Free to be a healthy me!
November 22, 2012 8:17 AM   Subscribe

For my health, I want/need to move to the right climate for me, which I'm not sure even exists. It has to be sunny a lot, not humid, with very few days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32C) (I guess I could put up with about 3 weeks like that, and nothing over 100 please) and very few days that are 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17C) or below. (I don't mind snow.)

It also has to be a place where it's not too hard for a small 50 year old female with some office experience to find a decent job (which I expect to have to supplement by delivering pizza on weekends, preferably daylight).

It has to be in North America, or Australia, or somewhere full of expats, although I would prefer it to be in the United States, as that is where I've always lived and I'm not sure how adventurous I can be. I have been searching places in the US online, and the best place in the US seems to be Reno, NV as far as the weather goes, but it doesn't seem like it would be easy to find a job there.

The difficulty is, most places with low humidity are too hot.

(Currently, I live in Western PA, which is seriously beautiful, but too humid/rainy and just too many dark, dreary, overcast days.)
posted by serena15221 to Travel & Transportation (42 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
posted by empath at 8:17 AM on November 22, 2012

(Yes, a lot of it is hot, but if you move to higher elevations it can get quite cold. Flagstaff for example).
posted by empath at 8:19 AM on November 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I've been monitoring temperatures in Staunton, Va. for a few years now, and while July/August seems to be hot a little too long for your preference, the rest of the year should fit you like a glove, and provide plenty of compensation. To be more specific, even if you'd be searching work in, say, Charlottesville (which gets good reviews in terms of livability), you'll want to live in the Shenandoah valley west of the ridge. Most days sunny, rainy almost only when a storm passes by along the coast, even in late August some brilliant and dry days, some snow in the winter but no ridiculously low temperatures, and go so on.
posted by Namlit at 8:24 AM on November 22, 2012

San Diego, or the coastal southern California region. If you stay coastal or just slightly inland of the coast. Temps get a little chilly at night in the winter, but during the day it's dry and in the 60's and 70's, with a few days in the 80's in the late summer. It's sunny most of the time, low humidity, and barely rains. June Gloom/May Gray is the marine cloud cover that tends to pop up in the spring, and makes it overcast most days for a little bit. But if you head sightly inland you can avoid that and still avoid the desert hot temperatures. Plus its a beautiful and vibrant place.
posted by christiehawk at 8:28 AM on November 22, 2012 [12 favorites]

I'm far from a weather expert, but as someone who has lived in next-door-neighbor North Carolina all my life, I would worry about Staunton, Virginia being too humid.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 8:40 AM on November 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hawaii: the trade winds keep it from getting too hot, and it certainly doesn't get really cold. Can't speak to the job situation, though.
Coastal southern California, anywhere from, say, Ventura on down.
North Carolina's Outer Banks.

(Staunton Va. is miserable in July and August: downright steamy, with the heat and humidity in this state. Virginia is also bad for folks with allergies.)
posted by easily confused at 8:44 AM on November 22, 2012

Well, Bend, Oregon fits your weather description perfectly. 300+ days of sun a year, it only went over 90 degrees 2 or 3 days this summer and we rarely get below zero. The humidity is very low, so even when it's hot out it doesn't feel that bad.

As far as the job situation Totally depends on what kind of work you're looking for.
posted by evilbeck at 8:45 AM on November 22, 2012

Pretty much anywhere on the California coast; San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara. The ocean mediates the heat in the summer, particularly the fog (technically, coastal stratus). SF has a lot of local variation in weather; if you want to have the least heat, you want to be out near the ocean in the Sunset or Richmond districts or some other foggy area. It is humid in the summer, downright wet, but it's cool. When it gets warm it gets dry.

You may find WeatherSpark useful for researching historical weather and averages. Here's the past few years for Half Moon Bay, you can see the daily high rarely exceeds 75F. Half Moon Bay is a bit cooler / foggier than coastal SF, but it's more representative than the other weather station at SFO airport. Here's Santa Barbara; warmer than I expected.
posted by Nelson at 8:45 AM on November 22, 2012

San Francisco is foggy, which is humid, but generally cool humidity; seldom gets into the nineties, doesn't get very cold. Hawaii is not very humid, and because it's in the middle of the Pacific, the temp. range is narrow and very pleasant. Both places are quite expensive. The big island of Hawaii may be somewhat affordable.

Colorado is quite dry, but it gets cold. Santa Fe looks promising, and maybe Lake Tahoe. The Long Valley of California, which basically extends up the west coast, is a desert, and the northern part should be cool.
posted by theora55 at 8:55 AM on November 22, 2012

Reno is horrible. Lake Tahoe is pretty but is thin on the job front and has a high cost of living.

What about New Mexico or Colorado?
posted by elsietheeel at 8:59 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: . Pretty much anywhere on the California coast; San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara.

I always heard that San Francisco was overcast and foggy (fog equals humidity, I've always assumed.) If this is true, then are Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara the same?

I think I get what you mean though, if I move there I won't have to be hot AND humid at the same time.
posted by serena15221 at 9:01 AM on November 22, 2012

Santa Barbara is closer to Los Angeles than SF --- California is a LONG state, with big differences between the northern and southern ends! As an example, I think it's something like 350 miles or so between LA and San Diego, and farther from LA to SF.
posted by easily confused at 9:09 AM on November 22, 2012

Cape Town
posted by roofus at 9:19 AM on November 22, 2012

If you want really sunny, you should probably avoid the Bay Area. However, I do think people tend to overemphasise how overcast it is, probably because they're expecting warm and sunny all the time and they get usually warm-ish and often sunny. That said, you might want to look at the weather records for March more closely--one year I was living there, it rained every day in the month of March and I was definitely sick of gloom. But there's not much 'holy crap gloom' like Seattle gets.
posted by hoyland at 9:23 AM on November 22, 2012

The weather in Marin county, CA is perfect for you - I grew up in San Rafael. It rarely gets above 85, and is only above 80 for a couple weeks in the summer. In the winter there is some rain, but it doesn't get cold enough to snow. It is never humid. Much of Northern CA is similar; Santa Cruz might also be great. San Francisco isn't sunny enough though.

Not sure about jobs, though.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:24 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

San Francisco and Santa Cruz have very similar weather. Santa Barbara is warmer and drier, less foggy, it's a much milder climate down south. In all places there is a lot of humidity when it's cool. A typical SF summer day will be 60F and 90% humidity. It doesn't feel hot at all, most people complains it feels chilly. I missed the part about wanting sunny before; SF and Santa Cruz are not sunny. Santa Barbara kind of is.

For the high mountain options, I used to live in Santa Fe at 7000'. It's lovely weather, but it gets hot in the middle of the afternoon in the summer. If you stay out of the sun it's comfortable, mostly because it's so dry. But I wouldn't call it a cool climate in the summer.
posted by Nelson at 9:25 AM on November 22, 2012

To clarify about San Francisco and fog - it's often quite foggy, but it's a microclimate and most of the surrounding Bay Area is not.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:25 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

San Francisco is humid, it's true, but because it so rarely gets hot here, it doesn't feel humid like the East Coast feels humid. Where the fog is is very dependent on where you live; in the Mission, it may be overcast or even very sunny while it's completely fogged in three miles away. The East Bay (Berkeley, Oakland) are much more reliably sunny; ditto for parts of the North Bay. It rarely cracks 80 degrees here, and when it does, it doesn't last more than three days. But the cost of living here is very high and isn't going down any time soon.

Denver? Wicked sunny, from everything I've heard, and average temps seem to fall into your range. I've never been there and don't know anything about the job market, though.
posted by rtha at 9:26 AM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

For northern California, you probably want to be slightly more inland. So not San Francisco but one of the suburbs. San Jose is something like 40 miles south of San Francisco but can be up to 20 degrees warmer and might be a bit too warm for you. I'd go with some where in between, if you decide on the bay area. The issue with much of the rest of the northern California coast is that there may not be a ton of jobs. Santa Barbara or LA or San Diego might work better, but there you also want to be careful. Even 10 miles inland, it might start getting hotter than your ideal. And of course, the closer you are to the coast the more expensive it gets.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:26 AM on November 22, 2012

Try this website; you can search according to the characteristics you want in a city/town.

posted by Sal and Richard at 9:33 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's a map of all areas in the United States that have an average minimum annual temperature* >= 0F, maximum annual temperature <= 90 and receive less than 0.5m of rain (19.6"). Looks like most major cities in the inter-montane West would work (SLC, Denver, Santa Fe or Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Boise), as well as the southern California cities already mentioned. Reno could work.

*(Not mean minimum temperature taken across the year, but literally the coldest temperature, averaged across multiple years)
posted by one_bean at 9:50 AM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Coastal California can be simultaneously very foggy and cool right on the coast, while half a mile inland it's desert dry and too hot. If you can locate yourself in the right microclimate it could be perfect for you.
posted by ook at 9:56 AM on November 22, 2012

Northern New Mexico. Albuquerque, Santa Fe.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 10:04 AM on November 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by leafwoman at 10:11 AM on November 22, 2012

I'm in southern Colorado. It's rare to have a day without sunshine. It's a dry climate. When it snows, it usually burns off by noon. We have some cold days, but it's nothing like Pennsylvania. (I lived in central PA for a year and it was so dreary! Days upon days with cloud cover. Mounds of dirty snow in parking lots. But springtime was amazing.) A lot of Colorado might fit your description. As for the economy, it depends. Like a lot of places, employment here seems stratified. A 1bdrm apt rents for anywhere between 400 to 900 if that's any idea.
posted by mochapickle at 10:14 AM on November 22, 2012

Sacramento might be right for you.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:19 AM on November 22, 2012

posted by taff at 11:18 AM on November 22, 2012

Santa Barbara has the most consistently benign weather of anywhere in the US that I know, but then forest fires, so if your concerns are at all respiratory it might not be for you.

High desert does sound like your preferred environment. Santa Fe, Albuquerque, etc. are good places to start your search.

I have a geocrush on San Mateo, California right now. I don't know what the job scene is like, but it does seem to hit the weather sweet spot between San Francisco and San Jose.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:38 AM on November 22, 2012

Is that you, Judy?!? (LOL)

I also live/work in Western PA (just miles from the zip code in your name, in fact) and I was speaking with a woman at work about this very issue. I feel the same way as you do: I am tired of the Pittsburgh cold, and it's only going to get worse. Ugh.

I actually think about this topic a lot. I mean a LOT. I am finishing up a Master's in Human Geography, so I am constantly reading about how other people live, where they live, if I would like living there... I have even synthesized some maps based on climate, geography, and social factors to create an ultimate map of where I might like to live. Not only do I want to live somewhere warmer, but it needs to fit my political/social sensibilities and my landscape needs as well, something you have kept in mind, I'm sure. (For example, I find the industrial landscape of the Burgh quite depressing and I long for something greener and cleaner -- probably a small town.)

For the best low humidity but warm/sunny situations in the U.S., I would look at the swath of states in the Southwest: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California.

Check out CA in particular, especially the south and central CA coast: Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, LA, Long Beach, and San Diego. The average high in these places is usually in the 60s year-round and summers typically do not crest 85 degrees. Plus, the heat is typically a dry, non-humid heat and it's extremely sunny there. It honestly sounds perfect to me.

If you were willing to be a little flexible when it comes to temps and humidity (maybe the west coast is not your thing), you could check out the Atlantic seaboard from central Delaware down to Charleston. I would recommend anywhere between the fall line and the shore -- particularly Lewes, DE (really beautiful area); Salisbury, MD; Norfolk, VA metro area; the Outer Banks; Wilmington, NC; and Charleston, SC. Anything west of the fall line is higher elevation, which leads to somewhat lower temperatures. The lower elevation east of the fall line allows for more of the oceanic humidity, however, so it is a trade-off.

Good luck with your searching! I hope you are able to find something suitable!
posted by paperclip2000 at 12:02 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

What is your education and skill level, and what kind of jobs are you going to be looking for? Albuquerque or Salt Lake City might be the best bet for you in terms of combining your desired climate with affordability and job availability.

The East Bay is wonderful, but it's also expensive, and you will be competing with a lot of well-educated people for work (even clerical work). The jobs are here, in fact the Bay Area posted quite a respectable job growth lately, but it's often taken for granted that even clerical job applicants have a college degree. However, it's not hopeless, and if you do want to live in the Bay Area, I'd suggest Oakland or El Cerrito (both in the East Bay) as they are less expensive than San Francisco proper and a lot cooler in summer than otherwise nice places like Concord and Pleasant Hill further inland. I live further inland in the East Bay (on the other side of the Caldecott Tunnel from Oakland) and it can get to over 100 degrees in late summer.

You spoke of delivering pizzas for extra income so that means you have a car, which will give you a lot more leeway with choosing neighborhoods you can afford.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:48 PM on November 22, 2012

If I didn't mind snow (after spending 35 years in New England before relocating to San Francisco, I never ever want to see it again), I'd move to Bend, Oregon in a heartbeat. That is a seriously great town.
posted by jesourie at 12:53 PM on November 22, 2012

Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra - in fact almost anywhere on the Australian south east coast, but the state capitals obviously have the most jobs. Pizza delivery probably not required.
posted by trialex at 1:06 PM on November 22, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all your replies so far, it's a lot to consider. One thing...I would really miss the beautiful springs and falls around here...I guess that would be a good time to come back and visit. (Any place with hills, spring and fall is a plus.)
posted by serena15221 at 1:41 PM on November 22, 2012

The likelihood that emigrating to Australia from the US is an easy option if your profession is in the office administration field seems small to me, unless one of your parents was Australian; Australian immigration has really tightened up as of this fall.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Canberra and Melbourne can get excruciatingly hot. 40 degrees celcius + while I was living there (Melbourne) and I know it's very hot in Canberra too. It's dry, but it's still hot. So I'd say go further south and hit Tasmania.

But yeah, immigration rules are pretty tight.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:29 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was going to say essentially the same things as geek anachronism and Sidhedevil. Immigration is difficult. But I suspect Hobart might meet your requirements. Alternatively, if your able to qualify for AU immigration, there's a reasonable chance you'd also qualify in NZ. Auckland would definitely fit much of your needs.
posted by michswiss at 5:49 PM on November 22, 2012

Agree that Tassie is likely the only place in Australia that'll fit your requirements. Sydney and North is too humid and everywhere else too hot.
posted by kjs4 at 6:10 PM on November 22, 2012

Coastal SoCal fits your requirements very well. Santa Barbara falls into this category, but that place us even more expensive than LA. You want LA county, Orange County or San Diego county. You do not want to go too far inland or it gets too hot. Too close to the sea (within 1 or 2 miles) and it gets too chilly and foggy in the evenings.
posted by Joh at 6:22 PM on November 22, 2012

I should note that due to my asthma and allergies, my preferred climate is exactly as you describe. Moving to SoCal from London greatly improved my health!
posted by Joh at 6:30 PM on November 22, 2012

Denver gets 300 days of sun a year, very low humidity, and most of the time within your temperature needs. The economy is reasonably good there as well. Plus, great cost of living and nice people.
posted by BigJen at 9:21 PM on November 22, 2012

Friend from Washington PA moved to Albuquerque and has only gone back a few times. She doesn't miss it at all.

What you're looking for is called alto plano desert of which the American Southwest has a plentiful supply. For a softer landing you might try Taos or Santa Fe, but they are much pricier than lower down the hill. There is also a lot of Utah if you stay out of the Salt Lake Basin.

Depending on your skill set as to where you want to live, there are a lot of choices, start scanning the job boards and see what cities come up with appropriate job descriptions.
posted by ptm at 12:17 AM on November 23, 2012

You might also look at the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland) in eastern Washington state. It's high desert, like many of the places people have suggested, but it's got one of the best job markets in the country right now. I love Bend, but the economy in Oregon is not so great. It's inexpensive to live here and lots of government money keeps the economy humming along, even during recessions. The big city is pretty close if you get bored--4 hours to Seattle or Portland, 2 to Spokane--and there are lots of outdoorsy things to do and approximately a zillion wineries close by. It may be a little hotter in the summer than you'd like, but not by much.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:05 PM on November 24, 2012

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