Top 10 US States With the Best Weather All Year Round
Whether you're choosing your next vacation spot, looking for the best place to retire, or planning a move to a new state, you'll probably want to think about the weather.
To help you decide where to visit or live in the United States, here are the top ten states with the best year round weather in America.
US states were evaluated for temperature, rain and sun. The assessments and list are updated using the latest data for 30-year weather averages. These climate rankings don't take into account, though, the frequency of extreme events such as hurricanes.
To make the list, each state has places that meet these best weather criteria:
- Comfortable temperatures, with daily highs averaging between 63 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (17 to 30 degrees Celsius) for at least half of the year
- Dry weather, at most 60 inches (152 centimetres) of rain a year
- Mainly clear skies, with sunshine for at least 60 percent of daylight time on a yearly average
Guidance for developing the ratings comes from results of studies on what most people feel is the best weather. Of course, climate preferences are highly personal, so these criteria may not fit your idea of good weather. These especially are not the places for you if you like to ski every weekend in winter or thrive on 110 degree temperatures.
Each state on the list has examples of places with wonderful weather all year. The examples give you a starting point, but by no means cover all the places in the state that get great weather year round. Also bear in mind that not every spot in the states on the top 10 list has vacation-quality weather. Click on the state names to see their detailed weather data.
The temperatures mentioned here are monthly averages for daily maximums, given in degrees Fahrenheit. Inches of rain are the total average rainfalls for a year. The measures of sunshine are the percentage of time between sunrise and sunset that sunshine actually reaches the ground.
You can't beat the south and central California coast for pleasant temperatures year round. Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Maria all have average daily highs no less than the mid-60s for any month of the year. Nor does it get really hot. Temperatures in summer generally stay below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus there's little rain, typically fewer than 15 inches a year. Skies are mostly clear, with Los Angeles reporting sunshine during 73 percent of daylight. Weather that's slightly cooler and damper, although still exceptionally nice, extends north to San Francisco and beyond.
Consistent temperatures are one of the main attractions at Hawaii. Average high temperatures for Honolulu on the island of Oahu and Kahului on Maui stay steady in the 80s F nearly all year. That's accompanied by plenty of sun and dry weather on three out of four days. At both places it rains less than 20 inches and the sun shines for more than 270 days annually.
Warm winter temperatures extending from Key West to Jacksonville to Apalachicola make Florida's weather most inviting. Average daily highs during winter range from 77 degrees at Key West to 65 at Apalachicola. Summertime highs everywhere average in the low 90s. These places usually receive 45 to 55 inches of rain a year, with sun appearing for two-thirds of daylight hours. Key West, one of the driest and sunniest spots in the state, has an annual rainfall of 40 inches and 76 percent sun.
Temperatures in Galveston, Brownsville and Corpus Christi stay perfectly warm in winter, although summers heat up more than at south-coast California, with the Texan highs usually approaching the mid 90s. Slightly hotter summers accompany the mild winters at Austin and Del Rio. Sunshine for these places averages around 60 percent. Annual rainfall ranges from 21 inches at Del Rio to 47 inches at Galveston. Slightly cooler winters, along with drier and sunnier weather year round is found at Lubbock.
Tucson and Scotsdale in southern Arizona get hotter than other places on this list, with highs often reaching over 100 degrees during summer. But daily peak temperatures from October to April generally remain in the ideal range of 65 to 85 degrees. Smaller, lesser known, communities such as Wickenburg also share in the exceptionally warm winter climate. Going a little higher in elevation, at Payson for instance, gains slightly cooler weather in both winter and summer. The entire region excels at dry, sunny weather. As an example, Tucson sees only 11 inches of rain a year and basks in sunshine during 85 percent of daytime.
Daily high temperatures for Lake Charles average well above 60 degrees throughout winter and approach the mid 90s during summer. Precipitation here is higher than other areas on this list with typically 60 inches a year. But then the sky is mainly clear when it isn't raining, leaving it sunnier than many other places at 72 percent. Shreveport has slightly cooler winters and hotter summers with ideal temperatures in between those.
Depending on your preference for hot weather, Georgia could rank above Florida on the list of top 10 states for best weather. Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah remain a little cooler than Florida from October to April, but at least match Florida's temperatures during July and August. The warmest Georgia winters are in the south where cities like Savannah have highs averaging at least 60 degrees. Elsewhere, Athens and Atlanta cool off to highs in the mid 50s. They all average over 60 percent sunshine and 45 to 50 inches of annual rainfall.
8. South Carolina
Charleston, Columbia and Greenville are all candidates for good weather during much of the year. Spring and fall months enjoy ideal temperatures. The other seasons are not far from that. Winter days often warm up to a balmy 60 degrees, while summer days peak in the low 90s. Annual rainfall totals around 50 inches and the sun shines a respectable 60 percent or more during daytime.
Memphis basks in excellent temperatures during spring and fall. Plus the weather doesn't get extremely hot or cold during the rest of the year. Summer-time highs nudge into the low 90s while winter days usually manage to warm up into the 50s. Annual rainfall normally comes in at 55 inches, with sunshine at 64 percent.
10. North Carolina
Although slightly cooler than its neighboring states to the south, South Carolina still basks in plenty of pleasant weather. Asheville enjoys idyllic temperatures from April through to October. In winter the days often warm up to 50 Fahrenheit. Over at Greensboro and Charlotte both winters and summers are a few degrees warmer. Sun typically appears during 60 percent of daylight hours and yearly rainfall hovers just above 40 inches. In Wilmington winters get somewhat warmer, and rain falls a little heavier.
Runner-Up States For Best Weather
Several more US states have enough great weather that they can't be ignored. Idyllic temperatures in these states just don't last as long as in those on the top ten list.
Within the six states listed below, pleasant temperatures are dependable throughout much of spring and fall. But summers are a little hotter plus winters are a little cooler than what's found in the top ten states. All these locations do meet the criteria for moderate rainfall and plentiful sun. Among the driest and sunniest places in the runners-up list are Albuquerque, Roswell, North Platte and Oklahoma City.
- Arkansas Fort Smith, Little Rock
- Mississippi Jackson, Tupelo
- Nebraska North Platte
- New Mexico Albuquerque, Roswell
- Oklahoma Oklahoma City, Tulsa
- Virginia Norfolk, Richmond
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Climate Normals.