With any move, it's important to have a good idea of what the housing landscape looks like. Fortunately, Ripon has a lot of gorgeous places for rent, from detached homes to one-bedroom apartments. Leases tend to be for a full year, but if you dig you can find some that are month-to-month. Besides that, have a security deposit handy. It's best to assume it will be similar to a month's rent. Also, there are more owners here than renters, so you'd do well to plan in advance where you'll do your rental shopping, because it may take a few months to find an ideal situation. Don't focus solely on houses or apartments, townhouses and Ripon condos are also worth considering, though admittedly you'll probably miss out on a big backyard with those options.
Getting around Ripon will require more than two legs and a flexible thumb. Car culture is strong here, and everyone needs a vehicle to get from point A to point B. That doesn't mean it isn't fairly walkable. In fact, Ripon has a walking score of 72. You can saunter over to a coffee shop, corner store or fast food joint without turning your engine, but for work and serious recreation you'll have to rely on something with more horsepower. As for public transit, try again. Services are extremely limited, and you're not getting anywhere waiting for a bus. Amtrak trains are within driving distance if you're planning a longer trip and don't want to waste gas, however.
Weather in Ripon is much like the rest of Central California. It's a hot, dry desert, so summers are scorching (though there isn't much humidity) and winters are cool and a little damp. Allergens and fog are the biggest issues, so if you have asthma you'll want to stock up on supplies before making your way out here. As for the fog, just invest in solid headlights.
There aren't any distinctive neighborhoods in Ripon, but there are some differences in individual sectors that can help you determine where you should plant your roots. Here's a quick overview.
North: Featuring well-planned neighborhoods, detached homes and charming communities, north Ripon is a pleasant place to begin a search for rental houses. There's also decent access to amenities, but none of them are within walking distance, unless you count the few lovely little parks.
South: The south has the most personality, the most access to food, diversions and amenities, and it has plenty of parks. There are more apartments at this end, but the closer to the southerly borders, the farther you are from the main artery of the 99 Highway, so keep that in mind.
East: Much like the north, the east side has a lot of cute houses and a number of condos, but it has one major difference: the Spring Creek Golf and Country Club. If you love to swing the clubs and yell 'fore!" you should lay claim here.
Barrel of Fun
Some people have complained in the past that San Joaquin Valley, where Ripon is located, is where recreation goes to die. Bored is boring, as your mother says, and there's plenty for motivated folks to do in their free time. Start with the proximity to all the great national forests, like Yosemite, Sequoia and Tahoe. Granted, you'll be in the car a few hours before you get to any of them, but you should probably expect environmental attractions of that sort to be a bit of a long haul. Sacramento, San Francisco and Monterey are likewise a few hours away, but even within a more reasonable commute there are options for diversions. Sports are big business here, with many people joining community teams in tennis, soccer or basketball, or hitting fitness classes like yoga or Zumba. And, of course, there are always movies, casual eateries and people watching. Those seeking more excitement can always try the shooting range on Main Street.
Besides annual almond festivals, charming community events and proximity to stunning national forests, Ripon is surprisingly affordable for a California town. It's growing in leaps and bounds, so it's best to jump on the wagon while it's moving, though it's likely this little "Jewel of the Valley" will only grow brighter and more valuable with time.