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Sunniest Places in the US and Canada

By Vickie Chiu

Updated April 5, 2021 Updated April 5, 2021

If, like me, you’re someone who has self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder (otherwise aptly known as “SAD”), then no matter how amazing your prospective study destination is, chances are, you’re going to be just a little bit miserable if you don’t get enough sun.

In lieu of a world ranking of sunny cities- with the exception of a sun index chart which points to (mainly) deserts around the world, I’m going to introduce some of the sunniest places in the world and the ranked universities within its nearest proximity. First, were ranking the sunniest places in the US and the sunniest places in Canada.

Sunniest places in the US

1) Arizona

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deegephotos/

Arizona seems to win hands-down as one of the sunniest places in the US. The city of Yuma reported 90% days of sun according to weather.com.

Although no QS-ranked universities are located in the sunniest city in North America (and some argue, the world!) there are plenty of Yuma-adjacent universities which are ranked pretty highly.

Check out:

University of Arizona

Rank:163

Arizona State University

Rank: 336

University of New Mexico

Rank: 401-450

Read more about studying in Arizona >

2) California

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/

I’m sure not many of you are surprised to see California on a list of the sunniest places in the US. With an average of 88% sunshine, Redding is the second sunniest US city. Here are some top-ranked universities in California.

Check out:

Stanford University

Rank: 11

Caltech

Ranked: 12

University of California, Berkeley

Rank: 21

UCLA

Rank: 34

University of California, San Diego

Rank: 77

University of California, Santa Barbara

Rank: 118

University of California, Davis

Rank: 101

University of Southern California

Rank: 107

University of California, Santa Cruz

Rank: 287

University of California, Riverside

Rank: 325

Read more about studying in California >

3) Florida

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/

Miami, where you can “Party-in-the-city-where-the-heat-is-on” is another of the sunniest places in the US with the sun-and-education seeker’s paradise scoring 70% and 3154 hours of sunshine a year and some of the world’s best universities.

Check out:

University of Florida

Rank: 161

University of Miami

Rank: 230

Florida State University

Rank 401-450

Read more about studying in Florida >

4) Colorado

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lrargerich/

Don’t let the funny little guys on South Park ruin your thoughts of Colorado. Besides from being rated as among the most desirable places to live in the US, Denver, the state’s largest city is also one the sunniest places in the US receiving 69% and 3107 hours of sunshine a year.

Check out:

University of Colorado at Boulder

Rank: 142

Colorado State University

Rank: 363

Read more about studying in Colorado >

5) Oklahoma

Image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/dirkhansen/

Not usually known for its sunny weather, Oklahoma, with 3089 hours of sunshine a year (more than San Diego, California-3055 and Tampa, Florida- 66), is a bit of a hidden gem for sun-seeking students.

Check out:

University of Oklahoma

Rank: 401-450

Read more about studying in Oklahoma >

Sunniest Places in Canada

Canada’s temperature varies widely depending on where you are and what time of year it is. The country may drop down to temperatures only appropriate for polar bears, but it’s certainly not short of sun.

1) Alberta

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Although receiving nowhere near as many hours of sun as the US top sunny-destination, Calgary, Alberta tops the sunniest places in Canada and receives a respectable 2405 hours and 333 days of sunshine a year. Edmonton is also a strong sun spot with 2299 hours and 321 days of sun a year.

Check out:

University of Alberta

Rank: 100

University of Calgary

Rank: 218

2) Manitoba

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

If you can stand the winters averaging −20 °C (−4 °F), Winnipeg, Manitoba receives 2372 hours and 318 days of sunshine a year. In 14 days of the year, temperatures can exceed even 30 °C (86 °F) with good chances of Indian Summers.

Check out:

University of Manitoba

Rank: 397

3) British Columbia

Image source: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7248/7716430894_935b8cb52a.jpg

Averaging 317 days of sun a year, Victoria, BC is third on the sunniest places in Canada list. The province is also home to many of the world’s top universities.

Check out:

University of British Columbia

Rank: 51

Simon Fraser University

Rank: 260

University of Victoria

Rank 292

This article was originally published in May 2012 . It was last updated in April 2021

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