Many people dream of a retirement in which they will never again have to shovel snow or defrost a car. But at the same time, not many retirees want to swelter through or pay the air conditioning bills associated with several months' worth of 95-degree days.
To find some places with year-round pleasant weather, U.S. News used National Climatic Data Center figures to find places where the average high temperature in July is less than 90 degrees and the average low in January is above freezing (32 degrees). That's not to say these places have never had a very hot or cold day, but average temperatures generally remain within this range. Here are some places where the weather is typically nice throughout the year:
You'll find warm winters and moderate summers in the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas, where January's average lows are in the upper 40s and July's average highs are in the low 80s. "The coast of southern California, San Diego for instance, is characterized by year-round pleasant conditions," says Charles Wax, a meteorology and climatology professor at Mississippi State University and state climatologist for Mississippi. "This area is under the Mediterranean-climate type, which is a moderate climate with a summer dry period. The lack of rainfall in the summer is conducive to outdoor activities, wine-growing, and the movie and air industries."
It's cooler in the San Francisco Bay and Santa Barbara areas, where average temperatures can drop into the lower 40s in winter and hit highs in the low or mid-70s in summer. "Anywhere in California offers relatively mild winters, but the heat in the summer can vary dramatically," says Eugene Cordero, an associate professor of meteorology at San Jose State University. "For example, Sacramento or any inland place in California during the summer can often go over 100 degrees, while San Francisco can be in the 50s and 60s because of the cool clouds from the ocean." Other places with year-round pleasant weather include San Diego, Santa Maria, and Eureka.
Key West, Tampa, and Palachicola each experience an average high of 90 degrees in July. All three cities have much cooler winters, with an average January low of 65 degrees in Key West, 52 degrees in Tampa, and 43 degrees in Palachicola.
In July, Atlanta's average high is 89 degrees. During the winter, the temperature declines to an average low of 34 degrees. David Stooksbury, an associate professor of engineering and atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia in Athens, says his current city is his first choice for a retirement spot. "Located in the northern Piedmont region of gently rolling hills, the spring and fall seasons are long and pleasant. The winters are mild with an occasional snow," says Stooksbury. "Because of the University of Georgia being located in Athens, the city has many free to inexpensive cultural and academic opportunities. With the growth of the medical program at UGA, medical options are expanding throughout the city."
If you're looking for a place to retire that has consistently pleasant weather, Hawaii is your best bet. In Honolulu, for example, temperatures ranged from an average low of 66 degrees in January to an average high of 88 degrees in July. Temperatures are also consistently pleasant in Hilo, Kahului, and Lihue. "Hawaii does have a seductive temperature range," says Gary Barnes, a meteorology professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. "The air has a soft and wonderful feel." However, housing prices in Hawaii reflect the pleasant climate. "I would not retire in Hawaii simply because I could not begin to afford it," says Barnes. "Cost of living wins out, unfortunately, over Hawaii's great weather."