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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Avalon, California?

Perched on the southern tip of L.A. County in Southern California, Avalon is 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles and is the only incorporated city on Santa Catalina Island. About a mile wide and only reachable by ferry and small plane, it is a beautiful, upscale place.

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William Wrigley, Jr., the chewing gum tycoon and the town's most successful developer, built the hard-to-miss art deco Catalina Casino, today the site of the Catalina Film Festival (Wrigley's name is also on the city's stunning botanical gardens). Avalon's charming downtown includes the Catalina Island Museum, the fun Crescent Avenue pedestrian mall, fish markets, and an eclectic assortment of restaurants. The scenic waterfront and beach attract tourists from around the country. Pleasure Pier rents boats, tackle, and diving equipment. Avalon Bay, which is peppered with all kinds of pleasure watercraft, welcomes daily ferries from Long Beach and Newport Beach. A majority of Catalina Island is protected by a conservancy, which permits hiking, biking, camping, and boating. Eco-tours are part of the conservancy's educational outreach.

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Avalon neighborhoods are hilly and compact with a mix of colorful bungalows and Mediterranean-style condos. Most transportation around town is via foot or golf cart. The Airport in the Sky serves small planes and the Catalina Aero Club.

Population:  4,000 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:   40%

Cost of Living:  87% above the national average

Median Home Price: $880,000

Climate:   Summer temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, and winter temperatures are in the 50s and 60s. On average, the area receives 12 inches of rain each year. Sunshine is abundant.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  No

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?   No. Catalina Island Medical Center is here, but the closest accredited hospital is 30 miles away in San Pedro.

Public Transit:   No, except the ferry

Crime Rate:   Below the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Very liberal

College Educated:  48%

Is California Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   No

Cons:   The earthquake risk is 668% higher than the national average. Parking is by permit only and very limited (it can take years to get a permit). A wildfire burned on the island in 2007, forcing evacuations to the mainland. It could happen again.

Notes:  Avalon has maintained its population during the last decade. Home prices have increased 18% since a year ago.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes

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California:

Thanks to the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, the Golden State became a U.S. territory in 1847. Soon after, gold was found at Sutter's Mill. The land crowded with fortune seekers, and, shortly thereafter, California entered the Union as its 31st state in 1850.

California has 900 miles of coastline and claims the highest and lowest point in the continental U.S. Its terrain varies dramatically - from sandy beaches to rugged mountains, deserts to fertile farmland. Landmarks like Hollywood, Disneyland, and the Golden Gate Bridge play a large part in the nation's history and imagination.

Although Texas and New York have tried to close the gap, California's economy continues to be nation's largest. Agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, and tourism are some of its leading industries.

Cities of the Golden State have put some odd laws on the books. It's illegal to molest a monarch in Pacific Grove. Want to throw a frisbee on an L.A. County beach? Better ask a lifeguard first. What about bowling on the sidewalks of Chico? Strictly forbidden!

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