Best States for Weather: The Ultimate Guide

Best States for Weather: The Ultimate Guide

When you look for articles on the best states for weather, you’ll find articles that focus only on so-called “comfortable temperatures.” While that’s indeed one aspect of good weather year round, different people have different preferences. Not everyone looking for best year round weather wants “mild weather.”

Consequently, the answer to the question “What state has the best weather?” isn’t so simple.

I, for one, prefer hot, sunny weather to a mild climate (which is purported to be “best” for everyone). But I also know people who don’t mind freezing temperatures and even want to experience them at least a part of the year. For them, the best weather means four seasons. They don’t want consistent temperatures above 70 °F like I do.

Then there are those who don’t do well in warm weather at all and prefer cooler temperatures all the time. Their idea of best weather is someone else’s idea of worst weather.

Consequently, in this article I’m going to share with you a list of the best states for specific kinds of weather, and not just for moderate temperatures year round that are typically described in other articles.

So, which state has the nicest weather? Here are the four categories and my suggestions on best weather states.

Top 3 Best States for Mild Year Round Weather

Top 3 Best States for Mild Year Round Weather

I’ll start this article by answering the most common preference for mild weather: never too hot and never too cold. For most people, this is their idea of best weather: mild winters and pleasantly warm but not hot summers.

The top 3 states with most temperate climate and consistent temperatures are:

1. California

California is unquestionably the best state for mild year round weather if we limit ourselves to the regions featuring a pleasant Mediterranean climate.

They include places like the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey County (like Salinas), Northern California (like Napa), Santa Barbara, and some cities in Southern California (like San Diego). These areas feature mild winters and equally mild summers, with warm temperatures ranging from about 60 to 80 °F year round.

California is also one of the sunniest states in the USA. If we combine the temperatures and sunshine, for most people California has the best weather year round.

Check my article on the warmest cities in California with cities ranked by their average temperature.

You may also want to read my article on cities with weather like Los Angeles and where is the best weather outside of California.

2. Oregon

Oregon may not be the sunniest state but it sure offers some of the mildest temperatures in the country. For example, temperatures in Portland are roughly between 50 to 80 °F year round. Such consistent temperatures mean that you’re never dealing with any extremes. You get mild winters and warm summers.

Oregon is cloudier and records more inches of rain a year but the state is more lush (barring Eastern Oregon), giving it a different feel than drier California. Oregon doesn’t have as mild winters as California but they’re still relatively temperate.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Oregon with cities ranked by their average temperature. You may also want to read my article on the warmest cities in the Pacific Northwest or my article on places where it doesn’t snow in Oregon.

3. Washington

Like Oregon, the Pacific Northwest state of Washington may not be famous for its endless blue skies. But still, one can’t deny that it has at most warm temperatures in the summer (no extreme heat) and cool, but not very cold winters (with temperatures typically around 50 °F during the day).

The relatively mild winters, consistent cooler temperatures and warm summers at best (without intense heat), make Washington state a good choice for those who those who don’t like it too hot or too cold.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Washington with cities ranked by their average temperature.

Top 3 Best States for Warm Weather Year Round

Top 3 Best States for Warm Weather Year Round

If you want warm weather year round—not just mild but not hot all the time, either—here are the three states with the best warm weather conditions. They aren’t hot in the winter but they’re still warm enough that you can enjoy the weather most of the time.

To avoid repeating the same states, I didn’t include California though it would be a good fit as well, with warmer cities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area like Long Beach or Anaheim. You may also enjoy my article on the best place to live with warm weather and a low cost of living.

1. Georgia

Georgia offers some of the best year round weather for those who want to alternate between warm and hot weather. Its humid subtropical climate comes with temperatures that range from 60-65 °F in the winter to 92 °F in the summer.

Extreme heat may be an issue on some days but overall Georgia has a warm climate with cooler months for some change, particularly more inland (coastal areas enjoy warm temperatures year round).

Check my article on the warmest cities in Georgia with cities ranked by their average temperature. I also wrote an article on what city has the best weather in Georgia.

2. South Carolina

South Carolina offers slightly milder summer conditions than Georgia. The average temperatures in the state range from 58 °F to 88 °F in the summer months. Coastal part of the state is particularly mild, with higher nighttime temperatures than more inland.

Like in the case of Georgia, if you pick a city on the coast, you’ll enjoy relatively warm temperatures even in the winter. South Carolina cities located more inland have cooler winters.

Check my article on the warmest cities in South Carolina with cities ranked by their average temperature. You may also want to check my ranking of the warmest cities in North Carolina which is slightly cooler.

3. Arizona

Due to its extreme summer temperatures, Arizona may just as well fit in the hot weather category. But overall, with its cooler winters, I consider it a better option for those looking for warm temperatures and not consistently hot weather.

True, 5-6 months feature average high temperatures of 90-100 °F but the rest are between 65-90 °F. And if you pick a cooler city like Prescott, it’ll be more like a mix of mild weather with warm weather.

Arizona is by far the best option for those who want to see clear skies every day. Its desert climate makes it one the sunniest states in the country. The average annual sunlight totals up to 3,800-4,000 hours in the sunniest cities.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Arizona with cities ranked by their average temperature. You may also want to read my articles on cities with the best weather in Arizona.

Top 3 Best States for Hot Weather Year Round

Top 3 Best States for Hot Weather Year Round

If you love consistent hot weather all the time, with no months in which there’s a real possibility of freezing temperatures or even snow, these are the three best states for you. These places don’t even have mild winters. Often, there’s no winter at all, with daytime temperatures still above 70 °F even in the coldest month.

If you like a tropical climate or hot weather, you may also be interested in checking out my article on the hottest US cities.

1. Florida

Florida is the hottest state in the US. The hottest part of the Sunshine State, the Keys, have a tropical climate guaranteeing hot weather.

According to weather data, Key West has no months with average temperatures lower than 75 °F during the day. This part of the state also comes with guaranteed sunshine. It receives 3,400 hours of sunshine, making it one of the sunniest among the sunny cities of the United States.

For those looking for perfect weather year round in the contiguous US, Florida is the best option as long as you tolerate humidity well. And if you prefer a mix of warm to mild climate with hot climate, cities in northern Florida are an excellent alternative.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Florida with cities ranked by their average temperature.

2. Hawaii

Believe it or not, Hawaii features slightly cooler average temperatures than Florida. It doesn’t make it anywhere near cold, though. It simply has more comfortable temperatures in the summer, without ever going into extreme heat and high humidity that’s characteristic for Florida.

For example, Honolulu’s daytime temperatures are always in a narrow range between 81-88 °F. Meanwhile, Key West has temperatures between 76 and up to 91 °F. Summer nights in Honolulu are cooler, between 74-76 °F. Meanwhile, in Key West they’re muggy at around 80 °F.

These slightly cooler temperatures are one of the reasons why among states with nice weather, Hawaii overall has a more pleasant climate. I consider Oahu to be one of the places with the best weather in the world.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Hawaii with cities ranked by their average temperature.

3. Texas

Texas could fit in the warm category, too, but I decided to put it here because of South Texas. The hottest city in Texas, McAllen, features a hot semi-arid climate with consistent hot weather. It also has some of the warmest winters in the entire United States, with daily highs in the coldest months of at least 73 °F.

If you hate humidity, though, Texas won’t make your list of states with great weather unless you decide to live in the semi-arid or arid regions of Western Texas (in a city like El Paso which isn’t hot year round).

Check my article on the warmest cities in Texas with cities ranked by their average temperature. I also published an article on what city has the best weather in Texas.

Top 3 Best States for Four Distinct Seasons

Top 3 Best States for Four Distinct Seasons

If your definition of beautiful weather includes four distinct seasons but without any extremes, here are the three best options for you. These states offer the best weather for those who like cooler temperatures in the winter and pleasant weather the rest of the year. You may also want to read my article on cities with mild four seasons.

1. New Hampshire

Think of New Hampshire and you’ll probably imagine its fall foliage. If you’re looking for seasonal variation, it’s hard to do better than this state.

The largest city of New Hampshire, Manchester, has cold, snowy winters, crisp spring and fall, and warm summers. Weather conditions are never overly extreme. Winters bring temperatures of about 34-39 °F during the day and 17-23 °F at night. Summers offer moderate temperatures ranging on average from 79 to 84 °F.

Check my article on the warmest cities in New Hampshire with cities ranked by their average temperature.

2. Colorado

Mountains are some of the most dynamic landscapes as seasons change. And what better state for living in the mountains than Colorado?

The cold semi-arid climate found in most of the state gives it sunny skies most of the time, even as temperatures dip below freezing in the winter. With a variety of outdoor activities the state offers, you can make the most out of every season.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Colorado with cities ranked by their average temperature.

3. New York

While New York City may not be the best place to experience four seasons, Upstate New York offers good weather for those looking for seasonality. It has some of the snowiest winters in the US.

In fact, Syracuse is the snowiest major city in the country. Apart from the long, snowy winter, this part of the state has cool spring and fall and warm, but not hot summers.

Check my article on the warmest cities in New York with cities ranked by their average temperature.

Top 3 Best States for Cold Weather

Top 3 Best States for Cold Weather

I haven’t forgotten about those who prefer low temperatures and as little heat as possible. Here are the three best states for cold weather. Few people will consider these as best weather states but we all have different climate preferences (and as a bonus, because few people like a cold climate, these states tend to be great if you want to be left alone).

You may also be interested in my article on the coldest cities in the US and in my article on US states with mild summers.

1. Alaska

If your definition of best weather is cold weather, Alaska is by far your best option. It has no competition when it comes to the most consistent low temperatures throughout the year. It offers cold winters and the coolest summers in the United States. If you want cold weather year round (including in the summer), Alaska is the only place where you can get it.

If you like cool weather but not extremely cold (as is the case in places like Utqiaġvik), the warmest cities of Alaska may paradoxically be best for you. For example, Sitka’s average high temperatures range from 40 to 60 °F throughout the year. For Alaska standards, Sitka has very mild winters and relatively warm summers.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Alaska with cities ranked by their average temperature. I also encourage you to read my article “What City Has the Best Weather in Alaska?

2. North Dakota

North Dakota is the second coldest state in the United States. The coldest cities of the state have short summers and very cold and long winters.

For example, average daytime temperatures in Grand Forks are well below or close to the freezing point between November and March. The summer months come with temperatures between 76-80 °F but nights are cool at 53-57 °F. The state thus has pleasant weather in the summer that shouldn’t be overly hot even for those who don’t like high temperatures.

Check my article on the warmest cities in North Dakota with cities ranked by their average temperature.

3. Montana

Montana is home to West Yellowstone which holds the record for the lowest temperature for any residential community in the contiguous United States at −66 °F.

The town also records extreme snowfall, being snow-covered from early November to the beginning of May. If that’s your idea of paradise, pack your bags and move to Montana.

Check my article on the warmest cities in Montana with cities ranked by their average temperature.

Further Reading on States With the Best Weather

This closes our list of states with the best weather. If you want even more options, here are some articles you may want to read:

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