Where is it always autumn?
February 11, 2016 2:41 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are looking to move in the next few years. It seems like the best place for us climate-wise is somewhere it feels like it's always autumn (northern US version). Is that somewhere in the US and/or Europe?

We lived in San Francisco. The Pacific side of it is pretty close to ideal: temperatures generally with a high in the 60s F / high teens C, lows in the 40s F / high single digits C. Someplace where a "hot" day is in the high 70s F / mid 20s C and a cold day is below freezing. Someplace where, on any given day, you could have that weather. I want to enjoy the warm sun in a cool breeze and have the option to make a fire in the evening.

We both love the ocean and I think this climate is pretty marine by nature, so somewhere like that is great. Pacific NW would be on the list if it didn't rain as much. SF would be back on the list if it wasn't so insanely expensive.

Our jobs are highly flexible and the goal/dream is to move to Europe, so those places are definitely on the list, too. We can handle not speaking English of various kinds. We'd prefer to be in smaller city or town than a large (>500000 people) city, but the large cities have their outskirts.

Thanks for your suggestions.
posted by laerm to Travel & Transportation (27 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Adelaide comes to mind, and seems to fit the bill. 60-85 Fahrenheit in the summer, 45-60 in the winter on average. Not a ton of rain or humidity. I've never been, but the numbers seem to fit.

Galway also looks amenable. Again, never been in person.

San Sebastian/Bilbao/Biarritz?

What about somewhere along the northern California coast outside of San Francisco? Monterey, Santa Cruz maybe? That seems like your best bet in North America.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:56 PM on February 11, 2016

Isn't this more or less a "warm-summer Mediterranean climate"? "warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 22 °C (72 °F) during its warmest month and an average in the coldest month between 18 to −3 °C (64 to 27 °F)"?

Wikipedia says places with that climate are "northwestern Iberia, coastal California, central Chile, parts of southern Australia, sections of southwestern South Africa and sections of the Atlantic coast of Morocco." So in North America and Europe you're talking California (sorry) and Spain/Portugal.
posted by crazy with stars at 3:03 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh goodness no, Adelaide gets very hot in summer. Absolutely not autumnal!
posted by smoke at 3:06 PM on February 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

Have you checked out San Diego? Thanks to June Gloom, June or July is sometimes more fall-like weather than other parts of the year. Every evening, the winds make the temperature drop dramatically for a bit and most of the rain seems to come from the Bering Sea, which means that every time it rains, it is dramatically cooler for the next two to three days.

I have seen short stints of hot weather, but, god, for all that it has a reputation of being beautiful year-round, I am happy to leave the perpetual Autumn weather of San Diego behind me.
posted by Michele in California at 3:10 PM on February 11, 2016

Another climate type worth checking out is the "Subtropical highland variety" of the oceanic climate. "A subtropical highland climate tends to feature spring-like weather year-round... In the tropics, a subtropical highland climate tends to feature spring-like weather year-round. Temperatures there remain relatively constant throughout the year and snowfall is seldom seen. Areas with this climate feature monthly averages below 22 °C (72 °F) but above −3 °C (27 °F)."

Unfortunately I'm not sure there are any areas with this climate in the US or Europe. More like Mexico City, South America, and parts of Africa.
posted by crazy with stars at 3:17 PM on February 11, 2016

For the first eight years I lived in the SF Bay Area, when asked the date, I would perpetually start with "September... No wait, March..." since it always seemed like spring or fall.
posted by slidell at 3:19 PM on February 11, 2016

Oh, I lived in the SF Bay Area for a time. It is not the same in every county.

Solano is closer to a four season climate than most of the others. But it is substantially cheaper. If the weather variance is not a deal breaker, you might check out Solano County.

From what I gather, Napa is 60 to 80 degrees there year-round, which is part of why they grow grapes there. But it also tends to be pretty expensive, much more so than Solano County.
posted by Michele in California at 3:23 PM on February 11, 2016

The Sonoma/Mendocino/Humboldt coast north of the Bay has more or less the same weather, although there are all kinds of odd microclimates along the way. I wouldn't call it cheap, but it's cheaper than San Francisco (along with the rest of planet Earth). Eureka/Arcata are the only real towns (combined pop. ~50,000), Fort Bragg is like 7,000, everything else is tiny one-street hamlets or just houses strung along Highway 1. It's very isolated - you could easily be hours from the nearest airport or hospital - and internet/cell service varies town by town. Anything even a little bit inland gets much hotter.
posted by theodolite at 3:24 PM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sorry. I got excited to answer and just noticed you lived in SF and have ruled it out.
posted by slidell at 3:30 PM on February 11, 2016

Asheville NC. Not coastal, but mountain-y and lovely weather.
posted by greta simone at 3:33 PM on February 11, 2016

Pretty much the whole of New Zealand fits that requirement, although the very northern end of the North Island might not get quite cold enough for you. I live in Australia now, but when I go back to NZ in "summer", I take my autumn/spring clothes for daily wear and some winter woollies for the colder evenings.

I think you'd probably like English weather too, although maybe the winters are a bit chilly in some of the country.
posted by lollusc at 3:59 PM on February 11, 2016

Asheville NC. Not coastal, but mountain-y and lovely weather.

No. Highs in summer are consistently towards 30s (C) / 90s (F) and though that's more bearable than down the mountain (or Florida for the halfbacks) it's still uncomfortable for anyone used to the SF microclimate or British/Irish temperate seasons. There wasn't a truly justifiable light-a-fire day until December.

The answer to your question is probably "western Ireland for six months then NZ or maybe Tasmania with a place further north when it's pissy-rainy."
posted by holgate at 4:05 PM on February 11, 2016

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:14 PM on February 11, 2016

Definitely no to Adelaide. NO NO NO! They get lots of runs of 104F plus. Baking hot breezes. Though if you like the smell of fire in the evening, plenty of bushfires in the surrounding hills.
posted by kitten magic at 4:22 PM on February 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Coastal Alaska?


Also, it doesn't rain in the PNW as much as the hype would suggest.
posted by Pearl928 at 5:11 PM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hobart, Tasmania. A little off the beaten path but Tassie is gorgeous.
posted by Cuke at 7:43 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

San Diego is probably a smidgen too warm. It is also unrelentingly sunny. For as much as we complain about May Gray and June Gloom, it's a very rare day that the marine layer hasn't burned off by lunchtime. If you like it a few degrees cooler (especially in the evening) and a bit more seasonal variation, then Santa Barbara might fit.
posted by 26.2 at 10:26 PM on February 11, 2016

Seconding Hobart in Tasmania. Absolutely perfect in terms of size and weather parameters.
posted by honey-barbara at 10:55 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I loved Antwerp's mild climate. It's still rainy but not nearly as crazy as the PNW. And although it's not exactly small population-wise (~500,000), it's definitely got a smaller city vibe.
posted by thebots at 12:02 AM on February 12, 2016

Dublin, maybe? Irish winters can freeze, but it's usually not for very long.
posted by cotterpin at 2:41 AM on February 12, 2016

I'd suggest Ireland, south Wales or England. Scotland and the northern parts of England might be a little more frost/snow-prone than you'd want, from your description.

It doesn't rain as much here (southern England) as people think it does, and the coldest nights we've had so far this winter have only been about -3 to -5 C.
posted by A Robot Ninja at 4:14 AM on February 12, 2016

Sounds like most of England, the first south you go the more likely you are to have "hot" days in the high twenties, early thirties but those are freak occurrences, you wont get more than a week of that a year!. I wouldn't say it permanently felt like autumn though but I don't consider mid twenties or below freezing to be autumnal either but I've lived in England all my life.

Looking at some quick googling, the country as a whole gets less than half the rainfall of the Pacific NW, I don't know how the costs compare to SF.
posted by missmagenta at 4:42 AM on February 12, 2016

I'd say Scotland, though it might be a little cooler and wetter than what you exactly want. And if you want sun, you'll need the East coast.
posted by Vortisaur at 5:15 AM on February 12, 2016

re: Humboldt/Eureka/Arcata, if it rains too much in Seattle/Pacific NW for the OP, then these are also off the table because hopefully the drought will eventually end.
posted by smirkette at 5:26 AM on February 12, 2016

I'd say Scotland, though it might be a little cooler and wetter than what you exactly want. And if you want sun, you'll need the East coast.

FWIW, where I live in Edinburgh, we've had a five year run of damp, miserable summers followed by damp, miserable winters. I can't remember the last streak of sunny, crisp winter days or sunny, warm summer days (where by warm I mean over 18C) that was longer than 3 or 4 days max.

The podcast Answer Me This had a question about this in Episode 316 - their recommendation was the Azores, which is apparently pretty much autumnal/late summer temperatures and weather year round.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:38 AM on February 12, 2016

Asheville NC. Not coastal, but mountain-y and lovely weather.

Not Asheville. My wife has a friend she was going to drive up there to visit this weekend. She's not going because he lives on a mountain and the mountain is icy.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:27 AM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, thanks everyone for the A LOT of great answers. I admit I had my biases beforehand – suggestions I hoped for and places I didn't want to hear – but the love for non-SF CA locales might have me reconsider northern California (though not San Diego: man, that place is boring). I was thinking that Ireland and Wales had potential, and it's good to hear that others think so (it also leads me to believe Brittany would be similar). I would have never considered New Zealand or Tasmania, but now I want to visit and check them out. The Netherlands were another place I was wondering about.

The Azores are definitely the most out-there suggestion. I have no idea what people do there. I was under the impression that business there is mostly tourism, farming, or fishing. I know I said our jobs were flexible, but maybe not *that* flexible...

Thanks again for the answers. When we settle on somewhere, I'll report back and zombie thread this in several years. ;)
posted by laerm at 9:41 AM on February 12, 2016

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