My Family Is Moving to Arizona!

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My family is moving to Arizona in a few days. We had planned to go for months. And then we couldn't go. Now, suddenly we are packing our bags. I've been suffering from migraine headaches and what I assume are near panic attacks due to all of the stress of preparing for the move and my worries over whether we're making the right choice. But I'm glad we're going. I'm ready for a change and a new adventure.

Moving to Arizona

Off to pricklier pastures – moving to Arizona (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Over 14 years ago I moved to San Diego with my then fiance and now husband of many years. We had start-up company dreams and beach wishes. With me entering business school full-time, him taking a cut in pay, and the difference in cost of living, we took a 70 percent cut in pay to plow our way out of the snow of Minnesota and into the shores of Southern California.

We've clung to the California dream for years. We almost moved away once before, to Silicon Valley or back to Minnesota, whichever job made the offer first. Then my husband's miracle job swooped in to save us. I couldn't picture starting my family outside shore-lined San Diego. I had envisioned a beach baby who would giggle at the delight of ocean at her toes. I got her. And then I got my little sand digger boy a few years later.

But here's the thing. We rarely go to the ocean. Ocean waves in San Diego are too big. The water is too cold. Eventually the dream job turned into a nightmare when the economy crashed into a frothy mess. My husband works in the mortgage industry. They're the first ones to feel the pain and the last ones to see relief.

Last year when my family began considering a move, we talked about Portland, Costa Rica, Minnesota, and, yes, Arizona. I lived in the Phoenix area from age 8 to 22, save one year in France during college. I swore I'd never go back to hands burnt on a blazing steering wheel and blow drier air blasting from open summer car windows. One day I marched into my husband's home office and announced, “I can't live in Arizona. We have to take it off the table.”

But then things changed with his job. We were doing well, making good money, actually SAVING money for the first time in years. Then his company switched sails. They priced themselves out of the market on purpose, afraid of upcoming financial changes. Again we were bobbing in the sea without a motor. We needed to swim to shore…somewhere where housing is more affordable. Somewhere we could breathe again without swallowing salt water.

Again, I marched, “We need to move to Arizona. It's the only thing that makes sense.” And it did. My husband could keep his sales territory and commission. We would have more money to spend and save. My parents live in Arizona. So does my brother and his two kids. And my former college roommate and close friend. The Mexican food in Arizona is better than what you'll find in Mexico, if you ask me. Plus, there's so much more to do in Phoenix now than when I was growing up. Besides, we'll have a backyard swimming pool. We decided to dive in.

We put our dream house up for sale. For months we prepared our children to leave the only home they'd ever known. Then we hit a reef. No more Arizona. We needed to stay put due to a job change for my husband. With Travel Mamas, I can live anywhere. Him? Not so much. Suddenly, we wanted Arizona ever so much.

For months we searched for an affordable rental home that met our expectations in San Diego, with no luck. And then…a break in the waves. My husband's new company said we were free to venture to sunnier and more cactus-filled pastures. This was just a couple of weeks ago.

Still, I can't help but feeling it's not the desert for which we are destined. It's like we were stuck in the dream of San Diego and Scottsdale is our first step to getting unstuck. Today I told my husband that I see Arizona as a stepping stone, that I cannot picture living the rest of my life in the desert. I was surprised when he said, “Me neither. I can't believe I'm moving to Arizona. But it makes sense. We want to live near family. It's more affordable. This is what we're doing.”

I asked our two kids, “If it were up to you, and it isn't, would you rather stay in San Diego or move to Arizona?”

Sea of cholla cactus, Arizona

A sea of cholla cacti (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

They both answered right away, “Arizona!”

“Why?” I asked.

“Family.”

So off we go to Arizona.

When I close my eyes I envision rain and green and wet and trees. That's where I think I belong. But off we go to the desert.

Off we go on a new, drier adventure. I look forward to sharing our journey with you…cactus thorns, swimming pools and all!

If you are considering moving to Arizona, feel free to ask me questions about life in the desert. And, you're going to need one of these, believe me. Get 10% off your purchase when you use the discount code travelmamas at check out. Read more here.

Have you ever moved away from a place you love to start a new life? Are you considering moving to Arizona, too? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Lisa Goodmurphy says:

    Best of luck with the move, Colleen – it will all work out!!

  2. I too have family and friends in Arizona who have made wonderful homes and raised happy families there. And, you can’t underestimate the blessings of living near loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Best wishes to you and your family! I look forward to reading more Arizona content on Travel Mamas.

  3. Christina says:

    We too have inside ring a “big” move for some time now. Arizona is one of our top choices. So far his job in So Cal is just too good to leave and we remain on the fence about the issue. It recurs every few months and we stress and argue over it. I do a lot of stomping and “I can’t live..” With both boys in school, we will have to make this decision one day (probably soon) and hopefully we make the right one. Best of luck with your move!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Christina – Thank you for your kind wishes and best wishes to YOU in finding the right path for your family!

  4. Off we go to desert and sand and family

  5. Good luck with the move! I know the feeling of the back and forth. We went through a lot of that when our move to Denver came up. Even now, 18 months later, I look back and wonder how on Earth it all got done but it does!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Jen – I know you know all the turmoil we’re going through. It looks like you have really fallen in love with Denver (except for those cloudy days!). I hope I have a similar experience in Arizona!

  6. Good luck with your move, it’s no fun, but you will settle in soon enough. I am also antsy to leave San Diego. I like it and all, what’s not to like I guess? But I get bored being in one place for too long. I have been back for 10 years almost (and was born and raised here – left when I was 18.) This drives my husband nuts. He likes staying put. He didn’t grow up here, he loves it, he surfs, and his job is stable here. I am envious of your new adventure! I can’t wait to read more posts about it. 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Amanda – Convince your hubby to move to Scottsdale & give me a holler when you arrive! 🙂

  7. Best of luck. I think Arizona looks awesome!

  8. Hurray for a new adventure! I couldn’t love in the heat but good thing school and fall will be starting up soon. And those glorious winters. Congrats!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Amber – yes, Arizona would be a tough place for a winter & snow lover like you! Thanks for the good wishes!

  9. i too am the wife of a man who has some very ocean like job issues and had to move. only we have moved a lot! we started together in illinois only to be thrust into southern indiana for a huge promotion my husband was offered with his company. there we learned to live away from family, far away. we were not there 2 years when 2008 erupted and left him with no job and us with a brand new house in a brand new neighborhood that had lost all of it’s value. while he searched for jobs i manned the life boat and readied our home for sale at a huge loss and through the only means we could, a short sale (2 years after we started trying to sell our home). he had some nibbles here and there and we finally caught a break and took a job in north carolina after a short stint living in my in laws basement. in north carolina the job was meeger, but it existed. we lived in an apartment complex full of nc state kids and did what we could everyday to remain happy together. we lived there for almost 2 years when he received notice they were no longer in need of his services. he felt like a failure and once again i was determined to make things right as best i could and to help him while being his #1 fan and cheerleader. he started his job search and found a great job in tempe az – over 2,000 miles away! he jumped at the opportunity and i jumped in right along with him even though i had never been to az much less seen anything beyond a road runner cartoon or postcard of the grand canyon. we made the trek in april of 2011 in our 2 cars with only a 5×7 trailer of belongings and began a new adventure that for most would be horrific. it has been the best thing to ever happen to us. we have been in the desert now since we arrived and love it. although we may not retire here or live here the rest of our lives, the desert has reminded us that just like the desert – life brings you heat and somes disparity but just like a desert cactus, something amazing can bloom from the experience. good luck on your move, savor the time you have with your family and daydream of ocean filled weekends just like the rest of us desert dwellers. welcome back to az!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Oh wow, Jen! You certainly have been through a lot of ups & downs & moves! Thank you for sharing your story & for the warm welcome back to the desert!

  10. As someone who has moved many times (most recently from CA to NJ), moving is difficult. But you have family there and grew up there, so it will be much easier for you. And I also grew up in Phoenix – ages 0-18, and come to visit a few times a year. Maybe we can get together one of those times!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Debbie – I’d love to get together next time you’re in AZ! Pls give me a holler next time you’ll be in town.

  11. About 5 years ago my family embarked on a journey to live someplace I had no real desire to ever live in my entire life: Orange County, CA. Most of my family had migrated to the area and I had about million preconceived notions about how life would be behind the Orange Curtain. I am so glad that my notions were wrong and we are living in the very place I swore I would never live. Having family in town is such a blessing, especially with young kids. OC was totally what I chose to make of it. And the weather- it can’t be beat. My point is, I hope your journey leads you to joy and experiences you never dreamed you could find in the desert. And hey, you are a travel writer, you can easily ditch that summer heat! Best of luck, friend.

  12. Charmin - The Momiverse says:

    Congratulations, Colleen!

    I am SO excited for you! Three years ago, we moved from Seattle to Scottsdale and it was a really positive move for our family. The housing is affordable and there is a ton of stuff to do. I’m so happy to hear you’ll have a backyard pool. We couldn’t survive the summer without our pool! Plus, the excruciatingly hot summers are a perfect excuse to get out of “Dodge” and travel to cooler locales.

    Let’s connect when you get settled. I’d love to meet you IRL!

    Best wishes for a safe (and stress free) move.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Charmin – I didn’t know you live in Scottsdale! I’d love to connect IRL once we get settled in!

  13. Claudia Laroye says:

    Best of luck, Colleen. It will wonderful to be close to family – for all of you!

  14. Mary {The World Is A Book} says:

    Good luck with the move! Wishing you and your family the best in this new chapter in your lives. How lucky you are to be near family and close friends! We were just not meant to meet up in SD 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Thank you, Mary! Maybe we are meant to meet up in Scottsdale instead?! Let me know if you ever come for a visit!

  15. Hi. I am a mom of three young children and a wife of a husband who is considering a move to Arizona. My brother and his children would move with us. My biggest concern is the school system. I love the community and schools that my children currently attend in the suburbs of Chicago. Specifically Park Ridge. Since I have never been to Arizona, and am fnding a wide range of data and opinions on line. Can anyone help me understand if there are well established neighborhoods with great schools from kindergarten through high school?I am seeking schools there are not only great academically, but also offer strong community bonds, including things like Girl/boy Scouts, family events and father/daughter, mother/son dances. Does anyone have any suggestions from personal experience?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Jenny – Arizona ranks 47 out of 51 states (including Washington DC) in terms of education according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. So, no, school are not great here. That being said, we recently passed an education bill to give schools more funding for such things as music classes, gifted programs, physical education classes and the like. My kids’ school in Scottsdale is very good, with caring teachers and staff, well-kept grounds and extra-curricular programs. In Arizona, you have a right to choose whichever school you’d like your children to attend (if there is room, and usually there is), regardless of where you live. So, if you like a particular school and are willing to drive further to reach it, you can enroll your kids there. You will find girl/boy scout troops throughout the Phoenix area. Our public school and many (all?!) others offer before and after care at an affordable rate as well as after school enrichment classes for an additional fee (such as Spanish language, sports of all sorts, acting classes, dance classes, etc.) right on school grounds. Our elementary school does not host a father/daughter or mother/son dance (that I know of), but there was a fall festival fundraiser with all sorts of fun games, food and prizes for families. There will be another festival in the spring and my family attended a family fitness fundraiser with activities focused on staying fit and healthy together. There are fundraisers about once per month at local area restaurants, which are a fun way to raise money for the school and get to know other families. There are also monthly parent talks on school grounds. I love our neighborhood in Scottsdale and find it is easy to make friends here because so many people come from other parts of the country and want to make friends too. I will say that I find the children to be a little bit rougher than they were in San Diego, at least in my son’s 1st grade classroom and in the after school program (teasing each other, pushing each other, etc.). Still, my children have made plenty of friends and we often get invited to classmates’ birthday parties and whatnot. Truly, it really does not seem all that different from the very highly ranked school my kids attended in San Diego. I hope that helps!

  16. I’m so happy to have found travelmamas.com. We are in almost the same boat as you were when you wrote this post. My husband, our two boys (9 and 12) and I are strongly considering moving from Hawaii to Scottsdale or Tempe. This is a heart-breaking decision as I’ve lived in the islands my whole life. There just comes a point when spending $3,000 in rent for a small townhouse or paying a minimum of $800K for a home is just not realistic, even with us making a very good income. I want to go back to school and am considering ASU. But we’ve obviously never lived in a dessert and I don’t know what to expect. Reviews online say to stay away from living in Tempe unless you want to be surrounded by drunk college kids. And several articles (and their comments) go on and on about how snobby and pretentious people are in Scottsdale. Coming from the Aloha state, I’m a little worried about us not fitting in there. What do you think? Are you loving Scottsdale? I just want my family to be happy.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Nia – We are very happy in Scottsdale. The financial stress and struggle to hold on to our CA life really wore my husband and me down. I actually feel like I am more connected to nature here than I was in San Diego because there are so many hiking trails everywhere and we spend a lot of time outside in our pool, and spending time outdoors is really crucial to my personal happiness. We have a strong support system here, and I think that makes a big difference. My parents, brother and college roommate all live here so it was easy for us to have a robust social life right away. I have found it pretty easy to make friends here as well because so many people are transplants who are also seeking friends. I went to school at ASU and I can attest to the fact that the town is full of drunk college students because I used to be one of them! It’s got a cute walk-able downtown, though, and I’m sure the suburbs away from the school are filled with families. We now live in Scottsdale and I don’t find the people to be pretentious, but then again I moved from Carmel Valley in San Diego, which is quite snooty. I do find, however, that people are less courteous here. My recent “Are You Rude Quiz” post was inspired by the rude behavior I have recently encountered here with strangers. I think it’s worse in summer, when it is very hot and people are crankier (including me!). I think the key is finding people who share similar values and building a community. Also, try to travel during the summer to get out of the heat for a while. The weather really is pretty fantastic for about 8 months of the year. I hope that helps?!

  17. Janet Roberts says:

    We are moving to Arizona in the beginning of the next year and my kids consider it as the next great adventure. I hope the adventurous spirit to defeat worry, because moving is always a big change for the children, no matter what their age is( they’re now 6 and 11). We’ve moved two times before – the first was with our daughter, and the second time her little brother was born, when we moved to Kansas. We’ve always tried to turn our moving to a game and adventure for the kids, but sometimes there are problems we just can not escape.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Best wishes to you with your move to AZ, Janet! My kids have settled in here now and I find myself wishing we’d made the move years earlier!

    • Janet,
      It’s neat how we are facing this ‘great adventure’ at the same time. Sending positive thoughts your way, & hoping we are all able to transition smoothly. Kindest regards, Valerie.

  18. Thank you for this story, I found when searching, ‘Moving to Arizona help with kids’. It’s been refreshing to hear others have been in similar situations, as my family is taking another big leap by moving to Phoenix area from Wisconsin. I am visiting this weekend, to help find a rental for my husband, schools to fit each of my 3 kids’ needs, & a possible home for when we all relocate over Xmas. It’s quite overwhelming, as you well know. I look forward to seeing how you all fair, & see if the experience of others enlightens me. & gives hope to my reluctant children. Moving with teens can’t be THAT difficult, right?! 😉

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Valerie – It might be a bit tough at first, but your family will settle into a new routine and life in AZ. Best wishes!

  19. Currently in So Cal as well and we are thinking of moving to the Flagstaff (outskirts) next summer. My kids 7 & 9 are currently in a Charter School that is partially a homeschool program. Do you know of any programs similar to this? We are a young outdoors family that is eager for some real seasons… Any thoughts or advice? My son is huge into riding motorcycles and my daughter rides horses. I am really into health and fitness and am a vegetarian. I’m slightly worried I’m too so cal, minus the fake persona and fake tan!!!!!Im so scared we will get somewhere and feel like black sheep!!!!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Christine – Why are you afraid you’ll feel like black sheep in AZ? There are a lot of transplants here, which makes making new friends pretty easy. Flagstaff is sort of known for being home to a lot of laidback, outdoorsy hippies so I’m sure as a vegetarian, you’ll fit right in! Hiking and outdoor activities abound in and around Flagstaff as well. I think you will love it!

  20. Hi Colleen, I hope you and the family have settled in by now and having a blast! My family and I are relocating to Chandler, AZ this June. We are all excited but nervous at the same time. We came to visit April 2015 and loved it so much, the people is so much different from here in Michigan, and of course the weather!! I know April is before the true heat hit in AZ but we did enjoy the 95 degrees without the humidity. I hear so many wonderful things about the state, until I start to use Google and most people have a lot of negative things to say. I am not running away from issues, as any place have their own set of issues, but we just need a change all the way around. The location I really see myself and family one day is the islands……not sure which one yet but that is where I’m heading. However, for now, we are hoping to come and find wonderful things there in the valley. I have two children 7 year old boy and 15 year old girl and the both of them are so excited. They are really great kids and I hope they find a lot of friends. We are a black family that love all good people, we don’t see color, but I know some do and I’ve heard some places in AZ are racist. Honestly, that is the least of my worries, because that can be found any place. I hear the jobs there are in abundance. My husband is in Quality control and I work in the IT field. We have no family there, which is not necessarily a bad thing lol. My mother is moving with us, therefore, the kids will at least have their grandmother. So since you have returned, how are things? I so can’t wait to have sun most of the year!! I really need that for my own personal health. Is there a lot of fun things to do for couples, as my husband and I will have to meet all new friends. How are the spa’s there ins Scottsdale? That is another thing I am looking forward to. If you can give a newbie any information that will help this transition go smoothly I would greatly appreciate it. Maybe we can meet one day! That would be awesome

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Tiffany – Congratulations on your decision to move to the Valley of Sun! We are the sunniest state in the Union, so if sunshine is what you seek, you will not be disappointed! The summer does tend to drag on much longer than I’d like and temps can get up to 116+ degrees F! Hopefully you will have a pool or can find a local community pool to cool off. I am not a person of color so I have not seen or experienced much racism here. There are not many African American students at my kids’ school but there are a few and there is diversity in their classrooms with children of all different races and backgrounds studying and playing together – not in cliques divided along racial lines. I am sure your kids will make lots of friends, especially if they pursue activities like sports, theatre, music, church, etc. My husband have made a few “couple friends” but we find that we usually are the ones who need to invite people to do things. I think Arizonans, to generalize, tend to be very friendly on the surface but difficult to develop deep friendships with. There are TONS of restaurants and spas in Scottsdale and Phoenix (I can’t speak for Chandler). You will have lots of fun discovering those! There tend to be a lot of transplants living in the area so my suggestion is to go to any of the school orientation activities and try to make friends with other newbies. In addition to your kids pursuing their hobbies, you might want to consider signing up for classes at a gym or art studio, going to a church (or other religious center), and getting involved in volunteering at the school. I hope that helps! Give me a shout-out once you arrive and maybe we can meet for coffee!

  21. Colleen- I am so relieved that I have found this post. I am moving to Pheonix area at the end of this summer with my husband and 2 kids (6 and 10). We currently live in Silicon Valley area. I find California living rough for Many of the same reasons you did. We are originally from Florida but also lived in SE Asia for 3 years. I like some guidance if possible. I am nervous because in our last move I didn’t select our new area well. The elementary schools are super competitive as well as the parents. Every minute of after school is highly scheduled so there are no kids in the neighborhood out playing, no one riding bikes, few kids at the playground hard to work in play dates. I have a good budget to spend on housing. What areas have good schools and will have lots of kids. My husbands job is near the airport

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi JJ – I live in Scottsdale so I can’t speak about Phoenix other Phoenix with much knowledge. I would suggest choosing neighborhoods very near to your children’s schools. We live very close to my kids’ school and there are tons of kids in our neighborhood. Arizona is an open choice state, meaning that kids can choose to go to whichever public school they choose and they don’t necessarily need to go to the one closest to their homes. Most do, however. Best of luck with your move!

  22. Mary Hart says:

    Hello!
    Thank you for sharing your story!
    We plan to move to Scottsdale due to work this summer after living in Los Angeles for most of our lives. First, we were uncertain but after visiting in May, it was wonderful! The lifestyle was easier…Yes, we understand the desert heat we need to endure but we welcome the adventure. The restaurants, the culture, shopping, the desert pulse..all very good! More importantly, the schools are rated high in the national rankings and the cost of living is amazingly less!
    We consider this move a “reboot”!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Congratulations on your decision to move to Scottsdale, Mary! We have not regretted our decision to move here for one minute…even when the temps soared to 117 last week! Arizona was just the reboot our family needed and I hope this will be a great reboot for your family too!

  23. Soon,

    Here goes, single dad of a 14 year old boy coming off a 10 year long term relationship living in Redding, CA. Time for a major change. I want to move before my son starts high school which is roughly 3 months. I am a self employed entrepreneur but not wanting to continue my current business, something different. I am currently selling assets, including my business and planning the move. Have never been to Scottsdale but many areas around it, everything I research about it sounds like just what I’m looking for, active lifestyle, high standards, lots of nice weather.

    What could go wrong?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Jeff- Best wishes on this next chapter for you and your son! I hope you love Scottsdale!

  24. Don Albert says:

    Hi Colleen,
    My wife and I had talked for several years about retiring in AZ. She is not working due to illness and I still have a good 5-6 years before I hit 62. We live in the Carlsbad area of San Diego. Here’s the thing-the company that I work for has opened an office in Tempe and I have gone out there a few times and love it. The Dry heat feels very good to me. And yes, I was out there a couple of weeks ago when the temps got up to 111. That still felt good to me, although I was warned that after a few weeks it can wear on you. I actually feel cold most of the time living right on the coast. What would you say, other than the heat, is the biggest adjustment you had to make when you moved? I think I will miss looking at the ocean, but I don’t surf any longer and really don’t go to the beach other than for a once aa month Sunday morning run. We are nervous and excited at the same time for this big move.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      The heat, for sure, has been the biggest adjustment. I don’t miss the ocean as much as I thought I would and I actually spend much more time in nature in Arizona than I did in California. This is because there are so many incredible running and hiking trails throughout the Valley. If you like to see lots of green leafy trees, the desert landscape can be a bit of adjustment. And it’s dry. Like super crazy dry. Hence, my recommendation to get a Venta humidifier. My daughter was getting a lot of nose bleeds when we first moved here but running humidifiers (especially at night!) has been helpful. I can’t sleep here without one! Also, we find about 6 scorpions in our house each year – which does freak me out – but we hired a monthly pest control service to come spray and we’ve seen less because of it. Of course, we had tons of brown recluse spiders in our San Diego yard so it’s a trade off. We have all sorts of crazy critters out here – rattlesnakes (but those are in SoCal too), bobcats (I’ve seen 6 or so), and we even had a mountain lion spotted in our neighborhood once. The closer you are to mountains/open desert, the more likely you are to see desert wildlife. Some of it’s fun to see, of course, like road runners and Gambel’s quail! Good luck in making your decision!

  25. I am going thru this right now!! Moving from LA to Arizona, I think Scottsdale. My boy is 5 and we need to get him into an elementary school to start kindergarten. Any advice or recommendations please.
    We are feeling very scared!! Any advice is heatedly appreciated

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Sally – Don’t be scared! Truly, worrying about the move is worse than the actual move. Rip off that band-aid and embrace your new life in Arizona. There will be an adjustment period, of course, but you all will get settled in and figure out how to enjoy life in the desert just like my family has. Cave Creek, Fountain Hills and Scottsdale all have good school districts with the schools in the city of Phoenix getting lower ratings. Take a look at Zillow for additional information about schools in the Phoenix Area: https://www.zillow.com/phoenix-az/schools/

  26. leovie martos says:

    I am born and lived in san diego for a long time, until we had to move when the economy hit to corpus Christie tx we were there for 8 years I would never in my life would do that again I hated the 8 years we live there, after our kids graduated high school they we agreed to move back to san diego 2.5 years ago we rent a small townhouse for $2700 its so hard to save money to buy a house. what I miss the most in TX was my big house and I could afford to take long vacation with my family, now that we in san diego we haven’t taken a vacation. since both of our family live in san diego, we thought moving to Arizona it close enough to go back and forth, the cost of living and housing is very low. I’m not much of a beach bum or a suffer I don’t go to the beach or tan, but I do love a good food and yes I will miss los angles only because they have everything and its only 2 hours away with traffic.

    I work in the healthcare but I work at home so I can move to any state. my husband work there are only a few state we can move to. Arizona was the only one I would consider right now vs Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Texas. but his company is in phoenix, everyone I know say’s to look in scottdale or prescot erea. how far are this area to phoenix? I’ve never visited Arizona in my life the only thing we ever did was when we 1st moved to TX we drove through AZ in December it had snow.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I haven’t been to Prescott in years but I remember it as a really sweet mountain town. It has cooler weather than Scottsdale but is much less cosmopolitan and much further from a real airport. Scottsdale is probably the most expensive area in all of Arizona (with Sedona being the exception, maybe). We never get snow in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area but the more northern areas like Prescott, Sedona, and Flagstaff do. According to Mapquest, Prescott is about a 2-hour drive from Scottsdale. Scottsdale is full of restaurants, spas, resorts and shopping. It really depends on if you want a small town/mountain life or a cosmopolitan/desert life. Good luck with your decision!

  27. Heather Grimes Simmons says:

    Hey there, my family of 6 is debating a move to The metro area of Phoenix from Denver. We worry about the scorpions and deadly wildlife there. Yes each state has things that can kill you, but Arizona is full of them. What areas do you suggest to see less of these things in your home? It has gotten so expensive in Colorado (rental $1500 plus more a month), to buy is dang near impossible and financially, change is needed. We are tired of working to live with no room for much play. We have a disabled child who receives Medicaid due to his disability. However, Arizona isn’t ass well rounded with “giving ” to programs for disabled there in Arizona. I can’t help but to be worried about it, but the other side of me doesn’t want to hold our family back with the mundane life we have here in Colorado. Any advice?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Heather –

      I can understand your interest in moving to Arizona as well as your worries.

      I do not have a disabled child but I can tell you that Arizona has been a predominately Republican state for many years, where the focus has been on helping businesses rather than on helping individuals or families with special needs. That seems to be changing, though, and now Arizona is a decidedly purple state.

      When it comes to scary things that can kill you, I really don’t think Arizona is any scarier than the rest. I lived in Minnesota for years and had to run to the basement (if I had one…living in an apartment, I didn’t) for cover. That was terrifying. In Southern California, we had a couple of tsunami warnings and we had to pack up and flee forest fires a few times. We had a ton of brown recluse spiders (and zillions of eggs!) in our tiny San Diego backyard. Yes, we have scorpions here, but we get sprayed monthly for them. There are also rattlesnakes, but we had those in San Diego, too.

      If you want to avoid the dangers of the desert, get yourself a good exterminator, close your garage door to not let rattlesnakes in during warmer months, and stay off desert trails during spring and fall when the rattlesnakes are about. (They hibernate in winter and don’t go out during high heat or they’d shrivel up and die.) I stick to paved paths during these months. Shake out your shoes and any clothing on the floor before putting them on to get rid of scorpions. Always wear shoes or slippers in the house – most people who get stung by scorpions get stung on their feet.

      You will encounter more desert life like scorpions, rattlesnakes, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions if you live in more wild areas just as you’ll experience more tick and bears in forests than in cities. Living near the mountains increases wildlife encounters too. This also means more viewings of roadrunners, Gambel’s quail, hummingbirds, ground squirrels, and rabbits. You take the good with the bad.

      Good luck in making your decision. I say, go for it!

  28. Heather Grimes Simmons says:

    “As well rounded”… geez I’m sorry????

  29. I know this was a post from years ago but we’re from Orange County, CA and preparing to move to Scottsdale and I’m just nervous where I really want to focus my efforts of zip codes, neighborhoods, etc that are best for our growing family. Any suggestions from you would be lovely as I’m so nervous since I don’t know the areas! We’ve looked at scottsdale ranch area, Grayhawk and the in-between areas between those 2 but I don’t feel I got a large enough tour of great housing neighborhoods. Any insight for me by chance??

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Kaylin,

      A lot depends on how much you want to spend, of course. Anything is North Scottsdale is great, with lots of good schools in the area. I love Grayhawk and had considered moving there – it’s more green that most of Scottsdale with plenty of Palo Verde trees and new houses. McDowell Mountain Ranch is right near the McDowell Mountains and offers a community center and pools plus lots of hiking trails. Scottsdale Ranch is lovely with manmade lakes throughout the community. If you want a really large lot (acre+), check out 85260 zipcode.

      I hope that helps!

      Best wishes with the move,
      Colleen

      • Ana Lozano says:

        Hello
        My husband, two kids and I are moving to Chandler mid August. I was born and raised in Sonora Mexico but married and moved to Massachusetts.
        After 17 years I decided to be closer to home and family.
        I am still nervous with the move. I just want my kids to be happy.
        I am still researching Hancock Elementary in Chandler. My kids are 6 and 8 years old. Do you know anything about Chandler school system?
        I am stressed out that my kids will start school a month later but due to work schedule we are not able to move sooner.
        Any advice will help.
        Thanks!!
        Ana

  30. Hi Colleen, I’m having all sorts of scare I hear so many good things and bad about Arizona my in laws just moved out there and me and my husband want to move out there we live in California as well but I’ve lived here pretty much all my life but it’s becoming so expensive for us and we’ll Arizona housing seems like a great option for us but I’m just scared for my kids schooling I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old and a baby I know I’ve seen that housing is cheaper but then the utilities can rank up almost making it same living as California I’ve been trying to do my research I visited for the first time and I loved it I’m just scared that it won’t be a great option in the end. I just want to be in a safe place and where ppl aren’t so mean because Im scared my daughter getting bullied by kids out there I had to move her schools out here because the school had so many mean kids I’m just scared to move from what I’m used to I guess and being in a new state and not making the right choice but my husband is all for it any advice what to do I feel like I’m in a tug or war with myself. Thank u!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Cheryl – Our utility bills actually went DOWN when we moved from San Diego to Scottsdale. Of course, our house is 1,500-square-feet smaller than our San Diego house, which plays a role. But mostly, the utility companies just charge less here. We had to run our air conditioner in San Diego because we had terrible air flow and didn’t live close enough to the beach to get any ocean breezes. My best advice would be to buy a new, efficient air conditioner. My brother lives here and recently replaced his old a/c unit, and has seen a significant decrease in his monthly bills. I do feel like the kids in Scottsdale are a little bit tougher than the kids were in San Diego, but that depends quite a bit on your neighborhood and school. My kids had a bit of a tough time adjusting to their new schools when we first moved here, but now they both have tons of friends and are very happy. Moving to a different state is a difficult decision, but really the worry over making the decision is worse than the actual move, in my opinion. I’d go for it! You may regret never taking a chance and going for it. If you don’t like it, you can always move back but at least you’ll know!

  31. Also any advice on healthcare out there and it is true that car insurance more pricey out there ?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Cheryl – Health insurance is typically offered through your employer and plans vary depending on how much your company covers, etc. As for car insurance, I honestly don’t remember there being a big change one way or the other when we moved here. Pretty much everything is less expensive in Arizona than in San Diego. (The only exception is Pilates, which is very expensive in Scottsdale for some reason!)

  32. Stephanie Lewis says:

    I was so happy to find this post…even though it is a bit dated 🙂
    I’m a single parent in FL of two kids, ages 10 and 12. I’m looking at next step job opportunities and I got a call from a very attractive company in Scottsdale. I’m getting ready to have my third interview and probably have a couple more after that but they will want the person on site within 60 days of hire.
    I spent summers in AZ as a kid and have made a couple trips as an adult…never been to Scottsdale though. Any tips you have on best places to look to live, advanced schools (both of my kids are gifted AP) would be great!

    • Stephanie Lewis says:

      Also any tips for active families; best things to check out like the arts, museums, parks, etc. I’ll need plenty to help get the kids excited if this works out 🙂

      • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

        The Musical Instrument Museum is quite impressive for kids and adults alike: https://travelmamas.com/musical-instrument-museum-tour-the-world-through-music/. Your kids are getting a little old for the McCorkmick-Stillman Railroad Park, with its ride-on train, carousel and two super fun playgrounds, but my kids (ages 9 and 12) still like to visit a few times each year. Odyssey Aquarium recently opened near Butterfly Wonderland. There are all sorts of fun things to do in the same complex, like a mirror maze, arcade and polar bar (where you don puffy coats and sip drinks for adults and kids) in a room made of ice. The Arizona Museum of Natural History features gold-panning, animatronic dinosaurs on a cliff that “floods” with rushing water every 23 minutes, and more for families. Glow Putt offers indoor glow-in-the-dark mini golf – a great way to get out of the heat in summer. There are lots of water parks and arcades in Arizona, too. I really should write a round-up of fun things to do in Scottsdale and Phoenix with kids! Here are more stories about things to do in Arizona: https://travelmamas.com/destinations/#Arizona

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Stephanie – Check out Zillow’s school reviews: https://www.zillow.com/chandler-az/schools/ I’ve heard good things about Scottsdale Preparatory Academy: http://scottsdaleprep.greatheartsacademies.org/ It’s a charter school but most of Scottsdale’s public schools are quite good as well. They offer a gifted program for advanced students.

  33. Hi Colleen,

    Ok, didn’t quite catch all the comments above, but I very much get what you wrote three years ago. My hubs’ job sent us temporarily to Gilbert in early 2017, and we were able to rent a nice house there in an amazing lake community. Man, it was awesome! We had a great time overall — much better quality of life than what we were normally accustomed to.

    We are from Northern Virginia and love the trees and trails in our state and region; but the cost of living here is high compared to AZ ($260k for a 2BR condo; $360k for a no-garage townhome; $600k+ for most single-family homes in 2017). So, we’ve debated whether or not we’d want to move out to AZ, too. But, like you, we don’t see ourselves staying long-term. Our quality of life would be better out in AZ for a while; but long-term, we know that we would be wise to stay put here in VA. For all the problems where we are in VA, we still have it very good here in VA. I just gotta remember that, I suppose, and make the best of it. But kudos to you for being more adventurous and moving! = )

    Now, if I could just count my blessings, and focus on enjoying life here in VA…. oh, but those lake community homes — so hard to pass up…………… must….. step….. away…. from…. Zillow……. ; )

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi LG – Glad to hear you enjoyed Gilbert! My family has actually considered moving from Scottsdale to Gilbert because we’ve heard such good things and it’s more affordable. It’s hard to focus on the good of where you live sometimes. For me, that time is in the summer when it’s so crazy hot in AZ! I hope your family is happy no matter where you land – AZ or VA or elsewhere!

  34. I read all these posts and I have to say, I’m also nervous for such an unknown change and adjustment. My family and I were born and raised in San Diego, it’s the only place we have lived and love it here. It’s just too expensive! We are planning on selling our home and move to The Chandler or Gilbert area. We went in December because my hubby had an interview for a job, well he got it and we’re putting our house on the market in two weeks. We have a 9 year old and a 1 year old. We don’t know anybody in Arizona, all our family and friends are here. I’m scared for such an unknown change. We want good school, parks, and things to do near us. I will miss the beach and the ocean breeze. Any advice or tips wpuld be mich appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Ilima – I have heard wonderful things about Gilbert, but have not been there myself. We live in Scottsdale, which is more expensive and have actually considered moving to Gilbert since the home values and rental prices are so much more affordable. I hear you about fear of change but, honestly, I wish we’d made the move years earlier. Yes, there will be an adjustment period but the anticipation of the move was worse than the move itself for me. Good luck in the Valley of the Sun!

  35. Bernadette says:

    I do appreciate all the conversations you guys are having,I was wondering if I can get an advice, I have a husband and a 1y/old and planning to have one more this year.me & my husband is so into California and we wanted to move to San Diego from Az.but my sister & brother all lives here in az. Really nervous about moving & having 2nd thought bec I will have no support over in San Diego but I’m just tired of the heat.pls help me decide! Thank you

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Bernadette – It’s so tough to make big decisions like this. I can’t make that decision for you. We really loved San Diego for its beautiful weather, the ocean, and the plentiful things to do there. However, it became quite a burden for us to continue living there because the cost of living is so high. If you don’t mind downgrading your lifestyle (less meals out, less money for shopping and excursions) or you are quite wealthy – then go for it! Otherwise, you could look into more affordable, cooler destinations for your next residence. Good luck making your decision!

  36. My hubby just got a job offer in Scottsdale and we are looking to move our family to the Peoria or Surprise area to rent and hoping to buy a brand new home that we can customize to our liking. I am incredibly nervous as I will be leaving my 90k job and will be out of work until I can find suitable employment in AZ. Also having our oldest move in the middle of the school year is not gonna be fun.
    My BIGGEST fear of the move is that I’m reading about mouse sized flying roaches in AZ! Please say it isn’t so. I can deal with a snake but not with rodent sized roaches flying around.
    Also do you know of any good Mom groups? I have a newborn too

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Stacy – I have seen some big flying roaches in AZ, but honestly not since I was a kid (which, ahem, was a while ago!). Get yourself a good exterminator. We had scorpions at our rental house several times during our first year or so here but haven’t seen any since we got a monthly exterminator. As far as mom groups, I would suggest getting involved with your kids’ schools and trying to get chummy with the fellow moms. If you have a baby or toddler, I suggest Stroller Strides/Fit4Mom. I did those classes with my son from age 3 mos to 5 years in San Diego and met lots of other moms that way. There are Stroller Strides/Fit4Mom options in Phoenix/Scottsdale too. Hope that helps!

  37. My husband and I are seriously considering moving to AZ- his two daughters and grand children live in Phoenix. We are thinking more towards Prescott Valley. My children are 13 and 11, so I’m not sure how they’ll take it.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      We love Prescott! It’s such a beautiful area with lots of trees, hiking trails, lakes and a darling downtown area. Plus it offers wilder weather than what we get in Phoenix. I don’t find it to be the friendliest city, maybe because they get so many tourists. (Honestly, people seem a little cranky to me in the Phoenix Area too – especially drivers!) Best of luck with your decision!

  38. Hi! We have no job really pulling us to Scottsdale, but my husband has the ‘itch’ to change it up. We have no family or friends there, but that’s no biggie to us. We have owned our first home for 3 years this summer. There’s supposedly a good amount of equity, so we are thinking stepping g stone too! My only heart ache is that I have a sophomore and a fifth grader. My teen says no way and my tween says hell yeah!
    What’s you’re suggestion? I’m worri d about difference in bills CA vs AZ

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Amber – Typically everything is cheaper in Arizona than in California, so you would probably save money on your bills with a move. Scottsdale is one of the most expensive areas in the state, but I still find it to be MUCH more affordable than San Diego, where we lived. Of course, if you’re coming from San Ramon or Temecula, that might be different. Whenever making big decisions like this, I ask my kids what they would choose if it were up to them, but I also remind them that it is NOT up to them! It really is about what YOU and your husband think is best for your family. My kids struggled when we first moved here a few years ago but now they consider Arizona home. They will adjust and so will you. Good luck in making your decision!

  39. Andrew carbonetti says:

    I am moving to Ariizona next year, my whole family is making the decision to move to the Gilbert Arizona area due to high cost housing ins rattle. We all have a decent amount of equity and will be able to put 100-200,000 down on a new house. Coming from a place like Seattle, we love California, we don’t wanna be depressed anymore, we wanna be in the sunshine. Arizona seems to be the best match after months of research. Are we in for a world of surprise? People in Seattle are so open and it’s a melting pot of great people. Is Arizona have the same care free melting pot feel? Any advice and houghts would be great!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Andrew- It depends on what you mean by open melting pot. If you mean liberal, Arizona is definitely on the conservative side. Although now more a purple state than a strictly red state, there are A LOT of conservative republicans here. According to a Forbes article that ranks the most conservative and most liberal cities in the U.S., Seattle ranks as the 3rd most liberal, whereas Mesa in AZ ranks as the #1 most conservative. As far as demographics go, according to 2005 U.S. census information, about 25% of Arizona’s population is Hispanic, and there are much smaller representations of African American and Asian populations here. The majority of AZ residents identified as white non-Hispanic. My kids go to a good school in predominantly white Scottsdale but have friends of all races and ethnicities in their classes. One of my kids, though, came home from grade school during the last presidential election and told me that he was horrified when the lunch lady told the kids that she would be voting for Donald Trump and nearly the entire lunchroom started chanting and pounding on the tables, “Build a wall! Build a wall!” My son and his friends did not join in. So, is there racism? Yes! But I have met and befriended lots of open-minded people of different backgrounds here. I am sure you will be able to find people with similar values as yours.

  40. HelloHome says:

    Wow – sounds like that was quite the journey!
    It’s awesome you were willing to step out of your comfort zone for the long-term benefits for your family. 🙂
    Love your content, keep it up!

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