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7 Top Spots for California Travel Nursing Jobs

Considering California travel nursing jobs?

There is a reason why millions visit The Golden State each year; it has everything. Think ocean, beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys, old-growth forests, deserts, vibrant urban scenes, innovative food scenes, spectacular vistas, a plethora of outdoor sports, world-class museums, gardens and zoos, and diverse cultures.

Luckily, there also are plenty of travel nursing jobs in California from which to choose, and many institutions have critical nurse staffing needs.

FIND critical staffing and short-term California travel nursing jobs with AMN Healthcare.

“I do believe there is a need for a lot of nurses in California, particularly for experienced nurses,” says Denise Boren, director of the School of Nursing at Cal State San Marcos in San Diego County.

“The average age of nurses is up there. Many were going to retire (around 2008), but then the recession hit. Many stayed on and those who were part-time went to full-time,” she explained. “Now there are going to be lots of retirements, and predictions are that by 2020, there will be a shortage again.” 

So the opportunities for California nursing jobs are numerous, and one of the benefits of travel nursing is the freedom to choose assignments and locations. Other benefits include being able to live rent-free and have travel expenses reimbursed in this popular state that has a high cost of living. It’s like getting paid to travel here.

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Travel Nursing Jobs In California

Here are some of the top cities to visit in California, which also has plenty of travel nursing jobs.

Los Angeles Metro (includes Santa Monica, Fontana, Downey and Baldwin Park)

La La Land’s metro area of 13 million residents offers a plethora of travel nursing jobs and unlimited attractions and destinations, so make a plan. Take a bus tour to the most popular tourists areas, then discover the less-glitzy gems like the Bradbury Building; Griffith Observatory (which includes a fabulous view of the iconic Hollywood sign and the LA basin); and Evergreen Memorial Park and Crematory with its compelling collection of residents.

Top-rated beaches are Santa Monica Beach and Pier and the contiguous people-watching paradise of Venice Beach. (Bring a camera and an open mind.) A quintessential LA experience: picnic dinner (BYOB) and concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Down-time destinations: So many, but try Big Bear Lake and Las Vegas.

Palm Springs/Indio

Both cities are located along Highway 111, which links every resort city in the Coachella Valley. A travel assignment in one is a ticket to all, best appreciated in the winter and spring months. Miss the snow? Just look up at the magnificently frosted peaks of San Jacinto (10,834 feet) and San Gorgonio (11,502 feet); take a thrilling gondola ride to the top of the former.

Spring brings its own brand of magic to the desert with carpets of wildflowers and blooming cactuses. The local ecosystem is on display at the highly-rated Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, and everything Mid-Century Modern is touted during Palm Springs’ annual Modernism Week in February. Walking tours of Palm Springs’ lush Old Las Palmas neighborhood transports visitors to the bygone era of Frank Sinatra, Liberace and Elvis.

Down-time destinations: Joshua Tree National Park and San Diego.


Located on beautiful Humboldt Bay in Northern California, this town has 100-plus Victorian buildings and rich history. Other highlights: The Sequoia Park Zoo, Sequoia Park Forest and Garden, and the Humboldt Botanical Garden.

Down-time destinations: A gorgeously scenic drive north on historic Highway 101 (Redwood Highway) to the Oregon border, with plenty of interesting stops and viewpoints along the way.

San Francisco

Good public transportation (including cable cars) allows you to visit all the attractions for which the City by the Bay is famous: Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39 and more. And some of the highest-paying California travel nursing jobs can be found here and in the surrounding bay area.

Down-time destinations: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Napa Valley and Sonoma. 

Palo Alto/Santa Clara/San Jose  

These San Francisco Bay area cities are synonymous with Silicon Valley, ground zero of the tech revolution. But the area’s roots also go deep, including the Santa Clara Mission (founded 1777), and the Winchester Mystery House, with its secret passages and resident ghosts.

More modern destinations include San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation with its 3-D IMAX theater, and for hockey fans, the Shark Tank. Palo Alto’s 2,000-acre Baylands Preserve, a bastion for bird-watchers, includes 15 miles of multi-use trails.

Down-time destinations: San Francisco, Carmel and Monterey.


The boundaries: 10th and 11th streets between G and K streets.

That’s where it all happened in Modesto in 1973 when George Lucas filmed “American Graffiti” in this Central Valley town. In fact, this town’s real cruisers inspired the film. Maps tell visitors where all the scenes were shot, and Modesto celebrates its heritage every June with the American Graffiti Festival and Car Show.

Down-time destinations: San Francisco Bay Area and Yosemite National Park.


You’ve never heard of Templeton? One of the benefits of travel nursing is discovering unknown jewels like this town of 8,000 in Central California. Templeton, a destination for antique shoppers, also is emerging as a notable wine producer.

Down-time destinations: Morro Bay, Cambria, Hearst Castle and San Luis Obispo, voted America’s Happiest Town; it’s a community with vibrant arts, history and foodie scenes.

READY to discover these and other great locations in California and the U.S.?

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