you should be ready to embrace oppressively hot and humid summer weather in most of Texas. Average summer highs are often in the high 90s!
  • West Texas has monsoon season from mid-June to September. If you’re moving from San Diego to El Paso, be prepared for rainy and hot summers. The area usually gets more than 5” of rain during monsoon season. In 2021, El Paso got more than 9” in just two months.
  • Hurricane season is June through November. If you’re settling down in the Houston or Galveston area along the Gulf Coast, remember it’s nothing like living near San Diego Bay. There’s a 54% chance of a hurricane getting close or making landfall on Texas for 2022.
  • Tornado season is April to June in Texas. The Lone Star State is #1 in the country for tornadoes with more than 120 on average every year. Areas most at risk of tornadoes are North Texas, Central Texas, and East Texas. The Galveston and Houston areas have the most tornadoes on average.

Where to Move from San Diego: Best Places to Live in Texas

Looking for the best places to move from California to Texas? According to an analysis of county-to-county migration data to Texas from California, here’s where Californians are moving.


Most moves from California to Texas are to the Texas Triangle region of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin.

Harris County (Houston) is the top destination for Californians. It’s the most popular destination for people leaving LA and accounts for 40% of moves from CA to Texas. Travis County (Austin) is the second most popular destination for people leaving California.

El Paso County (El Paso) & Bell County (Austin suburbs) are top draws for people moving to Texas from San Diego, yet they rank #9 and #10 overall for CA to TX moves.

San Diego vs Austin

It’s easy to see the appeal of moving to Austin, Texas from California. The Austin metro area gets 168 net new residents every day and 8% are from California, almost 3x more than any other state. Austin is a tech hub with so many tech jobs, it’s known as Silicon Hills in a nod to California’s Silicon Valley! It’s a top destination for people from Southern California, including San Diego, as well as Northern California and the Bay Area.

Looking for places like San Diego but cheaper? Austin is a great choice! It’s one of best places to move from California if you’re looking for great weather, outdoor recreation, a laid-back atmosphere, and a welcoming, progressive culture.

Here are the biggest benefits of moving to Austin from San Diego:

  • Lower cost of living in Austin vs San Diego. Austin’s cost of living is 20% above the national average versus 60% higher in San Diego.
  • Better job opportunities in tech industries with less competition and a better work-life balance.
  • Beautiful weather with year-round sun and average winter temperatures in the 60s won’t be a huge adjustment after your move.
  • Austin is an active city much like San Diego. It’s a top city for cycling and ranked as one of the most active, least stressed cities in America. It ranks just below San Diego!
  • Living in Austin is similar to the San Diego lifestyle with a casual, laid-back vibe and a relaxed atmosphere that makes it feel like a small town.
  • There’s a thriving music scene in Austin, also known as the Live Music Capital of the World.
  • Austin is the most progressive city in Texas with an unofficial motto to “Keep Austin Weird.”

San Diego vs Houston

Houston is one of the most exciting metro areas of Texas known for its energy jobs, internationally recognized theater, arts, and music, and great culinary scene. If you’re thinking about moving to the Bayou City, you’ll find a lot to love.

Houston is a top destination for Californians moving to Texas thanks to its vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere with sports, museums, and the arts, but there are some major things to consider when comparing Houston vs San Diego:

  • Houston is twice the size of San Diego. That means getting around can be challenging especially when you consider the traffic which is far worse than SD and there is limited public transportation.
  • Houston weather is often extreme. One of the worst things about living in Houston is you’re at risk of both hurricanes and tornadoes not to mention extremely hot, muggy summers.
  • Houston has plenty of diversity, cultural attractions, and an amazing culinary scene!
  • The difference in cost of living in San Diego vs Houston is massive. You’ll pay about 47% less for living expenses after moving from San Diego to Houston.

San Diego vs Dallas

Thinking about moving from San Diego to Dallas? The DFW area is the cultural and economic center of North Texas and known as Silicon Prairie with a diverse economy based on medical research, logistics, transportation, healthcare, energy, tech, and finance. When you compare Dallas vs San Diego, you’ll find the Big D has a lot going for it including sports, barbecue, a rich history, and world-class attractions.

These living in Dallas pros and cons can help you decide if DFW is right for you.

  • You’ll enjoy a much lower cost of living. The Dallas cost of living is right at the national average with affordable housing.
  • Dallas is one of the largest metro areas in the U.S. You’ll have endless things to do and one of the world’s busiest airports at your fingertips.
  • There are excellent healthcare facilities, colleges, and universities in Texas like the UT Southwestern Medical Center, ranked first in the world for biomedical sciences.
  • Urban sprawl makes it hard to get around. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex covers almost 8,700 square miles! You’ll need to carefully consider your commute and nearby amenities when moving to Dallas because you won’t want to drive across the metro area often.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from California to Texas?

Your moving cost will depend on many factors:

  • Distance between origin and destination
  • Moving dates
  • Number of movers needed
  • Volume and type of belongings
  • Accessibility of your home
  • Additional services like storage and car transport 

You can expect a flat-rate moving cost from California to Texas because it’s a long-distance move. Give us a call at Republic Moving & Storage for a free, affordable estimate based on a personalized assessment!

Don’t forget to consider your vehicle and transportation! If you’re going to drive, it’s 724 miles from San Diego to El Paso, 1,300 miles from San Diego to Austin, and 1,360 miles to Dallas. Be prepared for the cost of a two- or three-day drive and gasoline.

Shipping a car from California to Texas is another option. The average cost is $800 to $1,200 to ship car from California to Texas. If you go this route, Republic Moving & Storage can assist with vehicle transport during your move!

Republic Moving & Storage: Your #1 Choice for San Diego, California to Texas Movers

An interstate move is stressful enough without dealing with inexperienced movers, delays, damaged belongings, and hidden costs. To make your relocation to the Lone Star State as smooth as possible, research long-distance moving companies in San Diego and look for the following:

  • Licensed and insured (use the USDOT lookup tool)
  • Uniformed, experienced, and background checked movers
  • Years of experience handling interstate relocations and similar moves
  • Dedicated fleet of trucks and specialized equipment
  • Services you need
  • Transparent, competitive rates without hidden fees or a high upfront deposit
  • Low claims rate
  • Positive reviews from past customers 

Republic Moving & Storage is a northAmerican Van Lines agent and full-service movers with over 50 years of experience handling complex household relocations. We routinely complete California to Texas moves from the San Diego area and take pride in our ultra-low claims rate and hundreds of 5-star reviews. To ensure our high standards are met, our Quality Control Team inspects every moving site. Our team of vetted, experienced movers are ready to exceed your expectations!

Ready to see what life in Texas has to offer you? Give us a call today to get started with a free, affordable moving quote.


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