What are the best (inexpensive) rainy travel destinations?
August 11, 2011 9:14 PM   Subscribe

Where can I inexpensively go on vacation and reasonably expect it to rain much of the time?

One of my favorite things in life is to be outside in the rain, but I live in New York City, where, to my dismay, it rains only occasionally. I love sunshine as much as the next person, but I also long to be outside and feel the rain on me.

I want to go on vacation to places where I can experience rain for days on end. Hiking for a week in the rain (with proper rain gear, of course) would be my idea of heaven, but I'm not sure how to predict and plan that. Obviously weather is always unpredictable, but what are destinations (and corresponding times of year) where I could reasonably expect it to rain most of the time I'm there?

I'm open to cities, rainforests, countries with monsoon seasons, and other ideas. I'm open to traveling to other countries if it can be done affordably—I'm a budget traveler—but I'd also like to hear about places closer to home. Bonus points if it's somewhere I could drive to and camp at.
posted by incandescentman to Travel & Transportation (32 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Vancouver, Seattle, Portland. Anytime but summer, basically. Winter is best.
posted by smorange at 9:19 PM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

How far are you willing to drive?
posted by longsleeves at 9:19 PM on August 11, 2011

Response by poster: I'm willing to drive far. Up to a few days, say, all the while camping along the way, if the destination warranted.
posted by incandescentman at 9:23 PM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: Laos in rainy season.
posted by pompomtom at 9:33 PM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Hoh Rainforest in Washington is beautiful, good hiking, and most of the year, very very rainy.
posted by The otter lady at 9:38 PM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

You will get consistent rain- not at all intermittent- in South Korea between July 1 and August 1. It's amazing how the weather sticks to the calendar like that here.
posted by holterbarbour at 9:52 PM on August 11, 2011

Portland, Oregon and surrounds, December to February. It rains in many more months, of course, but those months would be your best bets. (And this early July notwithstanding, most summers are bone dry, which is quite unexpected coming from the east coast.)

Probably too far and expensive, but Ethiopia's winter, when it's cool and rains most days, is our summer. August is rain.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:01 PM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: The Hoh Rainforest in Washington is beautiful, good hiking, and most of the year, very very rainy.

Yeah, you should really go hiking / camping in the western side of Olympic National Park in the rainy season, which is pretty much October through June. That's going to be your best bet in the continental US for consistently rainy weather.
posted by dersins at 10:03 PM on August 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

London. Not even joking.
posted by Put the kettle on at 10:16 PM on August 11, 2011

posted by dfriedman at 10:23 PM on August 11, 2011

Well I don't know how inexpensive Patagonia is.
posted by dfriedman at 10:24 PM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: Vancouver Island in November. Splendidly wet and stormy.
posted by islander at 10:40 PM on August 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The West coast (aka Wet Coast) of Vancouver Island. Tofino, Ucuelet, etc.

Gorgeous and it rains nearly all year.
posted by barnone at 10:44 PM on August 11, 2011

Prince Rupert, British Columbia is Canada's wettest and least sunny city! The hotels aren't too expensive and the scenery is quite lovely.
posted by just_ducky at 10:51 PM on August 11, 2011

Southeast Alaska
posted by leahwrenn at 11:11 PM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: Yes to Vancouver Island and especially Tofino. I think it rains 300 days per year.


For hiking, try the West Coast Trail, the Juan de Fuca trail. The national park in Tofino is beautiful, no hiking required. Or camp on the beach at Sombrio.
posted by sambiamb at 11:15 PM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: Mt. Waialeale, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, is often cited as the world's wettest spot, raining somewhere between 330 and 360 days a year. Here's a graph of rainfall over the last 4 months… not many days where the total precip didn't increase at least somewhat. There are hiking trails, including some boardwalk through swampy bits, I believe. Can't speak to opportunities to pitch a tent, but as a super awesome bonus, the not-always-wet parts of Kauai are splendid (particularly the Hanalei Bay parts).
posted by mumkin at 11:38 PM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: Taman Negara in Malaysia during the Northeast monsoon. As the guide says - "Taman Negara has a tropical climate with daily temperatures range from 25 to 37 degree Celsius and its humidity is high (more than 80%). At the peak of Gunung Tahan, the temperature may drop to 13°C. Rainfall is heavy throughout the year, especially during the north-east monsoon which is from October to January. In that period, flooding might happen in large tracts of the rainforest." I'm not up to date on the trails, but they're certainly used to be a few.

A winter walk on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia, between Pemberton or Northcliffe and Albany, would also get you wet. Most years it rains most days in winter, and there are stretches (particularly the six days from Northcliffe to the South Coast) where you'll be wading every day. You'll need a ticket, your hiking gear, maps or a guidebook from the Foundation, and money for food. Accommodation outside towns is in free huts at 20-25km intervals, but carrying a tent is recommended.
posted by Ahab at 11:47 PM on August 11, 2011

San Francisco in March. Not constant, drenching rain, but rain every day. Usually rain in the morning and sun in the afternoon in case you want the best of both worlds.
posted by bendy at 11:48 PM on August 11, 2011

Best answer: nth-ing Tofino, we honeymooned there one November. It rained. We loved it.
posted by arcticseal at 12:10 AM on August 12, 2011

Best answer: Fiordland in New Zealand in the summer. I went hiking there a few years ago, and had rain on 7/11 days. Pouring, heavy rained. I actually snowed on two of those days when you got high enough. The best thing about hiking in New Zealand is the hut system - while you're walking in the rain all day long, you sleep in a (mostly inexpensive) hut, where you can walk around, cook standing up, and do other activities which are miserable to do in a moist tent.
posted by ye#ara at 12:47 AM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

For expensive rainy, Pohnpei, Micronesia rains pretty much every day. If you don't like being cold and wet, it is quite ideal. But it is not non-stop rain, just short downpours a few times a day.

Yakushima in Japan is supposed to be pretty rainy when it is not fall or spring (and probably even pretty rainy then), and everyone I know who's been there thinks it is awesome.

Tampa, Florida is great if you happen to like thunderstorms. During the summer it is not unusual to have one every day (Current Ten-day Weather Report), but they tend to be limited to the afternoons, and the rest of the time it is hot and sticky.
posted by that girl at 1:05 AM on August 12, 2011

Best answer: Since you're in New York, it can often be comparatively inexpensive (compared to the rest of the US) to get to the UK and Ireland, and from there, it's only a ferry, train or bus ride to the Highlands of Scotland, the west of Ireland, Wales, or the Lake District in England, all of which are far rainier than London (which actually gets less rain than New York!). Here's a rainfall rundown.
posted by mdonley at 2:04 AM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I was going to suggest either the highlands of Scotland or the Lake district, which has so many lakes mainly because it rains all of the time. The lakes are really just very old puddles that are there all of the time.

Of course if you are travelling there and want rainly weather you might end up being there on the single day that it doesn't rain.

Easy travel from NYC though Newark or JFK to Manchester airport and a train ride direct from the airport up to Kendal.
posted by koolkat at 7:07 AM on August 12, 2011

Most of Florida in the summer has afternoon thunderstorms. These are short downpours, unlike what I think of in many of these other rainy spots. I suppose it would help to know if you wanted light rain or something closer to standing in the shower.
posted by advicepig at 7:33 AM on August 12, 2011

Best answer: Your good bet close to NYC is the Catskills. About 2 - 3 hours drive away. It's not as consistently rainy as you want, but it's rained almost every weekend up there this summer, and every time I've been camping up there, it's rained.
posted by jefftang at 8:17 AM on August 12, 2011

Best answer: Oh, trust. I left the pacific northwest because of this reason. Go to the Hoh! It is so beautiful and perfect for the rain lovers of the world. Plus, it's one of the only temperate rainforests in the USA!
posted by 200burritos at 9:36 AM on August 12, 2011

When we were in Jamaica for a week and a half it rained every afternoon from about 2:00 to about 3:30. For us it was "Ooh, naptime!" but you could go walking, I guess.
posted by Lexica at 10:59 AM on August 12, 2011

You can get pretty good deals to Ireland from New York on Aer Lingus. It rains every single day in Galway (near Shannon Airport), and it's gorgeous.
posted by caoimhe at 11:33 AM on August 12, 2011

Best answer: Hilo on the Big Island in Hawaii. From wikipedia:

Hilo features a tropical rainforest climate, with substantial rainfall throughout the course of the year. Hilo's location on the eastern side of the island of Hawaiʻi (windward relative to the trade winds) makes it the wettest city in the United States and one of the wettest cities in the world. An average of around 126 inches (3,200 mm) of rain fell at Hilo International Airport annually between 1971–2000, with 275 days of the year receiving some rain. At some other weather stations in Hilo the annual rainfall is above 200 inches (5,100 mm).

I was surprised to find that most of the vacation rentals on the east side of Hawaii are very affordable.

$95/nt, walking distance to snorkeling, hot tub!

$125/nt, hot tub, remote location

$75/nt, remote cottage near Akaka Falls

$99/nt, cute cottage with big sleeping lanai on fruit orchard

It goes on and on and on.. You'll have no trouble finding cheap, nice accommodation. If you're looking to be a bit outdoorsy, can't think of many better places than the Big Island.

Have a safe trip, cheers!
posted by cior at 4:26 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hilo weather, currently.
posted by cior at 4:40 PM on August 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for all the amazing responses. My new life goal is to visit all the places on this list one by one, starting with the Hoh Rainforest.
posted by incandescentman at 8:33 PM on August 27, 2011

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