Move From California to Rhode Island

Move From California To Rhode Island

Every state has a unique personality, but The Ocean State is among the quirkiest. For such a tiny state, Rhode Island definitely has its own unique culture that is rooted in their history. So if you are new to the state, be prepared to adjust to a few surprising realities of life in Rhode Island.

Are you ready to Move From California to Rhode Island?

60 Second Relocation Assessment

Moving Advice

  • You do not need to apply for a moving permit in Rhode Island, but check with your city about parking restrictions.
  • Spring and fall are typically when students move, so if possible, plan on moving to Rhode Island during the winter or the summer to get cheaper rates.
  • If your route takes you across the Newport Bridge, be sure to have cash on hand.
  • Rhode Island hosts a number of popular festivals throughout the state. Check your city’s calendar to avoid the crowds on moving day.
  • If you are using moving containers, note that most cities will not allow you to place them in your driveway or yard until you have closed on your property, so plan all delivery dates carefully.

Change your address online. To make your move from California to Rhode Island easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.

Cities and Metro Areas

Rhode Island is a state full of historically individual towns that have grown into large cities but still maintain much of their unique character. There’s busy and bustling Providence, the state capitol. In Barrington, many properties overlook the Providence River, but that beautiful view can come at a little steeper of price tag for homes. With the University of Rhode Island campus falling in Kingston, there are plenty of activities going on in the evening and great opportunities to socialize as well. Tucked between Block Island Sound and Buzzards Bay the views around Jamestown are a real treat.

Other notable towns/cities include Blackstone, East Greenwich, Narragansett and Wayland.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Rhode Island is roughly 10 percent higher than the US average, but fortunately, the average income is relatively high, too. Rhode Island is a highly populated state with little available land, so the cost of housing is high, due to both high demand and the fact that property taxes in the Ocean State are the fifth-highest in the country. In addition, with little agricultural production, Rhode Island has to import most of its food, which adds to higher prices of groceries.

Home prices in Rhode Island have appreciated slightly above the national level. Looking back at prices in Sept 2019 compared to Sept 2022, prices have increased by 46% in Rhode Island VS 36% nationwide.  As of Sept 2022, the median price for a home in the state was $428,600, which is up 6.3% above last year’s median price. Looking at the peak of the last three years, prices have decreased 4.2%  from the peak of  $447,300 in Sept 2022.


If you are moving to Rhode Island, be prepared for winter nor’easters with rain, sleet, icy rain and snow, as well as temperatures that can be as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers are hot and humid with plenty of rainfall and averages of approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit. After moving to Rhode Island, you will have the beautiful fall foliage to look forward to, as leaves on the trees and shrubs turn from green to shades of red, brown and gold.


Across the state, you will find a discrepancy between the overall quality of elementary, middle and high schools and the higher educational institutions. Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Rhode Island.

Here are a few of the most notable schools and colleges in the state.

  • Elementary Schools: Primrose Hill School in Barrington, William Winsor School in Smithfield and West Kingston Elementary School in West Kingston are some of the highest-ranked elementary schools.
  • High Schools: Three of the best high schools are Barrington High School in Barrington, Classical High School in Providence and South Kingstown High School in South Kingstown.
  • Higher Education: Students moving to Rhode Island can attend top-notch colleges and universities, including Brown University, Bryant University, Rhode Island School of Design and Roger Williams University.


Rhode Island’s state government maintains a comprehensive website with useful information for people moving to Rhode Island.

  • Rhode Island charges a 7% excise tax on your vehicle in the year following its registration.
  • You have 30 days to transfer your driver’s license and register your vehicle. Before going to the DMV, download the appropriate forms and checklists so you have all of your information ready to go.
  • Rhode Island does not have any toll roads, but you do have to pay a toll to cross the Newport Bridge.
  • You can register to vote by submitting a voter registration form, which you can download from the Board of Elections, to your local Board of Canvassers. Rhode Island does not permit online voter registration or voter registration through a DMV.
  • Trash and recycling are handled by each city or town individually. Contact your local municipality for more information.