Moving to Poway, California

Since the early days of the Gold Rush, moving to California has been a popular thing to do. The state’s popularity continues to flourish despite the high price of living there.

The City of Poway is in San Diego County, which is known for its beautiful weather and scenic views. If you’re planning a move to Poway, you’ll want to be prepared for the changes your new life will bring. We’re here to help.

About Poway, California

Poway is located slightly north of downtown San Diego and south of Escondido. It’s a small city that had a population of just over 45,000 people as of the 2010 census.

While Poway’s modern history didn’t begin until the late 18th century, the city is in an area with a long and rich history of native settlements.

Archaeological findings in the creek beds surrounding areas indicate an early Diegueño presence in the area. In addition to arrowheads, spear heads, grinding stones, and pottery, early pictographs (cave paintings) have been found in the area. They date back to the early 16th century, and they tell the story of the area’s earliest inhabitants.

The first non-native settlers arrived in the area in the 18th century. Padres from the Mission de San Diego de Alcalá arrived and used the area to keep cattle. Surrounding ranchers did the same. American settlers came to the area, originally known as “Paguay,” after the Civil War ended. They gave Poway its agricultural flavor, using the fertile soil to grow grapes, peaches, hay, alfalfa, and other crops.

It took a while for Poway to incorporate as an official municipality. The area’s first newspaper, the Poway Progress, was first published in 1894. The city’s water district was formalized in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1980 that the city officially incorporated.

Poway Weather

California has a reputation for warm to temperate weather, and Poway’s climate certainly fits that description. While coastal San Diego has a Mediterranean climate, Poway’s inland location translates to semi-arid climate.

Unlike some parts of Southern California, Poway’s daily highs and lows are quite consistent year-round. The daily high ranges from 67 degrees in the winter to the mid-80s in the summer. The lows range from the mid-40s to the low 60s.

Rainfall here is very low, with an annual average of under 12 inches. The heaviest rainfall occurs in January, February, and March. The lack of rain means that there is a risk of wildfires here, as there is everywhere in Southern California.

There’s little chance of snow here, but if you’re moving here, it’s important to be aware of the potential for earthquakes. The seismic activity in Poway isn’t as frequent or as dramatic as it is farther North, but it is a risk and it’s a good idea to inquire about earthquake insurance before you move.

Education in Poway

If you have children or plan to have them in the future, you’ll want to know something about Poway’s public school system.

The children of Poway are served by the Poway Unified School District. All told, the city has 26 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, and 6 high schools. There are also preschools, technical schools, and online course options, including independent study for middle school and high school students. An adult course is available for those who wish to earn a GED.

For adults interested in continuing education, Poway is within easy driving distance of Palomar Community College in nearby Escondido. It’s also reasonably close to an assortment of community colleges and four-year colleges in San Diego, including UCSD.

The Cost of Living in Poway

Depending on where you live now, moving to Poway might cause some sticker shock. The cost of living in California is quite high when compared to the rest of the country, and Poway is no exception.

If we assume that the average cost of living in the United States is 100, the cost of living in Poway is at 151, meaning that the overall cost of living here is approximately 50% higher than the national average. The biggest driver is the cost of housing, which is a whopping two-and-a-half times as high as you might expect to pay elsewhere in the country.

Transportation costs are high here too, about 30% higher than the national average. That’s most due to California’s notoriously high gas and insurance prices. Vehicle registrations are pricey here too.

The good news is that other expenses, including utilities, groceries, and healthcare, are only slightly higher than in other areas of the country. You’ll want to keep the high housing and transportation costs in mind when you’re considering the salary you need to make to afford your new life in Poway.

Planning Your Move to Poway

As you prepare to move, you’ll want to make as many plans and arrangements ahead of time as possible. The first thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to book a moving company well in advance of your move. San Diego County is a popular place to live and moving companies can be hard to find at the last minute.

If you’re planning your own move, you should think about the weather and time your move accordingly. A summertime move is best done early in the day before the heat reaches its peak. Likewise, a winter move should include plastic sheeting and protective gear in case your moving day happens to feature a drenching Southern California rain storm.

It’s a good idea to call and get your utilities set up before you move. Here are some useful links to help you do that:

San Diego Gas & Electric (electricity and natural gas)

Cox Communications (cable and internet)

Time Warner Cable (cable and internet)

Edco Trash & Recycling

City of Poway (water and sewage)

Storage West Self-Storage (We also have locations in Rancho Bernardo)

Storage West Poway and Rancho Bernardo self-storage facilities

You’ll also need to register any vehicles you own. You’ll have ten days after you become a California resident to apply for a California driver’s license and register your vehicle. California has some of the nation’s strictest emission standards, so you should be prepared to take your car for an emissions test prior to taking it to the DMV to register it.

You can find detailed information about licensing and registration by visiting the DMV website. You’ll want to make sure to review California’s driving rules, as you’ll need to take a written test before they will issue you a license.

Culture and Entertainment in Poway

One of the best things about living in Poway is that you’ll have access to outdoor entertainment and activity year-round. The City of Poway is home to several parks, including the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve and Old Poway Park.

In addition to the usual playgrounds and picnic areas, there are hiking trails, swimming areas, and fishing spots. Lake Poway Park has a day camp for kids during the summer, and there are classes and activities offered by the Parks Department as well.

If you prefer golf, Poway has several golf courses – and nearby San Diego is one of the top golfing destinations in the world. You’ll also be within driving distance of some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, where you can surf, swim, or sunbathe to your heart’s content.

Poway isn’t known for its nightlife, but the city is only a few miles north of San Diego. That means that if you don’t mind the drive, you’ll be within easy distance of San Diego’s famed Gaslight District, which is packed with restaurants, clubs, and live music venues.

Poway is also close enough to drive to Los Angeles, although nobody familiar with Southern California would call that drive an easy one. Still, if you want to take the kids to the Getty Museum or make a trip to Universal Studios, you can certainly do the round trip in a day if you’re inclined.


Living in Southern California is a dream for many. As you plan your relocation to Poway, remember that you’ll soon be soaking up the sun and getting to know the friendly people of San Diego County as you settle into your new home.

Watch this video which shows all of the great things “The City in the Country” has to offer both you and your family: