There are many ways to say "you've arrived" in California. You could buy Lakers court-side tickets and hobnob with DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson. You could plop down a hundred thousand dollars for a Tesla S Sedan (good luck getting through that wait list though). You could throw some money into that hot young startup Valleywag can't stop writing about. Or you could do the smart thing and buy a home in Canyon Lake.
As one of only five gated cities within California, Canyon Lake is the kind of place you'd want to live in if you were a well to-do Hollywood screenwriter sick of LA's crowds and commutes, or a moderately successful 90s recording artist on the verge of permanent retirement. Which is to say (tongue firmly in cheek), that this is the kind of place right in the upper-middle economic strata -- not like Beverly Hills, but not like Venice Beach either.
That it's all built around a large lake with 14.9 miles of shoreline and lies less than 80 miles from Los Angeles is just the gravy on top.
Canyon Lake is around two hours east of LA. Yes, that's a misleading statement, considering LA's notorious traffic and humongous size, but you'd have to run into pretty bad luck to not get to this city from LA within a couple of hours or so by road.
Location, in fact, is one of the best reasons to move to Canyon Lake. It's just 70 miles from Long Beach, and the much more popular Palm Springs is nearly 110 miles. It's also just 80 miles -- roughly an hour and a half drive -- from San Diego. Getting in and moving here, in other words, shouldn't be that big a deal.
You _will _need a lot of documentary proof of income and good credit if you want to find a home for rent here. The folks in Canyon Lake value security a lot (what with it being a gated community and all) and most landlords will do a thorough check to make sure that you aren't a terror or something before handing over the keys to their rental house. There are fewer 2 to 3-bedroom apartments to rent here and a lot of them are taken up by wealthy Los Angelenos during summer. Make sure you get in early and have all documents ready before you hit the road, especially if you want one of those sweet, sweet lakefront rental houses.
Canyon Lake is pretty small and much of the city is clustered around the lake. There are principally three neighborhoods, though the demarcation between them isn't very well defined, nor is there much to differentiate between them on property value, quality of homes or crime. The unique shape of the lake also means that each neighborhood has plenty of lake facing homes.
Vacation Dr / Canyon Lake Dr: This is the easternmost neighborhood and thus, the furthest from the road leading to LA. Three or two bedroom rental apartments abound and most units are lake facing, at least the ones that aren't are nestled in gently rolling hills.
Emperor Dr / Continental Dr: This is a _slightly _more sought-after neighborhood, thanks to the presence of the Canyon Lake Country Club nearby.
City Center: Here is where there are a majority of the lakefront homes, since it's built along the broadest part of the lake. Well connected by road, this area houses a majority of businesses in the city. Most people looking for apartments to rent in Canyon Lake end up living here.
The lake is the center of all activity in this city of over 10,500 (at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census). There are fishing "holes," a slalom course, a jump lagoon, beaches, parks and restaurants clustered around the lake.
The Canyon Lake Country Club golf course is a favorite among the residents, as is the Equestrian Center. On weekends, the locals often gather at the Gault Field. The University of California, Riverside campus is just a 30-minute drive away. The UCLA-Irvine campus is also within driving distance.
All in all, life in Canyon Lake is relaxed and peaceful. There is hardly any crime and the gated community makes it considerably more secure. There's a permanent vacation vibe in the city and the locals are all very friendly and outgoing. If you are looking for housing for rent Canyon Lake could be your place.