Last Updated on: 3rd July 2024, 12:35 pm

Are you thinking about moving to a quiet, small town in Northern California? You should consider moving to Planada. Planada is a census-designated place halfway between Fresno and Modesto that offers affordable living and natural beauty.

Planada is known for its rich farmland and mild climate. Originally named Whitton, the town was renamed Planada (Spanish for plain) in 1911 after residents selected the name in an official contest. Following the vote, the Planada Development Corp was created, and the town was officially incorporated.

Today, Planada is a good place to live for those in search of a small-town atmosphere and a strong sense of community. So, to help you decide if this is the right community for you, here is everything you need to know about living in Planada, CA.

Where Is Planada, California?

Planada is in Merced County in the Central Valley Region of California. It’s located east of Merced, about halfway between Fresno and Modesto. California State Route 140 passes through Planada, which leads west to Merced and northeast to Mariposa in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite National Park is also just a short drive east. Other small towns near Planada include Catheys Valley, Hornitos, Merced Falls, Tuttle, Plainsburg, Legrand, and Chowchilla.

Planada, California, is about 10 miles from Merced, 48 miles from Modesto, and 52 miles from Fresno.


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Planada Population & Demographics

The Planada, CA population is 4,164 residents, as of the 2020 census. The population has actually declined slightly over the past few decades and the number of residents living in Planada, CA decreased by 9.6% since 2010. The town of Planada has a fairly rural, suburban atmosphere with a population density of about 2,005 residents per square mile.

Planada is mainly a Hispanic community with a fairly young population. The racial and ethnic breakdown is 96% Hispanic or Latino, 3% White (non-hispanic) and 1% Native American. The median age is 35 and 58% of residents are under 40 years old.

Other Planada demographics

  • 54% of residents living in Planada are female, and only 46% are male
  • The median household income is $44,792, which is about 75% lower than the statewide median
  • 46.7% of residents have a high school diploma, while 4.9% have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • The foreign-born population is 44.7%

Planada experiences more crime than the rest of the US, but it’s not much higher than the California crime rate. The total crime rate in Planada is 2,954 crimes per 100,000 residents, which is 4.1% higher than the rest of California and 27% higher than the national average.

The violent crime rate is 3.7% higher than the rest of the state and 40% higher than the rest of the country. Meanwhile, the property crime rate is 3.8% higher than the rest of the state and 25% higher than the national average.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office handles crime in Planada with the assistance of 132 law enforcement employees, including 94 officers and 38 civilians.

Cost of Living in Planada

Living in Planada, CA is very affordable by California standards. The cost of living index is a good way to understand an area’s affordability. It ranks the cost of common household goods to the national averages, represented by 100.

The COLI for the Fresno area is 103.3, indicating it’s about 3.3% more expensive than the rest of the county. However, the COLI for Modesto is about 118, which is about 18% more expensive than the national average. So, the cost of living in Planada is somewhere in that range.

The Family Budget Calculator created by the Economic Policy Institute reveals that the average family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) needs to make about $105,921 per year to afford expenses like food, housing, property taxes, and the general cost of living in Merced County.

Typical Planada living expenses

  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $20
  • 12 ounces bottle of water: $2.00
  • 1 gallon of whole milk: $4.53
  • 1 loaf of fresh bread: $2.50
  • 1 dozen eggs: $5.58
  • Average Planada monthly utility bill: $275.29

Source: Numbeo

*numbers reflect the general Merced area but will be similar for Planada

The Planada, CA real estate market is very affordable for California. The median listing price of houses for sale in Planada, CA, is $198,000. That makes it 120% lower than the statewide median. The average price per square foot of homes for sale in Planada, CA, is $123.

Renters can find plenty of options as well. About 54% of homes are owner-occupied, while 46% are houses for rent in Planada, CA (or casas de venta en Planada Ca in Spanish).  Rentcafe says the average rent in Planada is $2,252 per month. Rents start around $1,175 for a one bedroom.

Planada Neighborhoods | Where to Life in Planada

Planada is a small city and doesn’t have many distinct neighborhoods. However, moving to Planada offers affordable homes and friendly neighbors no matter where you look. The most desirable homes on the Planada, California map are in the southwest, while the most affordable are in the northeast.

Planada CA Weather & Climate

The weather in Planada, CA, is generally mild throughout the year. It has a Mediterranean climate, which indicates hot, arid summers and cold, wet winters. Temperatures usually vary from about 39°F to 96°F, although it can get as cold as 30°F in the winter and up to 103°F in the summer. Typically, the prime time to visit a friend living in Planada, CA is June through September.

Moving to Planada means you won’t have to worry about snow. But you may want to pack an umbrella because it averages about 13 inches of rain per year.

Things to Do in Planada

Planada is a small residential town with few commercial centers or notable attractions in the community. However, there are plenty of exciting entertainment options in the surrounding areas.

There are a few shops and grocery stores in town where residents can shop for groceries and conveniences, such as Broadway Market and El Campo Market. The Bear Creek Village Shopping Center and Merced Mall are also close by for additional retailers. Here are a few additional attractions nearby.

Lake Yosemite County Park

The Lake Yosemite County Park is a beautiful community park in Merced that features an artificial reservoir for fishing, swimming and kayaking.

5714 Lake Rd, Merced, CA 95340

Merced’s Applegate Park Zoo

Located in Merced’s Applegate Park, this small community zoo features over 75 native California mammals, birds, and reptiles, making it one of the best things to do in Planada with kids.

1045 W 25th St, Merced, CA 95340 (209) 388-7000

Forestiere Underground Gardens

Just a short drive away in Fresno is the Forestiere Underground Gardens, a series of tunnels and underground structures built by an Italian immigrant named Baldassare Forestiere.

5021 W Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93722 (559) 271-0734

Additional Attractions Near Planada

The Merced Parks and Recreation Department also has plenty of resources available if you’re looking for more activities, and the Planada Community Center hosts recurring events.

Planada Restaurants

While not particularly known for its culinary scene, Planada has plenty of authentic Mexican restaurants. Here are a few of the best Planada, California, restaurants.

Carnitas Barajas

Carnitas Barajas is a popular local Mexican restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. It serves tacos, quesadillas, hamburgers, and other classic entrees.

9184 CA-140, Planada, CA 95365 (209) 382-0819

Planada Cafe and Variety

Planada Cafe and Variety is a deli and variety store selling pizza, sandwiches, salads, cheese curds and milkshakes, making it one of the best take-out options in Planada.

294 De La Guerra St, Planada, CA 95365 (209) 439-2020

Ramons Tacos

Ramos Tacos is a delicious food truck parked at the intersection of Central Yosemite Highway and Plainsburg Road selling made-to-order tacos and fresh watermelon.

8973 CA-140, Planada, CA 95365 (209) 996-9736

Jobs in Planada

If you’re thinking of moving to Planada, you may want to know about the local job market. The primary industries in the area are agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. The location is known for its agricultural production, and 28% of residents are employed in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations, while 10% are in sales jobs and 10% are in office and administrative support.

A few major employers in Merced County include:

Payscale shows the average hourly worker in the Merced area makes about $19.52 per hour. Employment seekers can find plenty of great jobs in Planada, CA, ranging from warehouse worker to registered dietician.

Planada Schools

Moving to Planada also offers access to top schools. The Planada Elementary School District serves students in grades K-8. It consists of two schools, Planada Elementary School and Caesar E. Chavez Middle School, which are both located in town. Older students can attend the well-respected Le Grand High School in the nearby town of Le Grand. It’s the top high school in the Merced area and also ranks #345 in the state of California with a 100% graduation rate and 60% AP participation rate.

The University of California Merced is very close to those seeking opportunities for higher education. Residents can also stop by the Le Grand branch of the Merced County Public Library system for books and community events.

Planada Statistics & Information

  • Planada County: Merced County
  • Planada area: 1.742 sq mi
  • Planada zip code: 95365
  • Planada area code: 209
  • Planada elevation: 226 ft
  • Planada time zone: Pacific Time Zone (UTC -7 and -8)
  • Closest airport to Planada: The Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) is 56 miles away.

Planada, CA Map

Discover more attractions, restaurants, and fun things to do in the Planada CA zip code with this map.

Thinking about moving to this scenic small town? Trust our expert Planada movers  to make your upcoming move simple and stress-free. Call (831) 786-5537 for a free, customized moving quote.