Living in Lake Forest, CA 🏡 | Is Moving to Lake Forest Worth It?

The beautiful, affluent city of Lake Forest, CA is located about 46 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles next to other communities like Mission Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Hills, and Rancho Santa Margarita.

Known for its many lush parks, gorgeous lake, and countless trees, Lake Forest is considered by many to be one of the best places to live in the entire state of California. It is a fairly new community, having only been incorporated back in December 1991.

While the area doesn’t have a nickname, it is still called its former name of “El Toro” by some local residents living in Lake Forest who preferred the former name to the new one. 

Moving to Lake Forest offers newcomers a wide variety of benefits and a comfortable lifestyle anyone would enjoy.

1. People of Lake Forest, CA – Population & Demographics

This highly desirable city has seen significant growth since 2000 with nearly 30,000 newcomers relocating to Lake Forest in the past 20 years or so. The Lake Forest population has reached 82,911 residents with a median age of 39 years old.

A look at local Lake Forest demographics shows the population is also growing more diverse as it’s made up of about 56% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic or Latino, 15% Asian, and 2% Black or African American. The gender ratio across the city is close with about 51% of the population being female and 49% being male. Residents tend to have well-paid jobs as the median household income in Lake Forest is $104,449.

2. Things to Do in Lake Forest

Even though it isn’t an overly large area, there are more than enough fun activities to enjoy in Lake Forest. One of the most popular things to do is visit Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, a large area offering 23 total trails spanning about 17 miles of terrain. Visitors can enjoy hiking the canyons, admiring the rock formations, or simply enjoying a bike ride along one of the paths.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park


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Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, 27901 Glenn Ranch Rd, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679  (949) 923-2245

One of the best things to do in Lake Forest is head over to Lake Forest Sports Park. This fun attraction boasts a children’s playground, soccer fields, baseball fields, a softball field, and wide open grassy areas to run and play. People of all ages can come to the park to play, run, exercise, or enjoy a picnic.

Lake Forest Sports Park


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Lake Forest Sports Park, 28000 Rancho Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA 92630  (949) 273-6960

Additional Lake Forest Attractions

3. Lake Forest Restaurants

With great places to eat around every corner, you’ll find there are a lot of top-rated restaurants in Lake Forest. One of the top dining spots in town is Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, a local chain providing southern-style dishes like jambalaya and sandwiches along with delicious barbecue plates. Try a plate of ribs, tri-tip, brisket, steak, and many other options.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que


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Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, 23760 El Toro Rd, Lake Forest, CA 92630  (949) 581-7427

Serving up a scrumptious menu of burritos, chimichangas, Baja bowls, quesadillas, carne asada, and many other Mexican-style dishes, another one of the top Lake Forest restaurants is Avila’s El Ranchito. This hot spot has more than enough options to curb your appetite along with a full list of great drinks to keep you refreshed during your meal.

Avila’s El Ranchito


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Avila’s El Ranchito, 24406 Muirlands Blvd, Lake Forest, CA 92630  (949) 855-4989

4. Cost of Living in Lake Forest, CA

When considering the cost of living in Lake Forest, it is among the more expensive options in the area. A look at the numbers shows that Lake Forest living costs are about 18% higher than the California average and 68% higher than the U.S. average. You should expect to pay more for housing, groceries, utilities, and transportation, while local healthcare is one of the only expenses that are below average.

More than 70% of residents living in Lake Forest are homeowners, which is why you’ll find a great spread of beautiful options to choose from. The average listing price of homes in Lake Forest is $750,000, a number that has been on the rise as of late. Lake Forest, CA homes for sale generally require a 20% down payment and will usually sell for a median sale price per square foot of about $422.

There are also plenty of comfortable living spaces for the other 30% of people relocating to Lake Forest who decide to rent instead. The average price of rent in Lake Forest has risen by about 2% in the last year and is currently around $2,259 per month. A one-bedroom apartment will typically be around $1,987 per month and a two-bedroom will be closer to $2,377 per month on average.

5. Lake Forest Neighborhoods

As the 17th safest city in California, locals residing in Lake Forest neighborhoods get the added benefit of a safe and secure environment. Crime rates in Lake Forest are 69% lower than the California average, giving newcomers peace of mind as they move here. The city spans an area of about 17 square miles, offering walkability as well as easy commuting to other parts of town. Some of the best neighborhoods in Lake Forest are:

Neighborhood in Lake Forest, CA

Near the center of Orange County, zip codes in Lake Forest include 92610, 92618, 92630, 92676, 92679, and 92691. You’ll also get a 949 area code if you decide to switch your phone number after moving to Lake Forest. 

Wondering if you’ll have places to shop once you’re living in Lake Forest? The area offers a great selection of shopping destinations such as Foothill Ranch Towne Center, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Lake Forest Gateway Shopping Center, Albertsons, Ralphs, 99 Cents Only Store, and The Orchard.

Lake Forest State of the City Video



6. Lake Forest Schools

Home to about 12,150 students residing in Lake Forest, this area has a reputable school system that offers local students a great educational experience. Parents are pleased with the options available within the Orange County Department Of Education School District as well as the Saddleback Valley Unified School District.

The top schools in Lake Forest include:

  • Oxford Preparatory Academy
  • La Madera Elementary School
  • Rancho Canada Elementary School
  • Serrano Intermediate School
  • El Toro High

There aren’t any secondary schools within the borders of Lake Forest, but the city is less than 15 miles from the esteemed University of California Irvine. It is also within commuting distance of Webster University, Soka University of America, and Concordia University.

7. Jobs in Lake Forest

In an ever-changing job market, Lake Forest has seen consistency for its local workforce. The top careers in Lake Forest include management jobs, salespeople, office support professionals, financial advisors, educators, and computer technicians. A few of the most common industries in Lake Forest are manufacturing, healthcare, retail, education, finance, insurance, construction, and others.

Across town, the largest employers providing Lake Forest jobs are companies like:

Though it isn’t overly common, some people living in the area choose to commute from Lake Forest to Los Angeles. The trip is about 46 miles in each direction, taking about an hour depending on traffic.

8. Lake Forest, CA Weather

Less than 11 miles from the nearest beach, the weather in Lake Forest offers all the perks of being located along the California coast. Beautiful weather abounds all year long in this comfortable climate, leaving residents living in Lake Forest with the chance to wear shorts and t-shirts most of the time.


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Temperatures vary during the summer with highs in the low 80s and lows around 60°F at nighttime. Winters cool down a bit to highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-40s. Lake Forest also sees an average of about 14 inches of rain annually.

Living in Lake Forest Pros & Cons

  • Pro: A wide range of fun activities and local things to do.
  • Pro: Living in Lake Forest means safe communities and great weather year-round.
  • Con: The cost of living is a bit higher than some other nearby cities.

Moving to Lake Forest, CA

If relocating to Lake Forest is the right decision for you, then the team at SafeWay Moving would like to help! Get in touch with our professional Lake Forest movers today at (949) 639-0330 or complete the Request a Quote form for a free moving estimate!


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