Can’t stand the gloom of the Pacific Northwest? Winters in the Northeast? Move to Arizona, California, Nevada or Texas. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the following U.S. cities get sunshine more than 84% of the time (or more than 300 days a year, if you do the math based on those percentages) — far more than most places in the U.S.
Before we get started with the list, let’s give out the four honorable mentions to round out a top 10 – Fresno, California, and Reno, Nevada, with 79% annual sunshine, and Flagstaff, Arizona, and Sacramento, California, with 76%. Now, grab your sunscreen and take a look at the six U.S. cities that get the sunniest days:
El Paso, Texas (84% Sunshine)
It’d be pretty cool to live on Sunshine Court in El Paso. It’s a short, aptly-named street in the eastern part of the city. Bordering Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, the El Paso area is home to Franklin Mountains State Park, Chamizal National Memorial, Hueco Tanks State Park and plenty of other scenic and historic places that are best observed on sunny days, of which there are plenty.
Tucson, Arizona (85% Sunshine)
With Saguaro National Park just outside of city limits to the east and west, Tucson is another great spot to soak up the sun in nature. It was also a great place to film Westerns, including Tombstone, the hit starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp.
Phoenix, Arizona (85% Sunshine)
Another Arizona city with lots to do, Phoenix is the state’s capital and the home of the aptly-named NBA team the Phoenix Suns. A giraffe at the Phoenix Zoo is even named Sunshine. Tourists can take advantage of all that sunshine by enjoying a sunrise hot air balloon ride from Rainbow Ryders; stop by the Desert Botanical Garden or hike Camelback Mountain.
Las Vegas, Nevada (85% Sunshine)
Viva Las Sunshine. If you head to Vegas, you’re not taking too much of a gamble on the weather. Odds are, it’s plenty of sun (and plenty of overwhelming heat in the summertime). So be sure to get out of the casinos every now and then to enjoy it. The region offers Red Rock National Conservation Area, Sloan Canyon NCA and so many more opportunities to get off of the Strip. Still, it’s hard to beat a rooftop pool in those 100-degree temps.
Redding, California (88% Sunshine)
I was surprised this NorCal city edged out Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson on the list, but alas, it did — clocking a whopping 321 or so days of sunshine each year. The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, opened on July 4, 2004, is already a Redding icon, and acts as a massive sundial — perfect for this sunny city.
Yuma, Arizona (90% Sunshine)
With nearly 330 days of sunshine a year (4,300 sunny hours), Yuma, Arizona, actually holds the world record for most recorded annual sunshine, according to Current Results. I lived there and worked as a newspaper reporter at the Yuma Sun and can tell you that rain was an actual news story there. Not just downpours, but any rain.
All that sun comes at a price in the summertime though, because guess what? Yuma is also the hottest city in the nation. But you sure can’t beat that sunshine in the winter!