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Sunniest cities in America

  • Sunniest cities in America
    1/ JaxStrong//Flickr

    Sunniest cities in America

    Five U.S. cities—three of which were in Arizona—in 2014 made the world’s sunniest cities list: El Paso, Tucson, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Yuma. Phoenix and Yuma took the top two spots, making them the sunniest cities in the entire world for that year according to data compiled by the World Meteorological Organization. All five cities still top the list, ranging from 84 percent to 90 percent sunshine throughout the year. But the ever-present sun, which can be oppressive combined with high heat and/or humidity, doesn’t stop locals from going outside. In fact, it often encourages them to hit a local lake or river, hop on a bike trail, or explore the surrounding desert.

    For decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been tracking how much possible sunshine cities across the United States will get throughout the year. Stacker wanted to know where each major city landed on the scale. By compiling NOAA data, we explored the sunshine prospects of 174 U.S. cities and territories, ranking them by the annual average percentage of possible sunshine—or the total time sunshine hits Earth, expressed as the percentage of the potential maximum amount of sunshine from sunrise to sunset. Each city’s data was based on the number of years NOAA has been tracking sunshine levels—as few as seven and as many as 112 years. The data was last updated in 2004, offering a wide case study by which to gauge which American cities are the sunniest.

    Here are the top cities, plus some suggestions on how to take advantage of the rays, beat the heat, and make the most of your time in the sunniest places in the country. Is your hometown listed? Check below to find out where it ranks.

  • #47. Boise, ID (tie)
    2/ Bureau of Reclamation//Flickr

    #47. Boise, ID (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 64%
    Years of data collected: 60

    Boise is known for its small-town feel and mild weather—except for the last two weeks of summer when it can be brutally hot. In the summer, Idaho's capital is perfect for hitting biking and hiking trails, plus mountain climbing, and kayaking in nearby rivers.

  • #47. Pocatello, ID (tie)
    3/ John Baker//WikiCommons

    #47. Pocatello, ID (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 64%
    Years of data collected: 53

    If you ever played "The Oregon Trail," you definitely passed through Pocatello. The city is considered the Gateway to the Northwest. The summers are dry and hot, so hit the nearby Snake River for some aquatic recreation and heat relief when the sun is out.

  • #47. Shreveport, LA (tie)
    4/ Michael Barera//WikiCommons

    #47. Shreveport, LA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 64%
    Years of data collected: 50

    Shreveport is a gambler's paradise, thanks to an ample supply of flashy riverboat casinos. And they're a good place to be during summer days which are sunny, hot, and muggy, with temperatures that often reach into the 90s.

  • #47. Columbia, SC (tie)
    5/ Mark Hesseltine//Flickr

    #47. Columbia, SC (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 64%
    Years of data collected: 46

    Columbia is known as Soda City, thanks to an old shorthand term for the city: Cola. The summers are humid and the sun can be oppressive. When the season is at its peak, hit the water at Lake Murray Beach, the Saluda River, or the Cayce Riverwalk.

  • #47. Memphis, TN (tie)
    6/ Noel Pennington//Flickr

    #47. Memphis, TN (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 64%
    Years of data collected: 35

    Elvis fans know Memphis as the home of Graceland, the late musician's estate. Humid summer days with the occasional extreme heat make sunny days perfect for local unusually flavored sno-cones, stand-up paddle boarding, or biking throughout the city.

  • #47. Tupelo, MS (tie)
    7/ Ron Cogswell//Flickr

    #47. Tupelo, MS (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 64%
    Years of data collected: 13

    If you've already been to Graceland, check out Tupelo for Elvis' birthplace museum. As with most cities in the Southeast, the summers are long, hot, and muggy. When the sun is out, hit the Tupelo Aquatic Center or let the dogs tire themselves out at Tupelo Bark Park.

  • #45. Wichita, KS (tie)
    8/ Jack Edwards//WikiCommons

    #45. Wichita, KS (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 65%
    Years of data collected: 49

    If you love Pizza Hut and White Castle, then you know Wichita is the place to be—it's the hometown for both chains. Summers in the Kansas town are generally clear and sunny, but also hot and a bit humid. Many people spend those sunny days taking part in watersports on Sand Creek or enjoying an outdoor festival.

  • #45. Valentine, NE (tie)
    9/ National Park Service//WikiCommons

    #45. Valentine, NE (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 65%
    Years of data collected: 29

    Just east of Valentine is the highest waterfall in Nebraska, Smith Falls. Because of that, sunny summer days are generally spent canoeing, tubing, or fishing on the waters of Niobrara River. Most of summer is hot and clear, with temperatures rarely getting past 90.

  • #39. Salt Lake City, UT (tie)
    10/ Pasteur//WikiCommons

    #39. Salt Lake City, UT (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 66%
    Years of data collected: 64

    Salt Lake City is best known for its Mormon heritage, although Mormons now make up less than half the population. Summer temperatures routinely top 100, but because the humidity is low, it is generally tolerable. Spend a sunny day, which is mostly all of them, enjoying your bike, hiking trails that start downtown, or rock climbing.

  • #39. Cheyenne, WY (tie)
    11/ Michel Rathwell//Flickr

    #39. Cheyenne, WY (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 66%
    Years of data collected: 63

    Cheyenne's biggest draw is its annual Frontier Days each summer, the world's largest outdoor rodeo. Because summer days are generally sunny and clear with tolerable temperatures, many people take advantage of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, strolling the historic downtown, or exploring nature in Curt Gowdy State Park.

  • #39. Apalachicola, FL (tie)
    12/ Cindy//Flickr

    #39. Apalachicola, FL (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 66%
    Years of data collected: 57

    As one of the oldest cities in Florida, Apalachicola has been known over time for everything from lumber to sponges. Summers have more sunny days than the national average, but the climate generally is hot and humid with regular thunderstorms. Summer days are best spent at Apalachicola Bay for airboat tours and other water sports to help you cool off.

  • #39. Tampa, FL (tie)
    13/ Jharris407//Pixabay

    #39. Tampa, FL (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 66%

    Years of data collected: 50

    Though once known for cigars, Tampa is now popular for tourist attractions and inventing the Cuban sandwich. Summers are generally wet—it often rains—and cloudy, but the temperature has never hit 100 degrees. Spend any sunny days at Busch Gardens, enjoying the rollercoasters and zoo, and other activities.

  • #39. Macon, GA (tie)
    14/ denisbin//Flickr

    #39. Macon, GA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 66%
    Years of data collected: 48

    Macon prides itself on being a powerhouse of beautiful antebellum architecture. The city is bathed in a tolerable climate, with many sunny days and an average temperature of about 82. It can get humid, though, so residents take refuge in the rivers and lakes, or head to a peach orchard for you-pick fruit.

  • #39. San Francisco, CA (tie)
    15/ Jeff Gunn//Flickr

    #39. San Francisco, CA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 66%
    Years of data collected: 38

    The Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and high tech all greet visitors to San Francisco, where summers are generally cool and sunny—when the well-known fog decides to abate. Spend those sunny days at an outdoor festival, and take a sweater if you're headed to the waterfront.

  • #35. North Platte, NE (tie)
    16/ Greg Younger//WikiCommons

    #35. North Platte, NE (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 67%
    Years of data collected: 50

    Some say North Platte is the home of the Wild West—the first rodeo was held here, and its most famous resident is Buffalo Bill. The summers are warm and clear, with mostly sunny days and little rain. Try tanking, a North Platte specialty for sunny days: floating down the river in an empty cattle tank.

  • #35. San Juan, PR (tie)
    17/ Breezy Baldwin//WikiCommons

    #35. San Juan, PR (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 67%
    Years of data collected: 47

    San Juan is the oldest city under control of the United States; the tropical paradise has been a U.S. territory since 1898. Because summer is part of the wet season, warm sunny days are punctuated every day with the threat of hurricanes and some rainfall. But it's still a beachgoer's dream—head there whenever you get a chance to soak up some sun.

  • #35. Kahului, HI (tie)
    18/ Ron Cogswell//Flickr

    #35. Kahului, HI (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 67%
    Years of data collected: 37

    Kahului is the main city on Maui, built from the sugarcane industry. The island has warm summers, hitting an average of almost 90 degrees with little rainfall, mostly sunny days, and a welcome ocean breeze. Soak up all Maui has to offer on sunny days: hike, hit the beaches on the Road to Hana, or learn to surf.

  • #35. Concordia, KS (tie)
    19/ The Library of Congress//Flickr

    #35. Concordia, KS (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 67%
    Years of data collected: 34

    Concordia has a specific claim to fame: the longest sculpted brick mural in the country, depicting the city and county's history. In the summer, you can see it lit by the sun during the mostly hot, humid, and clear days. Afterward, enjoy free movies and concerts at the downtown plaza.

  • #31. San Diego, CA (tie)
    20/ Kenneth Hagemeyer//Flickr

    #31. San Diego, CA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 68%
    Years of data collected: 56

    San Diego is famous for both its beautiful beaches and fabulous year-round weather. On average, the summer temperature doesn't reach above 80, and even though the season starts out a bit gloomy, most days are clear and sunny. Stay along the oceanfront and enjoy the beaches or the various coves that line the shore—and don't forget those surf lessons.

  • #31. Lander, WY (tie)
    21/ Mark Lundy//Flickr

    #31. Lander, WY (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 68%
    Years of data collected: 50

    Lander has the best possible location, in the shadow of the mountains, a perfect starting spot for both a mountain and desert excursion. There's little rain and a lot of hot, sunny days, so enjoy your time in the shady mountainous regions taking advantage of activities such as rock climbing in Sinks Canyon.

  • #31. Oklahoma City, OK (tie)
    22/ 12019//Flickr

    #31. Oklahoma City, OK (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 68%
    Years of data collected: 42

    Say “Oklahoma City,” and the first thing most people think of is the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people. But the town is also known for its NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and its steaks and barbecue. Summer weather is hot and humid, often reaching into the 100s. Many residents beat the heat with a trip to one of the public swimming pools or to Frontier City's waterpark.

  • #31. Winnemucca, NV (tie)
    23/ Famartin//WikiCommons

    #31. Winnemucca, NV (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 68%
    Years of data collected: 42

    Winnemucca is cowboy country through and through, with mining and pioneer history deep in the bones of this high-desert town. The arid climate with virtually no rain and lots of hot sunny days has made it a playground for hikers, bikers, and hunters.

  • #30. Denver, CO
    24/ Zenhaus//WIkiCommons

    #30. Denver, CO

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 69%
    Years of data collected: 46

    Denver is well known for being the Mile High City, and for brewing a lot of beer. The city's altitude means summer days that are clear, sunny, with relatively low humidity, and temperatures in the 80s—the perfect climate for knocking back a cold one from one of the more than 60 breweries.

  • #25. Dodge City, KS (tie)
    25/ Lithistman//WikiCommons

    #25. Dodge City, KS (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 70%
    Years of data collected: 59

    Dodge City is a famous Old West frontier town known for its lawlessness. Perhaps the population was influenced by the weather, which in the summer is hot and sunny with little rain. Agriculture-based business is the mainstay during the summer, including rodeos, dude ranches, and farm tours.

  • #25. Abilene, TX (tie)
    26/ Barbara Brannon//Flickr

    #25. Abilene, TX (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 70%
    Years of data collected: 49

    The military has had a large presence in Abilene since World War II, with Army bases and then an Air Force base. The summers are hot, with average high temperatures reaching into the mid-90s, but are generally clear without much rain. Many kids head to summer camp in the thick of the season, while adults tend to enjoy indoor activities such as plays, museums, and musicals.

  • #25. Wake Island, PC (tie)
    27/ U.S. Air Force//WikiCommons

    #25. Wake Island, PC (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 70%
    Years of data collected: 28

    Wake Island has no permanent residents, except for four military personnel who live there full-time to help refuel military aircraft. The summer is hot and rainy, but no one besides those four service members really has to worry about the heat and wetness—civilians aren't allowed on the island.

  • #25. Miami, FL (tie)
    28/ nextvoyage//Pixabay

    #25. Miami, FL (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 70%
    Years of data collected: 20

    Known for white sand beaches, art deco buildings, and a hopping nightlife, Miami summers are hot and humid with frequent and intense storms. Still, the sun shines for the most hours during the summer months, so don’t let the humidity and chance of rain stop you from enjoying the beach and everything else Miami has to offer.

  • Milford, UT
    29/ Bill Golladay//WikiCommons

    Milford, UT

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 70%
    Years of data collected: 16

    Milford was originally a silver mining town, and a particularly dangerous one at that. Now, only about 1,500 people live there, enduring the hot desert sun in the summer. Those sunny days can be spent at one of the two main outdoor attractions: a public pool and a five-hole golf course.

  • #22. Grand Junction, CO (tie)
    30/ Inkknife_2000//WikiCommons

    #22. Grand Junction, CO (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 71%
    Years of data collected: 56

    Grand Junction is a powerhouse of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, stand-up paddle boarding, and golfing. And the summer weather is perfect for it, offering a dry heat and clear, sunny days with little rain.

  • #22. Honolulu, HI (tie)
    31/ Goodfreephotos

    #22. Honolulu, HI (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 71%
    Years of data collected: 46

    Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii and the home of Pearl Harbor, is a must-visit—especially for military and history buffs. The summer months see the lowest rainfall with mostly clear, sunny days cooled by an ocean breeze. Soak up the sun or learn to surf at world-famous Waikiki Beach.

  • #22. Johnston Island, PC (tie)
    32/ SSgt. Val Gempis, USAF//WikiCommons

    #22. Johnston Island, PC (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 71%
    Years of data collected: 22

    An American ship discovered Johnston Island in 1796. The island has remained under control of the United States since 1858. Temperatures in the high 80s and little rain are hallmarks of summer on the island, but they're just for the birds—the entire island is part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

  • #19. Lubbock, TX (tie)
    33/ John McStravick//Flickr

    #19. Lubbock, TX (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 72%
    Years of data collected: 25

    Fans of Buddy Holly or Waylon Jennings know Lubbock as the birthplace of phenomenal musicians. Summer days in the city are clear and hot with moderate humidity. The climate is perfect for vineyards, where many locals spend summer days.

  • #19. North Little Rock, AR (tie)
    34/ United States Air Force//WikiCommons

    #19. North Little Rock, AR (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 72%
    Years of data collected: 24

    North Little Rock has been known by many names: Argenta, Hunterville, Barling Cross, and DeCantillon. But the city has come into its own with a population of more than 62,000. Locals often spend the hot and humid summers with a fair amount of rain at the largest water park in Arkansas, Wild River Country.

  • #19. Lake Charles, LA (tie)
    35/ Patrick Feller//Flickr

    #19. Lake Charles, LA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 72%
    Years of data collected: 19

    Boudin sausage, blues, and Mardi Gras celebrations are staples of Lake Charles. In the hot, humid, and cloudy summers, many take advantage of the Southern heat at one of six golf courses or on the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail.

  • #16. Amarillo, TX (tie)
    36/ Mobilus in Mobili//Flickr

    #16. Amarillo, TX (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 73%
    Years of data collected: 61

    Amarillo—also known as The Yellow Rose of Texas—was a major stop on Route 66, and you can see remnants of it in signs for The Big Texan Steakhouse, or the half-buried cars of Cadillac Ranch. Most of the summer days in Amarillo are sunny, with low humidity and temperatures hitting the 90s. Bright days can be spent hunting for mirages in the surrounding plains, or exploring Palo Duro Canyon.

  • #16. Ely, NV (tie)
    37/ Ken Lund//Flickr

    #16. Ely, NV (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 73%
    Years of data collected: 56

    Ely was once a stagecoach stop along the Pony Express. The town turned to mining  when copper was discovered. Locals and visitors can spend the sunny, dry, and clear summer days enjoying several national parks or learning about historic steam engines.

  • #16. Los Angeles, CA (tie)
    38/ Justin Vidamo//Flickr

    #16. Los Angeles, CA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 73%
    Years of data collected: 32

    Los Angeles is the second-most populous city in the country, and probably the most jam-packed with celebrities, thanks to Hollywood. It hardly ever rains in the city during the summer, and the sun and heat are generally mild, though high-heat spells are not unheard of. If you visit, act like a true Californian and spend some time at the beach and maybe take a surfing lesson or two, or perhaps head to a concert at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl.

  • #14. Midland-Odessa, TX (tie)
    39/ Ed Schipul//Flickr

    #14. Midland-Odessa, TX (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 74%
    Years of data collected: 22

    As of 2015, the Midland-Odessa region had the fastest-growing population in the entire country. The climate is semi-arid with severe thunderstorms at the start of the summer, hot and clear days with low humidity, and sometimes, dust storms. Most people beat the heat of sunny days by staying inside at museums and restaurants, then venturing out in the evening for dinner picnics and live music shows.

  • #14. Roswell, NM (tie)
    40/ Stephen Hanafin//Flickr

    #14. Roswell, NM (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 74%
    Years of data collected: 7

    UFO-ologists rejoice: Roswell is one of the sunniest places in the United States, all the better to see incoming UFOs clearly. The summer sun can be hot and oppressive, but you can use that time on one of the several disc golf courses, or play regular golf or baseball, or explore the nearby wildlife refuge or state park.

  • #11. Albuquerque, NM (tie)
    41/ Goodfreephotos

    #11. Albuquerque, NM (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 76%
    Years of data collected: 63

    Thanks in part to the spectacular weather, Albuquerque is known worldwide as a hot air ballooning mecca. This is one of the top things to do on sunny days with mild temperatures, and rain unlikely. In addition, you can partake of virtually every kind of outdoor activity, from hiking to horseback riding. And world-renowned Santa Fe is a little more than an hour up the interstate.

  • #11. Pueblo, CO (tie)
    42/ David Shankbone//WikiCommons

    #11. Pueblo, CO (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 76%
    Years of data collected: 61

    Pueblo was initially just a small fort, and now it's grown into a 100,000-plus population city with military ties—it hosts the National Medal of Honor Day every year. Sunny days, which are also clear and warm with low humidity, can be spent along the river walk or enjoying bike paths on the Pueblo River Trail System.

  • #11. Key West, FL (tie)
    43/ SNORKELINGDIVES.COM//Flickr

    #11. Key West, FL (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 76%
    Years of data collected: 38

    Key West brings a festive atmosphere to the Lower Florida Keys, where island life is often all about a party and a cold alcoholic beverage. Summers can be rainy and humid, but there still are ample sunny days to head out on a boat or partake of other watersports.

  • #9. Sacramento, CA (tie)
    44/ Steven Pavlov//WikiCommons

    #9. Sacramento, CA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 78%
    Years of data collected: 46

    California's capital city is known for its abundant greenery and more than 200 public parks. The year-round weather is generally comfortable with dry and clear summers and rainy winters. Locals spend a lot of time outdoors, listening to live music and attending street festivals.

  • #9. Flagstaff, AZ (tie)
    45/ Don Graham//Flickr

    #9. Flagstaff, AZ (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 78%
    Years of data collected: 15

    Did you know Pluto was discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff? It may have been because of the clear skies, thanks to low humidity; a high altitude; and mostly cloud-free days. To enjoy the city's warmth properly, get out onto the 50-mile Flagstaff Urban Trail System or visit the ruins at Walnut Canyon National Monument east of town.

  • #7. Fresno, CA (tie)
    46/ Gemini2525//WikiCommons

    #7. Fresno, CA (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 79%
    Years of data collected: 46

    Fresno's sunny days are marred by bad air pollution, but that doesn't mean the arid weather needs to go to waste. When the sun is out in February and March, head to the Blossom Trail to see brilliantly colored fruit and almond trees.

  • #7. Reno, NV (tie)
    47/ IIP Photo Archive//Flickr

    #7. Reno, NV (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 79%
    Years of data collected: 45

    Reno is famous the world over for being the other city in Nevada with great gambling. But with low rainfall and hot, bright summer days, many residents skip the gambling and head downtown to attractions like Truckee River Whitewater Park and Whitney Peak Hotel's climbing wall.

  • #6. El Paso, TX
    48/ Public Domain//WikiCommons

    #6. El Paso, TX

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 84%
    Years of data collected: 54

    El Paso sits right on the U.S.-Mexico border and has one of the largest military installations in the United States. The sky is clear for most of the year, with hot and dry summer days, and short, cold winter days. Franklin Mountains State Park is a good place to enjoy the sun; it's the largest urban park in the contiguous United States completely within a city's borders.

  • #3. Phoenix, AZ (tie)
    49/ Gage Skidmore//Flickr

    #3. Phoenix, AZ (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 85%
    Years of data collected: 101

    Arizona's capital is the most heavily populated capital city in the U.S., and the summer sun is downright oppressive. Phoenix averages more than 100 days a year topping the 100-degree mark, with temperatures above 110 not uncommon. On those super-hot days, most locals stay inside or go to museums, the movies or air-conditioned malls. When it gets cooler, enjoy a sunny day at the 16,000-acre South Mountain Park or the famed Desert Botanical Garden.

  • #3. Tucson, AZ (tie)
    50/ JonRidinger//WikiCommons

    #3. Tucson, AZ (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 85%
    Years of data collected: 53

    The Sonoran Desert encapsulates Tucson, which is known for its huge saguaro cactuses, great Mexican food, and cooler temperatures than Phoenix. The summers are very hot, with temperatures regularly climbing past 100, but it's a dry heat and easier to endure than the high humidity of other parts of the country. Slather on the sunscreen then take in a cattle drive, play golf, take a hike or head to Mount Lemmon to cool off.

  • #3. Las Vegas, NV (tie)
    51/ Jim G//WikiCommons

    #3. Las Vegas, NV (tie)

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 85%
    Years of data collected: 47

    Las Vegas is basically the U.S. capital of gambling, with more than 100 casinos in the metro area. The mostly sunny days are clear and hot, with the sun beating down a dry heat that can reach temperatures into the 100s. If you decide to skip the slots and gaming tables, you can spend sunny days hiking in nearby Valley of Fire State Park or riding the roller coasters at a number of the casinos on the strip.

  • #2. Redding, CA
    52/ Doug Kerr//Flickr

    #2. Redding, CA

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 88%
    Years of data collected: 10

    The Sundial Bridge is a famous pedestrian bridge in Redding and one of the largest working sundials in the world. Walk over it on one of the 300-plus sunny days in this Northern California city to get a glimpse of it in action. The summers are hot and the winters are rainy, but that doesn't stop locals from getting out and enjoying nature on the city's renowned bike trails.

  • #1. Yuma, AZ
    53/ Cbl62//WikiCommons

    #1. Yuma, AZ

    Annual average percentage of possible sunshine: 90%
    Years of data collected: 42

    Throughout history, Yuma has been considered the safest spot to cross the Colorado River. The river also provides a great way to beat the arid heat and bright sun—you can Jet Ski, tube, boat, swim, and even fish from the shore.

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