Average one-bedroom rent: $900
Settled between the Los Padres and Sequoia National Forests, about 2.5-hours inland from Pismo Beach, Bakersfield is an unexpected yet awesome choice. The Kern River runs through town, many of California’s coveted destinations are located a short drive away, and the local parks and museums are great places to unwind after class.
Known for the California State University, Bakersfield, this region is also renowned for its almond production. On the weekends, stroll along the river, play a round of golf, and plan to watch the Bakersfield Condors play hockey when you can. If you’re looking to transfer to CSU Bakersfield after community college but still want to take advantage of the city’s low rent prices, consider attending Bakersfield College. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the least expensive college tuition while simultaneously saving on living expenses.
Average one-bedroom rent: $1025
Tucked between Monterey and Kings Canyon National Park, Fresno is a town that’s often overlooked. Best known for California State University, Fresno, this city is located in the abundant Central Valley and is a hub for several of the Golden State’s top outdoor recreational attractions.
Spend your downtime exploring the national forests and national parks to the east, comparing the region’s produce at various U-pick farms to the north and south, and taking long drives out to the coast. If you’re staying in Fresno, make sure to visit the zoo, see the unique underground gardens, and wander around town to make the most of your time here.
If you’re still searching for your perfect campus and are less concerned about finding the lowest cost of living, check out the best college towns to live in and discover your ideal place to settle in.