California Calling: 10 Songs About Moving to California

Destination: California

From the days when explorers shipped home imaginative maps depicting the great Island of California floating in a tranquil sea, California has proved a popular destination for thrill-seeking, impulsive optimists.

Adventurers — whether facing a months-long ship voyage or an all-night, 80 mph road trip on the interstate — have made the journey expecting to come upon a slice of paradise to remake and exploit and their image.

Some have chased gold; others have chased fame and sunshine. The moving continues.

In one recent year, more than 467,000 people left their old state to move to California. (That's according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2008 American Community Survey.)

An early map of California, then supposed to be an island.
An early map of California, then supposed to be an island.

10 songs for the California bound

Thinking of joining the hordes changing coasts? Or just planning an open-ended road trip to the Golden State?

These 10 songs will get you up and moving.

California's calling.

1) "California," Eddi Reader

  • From the song: "We've seen the blue, we've seen the smiles. We can get a map and count the miles."
  • You'll paint your tailgate with this slogan: "All the way to California."

2) "California," Hawk Nelson

  • From the song: "I'm not falling for any more of these tricks. I'm so tired of everything here. The sun is calling me to the west, everyone's having fun out there."
  • While you load the car, you'll be humming: "Let's pack up and move to California."

3) "California Bound," Carolina Liar

  • From the song: "There's a southern bound train tomorrow, take us out of this dirty town, chase the sun back to the West Coast."
  • The tag on your suitcase will read: "We're California bound."

4) "From California," The New Amsterdams

  • From the song: "I'm finally ready to go to California."
  • What you'll write home in a letter: "The distance is no match for a miracle."

5) "Heads Carolina, Tails California," Jo Dee Messina

  • From the song: "We can pack up tomorrow. Tonight let's flip a coin: Heads Carolina, tails California. Somewhere greener. Somewhere warmer."
  • Your good luck charm for the move: That tails-side-up quarter.

6) "Meet Me in California," Plain White Ts

  • From the song: "Cause you know in California, there's something better for us all."
  • You've told all your friends: "If you ever need me, you know where I'll be."

7) "The Lights and the Buzz," Jack's Mannequin

  • From the song: "I'll take a West Coast winter to remove my splinters."
  • You'll explain your move to California this way: "It's hard to ignore that it feels like summer all the time."

8) "Back to California," The Wallflowers

  • From the song: "Mercury rising and poppies in bloom: this is the kind of thing that I can get used to."
  • If anyone tries to slow your westward speeding, you'll tell them: "Come on and catch us if you can, we've got California in our eyes."

9) "California," Metro Station

  • From the song: "We can leave this town if only for the weather."
  • The only question left to ask: "What do you say we leave for California?"

10) "Santa Monica," Everclear

  • From the song: "With my big black boots and an old suitcase I do believe I'll find myself a new place."
  • First order of business in California: See some palm trees.


Gold brought an early rush of transplants to California.
Gold brought an early rush of transplants to California.

What's your favorite?

Vote for the best song about moving to California

  • "California," Eddi Reader
  • "California," Hawk Nelson
  • "California Bound," Carolina Liar
  • "From California," The New Amsterdams
  • "Heads Carolina, Tails California," Jo Dee Messina
  • "Meet Me in California," Plain White Ts
  • "The Lights and the Buzz," Jack's Mannequin
  • "Back to California," The Wallflowers
  • "California," Metro Station
  • "Santa Monica," Everclear
See results without voting

About this article

Text: E. A. Wright, 2009.

Art: "Welcome To California," "Discovery of Gold in California" and "Map of Island of California c.1650," public domain images, Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments 2 comments

Native Gardener profile image

Native Gardener 5 years ago from Topanga Canyon, California

10 songs for the California bound.. It's strange but I don't know any of these songs (and I still made it to CA).. what is the time frame?


cheapmoving profile image

cheapmoving 3 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

I can definitely understand why so many artists have made songs about moving to Cali...it really is paradise! The thought of moving there...or fantasy rather...is much better than the reality of insane traffic and super high cost of living. I do get a certain feeling of euphoria everytime I go there though!

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