Look at lists of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and you’ll see a consistent trend: many of these places are located on the West Coast. California, Washington and Oregon have all seen significant jumps in population over the last few years

While the debate between whether the West Coast or East Coast is best will likely never be put to rest, there’s no denying that this area of the country has plenty to offer for those looking for a change of pace.

Here’s a closer look at why you should consider the West Coast, and how you can make the dream of living there a reality:

Growing Job Markets

The job market is thriving on the West Coast, as it has for many years.

Indeed, the West has led the nation in economic recovery since the recession. What really sets the economy on the West Coast apart, however, is the fact that so much growth is based on emerging technologies that are yet to reach their full potential.

Clean energy supplies and green construction have seen rapid growth in recent years. California has long been associated with booming tech companies, and that doesn’t look to change anytime soon. Google, Facebook and Amazon are just a few examples of the major employers that continue to attract talented workers to the area.

The presence of these economic giants also contributes to the startup culture that is so prevalent on the West Coast. Those looking to escape the traditional office environment should certainly consider these startups, which often offer unique perks like flexible hours, employee gyms or catered meals.

Employment growth isn’t limited to the tech sector, either — after all, other services are needed to keep these businesses up and running. Growth in tech has subsequently helped fuel growth in other sectors of the local economies. As a result, over half of the top-ranked states for job growth are located in the West, making it easier to find the right fit for your career path.

Increased demand for quality employees naturally results in higher wages, better benefits packages and other perks that will allow you to maintain a healthy work-life balance — something that is particularly relevant to West Coast residents.

Wide-Open Spaces

One of the biggest attractions of the West Coast is the sheer amount of outdoor activities you can enjoy. Even those who prefer city living will find themselves drawn to the impressive scenery of the West Coast, with many sights that are perfect for your next road trip.

Hikers and bikers have countless options along the West Coast, with sites such as Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park in Washington state providing some of the best natural scenery in the country. Other popular locations along the West Coast include Redwood National Park and Death Valley National Park, showcasing an incredible variety in scenery.

Though Utah proudly claims “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” most lists of the best ski resorts in the country include several prominent West Coast locations as well. The mountains are bigger out west, and that results in greater snowfall and more challenging runs.

Of course, you don’t have to be an adrenaline junky to enjoy the great outdoors. California’s ample coastline offers a diverse mix of beaches for swimming, surfing or shell collecting — and the West Coast is only a short flight away from the beautiful shores of Hawaii.

Such features make it easier to connect with others and stay physically fit: a combination that results in many western states dominating lists of places with the highest overall well-being.

Getting Ready For Your Move

If you feel the West Coast calling your name, it’s time to start prepping for a move. Start by using sites like Monster or CareerBuilder to search for opportunities in your industry. Be sure to update your resume before sending in your applications!

Extra Space Storage — based out of Salt Lake City and with prominent facilities in locations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland — can also serve as a valuable resource as you prepare to move to the West Coast.

Not only does this company offer affordable storage solutions to facilitate your move; their site also includes tips on prepping for a move and finding the best neighborhoods in different West Coast cities to guide your housing search.

Finally, you’ll need to find a quality realtor to help you find a new home or apartment.

While sites like Zillow are a great place to start your search and see what is available, your best chance for success comes by partnering with someone who truly knows the area where you are going to live. A quality local realtor will help you find affordable housing in a safe neighborhood that is well suited to your family.

Are you ready for a change of pace? Whether you’re hoping to start a new career or take advantage of the diverse lifestyle opportunities available throughout the West, there’s something for everyone in this exciting area. Pack up your belongings and get those job applications ready — a new future awaits.

Published by Tauseef shah