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California Hot Springs, California
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This San Joaquin Valley agricultural area is one of the largest producers of oranges and citrus fruits in the world. The flat landscape rises dramatically from flat orchard land to Sequoia National Park, just 50 miles to the east. The downtown areas of both Visalia and Porterville are fairly neat and functional but lack interest.
Once California’s “bargain” metro area, the Cost of Living Index and median home prices have begun to rise. Activities include outdoor recreation and some water sports. There is little in the way of entertainment or intellectual stimulation nearby. The increasing cost profile, lack of economic diversity, weak economic growth, and low educational attainment have driven the ranking down, but there is opportunity for improvement under the right set of circumstances. Fresno is 40 miles northwest, but bigger cities are all more than 100 miles distant.
Just to the east, the Sierra Nevada rise dramatically, first as oak-studded foothills and then as a high ridge of granite, with peaks over 14,000 feet. Winter snow cover on these peaks creates a dramatic landscape. The climate is generally pleasant except for summer hot spells. Summers are hot and dry and winters are mild and relatively wet with 90% of annual precipitation. Summer evenings may be cooled by mountain breezes. Dense ground fogs are common, freezes are not.
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