Last year my wife and I moved from Philadelphia to Miami right in the smoking hot middle of the pandemic. Despite the real estate gold rush that South Florida has become over the past year in response to COVD-19, we moved for a far more Darwinian reason: we’d finally had it with winter. Untethered from having to work in any one place, it was time to find a place we could live where the weather is sunny and 75 year round.
I’d lived in Florida before and always wanted to move back. It just took 15 years to convince my wife, who thanks to Discovery’s ‘Investigation Discovery’ (ID) channel had somehow become convinced that America’s serial “canal” kidnappers and “swamp” murderers all ended up at the southern end of I-95.
Last spring, however, COVID-19 changed everything. Philadelphia’s lock downs were some of the most severe in the country; the boarded up stores and restaurants in our previously buzzing neighborhood made the brown snow and short days even more depressing than they are every year. We’d already been planning to sell our house pre-pandemic so I knew that this was my moment.
“Let’s just do it,” I boldly proposed one night shortly after a well-time ice storm had just moved in. “Ocean views, palm trees, warm breezes, windows open at night. You’re going to be isolating and working remotely for who knows how long. Plus no state income tax, fish tacos, tango dancing, dog beaches, wedges with sundresses . . .” I laid it on thick. And ultimately prevailed.
Almost a year later, my wife should be on retainer for the Florida tourism bureau and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Single-handedly she’s enticed a half dozen people to consider moving here already. We are both happier, healthier, working out daily, sleeping better, more social, and feeling greater motivation and passion about work and life. For years as I’ve traveled around the world infrequently taking root some people repeatedly have insisted to me that place can’t make you happy ergo you take your problems wherever you go.
Maybe so. But my wife can tell you with absolute certainty now that place does matter. Physically, the human body feels less stressed, more productive, and releases more energizing hormones and chemicals when it doesn’t have to aggressively thermoregulate. Life also just feels better in ways that are less scientifically quantifiable but equally real, which results in reduced rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, domestic violence, obesity, and suicide.
So with tens of millions of newly remote workers thanks to the pandemic now unleashed and prioritizing where they live over where they work, here are five places around the world where the weather is sunny and 75 (almost) year round you can flee with your family, rediscover your own best self, run your entrepreneurial empire, and say goodbye to winter lock downs for good.
Maui has long been dream trip territory as much for its perfect weather as its monster surfing waves. The data back this up: 276 days of sun with average summer highs on the coast of 82.9 degrees and winter lows of 61.8. The National Weather Service’s record low temperature of 60 degrees on Monday, Nov. 25 2013 at Kahului Airport tied the old record set for the same day in 1972 and 1951.
The good news from an outdoor and fashion standpoint is that Maui also experiences wide ranging micro-climates due to its mountainous topography and isolation. At 6960’ at the Heleakala National Park Visitor Center the temperature drops 20 degrees cooler than at the beach, which in the summer on the island west side can hit the mid-90s during the heat of the day.
In Maui’s case all this paradise is also inextricably linked to the island’s persistently tight real estate market so sunny and 75 (and all the surf, rain forest, and island tranquility you can handle) comes with a fairly steep price.
Portugal is Western Europe’s warmest and most affordable country where it’s entirely possible for a digital nomad, remote entrepreneur, or retiree to live the equivalent of a relatively plush suburban American life on less than $30,000 per year, surrounded by Roman ruins, Moorish castles, rugged beaches, cobblestone villages, and a fast-emerging, award-winning food, wine, arts, and cultural scene.
Compared with the rest of Europe (and the world), Portugal’s year round weather is also as close to perfect as an entire country’s can get, particularly the Algarve region which spans from the Iberian peninsula’s southernmost point to the eastern border with Spain.
Thanks to its Mediterranean climate (even though it’s on the Atlantic Ocean) Algarve’s summers are warm and winters are mild with an average maximum temperature of 61 degrees in January and 84 in August. 300 days of blue sky (or 3000 hours) per year also makes the Algarve one of Europe’s sunniest regions. The ocean is also warmer here compared with the rest of Portugal (68 degrees on average in summer) thanks to the influence of the Mediterranean Sea which mixes with the Atlantic at the Straits of Gibraltar to keep the water 5-10 degrees warmer.
A.k.a “The City of Eternal Spring” (La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera), Medellin, Colombia has one of the narrowest and most consistent annual spreads between average highs and lows of any place on earth, with an overall average year-round temperature of 72.5 degree (22.5 °C). Geographically this is principally due to the city’s near perfect combination of elevation (4,900’ above sea level), subtropical highland climate, and location just north of the equator.
While technically, Medellin isn’t really sunny year round (March through November there is always a chance of precipitation), it makes this list due to the fact that the city’s average temperature each month typically varies by only 2 degrees. Medellin’s warmest month is July with an average maximum temperature of 28°C (82°F). It’s coldest month is September with an average maximum temperature of 27°C (80°F). During the a typical day, the average temperature ranges from 63 degree at night to 82.1 degrees during the day (17.4 to 27.8 °C).
From a livability standpoint, Medellin also long ago shed its image as Pablo Escobar’s cocaine capital. It’s now a global hipster, Instagram-famous hot spot with a teeming arts, culture, and music, and outdoor adventure scene and a growing permanent expat community.
Perth, the capital of Western Australia, has a Mediterranean climate ‘down under’ with hot, dry summers, mild, wet winters, and clear blue skies 255 days a year, making it one of the country’s sunniest cities. Daily highs average 76.6 degrees year round, peaking at 88 degrees in summer (January) and cooling off briefly in July to a nighttime low of 47, which gives its resident at least a few weeks a year when they can enjoy breaking out the suede, sweaters, and leather when hitting this buzzing city’s restaurant, nightlife, arts, social, and rugby scenes (if you look at Perth on Google earth there’s not much else to do for 3000-5000 miles in any direction). Perth’s location on the continent’s west coast facing squarely into the Southern Indian Ocean all the way to Africa also ensures a consistent onshore breeze, making for some of the cleanest, clearest air of any city in the world.
The good news for Perthians is that if it ever gets too cold in the winter, all it takes is a few hours drive to get lost in the middle of Australian Outback where temperatures can soar to 120 degrees and higher.
Catania is an Roman port on Sicily’s east coast that sits at the foot of Mt. Etna volcano—one of the world’s most active volcanoes—which towers 10,991’ over the city right out of the Mediterranean Sea. The city’s wide central square, Piazza del Duomo, elaborately decorated Catania Cathedral, cobblestone streets, local markets, and seafood restaurants are as legendary in Italy as Mykonos and Santorini are in Greece.
Although Catania’s average summer high hovers around a comfortable 74 degrees, it’s the city’s variable climate from day to night and seasonally that will appeal to people who don’t like the relentless predictability of a place like Medellin. Catania’s warmest month is August with an average maximum temperature of 89 degrees (32°C), thanks to the ‘sirocco’, a hot wind current from Africa that keeps Sicily unseasonably warm year-round. January is the coldest month with an average maximum temperature of 59 degrees (15°C ).
Catania makes up for its temperature swings with virtually relentless sunshine, taking the crown for the city with the most hours of sunshine of any in Europe, averaging 2492 hours per year, or almost 7 hours per day. Over the course of a typical year, the chance of precipitation is never more than 30%. For anyone challenged with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) you can leave that at home with your snow boots and winter coats.