Travel & Day Trips

10 Telltale Signs You’re a SoCal Native – How Many Can You Tick Off?

Southern California, affectionately known as SoCal, has its own unique culture, vibe, and traditions. If you’ve lived there long enough, there are certain habits, preferences, and experiences that become second nature.

Let’s delve into the top 10 signs that you might be a true SoCal native. Check them off as you go!

1. You Know “June Gloom” All Too Well

It’s not always sunny in LA!

June in SoCal isn’t always about sunshine and beach days. True natives understand the concept of “June Gloom,” a weather phenomenon where mornings start with overcast skies. But don’t fret; by afternoon, the sun typically breaks through.

2. Flip-Flops Are Your Go-To Footwear

Illustration showcasing a close-up of a person's feet adorned with vibrant-colored flip flops. The sand underneath has a warm hue and glistens slightly with the sunlight, creating tiny shadows around the flip flops.
Illustration of flip flops

Regardless of the season, flip-flops are a SoCal staple. Rain or shine, you’ll see natives sporting them at the beach, the mall, and sometimes even at semi-formal events.

3. You’re Unfazed by Celebrity Sightings

While tourists might flock to places like Hollywood hoping for a celebrity sighting, SoCal natives know that seeing a star in their local coffee shop or grocery store is just another day in the neighborhood.

4. You’ve Mastered the Art of Freeway Navigation

Small roadside sign for US Highway 101

With freeways like the 101, 405, and 5, driving in SoCal can be daunting for newcomers. But natives know the ins and outs, the best times to travel, and the shortcuts to avoid traffic.

5. You’re Always Prepared for Earthquakes

From minor tremors to more noticeable shakes, earthquakes are a reality in Southern California. As a native, you’ve participated in many earthquake drills and always have an emergency kit on hand.

6. You Prefer Local Taco Shops Over Chains

While fast-food taco chains might be popular elsewhere, nothing beats a local SoCal taco shop. Natives swear by their favorite spots and are always on the hunt for the best fish taco in town.

7. Beach Bonfires Are a Summer Tradition

Illustration of a beach bonfire

There’s nothing like gathering with friends and family for a beach bonfire. As a SoCal native, you’ve spent countless summer evenings roasting marshmallows and watching the sunset over the Pacific.

8. You Know That In-N-Out is More Than Just Fast Food

To outsiders, it might seem like just another burger joint, but SoCal natives know that In-N-Out is a regional treasure. You’ve got your favorite custom order and know the secret menu by heart.

9. Surfing Before Work or School is Normal

For many in SoCal, catching a few waves before heading to the office or classroom is just a regular part of the day. Even if you’re not a surfer, you appreciate the surf culture that’s deeply embedded in the region.

10. You’ve Experienced the Magic of the Super Bloom


While deserts might seem barren to some, SoCal natives know the wonder of the super bloom. When conditions are right, the desert landscapes transform into a vibrant display of wildflowers, drawing visitors from all over.

So, how did you fare? Whether you ticked off all 10 or just a few, there’s no denying that Southern California has a special place in the hearts of its natives.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button