Ranches for Sale in California

For a growing number of people, escaping the hustle and bustle of the big city and living off the land is the ultimate dream. California has a long and rich ranching history, and buying a ranch here could be the best way to make your dream come true. After all, we're talking about a state with incredible geographical diversity, fertile soil, and year-round sunshine. Not only that, there's plenty of space to roam in California's almost 164,000 square miles.

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California Ranch Listings

California Ranch Statistics February 26, 2024
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157 Properties
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About California Ranches

Ranches in California range from one to several thousand acres. Here are a few the types of ranches real estate shoppers will find in the state.

Working Ranch

Working ranches typically comprise large land areas for raising grazing livestock such as cows or sheep. Many ranches have diversified to include less conventional stock such as bison, elk, and alpaca. Working farms sometimes include land set aside for growing feed crops to sustain livestock during the winter.

Dude Ranch

A dude ranch offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about ranching life. Guests are involved in everything from taking care of horses to helping with cattle drives. The cost of staying at a dude ranch usually includes family-style meals and lodging.

Guest Ranch

A guest ranch offers a more resort-style experience to paying guests. Numerous activities are on offer, including hunting trips, fishing excursions, and guided hikes. A guest ranch differs from a dude ranch in that most activities have little to do with ranching life.

Hobby Ranch/Ranchette

This is a much smaller ranch that isn't necessarily a for-profit operation. A hobby ranch gives you the chance to raise animals and grow things just for fun. Although there's nothing to stop you from earning extra income from a hobby ranch, you'll most likely keep your day job.

Ranch Living

Purchasing a ranch in California often involves a radical lifestyle change. Though this can be everything you'd imagined it would be, there are many things to consider before fully committing. Let's look at the pros and cons of living on one so you'll know what you could be getting into.

Advantages of Living on a Ranch

  • You'll be closer to nature. This is the biggest appeal for many people. You will have more space, but you'll also experience the peace that comes with moving away from the city. It can be super-relaxing to escape constant traffic noise and be able to hear birdsong floating on the breeze. You'll quickly become accustomed to seeing wildlife in your backyard, and chances are you'll also be able to see the stars at night as you've never seen them before.
  • Your cost of living will go down. For the most part, land and real estate are much more affordable outside of urban areas. Living on a ranch allows you to venture into off-grid living, which could dramatically reduce your energy bills. Add in the fact that all those expensive high-end restaurants you used to frequent will seem even more expensive once you're out in the country. Groceries and restaurants are much more affordable in rural areas.
  • The pace of life is slower. Away from the frenetic pace of the city, you'll experience a sense of a weight being lifted. Things move more slowly in rural areas, and with that comes a sense of relief. You'll also find that a slower pace of life makes people more friendly and willing to stop and chat.
  • Fewer rules and restrictions. This all depends on where you are, but you're likely to encounter less red tape outside the city limits. As long as you aren't breaking any laws, you should be able to do what you like on your ranch without applying for permits or gaining planning permission.

Disadvantages of Living on a Ranch

  • You may feel isolated. Although you may crave seclusion, the reality can be quite a shock for some folks. Depending on how remote you are, it can take a while to get used to the fact that there's no one else around. Plus, you'll find that having fewer options in terms of nearby amenities, a simple trip to the store or gas station requires much more time and planning.
  • A ranch requires maintenance. No matter the size of your property, there's no getting around the fact that all that land needs to be tended to. If you own livestock, there's even more daily work to do. You can also count on repairs, and special projects will take up a decent chunk of your time.
  • You may experience culture shock. Moving from a city to a rural area involves entering a much more limited social scene, and there's no guarantee you'll find "your people" nearby. You may find yourself missing being able to stop by a neighbor's place for a chat or cruising down to the local cafe to catch up with friends.
  • Your internet might be slower. Although this issue has improved in recent years, many rural areas still have to manage with slower internet speeds. This could be a real issue if you plan to work remotely and impact your Netflix binge nights. A related problem can be spotty mobile coverage, although this can usually be overcome by using a signal booster.