Sun worshipers in the Pacific time zone, rejoice! Florida may be the Sunshine State, but when it comes to sunny days, the West is by far the best. In fact, the Weather Channel says the five sunniest cities in the United States are scattered across Arizona, California, Nevada, and western Texas. Each of the top five sees the sun more than three-quarters of the year.
Whether you’re planning a summer road trip or want to live where the sun shines the brightest, these are the places you need to check out.
5.) Reno, Nevada
Reno rounds out the Weather Channel’s top five with 79 percent of its days considered sunny. With almost 252 sunny days per year, you will have plenty of vitamin D.
You can plan many activities to get the most out of the sun and have fun in Reno. Visit the Animal Ark, a wildlife sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates North American Predators and hosts several exotic species. Plan your visit in September, to see the National Championship Air Races a few miles north of the city. And, of course, take a day trip to Lake Tahoe, the two-million-year-old freshwater lake that has been a tourist magnet for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Even if the “biggest little city in the world” is one of sunniest cities in the US, it is in the shadow of its more famous Nevada neighbor, Las Vegas. Not only does Vegas have the world-famous Strip, it even outstrips Reno when it comes to sunshine.
4.) El Paso, Texas
Texas is a big state, so El Paso fits the far West theme of the Weather Channel’s sunny cities. It sits at the most western portion of the state where Mexico and New Mexico meet up with Texas and not far from Arizona and Nevada.
The city’s name means “the passage,” and it may as well refer to the passage of the sun overhead. The city has an average of 302 days of sun every year. It is one of the sunniest cities in the US, to the point that people call it the Sun City.
Its weather will allow you to have a wonderful trip to the Franklin Mountains State Park, the Hueco Tanks State Park, or the El Paso Zoo. If you want to discover the history of the city, head to the National Border Patrol Museum, the El Paso Museum of Archeology, and the El Paso Mission Trail. Don’t take off your shades yet, though. Many of these museums’ exhibitions are taking place outside.
El Paso is a safe bet for all those who love the outdoors and are curious about history. Its people are bright, warm, and welcoming. It’s probably the result of living in one of the healthiest places in the USA!
3.) Las Vegas, Nevada
Start the jokes about gambling on sunshine. Eighty-five percent of days in Las Vegas are sunny, according to the Weather Channel. If a card shark is hoping the sun is shining on his endeavors, it’s a safe bet on any given day. And, of course, the odds are that what seems like rain is the tears from unlucky slot machine players.
A casino isn’t the best place to get a tan, but don’t fret. To experience the beauty of this city while enjoying the sun, hike in the Valley of Fire, kayak the Colorado River, or cycle around Red Rock Canyon. The more adventurous souls can try racing a dune buggy in the desert, zip-lining in Bootleg Canyon, or riding a helicopter to the Grand Canyon. If you want to chill, head to your hotel’s pool and lay down to soak up all the sun.
Las Vegas has it all, but it all comes with a price, as it is one of the most expensive American cities.
2.) Redding, California
The north-central California city of Redding is, appropriately enough, the home of the Sundial Bridge, an architectural wonder. Anyone worried about the landmark’s accuracy can rest easy, though. Redding sees the sun 88 percent of the year.
You will get your fix of outdoor activities if you’re in the area. The Lassen Volcanic National Park is gorging with wonderful mountain scenery that reminds us of the Yosemite National Park. The McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park will fascinate you with its majestic falls. Shasta Lake is the largest human-created reservoir and is a sight to behold.
For those traveling with their families, the Whiskeytown National Recreation area is the place to go. It is home to a wonderful collection of plant and animal life that you can enjoy all year round.
1.) Yuma, Arizona
If you are afraid of vampires or can’t stand the Twilight saga, try Arizona. It has four of the ten sunniest cities in the US, according to the Weather Channel. Yuma tops the list, seeing the sun a bright and shiny nine out of 10 days.
Meanwhile, Tucson (one of the best cities in the US), Phoenix, and Flagstaff also make the top 10. If there’s a true Sunshine State in the nation, it’s the one officially called the Grand Canyon State.
The star of the show here is Yuma. This city is packed with history and surrounded by nature. Some of the best things to do in the city include going to one of the events and fairs happening downtown, where destructive floods destroyed the buildings in the past. You can also dig your toes in the sand in Gateway Park while observing the historic Ocean to Ocean Bridge. Next, take some time to smell the roses in the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens. Nature lovers will also enjoy a quiet afternoon at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.
Now that you know which cities are basking in the sun, grab your road trip essentials and head to your dream summer destination!