I live in Palo Alto where I also work. I've lived in the Bay Area most of my life; you get spoiled by the year round temperate climate, proximity to mountains (e.g. Tahoe), ocean (Monterey, Santa Cruz, et cetera) , mountains/forest (Big Sur). Having said all that, I'm over it looking for a new place for my wife and son to make our next move in the near future (thinking PNW). The cost of living here is bonkers. We live in a modest 1,000 sf, 3 bd/1 bath home on a little 5,000 sf lot with property taxes more $13k a year. If you're into the outdoors I would highly recommend the San Luis Obispo area along the central coast of California (San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Avila Beach, etc.). That said, if you're a minority you may want to think twice; only time in my life I experienced overt racism (on multiple occasions).