Moving from California to Colorado – A Detailed Guide

Full article 16 min read

Interstate moving is a tricky affair! People plan such expensive moves only for a change of lifestyle. If this is what you desire, then Colorado is a breath of fresh air. With immense opportunities and tight-knit communities, you can be sure of finding something in The Centennial State. Living in California has its perks, but perhaps you’d want to move someplace colder, Colorado is where you should be at!

Allow us to take you on a journey of all the positive and negative aspects of moving from California to Colorado. With our article, you can then decide if Colorado is your best fit or not. Let’s go for it!


Some Crucial Points To Explore Before Moving From California To Colorado


Colorado doesn’t really excel when it comes to weather. On the comfort index scale, Colorado ranks 6.9 while California sits at 8.4. The cause for such a drastic difference is pointed towards Colorado’s blistering winters and above-average snowfall.

Summers in Colorado can get pretty intense. A typical day during the peak summer season in Colorado ranges between 78°F to 94°F. Some parts of the state see temperatures close to 100°F as well. So watch out for sunburns! Conversely, California has maximum high temperatures between 80°F to 85°F.

Winters are the highlight of Colorado. The average low temperatures during the peak winter season in Colorado range between -8°F to 22°F. Day times are slightly better as they range between 25°F to 49°F, but that’s still cold. Snowfall is abundant during this period in Colorado as well, so carry gloves and an extra set of warm clothes in your luggage. During the peak winter season, the average temperature in California ranges between 39°F to 54°F.

Key Points About Colorado’s Weather

  • Colorado has a harsh winter! Do not underestimate it! In some places, it can get below freezing. Keep an extra set of fine woolen clothes in your luggage. Temperatures can drop at any time.
  • Summers are much better than winters. We suggest you try moving during this time where the temperatures are slightly moderate and bearable.

Cost Of Living

Affordability of resources is problematic when the cost of living is high. If you’re left with less cash in hand to spend on yourself after a hard day’s work, consider moving to a new place where living is inexpensive. You’ll be glad to know that living in Colorado is 2% cheaper than living in California. Let’s face it, Colorado isn’t the most affordable state in the U.S. by any means. It’s not much of a difference, but you’ll have some amount to spend on yourself. This is attributed to the comparatively low real estate prices in Colorado.

If buying a house is on your bucket list, then you should know that prices in Colorado are 30% less than in California. The low property tax rate in Colorado also plays an important part in bringing down house prices. According to SmartAsset, the property tax rate in Colorado sits at 0.49% whereas the rate in California is around 0.73%. Renting is also a feasible option as the average rate per month in Colorado is 20% less than in California. Finally, you can buy a house of your choice without having to burn a hole through your pocket.

StateMedian Home ValueAverage Market Rent Per Month


How much of your income is taxed determines the amount you will save. In Colorado, the state income tax rate stands at 4.63% throughout the state, whereas state tax rates in California can shoot up to 13.3%. Shopping in Colorado is much cheaper as well because its base sales tax rate starts at 2.90%, as opposed to the rate in California (7.25%).

Love driving? Then Colorado is the place you should be in. Fuel is 18% cheaper in The Centennial State than in California. For regular gasoline, you’ll pay $3.59 in Colorado than $4.39 in California.


In Colorado, you’ll spend 3% less on groceries than in California as well. Cooking a scrumptious meal in Colorado has never been cheaper as a loaf of bread, about one pound of cheese, and one dozen eggs would cost you $11 in total while the same would cost you close to $13 in California.


You might have to spend a bit more for a decent internet connection in Colorado, but don’t worry. It is just a 0.3% increase. $65.82 will fetch you a standard internet package in California while $66.05 will get you the same in Colorado. However, where utilities in general are concerned, you’ll be saving 13% more in Colorado ($110.73 per month) than in California ($128.05 per month).



If you want to know how well a state is doing, research its economy. Analyze the job market and make yourself familiar with the opportunities that the state offers. California and Colorado have pretty solid economies. California has a GDP of $2.98 trillion while Colorado’s stands at $342.7 billion. Though Colorado’s economy is relatively smaller, the diversity and range of job opportunities this state offers are numerous. There’s always something to do in Colorado.

California’s economy has been thriving in the manufacturing, real estate, and technology sector, which have contributed millions of dollars to its GDP. Colorado on the other hand lives off its aerospace, manufacturing, bioscience, and electronic industries. Here are some of the most prominent jobs in Colorado:

See Also: Largest Cities in Colorado

OccupationAverage Annual Entry Level Salary
Environmental Engineers$60,000
Computer and Information Systems Managers$110,240
Aerospace Engineers$71,420
Marketing Managers$97,500

When it comes to unemployment rates, Colorado fares better than California. According to the stats, California’s unemployment rate stands at 7.6% as opposed to Colorado’s 6.1%. Population growth also contributes to California’s high unemployment rate. More people means more competition, which results in unemployment for those unable to keep up with the rat race.

Since the cost of living in Colorado is not as much as California’s, you’ll earn a few dollars less over here. So, there’s no need to make any changes to your lifestyle at all (except perhaps adjusting to the weather!)

StateMedian Household Income

Coming to how much you would actually require to live in Colorado, per year you would need $34,009. That is if you are solely providing for yourself with no additional members to take care of. However, if you’re the only working member with a single child, you’ll need approximately $71,358 per annum which includes child and health care.

Getting Around In Colorado

California has several ways of getting around the state. They have ferries, buses, and rail lines in almost every major city. However, public transportation in Colorado is a different story. It’s efficient, but all the best possible transportation facilities are located in Denver. That means, only if you live in Denver, public transport will serve you better.

To get around intercity, Bustang Outrider bus services registered under Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) are your most effective mode of transportation. You also have FLEX buses for regional transit. As far as rail lines go, Amtrak is your only viable option. California Zephyr and Southwest Chief daily commute passengers from the city to various parts of the state or even interstate.

See Also: Moving To Colorado Springs

What Makes Colorado Special?

  • Colorado’s weather may be extreme, but it’s also beautiful. It’s impossible to get bored in the presence of numerous amusement parks and outdoor activities.
  • In particular, Colorado’s property and income tax rates are much lower than those in California. Saving so much money with them is a breeze.
  • Real estate is cheaper in Colorado than in California. Even the utility costs in Colorado will save you a buck or two more than living in California.

Also Read: Moving From Buffalo To NYC

Top Places To Move To In Colorado


Against the scenic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is filled with all sorts of tourist attractions. Many young professionals are drawn towards Denver’s vibrant culture and lifestyle. People usually flock to Larimer Square, and Zeppelin Station for shopping and grabbing a bite. As a result, you’ll never return home on an empty stomach. The beer culture is pretty thriving in this city as well. Visit the Denver Beer Trail which houses some of Denver’s top breweries and taprooms. Plus, the city is walkable. You can complete most of your errands on foot instead of driving.

Median Home Value: $390,600

Median Rent: $1,311

Also Read: Moving From NYC To Denver

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is a popular destination for new settlers. The pleasant climate makes the outdoors fit for bicycling, hiking, or trekking. The air is less polluted and the environment is pretty much calm and serene. You’ll dodge the hustle and bustle of major cities. Also, the job opportunities are numerous, and the crime rate is much less than in other cities.

Median Home Value: $269,800

Median Rent: $1,131

Fort Collins

If you’re thinking of raising a family, then Fort Collins is where you should move to. The community is welcoming and there are several things you can do to pass your time. Tourist attractions such as Horsetooth Reservoir and Cache la Poudre River Canyon will relax and calm your mind from work or any stress. Also, getting things done will be faster as Fort Collins is a walkable city.

Median Home Value: $367,900

Median Rent: $1,346


Boulder has more of a fitness culture than any other city. Adorned with several parks and hiking trails, you can be sure to stay fit in this place. If you’re fond of skiing, the Eldora Mountain Resort is the place you should visit. They have trails that lead to Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Cycling is an important aspect of Boulder culture. People choose this healthier alternative as opposed to driving because this place is relatively smaller than most cities. So bring your bikes along if you’re planning to live in Boulder.

Median Home Value: $700,000

Median Rent: $1,554

Also Read: 11 Best Boulder CO Neighborhoods to Live In


Some Points To Think About When Moving From California To Colorado

  • Driving from California to Colorado takes 16 hours (excluding fuel and rest stops). A flight will take you just 2 hours. We suggest you choose the latter as it is time-efficient, less strenuous and cheaper.
  • Remember that the weather in Colorado is much different than in California. Be prepared for cold winters and carry enough warm clothing!
  • Moving requires careful planning. If you do things at the last moment, you’re sure to mess something up. Hence, creating an inventory some months in advance is needed. Listing out things is a great way of segregating the items you need or don’t.
  • Whilst segregating your items, create a tier list. Put main priority on the items that are necessary to take while the others can be sold. Downsizing your items makes your move inexpensive. In addition, you earn a little bit of side income to add to your move.
  • If you just Google the term ‘moving companies’, you’ll see a variety of them pop up on your screen. Before getting into any transaction with them, see first if they’re registered and insured. Some companies scam customers by asking for a down payment. Beware of such tricks!

Also Read: Moving from California to Virginia – A Complete Guide

How Much Will It Cost To Move From California To Colorado?

Via I-15 N and I-70 E, Colorado is 1,118.3 miles from California. Such a long distance is going to cost you time, money, and resources. To cut some of your costs, contact at least 3 movers before finalizing any offer. Different companies have certain packages and bundles that offer good prices and discounts. The time of moving plays an important role as well. Never move during the peak season! This time prices hit the ceiling and there is nothing you can do about it. Check for holidays too.

This table displays the approximate prices of your move. This doesn’t include fuel costs and additional services like packing, loading, etc.

Size Of The MoveMoving CompanyMoving ContainersTrailer RentalsTruck Rentals
Studio/1 bedroom$1,700-$3,000$1,730-$2,330$1,425-$2,025$900-$1,210
2-3 bedroom$2,650-$4,100$2,590-$3,500$1,855-$2,635$1,055-$1,425

If you want to further reduce costs, hiring a moving container or renting a truck is your most feasible option. However, you’ll have to load and unload the items yourself. This is good only if you have company to help you with the lifting. On the other hand, a professional moving company will do everything for you. From packing your items to unloading them to your doorstep, you can be sure of leaving everything to them. This will save you time and energy but will cost you a bit of money.

Some moving companies have auto transport packages as well, so if you have a car, you can bundle them with your move and get a discount on the total cost of your move.

Also See: Moving From Florida To Colorado – A Detailed Guide



Colorado overall fares really well; the cost of living beats California. However, you won’t be earning as much as in California, but Colorado’s booming economy provides a plethora of job opportunities in different streams. Apart from that, summers call for barbeque parties and hiking. If all of these things tick your checklist, you should consider moving to Colorado.

Also Read: Moving from California to Hawaii


How Much Does It Cost To Move From California To Colorado?

Excluding extra costs such as fuel and other packages, the average price to move you to Colorado from California is approximately $2,800 to $4,200.

Is It More Expensive To Live In Colorado Than In California?

No! Colorado offers the same opportunities and lifestyle that California has at a cheaper rate. You can be sure of seeing more greens in your pocket.

What Do I Need To Know About Moving To California From Colorado?

You do not need moving permits when moving to Colorado, but please check for parking restrictions before moving to Colorado. Set some extra cash for tolls as well when moving to Colorado. Never move during winters to Colorado because heavy snowfall and slippery roads make driving challenging.

Also Read: Moving from California to Arizona | Moving from California to Texas

Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.