Here Are the Best (and Worst) Cities for Endless Sunshine

Sunniest Cities Graph

Do you need to get your fix of vitamin D? Has it been too long since you’ve seen the sun? Have you ever come home from a cold day, thrown on a bikini, and sat on a beach chair in front of an array of SAD lamps trying to recreate the warmth and joy you once knew in the summer months?

While we’ve totally never done that here at Move.org, we understand why you’d want to. Whether it’s winter where you live or you just can’t get enough sun, you might want to think about moving to a sunnier city.

Where can you go, even temporarily, to keep up on your tanning routine? We compiled a list of sunniest cities in the US.

Sunniest cities in America

RankCityStateAnnual Sunshine (avg % of possible)
1PhoenixAZ85.80%
2TucsonAZ85.70%
3Las VegasNV84.80%
4El PasoTX83.70%
5RenoNV81.50%
6PuebloCO78.40%
7SacramentoCA77.20%
8Key WestFL77.10%
9FlagstaffAZ76.80%
10FresnoCA76.50%
11AlbuquerqueNM76.30%
12Midland-OdessaTX74.30%
13RoswellNM73.80%
14ElyNV73.30%
15MiamiFL72.90%
16LubbockTX72.80%
17Los AngelesCA72.40%
18AmarilloTX72.10%
19AbileneTX69.90%
20DenverCO69.80%
21Dodge CityKS69.30%
22Grand JunctionCO69.20%
23San DiegoCA69.00%
23TampaFL69.00%
25KahuluiHI68.60%
Rank
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City State Annual Sunshine (avg % of possible)
Phoenix AZ 85.80%
Tucson AZ 85.70%
Las Vegas NV 84.80%
El Paso TX 83.70%
Reno NV 81.50%
Pueblo CO 78.40%
Sacramento CA 77.20%
Key West FL 77.10%
Flagstaff AZ 76.80%
Fresno CA 76.50%
Albuquerque NM 76.30%
Midland-Odessa TX 74.30%
Roswell NM 73.80%
Ely NV 73.30%
Miami FL 72.90%
Lubbock TX 72.80%
Los Angeles CA 72.40%
Amarillo TX 72.10%
Abilene TX 69.90%
Denver CO 69.80%
Dodge City KS 69.30%
Grand Junction CO 69.20%
San Diego CA 69.00%
Tampa FL 69.00%
Kahului HI 68.60%

Some cities tie for the same rank based on percentage.

Are you lucky enough to live in one of these sunny spots? If not, where do you live, and do you get enough sun? Let us know in the comments.

The sunniest state of all: Arizona

There’s a reason why so many people migrate to Arizona and don’t fly back for the winter. Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff are all in the top 25 sunniest cities in the US, and Phoenix ranks #1 with an annual sunshine rate of 85.8%.

While you’re visiting Arizona, you can check out the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley for some awesome desert vibes, or you can take a dip and hike around Havasu Falls. And you’ll be picking up some major vitamin D along the way—don’t forget your sunscreen!

The West Coast is the best coast for sun

On average, the West Coast region of the US is sunnier than both the Midwest and the East Coast. A total of 21 of the top 25 sunniest cities are on the Pacific side of things, and that rises to 22 if you count Kahului, Hawaii, which is like the West Coast’s cool cousin that lives just outside of the neighborhood.

That leaves only three cities outside of the West Coast in the top 25. Two Florida cities picked up top spots: Miami ranked #15 and Tampa ranked #23. The Sunshine State showed up, even if it didn’t quite get as many cities on the list as Arizona.

Some people try to get out of Dodge for a little bit, but if you want some good ol’ sunshine, you might as well get back to Dodge (City, Kansas, that is) which ranked #21 on our list.

Which are the worst cities for endless sunshine?

Can’t stand the cold, cloudy confusion that days of endless gray bring? You’ll want to avoid staying in these places, which are the least sunny cities in the US.

Least sunny cities in the US

RankCityStateAnnual sunshine (avg % of possible)
149QuillayuteWA32.20%
148Mt. WashingtonNH32.40%
147JuneauAK33.20%
146HiloHI41.20%
145NomeAK42.30%
144PittsburghPA42.50%
143AnchorageAK43.20%
142SyracuseNY44.60%
141SeattleWA45.70%
140ColumbusOH45.90%
Rank
149
148
147
146
145
144
143
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140
City State Annual sunshine (avg % of possible)
Quillayute WA 32.20%
Mt. Washington NH 32.40%
Juneau AK 33.20%
Hilo HI 41.20%
Nome AK 42.30%
Pittsburgh PA 42.50%
Anchorage AK 43.20%
Syracuse NY 44.60%
Seattle WA 45.70%
Columbus OH 45.90%

Some cities tie for the same rank based on percentage.

We’re not surprised to see some notoriously rain-ridden cities included on the least sunny list. Places like Seattle, Washington, and Anchorage, Alaska are absolutely gorgeous, but even for those that love the rain, the overcast days can leave you in a daze if you go too long without seeing the sun.

Hawaii isn’t sunny?

A city that may surprise you is the Hawaiian town of Hilo.

The area receives massive amounts of rainfall, which mostly falls between midnight and sunrise. The clouds evaporate during the day, but that doesn’t happen immediately, and you’ll still get stretches of long rainfalls that put it on the less sunny side of the spectrum as a whole.2

You can definitely catch the sun out there, but if your timing falls within a rainy spell, just hit the west side of the island, Kona, for some rays.

Look at the bright side

If you do find yourself in a gloomy part of the nation, or if you’d just like to sneak in a quick tan, you can always take a trip to one of the sunniest cities in America.

Or, perhaps it’s finally time you pack up and move to a state where the sun shines more often than not. We’re looking at you, Arizona.

Sunniest cities in America

RankCityStateAnnual Sunshine (avg % of possible)
1PhoenixAZ85.80%
2TucsonAZ85.70%
3Las VegasNV84.80%
4El PasoTX83.70%
5RenoNV81.50%
6PuebloCO78.40%
7SacramentoCA77.20%
8Key WestFL77.10%
9FlagstaffAZ76.80%
10FresnoCA76.50%
11AlbuquerqueNM76.30%
12Midland-OdessaTX74.30%
13RoswellNM73.80%
14ElyNV73.30%
15MiamiFL72.90%
16LubbockTX72.80%
17Los AngelesCA72.40%
18AmarilloTX72.10%
19AbileneTX69.90%
20DenverCO69.80%
21Dodge CityKS69.30%
22Grand JunctionCO69.20%
23San DiegoCA69.00%
23TampaFL69.00%
25KahuluiHI68.60%
26Little RockAR68.30%
27ConcordiaKS68.20%
28San FranciscoCA67.40%
28Lake CharlesLA67.40%
30North PlatteNE67.30%
31HavreMT67.00%
31LanderWY67.00%
33Salt Lake CityUT66.90%
34Oklahoma CityOK66.60%
35WinnemuccaNV65.80%
36HonoluluHI65.60%
37ValentineNE64.90%
37PaducahKY64.90%
39WichitaKS64.80%
40CharlotteNC64.50%
40San JuanPR64.50%
42CheyenneWY64.30%
42JacksonvilleFL64.30%
44ColumbiaSC64.10%
45MaconGA63.70%
46MemphisTN63.40%
47HuronSD63.30%
48BoiseID63.00%
49PocatelloID62.40%
50WilmingtonNC62.30%
Rank
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City State Annual Sunshine (avg % of possible)
Phoenix AZ 85.80%
Tucson AZ 85.70%
Las Vegas NV 84.80%
El Paso TX 83.70%
Reno NV 81.50%
Pueblo CO 78.40%
Sacramento CA 77.20%
Key West FL 77.10%
Flagstaff AZ 76.80%
Fresno CA 76.50%
Albuquerque NM 76.30%
Midland-Odessa TX 74.30%
Roswell NM 73.80%
Ely NV 73.30%
Miami FL 72.90%
Lubbock TX 72.80%
Los Angeles CA 72.40%
Amarillo TX 72.10%
Abilene TX 69.90%
Denver CO 69.80%
Dodge City KS 69.30%
Grand Junction CO 69.20%
San Diego CA 69.00%
Tampa FL 69.00%
Kahului HI 68.60%
Little Rock AR 68.30%
Concordia KS 68.20%
San Francisco CA 67.40%
Lake Charles LA 67.40%
North Platte NE 67.30%
Havre MT 67.00%
Lander WY 67.00%
Salt Lake City UT 66.90%
Oklahoma City OK 66.60%
Winnemucca NV 65.80%
Honolulu HI 65.60%
Valentine NE 64.90%
Paducah KY 64.90%
Wichita KS 64.80%
Charlotte NC 64.50%
San Juan PR 64.50%
Cheyenne WY 64.30%
Jacksonville FL 64.30%
Columbia SC 64.10%
Macon GA 63.70%
Memphis TN 63.40%
Huron SD 63.30%
Boise ID 63.00%
Pocatello ID 62.40%
Wilmington NC 62.30%

Some cities tie for the same rank based on percentage.

Methodology

To find the sunniest cities, we sourced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2015 Comparative Climatic Data report. Each city was ranked based on the annual average percent of possible sunshine.

NOAA defines the sunniest cities by the total time that sunshine reaches the observing station, which is expressed as the percentage of the maximum amount possible from sunrise to sunset in clear sky conditions.

Sources

  1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Comparative Climatic Data for the United States through 2015
  2. Lovebigisland.com, “Average Weather for Hilo (by Month)

About Trevor Wheelwright

Trevor Wheelwright
Trevor has experience writing about and reviewing a multitude of subjects and products. Influenced by art and philosophy, he views everything as part of a story and an expression of our transcendent experience.