A sunrise view of Canterbury Bells in Joshua Tree National Park during California's super bloom

California's Inland Empire is very popular among active adults. Here's everything you need to know about the region.

The Inland Empire is one of the most popular areas in California for active adults, and for good reason. This beautiful Southern California region boasts warm, sunny weather, dozens of wonderful 55+ communities, and much lower home prices than many surrounding areas. If you're considering retiring in the Inland Empire, be sure to read the following guide.

The Area and Weather

The Inland Empire area is adjacent to Los Angeles, and it includes all of Riverside County and all of San Bernardino County. This area includes to the cities of San Bernardino, Riverside, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Temecula, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Upland, Chino, Rialto, Chino Hills, Pomona, Colton, Montclair, Beaumont, Barstow, Yucaipa, Eastvale, Adelanto, Calimesa, Canyon Lake, Morongo Basin, Mead Valley, Saratoga Hilla, and sometimes the Coachella Valley, including Palm Springs.

Although temperatures vary by city and geography, as a whole, the weather in the Inland Empire is mild in the winter and hot in the summer. Desert areas like Palm Desert and Palm Springs see temperatures well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the regions near the San Gorgonio Mountains, temperatures are generally much lower, year-round.

Local Tax Info

California’s property tax rate is below the national average, and the Inland Empire is no different. Riverside County averages a 0.97 percent property tax rate, while the national average is 1.16 percent. The Riverside County sales tax rate is 8.2 percent, while the national average is 7.3 percent, and the income tax rate is 9.3 percent as opposed to the national average of 4.6 percent. The San Bernardino County property tax rate comes in at roughly 1.15 percent, and the sales tax rate is about 7.75 percent, while the income tax rate matches Riverside County’s at 9.3 percent.

Best Things To Do in the Inland Empire

There are endless opportunities for entertainment, culture, dining, and outdoor excursions in the Inland Empire. Los Angeles is only an hour’s drive for a dizzying array of outdoor shopping malls, high-end boutiques, and bustling flee markets, not to mention one of the best and most diverse food scenes in the county. While you’re there, consider spending a few hours on a celebrity home tour or perhaps at the Museum of Modern Art. When the grandkids visit, a short drive will get you to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios theme parks. 

For more fun day or weekend trips, take a short bus ride to Palm Springs, which boasts funky boutique hotels, soothing, upscale spas, and plenty of other diversions. 

Those who love the outdoors can enjoy all of the nearby parks and lakes, with beautiful Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead roughly an hour south. Rife with hiking trails and plenty of beautiful desert flora, Joshua Tree National Park is about an hour-and-a-half drive from the Inland Empire.

Closer to home, the Inland Empire offers plenty of must-see destinations, including the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Big Bear Discovery Museum, Mission Inn Museum, Hart Family Winery, Big Bear Alpine Zoo, Oak Tree Village, Riley’s Farm, and much more.

Best Hospitals

The Inland Empire offers a wonderful assortment of healthcare options, including some highly rated hospitals. The Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage gets very high rankings in Adult Specialties, while the Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda also ranks exceptionally well in Adult Specialties. Additionally, Kaiser Permanent in Fontana is noted for being high performing in five different procedures.

Transportation and Airports

Getting around locally, nationally, and internationally is a breeze in the Inland Empire, with two smaller airports for domestic flights (Chino Airport and Riverside Municipal Airport) and two nearby International Airports (Ontario International and Palm Springs International). 

The Metrolink Commuter Rail provides public transport to the greater Los Angeles Area, San Diego, and the rest of Southern California, while the San Bernardino Express is a rapid transit system solely serving the Inland Empire. OmniTrans is a fixed route bus service operating largely within the San Bernardino County area.

Most Popular 55+ Communities in the Inland Empire

The Inland Empire boasts a large number of beautiful 55+ communities offering affordable homes and resort-like amenities. Here are a few of the most popular age-restricted communities in the Inland Empire.

Sun City - Menifee, CA

Low $200s - Mid $300s

With 4,762 attached and single-family homes priced from the low $200s to the mid $300s, Sun City in Menifee is a sprawling resort-like community and the first master-planned community of its kind in this area. Some of the wonderful amenities here include three community halls, multiple art studios, two outdoor pools, and a large outdoor amphitheater.

Request more information about Sun City here.

Sun Lakes Country Club - Banning, CA

High $100s - Mid $400s

Sun Lakes Country Club in Banning is a gated active adult community in the San Gorgonio Pass area of Riverside County. It's comprised of 3,300 condo and single-family homes built from 1987 to 2003 and priced from the high $100s to the mid $400s. This 55+ community is known for its variety of stunning amenities, including three large clubhouses and two 18-hole golf courses spread across 1,000 gently rolling acres.

Request more information about Sun Lakes Country Club here.

Sun City Apple Valley - Apple Valley, CA

Low $200s - High $300s

This community of 1,700 single-family homes is just 40 miles north of San Bernardino, and it boasts gorgeous views of the nearby San Gorgonio Mountains. With construction dates starting in 2004 and continuing to the present, homebuyers at Sun City Apple Valley have the option to buy newer, modern homes starting in the low $200s. Some of the notable amenities here include a 22,000-square-foot recreation center, two outdoor pools, and a 27-hole, par-65 golf course.

Request more information about Sun City Apple Valley here.