What Outsiders Think About California: Dispelling Stereotypes

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about California? Beaches and summer weather all year round… True! But the Golden State is much more than that.

Last updated: February 24, 2024

What outsiders think about California | Roads and Destinations
California myths and truths

What Outsiders Think about California: Dispelling Stereotypes

“Where are you from?” “California.” “Oh, you, guys, have the best weather in the whole world!”

I stopped counting how many people think about California, first of all Los Angeles, this way. The Golden State is often viewed as an ultimate beach destination. The second most popular belief is that Californians spend all their free time lying on the beaches.

Hmm… Not really. In fact, what the outsiders think about California and Los Angeles is often far from the truth. Let’s dispel some stereotypes and see what really makes people think about California this way and what of it is true.

What People Think about California: False Assumptions

We all have stereotypes and stick to them no matter how many times somebody tries to convince us of the opposite. The ideas many outsiders have about California and Los Angeles are, surprisingly, so strong and so wrong. Often when you try to explain what it is really like to live in Southern California, people look at you like you have no idea what you’re talking about.

I met some individuals who don’t even get bothered with your insider’s look. They continue to narrate their side of the story to anybody who has similar views about California, Los Angeles, and the rest of the West Coast. With that being said, here’re some false beliefs that Californians have to dispel again and again.

El Dorado National Forest | Roads and Destinations
The Golden State has snow, rain, and all sorts of gloomy weather

1. It’s Warm Year Round

The outsiders often think about California as an ideal destination for summer vacations all year round. Yes, it’s true. The Golden State can’t complain about its weather. However, it doesn’t have perfect beach conditions the entire year.

It gets cold and even snowy, especially in central and Northern California. And although it almost never snows in Los Angeles, mountains a couple of hours away from the city don’t cease to impress with the amount of snow they get in late fall and winter.

READ MORE: 10 Best Places to Find Snow in California

2. Everybody is a Movie Star or Model in Los Angeles

The biggest misconception about Southern California and Los Angeles is that everybody here is a movie star or a model. After living in the Golden State for more than a decade, I still can’t believe how often people think about California this way.

No, not everybody in Los Angeles works in the movie industry. While many move to the city to pursue their acting dreams, only a few make it to the top.

I had my share of that “celebrity” status imposed on me by the locals, forget about the outsiders. When I just moved to LA, the second most frequent question I received while operating a cash register at Wal-Mart was “Are you a model?” “No.” “No? You should be.” The truth is not everybody is or wants to be an actor or model in Los Angeles.

What outsiders think about California | Roads and Destinations
Not all Californians are celebrities or bodybuilders

3. California and Los Angeles are Packed with Bodybuilders and Beach Bombshells

Yes and no. If you think about Southern California, and especially Malibu or Venice Beach, then you’re more likely to be right. Athletes with Schwarzenegger-like biceps dominate the beaches in this part of the state. Same goes for gorgeous, tanned gals with long locks and crop tops and short shorts practically all year round. Yet go just a few miles aways from these areas and you meet ordinary people with ordinary bodies like anywhere else in the U.S.

4. Californians Spend Most of their Time on the Beaches

I wish it was true. In reality, though, many locals barely go to the beaches. Moreover, as the third biggest state in the country, the area consists of deserts, forests, valleys, and mountainous areas. So many Californians live hours aways from any sandy stretches of land.

What outsiders think about California | Roads and Destinations
Many Californians live hours away from any beach

5. Locals Live the “California Dream Life

The California Dream has been one of the main contributors to some of the biggest stereotypes about the state. It’s linked to the desire to gain fast wealth and fame. And the outsiders often think about California only in this regard. They believe that once you move to the Golden State, you almost instantly get rich and famous. It’s far from being true.

We touched on the fact that not everybody is a celebrity in California. So the illusion of becoming famous disappears pretty quickly.

The second part of the California Dream – and the American Dream for that matter – is mainly based on owning a house. Good news, you can really find a good property for a really good price. Bad news, if you’re planning to achieve your California/American Dream in such big cities as Los Angeles or San Francisco, you have to work hard and smart. Living in these areas is expensive.

In fact, the highest rent in the country is in California. According to FortuneBuiders, in 2019 San Francisco was a leader in this category.

6. California “Dress Code

What the outsiders think about California dress code is by far the first stereotype close to being true. When in California, you think about T-shirts and shorts, sunglasses and sundresses, swimsuits and beach attire, and of course hoodies and sandals. You can easily describe the Californians as being dressed down, rather than being dressed up.

What outsiders think about California, Roads Trips from Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Flip flops most of the year | What myths and truths about California

What People Think about California: True Assumptions

On the other hand, not everything the outsiders think about California is false. There’re a lot to enjoy and in some way even envy here. The true stereotypes about the Golden State include the following.

1. Sunny California

California might be cold, snowy, and rainy. But most of the time it’s indeed sunny. While coming back to California from Europe, where I usually go in winter, I might not get the perfect beach weather right away. But I can always count on some sunshine to welcome me back.

2. Lower Obesity Rate

Many Californias, especially in and near Los Angeles, take care of their health, run and hike a lot, and eat healthy. So for any outsiders there, don’t get surprised to find out that the state has one of the lowest obesity rates in the USA. As USNew states, the Golden State is one of a few states that require their students to enroll in some physical education classes.

Sacramento | Roads and Destinations
Southern part of the state enjoys sunny days most of the year

3. Californians Exercise a Lot

In fact, it’s true. Be it the aftermath of Hollywood culture and its pressure to look fit and healthy or the warm weather that allows you to hike all year round, the fact is undeniable. Californians like to move their bodies.

4. Avocados are Cheap

And it’s a big thing when you think about California and its eating habits, largely influenced by Mexican cuisine. Locally grown avocados are an integral part of the state’s diet. Even in Oregon, one of the closest neighbors of California, this fruit normally costs three times.

5. Vegan Paradise

“It’s easy to be vegan in California”, I have to agree with this belief. The state is a paradise for alternative diets. Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian, raw foodist or intolerant to gluten, many local restaurants cater to all your needs and preferences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.