Ever planned the perfect hot weather vacation… only to have it hit by a storm? That scenario is happening all over the east coast, and even the Sunshine State experienced snow accumulation for the first time since 1988. A trip like that might leave you dreaming of a vacation that’s precipitation-free.
Here’s 5 destinations that nearly guarantee sunny skies.
It’s the sunniest city in the USA, and there’s enough outdoor activities to for any traveler to soak up every last ray. Known for its saguaro cactus, incredible hiking at Camelback Mountain, top-notch golf and beautiful Desert Botanical Garden, you’ll want to load up on sunscreen before doing practically anything here. Other local highlights include getting your animal fix at the Phoenix Zoo, shopping for kitschy treasures in Old Town Scottsdale and even touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, Taliesin West.
90-minutes south of Phoenix lies the desert oasis of Tucson. If you love sunny, but don’t love scorching hot, the higher elevation here takes a bit of the edge off. Pretend you’re The Duke and explore the high desert on horseback. If you’re traveling with kiddos, they’ll love the vintage rides and watching the stunt shows at Old Tucson. This wild west attraction is immortalized in more than 400 films and commercial productions. For a rejuvenating weekend, there’s no better place to drop your bags than Miraval Spa. Sign up for a massage, take a beekeeping class, finally learn how to meditate, or just get that dose of Vitamin D you’ve been craving since August.
Palm Springs, CA
I read that Palm Springs experiences 350 sunny days annually. While I do love the change in seasons, when the dead of winter rolls around, I am so ready for that kind of reliability. It’s one of those places with something for everyone. It’s great for kids (here’s a whole post on stuff for families to do), fabulous for golfers, and if it’s a party pool scene you’re after, they’ve got plenty of that, too.
I’ve been dying to check out the Korakia Pensione, a Moroccan-inspired property with a serene pool, massages, cruiser bikes and afternoon tea. I’d be remiss to not mention VillageFest. Every Thursday night, Palm Springs set up a street fair with entertainment, art, crafts and lots to eat.
With over 300 sunny days a year, Redding is the perfect destination for those who love the sunshine but prefer a cooler climate. Average winter highs typically hit high 50s or low 60s, which to me is ideal hitting the mountain hiking and biking trails. Cradled between Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, you’ll get beautiful views in every direction. Their tourism board offers many great suggestions for all abilities. Don’t let the name The Big Nasty Trail scare you off—this 2-mile loop trial earned its name after a brush-covered formation of rough lava rock. You’ll get sweeping views of Lava Beds and the Modoc National Forest. It’s also a fantastic spot to view the sunset. It’s worth mentioning that TIME magazine dubbed Redding the “Unofficial Capital of Kayaking” due to how much the locals take advantage of the town’s river and nearby lakes. Speaking of water, anglers should note Redding is the heart of Northern California’s fishing (the biggest draw? Trout!). If all that outdoor activity helped you work up and appetite, grab a bite and a pint at Woody’s Brewing Company.
Las Vegas, NV
Love gambling? Eating? Drinking? Spas? Golf? Shows? Relaxing by the pool? Eloping? Watching Britney Spears lip sync? You’d be hard-pressed to not find something up your alley in Sin City. With an average of 294 days of sunshine a year, you can almost always count on blue skies. For the most relaxing outdoor experience, grab a lounger at the Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea pool. And speaking of water, the Golden Nugget gets a shout out for building a pool that abuts a 200,000 gallon shark tank. You can even brave a waterslide that runs right through the middle! If you need a break from the stimulation overload, there are plenty of outdoor activities nearby. Paddleboard on Lake Las Vegas, hike in Red Rock National Conversation Area, or take a dip in one of the Colorado River’s slot canyon hot springs. Arizona Hot Springs is a local favorite. Though it requires an easy 5.6-mile round trip hike, the reward is worth every step. Yes, you can really can get away from it all in Las Vegas.