Moving from California to South Carolina

August 12, 2022
Vasilka Atanasova

Moving from California to South Carolina can be a real adventure – it is a full-scale coast-to-coast trip. But is changing the endless beaches of the Pacific for the shining waves of the Atlantic worth it?

south carolina

What does South Carolina has to offer and is it worth moving there all the way up from California?

As we mentioned this is a coast-to-coast trip, so everything needs to be planned. The distance between the two states’ capitals, Sacramento and Charleston, is about 2778,8, which would require more than 40 hours of driving. It would take you about a week of driving if you’re a single driver, covering between 4 to 6 hours a day.

Road trip and stops

When moving from California to South Carolina, you’ll have to drive through eight states, not including your starting and ending ones. The trip takes you through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. These states are full of places worth visiting.

Here’s an example for a great road trip with some great sights along the way:

  1. Bakersfield
  2. Sedona
  3. Albuquerque
  4. Amarillo
  5. Oklahoma City
  6. Little Rock
  7. Atlanta

If you’re planning to do some sightseeing along the way, then have these into consideration:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  2. Nashville
  3. Hot Springs National Park
  4. Cadillac Ranch
  5. Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

If you are already planning your move, we hope this guide will help you. And since this is a across the country move, we recommend you ship your car instead of driving. It is a long distance drive and it is not for everybody. So, if you are planning on shipping a car from California to South Carolina then contact us for a quote and advice.

Shipping your car is the best option if you’re moving from California to South Carolina due to the great distance between the two states. The best option usually is the enclosed car transport that will protect your vehicle from the blazing sun and the occasional severe weather along the way. However, open is just fine for any distance and vehicle.

California is not bad at all, but ..

They call California the Golden State for nothing. It is one of the richest, sunniest, dynamic places on Earth. Its vast movie industry and huge labor market attract millions from all over the globe.

Economy

California has a gross domestic product of $3 trillion and a per capita GDP of $76,058. This can be considered substantial income, however, the cost of living in California is one of the highest in the United States. Apart from the entertainment industries, other fields worth considering are tourism, IT, education, and agriculture.

The unemployment rate is 10.6%. The largest state employers in the state are Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the University of California.

California is home to an impressive 57 Fortune 500 companies. The top spots are taken by Chevron, Hewlett-Packard, McKesson, Wells Fargo and Safeway. They are accompanied by branches of some giants such as Apple, Intel and Google. Eight California companies employ more than 100,000 people — Wells Fargo, The Walt Disney Company, Oracle, Gap, Apple, SYNNEX, PORAC​​​​, and Intel.

Los Angeles is home to several major movie studios – Walt Disney Studios, Warner Media, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, and Viacom CBS.

Infrastructure and transportation

California has a well-developed road infrastructure. Golden Gate Bridge, the Arroyo Seco Parkway, and The Four Level Interchange are some of the engineering masterpieces aimed at relieving California of its heavy traffic.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in the state. It is the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, measuring 4,200 feet between 1937 and 1964. This highway bridge is painted with orange paint and offers panoramic views of the bay. This is a popular tourist attraction that can also accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was completed in 1936 and transports approximately 280,000 cars per day through two decks. Its two parts meet on Yerba Buena Island through the world’s largest diameter transportation bore tunnel, which is 76 feet wide and 58 feet high. California’s vast terrain is connected by an extensive system of controlled-access highways, restricted access, and highways.

Free time

When it comes to quality leisure time, Los Angeles is simply heaven! All of its parks, sports teams, and entertainment venues offer unique opportunities for locals and visitors alike!

Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are probably the most popular sports team in the state and one of the most famous NBA teams in the world. Other popular sports teams include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Ducks, NFL nemesis – the Los Angeles Rams and Raiders. Football is also growing in popularity. L.A. Galaxy have introduced European superstars such as David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the local landscape.

Parks and Recreation

Los Angeles is proud of its many beautiful parks, and the views of the Pacific Ocean are the icing on the cake. If you love the outdoors and are outgoing, you’ll love Palisades Park and Tongva Park. They are a great choice for activities and are just a stone’s throw from the beach! Other excellent parks, though just a few miles from the beach, are Lake Hollywood Park, El Dorado Park, and Nature Center, and Vista Hermosa Nature Park.

Disadvantages of living in California

The unique combination of climate, sheer size, and population poses serious problems for the Golden State. This has led many to consider moving from California to Tennessee. A booming economy has the side effect of a massively inflated labor market. There are so many skilled professionals in every field that many leave the state and look for work elsewhere. Prices are sky-high—groceries, gas, home prices, and rent are some of the highest in the United States.

Urbanization in California is getting worse. This leads to four main problems:

  1. Heavy traffic
  2. Pollution
  3. High crime rates
  4. Homelessness

Last but not least, California is prone to natural disasters. Droughts, wildfires, landslides, and earthquakes are very, very common.

When we talk about prices, we must not ignore taxes. California has a progressive tax system. It simply means that making more money will lead to higher income tax rates. Every extra dollar earned. Property taxes aren’t particularly high, but in a bloated market, they feel very high.

And despite the good in California, for many people the negatives prevail which leads to thousands of people moving out of California.

Moving to South Carolina

Is it worth exchanging the West Coast for the East Coast, especially when it comes to moving from California to South Carolina? The Palmetto State certainly lacks the economy, job opportunities, and entertainment scene of California. But how does it make up for it?

South Carolina is a medium-sized state with a population of just over 5 million. The largest city is Charleston. Columbia is the state’s capital, and it’s also part of the Greenville – Columbia metro area, the largest one in South Carolina.

Economy

South Carolina has a GDP of $241.7 billion with a GDP per capita of $47,502. The main economic pillars of the state are the automotive industry, logistics, biotech, alternative energy, and aerospace technologies.

The largest employers in South Carolina are Michelin, Schaeffler Group, Cryovac, and Sonoco.

All these predominant eco-friendly industries. This, along with the state’s excellent natural pros, has turned South Carolina into a sought-after tourist destination.

Tourism

South Carolina is not just the warm waters of the South Atlantic. Yes, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, Kiawah Island, Sullivan’s Island, and Pawleys Island are must-sees. However, the Palmetto State has a diverse nature, including Congaree National Park, Twins Lake Park, Cowpens, Overmountain Victory, and Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie.

The diverse flora leads to a diverse fauna. The fauna in South Carolina is exceptionally rich – bison, elks, bobcats, cougars, otters, and monkeys. Yes, monkeys.

The monkey colony of Morgan Island

Morgan Island is located in Beaufort Country on about 2.000 acres. It has an estimated population of 0 Homo sapiens and about 4.000 Rhesus Monkeys.

These monkeys were placed there in the summer of 1979 as research animals. Since then, their colony thrived and their population is currently of about 4.000. The monkeys were placed there as a part of a “self-sufficient breeding program” after India banned the export of viable research animals.

Today, the monkeys are protected by federal law. The island is owned and managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the island is not allowed to access. The best way to see them is by boat trip or a cruise around Morgan Island.

Education

South Carolina has 1,144 K–12 schools in 85 school districts. As of 2010, South Carolina is one of three states that have not agreed to use competitive international math and language standards.

In terms of higher education, the state is home to the University of South Carolina – Sumter, Wofford College, Citadel Military College of South Carolina, and Bob Jones University.

Healthcare

The healthcare in South Carolina is up to all national standards, so rest assured – if needed, you’ll receive adequate healthcare all across the state. The highest-rated hospitals in the state are  MUSC Health-University Medical Center, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System-Greenville, and McLeod Regional Medical Center.

Infrastructure

The state has the fourth largest state-maintained system in the country, consisting of 11 Interstates, numbered highways, state highways, and secondary roads, totaling approximately 41,500 miles.

On secondary roads, South Carolina uses a numbering system to keep track of all non-interstate and primary highways that the South Carolina Department of Transportation maintains. Secondary roads are numbered by the number of the county followed by a unique number for the particular road.

Sports

South Carolina is famous for its colleague sports teams. In terms of pro sports, both Northern and Southern Carolina are represented by Carolina Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes.

Minor sports teams include Clemson Tigers football, South Carolina Gamecocks football, and South Carolina Gamecocks men’s basketball.

Disadvantages of living in South Carolina

South Carolina is a beautiful, welcoming state, with lots to do in your free time, amazing nature, and rich history. Pepper this with several low taxes and low crime rates and ask yourself the question: what can go wrong?

Well, if you really want to know

  1. Increased urbanization means construction everywhere.
  2. It’s not all sunshine and blue skies. Sometimes it’s hurricanes and floods.
  3. Alligators and huge bugs can be a pest, sometimes.
  4. Several wired taxes such as tax oon alcohol, dinner food and a few more.

Registering a car in South Carolina

First-time South Carolina car registration will take place at a local DMV office or by mail. The registration process is handled by South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV). Completing the registration provides your plate and registration granting full rights to drive on state roads.

You are expected to have the following when registering:

  1. Valid license
  2. Proof of vehicle ownership
  3. Minimum car insurance
  4. Payment method
Car Registration for Out-of-State Drivers

Out-of-state drivers gaining residency in South Carolina must register their vehicle within 45-days of settling in. The process includes the same procedures as registering as a resident (see above). You should process the IMF fee, and registration, and get auto insurance as soon as you can.

Sacramento and Columbia head to head

A capital showdown between these two southern beauties. Sacramento is not even close to the largest cities in California, but still outnumbers Columbia 5:1 (half a million against just over 100k). Also, the Golden State capital has a considerably larger median income, but that’s where all advantages end.

Columbia has cheaper housing, lower median age, a lower unemployment rate, and a commute time that is 10 minutes shorter than the one in Sacramento.

Taxes are another major difference between California and South Carolina, prompting many to consider moving between the two states. California has a killer income tax that leads the way for a state-wide tax rate of 7.25% and a few more.

California state income tax rates are dependent on the resident’s amount of income and range from 1% to 12.3%. For the average household income rate for a couple, the tax bracket rate lands around 6% to 9%.

On the other hand, South Carolina, despite the wired taxes that we mentioned above, has low gas taxes and a criminally low property tax. The gas tax is about 20.75 cents per gallon (one of the lowest in the US) and residents can qualify for a gas tax credit. Meanwhile, South Carolina has the 5th lowest property tax in the United States. With a median rate of about 0.57%, you can pay an average property tax of about $850 a year.

Speaking about criminally low, the crime rate in South Carolina is just that. Compared to the high crime rate in California, the one in South Carolina is non-existent.