Since the days of the Gold Rush, people from all over the United States have flocked to California in search of a better life. It’s no wonder – the state’s rich natural resources and beautiful weather have an undeniable allure.
The City of Fontana is no exception. If you’re planning to move there, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about the city as you can. We’re here to help.
Fontana is a small city located in San Bernardino County, which is to the east of Los Angeles. By area, San Bernardino is the largest county in the United States. The census bureau estimated Fontana’s population at just over 206,000 as of 2016, making it the 19th-largest city in California.
Founded in 1913 by Azariel Blanchard Miller, Fontana was originally an agricultural center. The area is still home to citrus orchards and vineyards. The name Fontana is Italian for fountain, and was bestowed on the city thanks to its proximity to the nearby Santa Ana River.
In the 1950s, a drag racing strip opened and attracted many visitors. It closed long ago, but in 2006, NASCAR helped build a new speedway here, which helped to revitalize the area’s drag racing heritage.
Fontana has experienced a population boom since the 2010 census was taken, mostly thanks to their efforts to annex nearby parts of unincorporated San Bernardino County.
The Cost of Living in Fontana
Whenever you relocate to a new city, you should compare the cost of living of your current home with your new one. Depending on where you’re living now, the prices in Fontana may surprise you.
Overall, the price of living in Fontana is about 30% higher than the national average. That means people who live in expensive coastal cities won’t find the prices to be high, while those moving here from the South or Midwest might be shocked by how much it costs to live here.
As you might expect, the cost of housing here is the biggest factor in determining how much you’ll spend to live here. There are exceptions, but overall you can expect to pay about 80% more for housing here than the national average.
The good news is that other costs, including transportation, groceries, utilities, and health care, are only slightly above the national average. Transportation is the most expensive of these, and that’s mostly due to California’s high gas and vehicle registration prices.
It’s important to keep the cost of living in mind as you search for a job. You’ll want to make sure to adjust your salary expectations upward as needed to ensure that you make enough to live on.
Fontana is in the desert, and it has a climate to match. While the average rainfall in the United States is 39 inches, Fontana gets only 15 inches of rain annually. That’s not much, and when you add in the lack of snow, it makes Fontana one of the driest places in the United States.
The upside of the climate is that Fontana has only about 25 days of precipitation per year, and 281 days of sunshine. If you love being outside, then this is a great place to live!
In terms of temperature, what can you expect? The winters here are mild, with average temperatures in the mid-40s most days. Because this is a desert, the nighttime temperatures can sometimes dip into the 20s, but that’s rare.
In the summer, the average temperatures are in the mid-90s but often creep into triple digits thanks to the Santa Ana winds. People who aren’t accustomed to the heat should get used to wearing sunscreen and a hat during the summer. It’s also a good idea to carry water with you so you don’t get dehydrated.
Because of the dry climate, wildfires sometimes occur in this area. It’s important to be cautious when using anything flammable outside.
Education in Fontana
If you have children or plan to have them, then you’ll want to find out about the public and private schools in Fontana.
Most of Fontana’s public schools are maintained by the Fontana Unified School District. However, there are a few exceptions. Some areas of the city are served by the Etiwanda School District, the Chaffey Joint Union High School District, the Colton Joint Unified School District, and the Rialto Unified School District.
Altogether, there are 29 elementary schools, 7 junior high schools, and 7 high schools in Fontana. There’s also an adult school for people interested in pursuing a GED.
If you’re interested in higher education, you should know that Fontana is home to Chaffey College and Westech College. There are over 100 colleges and universities located within a 50-mile radius of downtown Fontana.
Planning Your Move
Planning a move can be stressful, but there are things you can do ahead of time to prepare and minimize your stress when moving day arrives.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you should reserve a moving company or truck as soon as possible. Waiting until the last minute might leave you in a bind, especially if you’re moving at the same time that college students are arriving for a new semester.
You’ll have to plan for the weather, too, especially if you’re going to be doing the heavy lifting. If you must move in the summer, we recommend starting your move early in the day, so you can finish before the sun reaches its apex. Make sure to have plenty of water on hand, too, to avoid dehydration.
Most homes in this area have central air conditioning, but you’ll need to have your electricity turned on to take advantage of it. Here are some links you may find helpful.
Southern California Edison (electricity)
SoCal Gas (natural gas)
City of Fontana (water – five companies split up the city, visit this link to find out which one serves your area)
Burrtec Waste (trash collection)
Time Warner (cable and internet)
Frontier Communications (internet)
If you are moving to Fontana from out of state, you should keep in mind that new California residents have only 30 days to obtain a California driver’s license and register their vehicles. The DMV has a complete guide for new residents here.
As you might expect, California has some of the strictest environmental laws in the US, so it’s likely your car will need to pass an emissions test before you register it. Go here to get more information and find a testing location near Fontana.
It’s also worth noting that California drivers must have insurance to register their vehicles. Make sure to have that in place before you head to the DMV.
Entertainment and Recreation in Fontana
Fontana’s sunny climate makes it an ideal place for those who love outdoor activities. In fact, the city is home to more than 40 parks and recreational centers. They have amenities including public pools, playgrounds, picnic areas, theaters, and more.
The city has an active Arts department that maintains galleries, provides children’s and adults classes, and sponsors art festivals and theater throughout the year. These include an annual Winter Festival and holiday celebrations.
If you love the adrenaline of racing, you may want to head over to the Auto Club Speedway for a NASCAR event.
In addition to the activities and events in Fontana proper, the city is also within (relatively) easy driving other cities, including Riverside, Pomona, and – if you don’t mind being in the car for a while – Los Angeles. That means that you can find world-class live music, theater, and museums on day trips to surrounding areas.
Southern California is a warm and friendly place to live, and the City of Fontana is no exception. Pack your sunscreen and get ready to adapt to the laid-back lifestyle that awaits you in your new home.