Moving to the Folsom/Granite Bay Area
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Hi everyone Like so many people we are sick of the cost of living in the EB. 2 yrs ago we moved from UK for a job but also to live nearer my brother who moved to Lafayette. We currently live in Moraga and have done since our move in a rented house. I'm a mom of 3 and a stay at home and don't want to go back to work if I'm honest. My husband earns good money for the rest of the world but for the Bay Area just not enough to secure a house and decent living. So the thought process is up sticks? We're tired of the ridiculous house prices and what you get for the money. So he could transition easily to the sacremento office and looking into where to live like Davis, rocking, granite bay, Folsom etc. schools are important as eldest just started kindergarten (not ideal timing!) We're just starting to think about places so I'd love for people to give me their opinion of those areas and any others we should consider. Thank you Emily b
We moved from Oakland to Granite Bay over the summer and we like it so far. I have one son in 1st grade and another in preschool. I would be glad to answer any questions. Feel free to email me .Sarah
Your family situation sounded much like ours many years ago. We live in Lafayette now, but had moved from San Francisco, Fair Oaks (right next to Folsom), and even Ireland, chasing our dream of a house that we could afford.
I highly recommend the area--Fair Oaks/Folsom. Fair Oaks is semi-rural while Folsom is a bit more suburban feeling in parts. Folsom has a very cool original 'Old West' downtown and excellent shopping/chains/Costco etc. Both towns are just next to one another and I spent a lot of time in either with my kids at the parks. The schools are generally all very good and it was great to be so near the snow in the winter and beautiful Autumn colors when the trees turned color. We always had something to do on the weekends with the kids and there was a fantastic trail system along the American River which was absolutely stunning. People were outwardly friendly (which as a San Franciscan, sort of freaked me out at first).
The only real downside to the entire region is the oppressive HEAT!! I know, it can get very hot in the Lamorinda area too, but this went on from 10 in the morning and through the evening and seemed to last for months.
One other thing that sort of bothered me since I'm not a Conservative leaning Mormon or even Christian, (but of course it may not matter,might be a good thing depending-- I certainly do not want to offend or presume anything!) There was a pervasive religious/conservative tone to some of the folks living there. This was over ten years ago during the GWB/Iraq war era so there's probably more diversity and progressive leanings there at this point since so many Bay Areans have relocated.
Davis is also a very nice town. Excellent vibe and a very cool, college vibe. The downside is that you'll get less for your money in terms of housing, and unfortunately there's nothing really outside of Davis that isn't farmland. I'm less familiar with Granite Bay and Rocklin-I didn't normally venture that way- seemed too far from 'civilization' hehe. Anyway, hope this! helps a bit. fionoodle
Hello- I'm just the right person to answer your question! Our family of four just moved to Folsom from Kensington in July and we are congratulating ourselves every day on our decision. We had lived in SF and in Kensington for the last eight years, and while we absolutely loved living in the Bay Area and had made many friends that we were sad to leave behind, it was the right thing to do and we haven't looked back. There's no question that if we had enough money to purchase a home, pay back student loans, save for college and take vacations that we would have stayed. But that wasn't a possibility for us in Berkeley. We'd never be able to even buy a house.
On to your question. I'll talk about the downsides first. Oh how I miss Bay Area food! It is simply not the same here. With the exception of the Davis farmer's market, which is amazing, there is a lack of organic produce (except at Whole Foods) at the surrounding farmer's markets and restaurants. There are no Monterey Markets, Farm Burgers, Gioia Pizzas, Lush Gelatos or Smitten Ice cream. The only art house movie theater is in Sacramento. There are few cool and interesting independent shops (but there are some!!). So far, my son's public elementary school doesn't compare to Kensington Hilltop elementary school, but I think his teacher is probably a bad egg. The weather is super hot, but I love having summertime again.
Here's the good. When I wake up in the morning, I am less than a block away from accessing over 30 miles of well maintained lovely bike/running trails. You can leave your bike unlocked and expect it to be where you left it when you return. There are 100's of kids riding around town to school on their own. It is very safe and comfortable. People are very friendly and welcoming. I love the old Gold Rush vibe that imbues everything around here--there are tons of cool little Gold Rush towns to explore. It is 1.5 hrs to Tahoe and less than that to river access, tons of hiking and swimming hole access.
There are always tons of fun community events going on and you can actually access them without a major parking and logistical hassle. There are simply less crowds and people to contend with. Folsom has an amazing theatre where you can see world class performances (this was a total shocker to us). We have already seen circus performances from Shanghai and next month we are seeing a Taiko show from Japan, next week an acclaimed Bollywood production is going to be staged. We want to see every show that comes through.
You can actually afford to buy a house here. With a pool and a backyard. That's something that we could never dream of in Berkeley. My daughter goes to a lovely Montessori school and there are at least three Montessori charter schools in the area.
My husband commuted for four years across the Bay Bridge. I think it took eight years off of his life. He now commutes 30 minutes and never deals with traffic. My commute is 3 miles.
Sometimes I miss the cool hipness of the Bay Area, but the trade off is more than worth it. If you have more questions, or if anyone else does, please feel free to contact me. up northeast now
Dear Emily B,
WE DID JUST THAT! After 15 years in the Bay Area, the last 8 in the El Cerrito/Albany flats. We needed a change. We moved to Granite Bay. My husband took a job in downtown Sacramento. We sold our bungalow house in the early spring and rented back to finish out the school year with my 2nd grade son.
Our family welcomed the change of scenery, change of pace, change of lifestyle and what this regional area could afford us. We have space. Perhaps not an issue where you are now. Our son is attending public school. Not private like before. We are new to the Eureka School District (One of the best for the Sacramento Valley). So far we are very impressed. Schools are very good where you are now. When we put pen to paper, it was a tremendous financial benefit to take the leap.
We looked at Roseville, Rocklin and El Dorado Hills. El Dorado Hills & Folsom were just a little too far out for my husband’s commute. Ultimately the school district drove us to land on Granite Bay.
Here are some of the things that helped make the decision to move. Space, both inside and out. Granite Bay and Roseville are relatively young in age communities which means most of the housing is less than 15 years old (our old house was 78 years old). Everything under the sun is within driving distance. I mean everything! I feel comfortable letting my son play outside in the front yard with his new neighborhood friends. Seasonal weather. We did not have much of that in the East Bay. It is hot up here and we did buy a house with a pool (I recommend). However, with the lower cost of living and a huge reduction of our expenses these offset.
Here is what we miss: Diversity. It is not as diverse as the Bay Area. Predominately Caucasian and much more conservative. Walkability to shops & restaurants. We no longer have that luxury like we had in the East Bay. You do need to drive to these things. And food, I’m a foodie, so I have struggled to find decent cultural food favorites like Thai and Indian, etc. (1st world problem). Lastly our friends. However, we have more than enough space to host friends and family (something we could not do before) and we are close enough for them to come and visit.
I have so much more to add to this post. I would welcome you to email me directly to discuss. Our decision to do this was a lot of soul searching, research and willingness to be open to change. Keeping our son’s age in mind, the time was now to do this for our family. I have to say the pros outweighed the cons. Best of luck in your process. Grinning in Granite Bay, Marcy
I hear you on the expense of the East Bay. Our family moved here a few years ago from Rocklin, and we still feel shell-shocked with respect to the housing market. Rocklin is a lovely family-centered community, and we found it to be extremely affordable. Overall, the public schools there are fantastic, and there are also a wide range of very affordable extracurricular activities for kids. If you'd like to chat about specific schools or neighborhoods, please feel free to ask the moderator for my contact information.
Another option would be to check out other areas in the East Bay. Communities like Livermore, while still far more expensive than the Sacramento area, are much more affordable than Moraga and have some wonderful school choices.
Good luck with your search! Former Sacramento resident
Hello BPN community- Our family will be leaving the Bay Area and heading to the Sacramento area this summer and we are exploring the area around Fair Oaks and Folsom. We have already explored the Roseville/Rocklin areas which have great schools and real estate but feel more conservative. I'm interested to hear if anyone knows about Fair Oaks or Folsom. Fair Oaks seems to have a more rural than suburban vibe and we are attracted to that. Can anyone comment on these areas?? We ruled Davis out since that is too far from work. Thank you and happy 2015! Gold Country Bound
i grew up partially in Fair Oaks and still have family there. I'd definitely recommend it over the other places you're considering. It's older, has great access to walking/biking trails by the American river, and Fair Oaks Village is pretty walkable. Plus the Sunflower Drive-in restaurant is the best for kids & families. I went to the Sacramento Waldorf School (in Fair Oaks) as a kid and there is a tight-knit community around that school, but I don't know much about the public schools in the immediate area. Ariana
We have family in those areas. What you need to watch out for are the tweakers. You'll know them when you see them. It's unbelievable just how many there are. ANON
Folsom is going to be pretty much the same as Roseville with regards to being conservative. I grew up in Fair Oaks but its been a long time since I've lived there. My family still does though and we go frequently. It definitely has a rural feel compared to here (obviously!) but when we go there I am always surprised at how many neighborhoods and houses have property still and houses that are tucked away down private lanes or just more trees to give a feeling of privacy. Many really beautiful homes in the neighborhoods near the bluffs. The American river and the bike trail is a treasure of Fair Oaks too. We often walk down to the red bridge and along the river. Seeing the salmon swimming back up stream in the fall is pretty cool. I can't speak to its conservatism as im sure its changed somewhat in the past 20 years but I'm pretty sure its not like Roseville (there's not as much new money). Good luck!
My family moved to Fair Oaks from San Francisco around 2002 for a few years (we're back in the Bay Area now). We really liked living there. It's a very pretty and safe area and I was quite happy with the elementary school and loved being able to have a house with a half acre of land! It was a very affordable- even preschools, extra curricula activities, restaurants were a lot cheaper. However, it was initially a HUGE cultural shock for me. I'll give you some ideas first of what made it different. It wasn't really diverse and we'd often meet people that were heavily involved with their churches (which is fine of course, but we'd seem to know about it). It's not particularly sophisticated/cosmopolitan despite it being a more 'well to do' area which of course can be a good thing! This would be typical of all of the Sac region in general. We were there during the whole George W. Bush/Iraq war stuff and it was politically volatile since there were more conservatives (lots of bumper stickers/yard signs/etc) than we were used to. I'd venture to guess that it's about 50/50 democratic/republican, so it was noticeable that it wasn't just like the Bay Area. There are, however a lot of people from the Bay Area that have moved over so they ARE around!
The weather during summer can be REALLY hot so I'd have to go out, take the kids to playground, do gardening, etc. before 10 a.am. The winters and Autumn were gorgeous, however. People are very friendly (which oddly, I wasn't used to). Many of our neighbors left cookies/wine/homemade jam, etc. on our doorstep when we arrived and helped us with our garage sale when we moved. It was fantastic to be so close to the American River (walkable trails from our house) Tahoe, Yuba River, Folsom Lake, and a day trip to the snow in winter! There was always some outdoor activity and exploration to enjoy with the kids. For more cultural diversity, we'd head into Sacramento for the festivals, etc.
I used to do a lot of my chain store shopping in Folsom..also a very nice city..again, not super diverse and perhaps more like Walnut Creek in feel and vibe. It's more 'laid out' with the housing estates and mini-malls. There's a really neat historic downtown with some fun little shops and an excellent breakfast diner that we still visit when passing through! On the weekends, the entire area near the river attracts hundreds of cyclists. Anyway, hope my disorganized ramblings help you a bit with your decision. Good luck! lisa
Moving for a job in downtown Sacramento
My husband is interviewing for a job in downtown Sacramento that he will likely get. We will move so that we can have less of a commute. We have a bright 3 year old daughter, does anyone know anything like BPN for Sacramento in order to research schools? I expect we will live close to downtown, at least for the first few years. I've looked at a couple of schools on yelp, but I'm not sure if that's everything. I really want her to be in a Montessori school, I think it will meet her emotional needs, social needs, and accelerated skills. Any school suggestions or forums like BPN are welcome! Thanks! Future Sacramento Mom
Hello- I wanted to reach out because my family is moving to Sacramento County also next month. I can't really speak about the city of Sacramento itself because we are moving to Folsom, which is about 20 min north east of the city. We decided not to live in Sacramento because the public schools aren't very good across the board. I can tell you about the Montessori school where I enrolled my four year old. I know of one other family from BPN that is moving to Granite Bay this summer, another suburb north of Sacramento. We should all meet up!! As far as another BPN, I've found there's nothing like it. In the 'burbs there is Sierra Moms, which I did join. Feel free to give me a shout.
Re: Moving 2-3hrs outside the Bay Area
The quaint town of Fair Oaks (outside of Sacramento, next to Folsom) might be a place you'd really like. We lived there for a few years and LOVED it. There's no beach nearby, but there's Folsom Lake (with a 'beachy' feel, the Sacramento River flows through the town (with safe bike trails everywhere) and you'd be close to the Yuba River, an hours drive to snow in the winter, there's a salmon hatchery/festival every year, wonderful small zoo in Folsom, and a yearly rodeo nearby-lots for kids/families to do. It's a gorgeous little 'hippyish' town with roosters/chickens that roam around the downtown and there's even a fantastic vegetarian cafe. The houses are on huge lots and you're surrounded by oak woodlands and wildlife. It's about an hour and a half to the Bay Area and 10 minutes to Sacramento. It does get very hot in the summer (which was hard for me) but the autumn/winter were particularly stunning with the fall colors all around. The people were INCREDIBLY friendly and welcoming (which was a bit of a culture shock initially for a Bay Arean) lisa
We are currently weighing different options of moving and one location is Folson, CA. Does anyone know anything about it? Is it the middle of nowhere? Is it diverse (ie being Jewish will I stick out)? Is there alot for kids to do there? Thanks anon
I was raised in Folsom and can talk for days about the pro's and con's of living there.
Some things to consider (I'll let you decide what is good and what is bad):
The city is very much pro-growth. Think Target, Home Depot, Old Navy, etc. all within a quick drive. This has created some traffic headaches but the city is improving in that regard. It is very much suburbia, mini-van country.
The high school is brand new. You didn't say what age your children are but the high school is amazing. It keeps winning awards for its design and functionality. There are two junior highs and a ton of elementary schools ranging from excellent to sub-par. There is also a community college.
When I was in high school (10 years ago) there were only four Asian kids and five African American kids in my high school. I would think that with the growth of Intel (major employer in the town) that that would have changed by now.
The town has a reputation within Sacramento as being ''well-off'' and has a pretty high median income. You'd be about 45-minutes to an hour away from downtown Sacramento with traffic.
It gets hot in the summer and foggy in the winter. Pools are standard home necessities.
If you want any more information, please don't hesitate to bug me. Folsom definitely isn't for everyone, but it isn't in the middle of nowhere-ville either. Deniene
Although I've not lived in Folsom, I visit a lot. Good things include proximity to the Sierras, and an absolutely lovely river/lake in town with lots of recreational opportunites. Downside is that Folsom has grown exponentially in the past ten years or so, and is still doing so, and it shows. The older downtown section is lovely and quaint, but all the surrounding square miles are covered in the worst kind of 'burbs (IMHO) -- monstrous and monotonous houses on small lots, hillside after treeless hillside. There's probably plenty for kids to do if the kids are into strip-mall kinds of activities -- video game parlors and the like -- or, again, if they're into rec activities that take advantage of the river and Sierra proximity.
Folsom High has quite an excellent jazz band, and the marching band is a big deal, too. Lots of sports in the schools or in extracurricular forms.
I don't know about the Jewish population, or if that would be an issue. It seems to me to be a town of mostly white and South Asian people (Intel has a huge plant there, so there are lots of computer-industry families). I see very few African Americans, although there was a historic community there that is commemorated by the name of an area along the river that used to be their community, Negro Bar. Everyone pronounces ''Negro'' as though it were Spanish, because it feels like an uncomfortable word, but it really was just the English-speaking name of that community's district.
Watch out for the summertime heat. Good luck! I think it might be a perfectly good place to live if you don't mind the 'burbs. a friend of Folsomers
I grew up in Citrus Heights, about 5 miles down the main strip (Greenback Lane) to Folsom. I wouldn't say Folsom is in the middle of nowhere, it is definitely a suburb of Sacramento. I can't think of any ''bad'' neighborhoods in Folsom. I just visited there this summer and it is still a family-friendly community. The family that I know that lives there is African- American and it is becoming a little more diverse than it was when I lived there (the 80's). I don't see a Jewish family standing out. There is also a great shopping outlet there and not far from Sacramento's (15-20 minutes) downtown area. Lena