Chase the sunshine this winter and go where the weather is guaranteed to offer more sun than clouds and a whole lot of fun in that sun. As for U.S. travel, there are several sunny (and snowless) destinations, but a few top the list when it comes to sunniest of the sunnies.
For starters, Yuma, Arizona, is the sunniest place on Earth (yes, you read that right), whatever the season be, averaging a whopping 242 days of sun per year. Come winter, the percentage of sunny days in Yuma is 84%. Another fun fact about Yuma is the area gets very little rainfall. In fact, precipitation of any kind in Yuma comes in at just 15 days year-round with little to no measurable snow to speak of. Temperature wise, winter days average 80 degrees! Aside from simply enjoying the fabulous weather (possibly the best on Earth), Yuma has a lot to do.
If your 2022 bucket list includes taking one-of-a-kind selfies, then you’ll want to head to Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, which was listed on Bravo TV’s list of “22 Essential Places to Take a Selfie Before you Die.” Thanks to the massive dunes, some soaring as high as 300 feet, this is the place for some sand time. Specifically, this is great for off-roading treks, and ATVs and other off-roading vehicles can be rented from area outfitters. Another interesting activity is the farm tours offered in and around Yuma. With agriculture as the number one business in Yuma, it’s no wonder they want visitors to see how the growing thing works. Field to Feast tours are half-day guided tours of various farms capped off with lunch featuring local produce. For all the details on sunny Yuma, check out visityuma.com.
Las Vegas, Nevada, tracks 79% of sunny days come winter. And temperature-wise, the winter weather in Las Vegas is very different from the hot summers. January daytime temps average in the high 50s while February’s daytime temps run near the high 60s. And Las Vegas is never short on things to do – from indoor entertainment, including magic shows, live music and more, to outdoor activities that include hiking, biking, and trips to nearby attractions like Hoover Dam and Lake Mead Recreation Area. Las Vegas is big for retirees and that includes the old neon signs that once beckoned visitors to The Strip. Visit the Neon Museum to see what iconic signs have been retired to the Neon Boneyard. There are also horseback riding opportunities of all kinds from sunrise and sunset rides to rides featuring good old BBQ and ultra-scenic rides through the gorgeous Red Rock Canyon.
Well, Florida is called the Sunshine State after all so what else would you expect but daily visits from old Mr. Sol when winter days are spent in Florida? A 2020 report from a local television station listed the six sunniest cities in the state and they included Fort Myers, Key West, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Which, by the way, are also home to some great RV and camping resorts worth visiting any time of the year!
Fort Myers tops that list with an annual 74% of sunny days, followed by Key West with 71%. Not far behind is Miami at 68%, with Tampa and Orlando rounding out the list with an annual average of 67% and 65%, respectively. From beaches to botanic gardens, and bike paths to hiking trails, plus a few crazy theme parks, there is a lot to see and do in Florida. Maybe a road trip with a few days here and there, sampling all the Sunshine State has to offer is in store this year.
Starting up north on the Gulf side, Tampa has Busch Gardens, the Riverwalk, the Tampa Zoo at Lowry Park, and plenty of beach options. Further south is Fort Myers with Fort Myers Beach and options for island excursions to experience the award-winning beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. Then there are the must-see winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, two guys who really knew how to winter. The Florida Keys, and more importantly Key West, are a southern Florida destination, via the exciting Overseas Highway. Key West highlights include The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, lively Duvall Street, plenty of beaches, and more of that Florida sunshine. On the Atlantic side, there’s the fabled city of Miami; home to Miami Beach, colorful Art Deco architecture, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and a one-of-a-kind entertainment scene. Finishing our sunniest of sunnies list, and located slightly inland, but still within driving distance of plenty of beaches is Orlando – where the theme parks are as abundant as Florida oranges. Disney, Universal, Legoland, SeaWorld, the list goes on for themed attractions here. But there’s also Bok Tower Gardens, the NBA Experience at Disney Springs® and outdoor fun like kayaking, biking, and birding.