We're full swing into summer, and it's hot out: Eggs are frying on pavement, cookies are baking on car dashboards, and we're hearing the term "heat wave" on the regular from our weather people. Even if you're doing everything you can to make like a vampire and avoid direct sunlight, plenty of people out there love soaking up the sunshine. And we have good news for these sun worshippers.
Trulia crunched the numbers and compiled a list of the best cities to live in if you want to be out and about in the sunshine. First, we factored in the number of sunny-day activity spots, such as bike rental locations, golf courses, swimming pools, and tennis courts per 10,000 residents in the country's 100 largest metros. Then we layered in the popularity of solar installation services and the number of sunny days every year. The result? The best -- and worst -- places to soak up the sun.
The sunshine states
It should come as no surprise that the top cities for sun lovers are also top vacation destinations: think California, Florida, and Hawaii. But (surprise!) you'll pay a premium to live in the sunniest cities in the U.S. The top four metros -- Honolulu, HI, Ventura County, CA, Orange County, CA, and San Diego, CA -- have median listing prices well above late July's average U.S. listing price of $313,766. For more affordable housing in sunshine states, look east to Florida, Texas, and South Carolina.
Sun lovers, don't add just Honolulu to your must-visit list: All of Hawaii deserves a spot. Maui's Haleakala National Park is consistently rated one of the best places to watch the sunrise or sunset. The striking view takes place 10,000 feet above sea level and is truly a unique experience. For those of us on the mainland, the top cities on the list have a lot of crossover with those that thrive on outdoor activities: Three of the cities overlap with Golf.com's top golf cities: Austin, TX, Las Vegas, NV, and San Jose, CA.
Ready the solar panels
Perhaps you're not interested in sunning yourself and prefer to sun your home instead -- with solar panels, that is. If that's the case, pack your bags and head to Cali -- nine of the 10 cities on our list are in the Golden State. Next10.org reports that electricity generated by solar power in California between 2009 and 2014 increased an astonishing 1,378%.
Perhaps most thrilling for budget-conscious homeowners is that California residents' average monthly electric bill is 20% lower than the U.S. average, due to higher levels of energy efficiency. Plus, this year, Californians (and all U.S. residents) can claim a residential energy-efficient property credit for those solar panels come tax time. Sign us up!
Steal my sunshine
Things are looking a little dreary in the middle of the country. That's because all five cities that were ranked the lowest for sun lovers are located in (mainly) landlocked states in the Midwest and Mississippi Valley. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, cities like Detroit, MI, and Toledo, OH, see only around 50% average possible sunshine, which may seem like a lot compared with a city like Juneau, AK (which sees about 30%). But the low availability of sunny-day recreational activities (like swimming, tennis, and golf) and solar panel installation services earns these cities a spot on our list of metros for those who prefer the shade.
Is your city a sunshine hot spot? What cities would you add to the list? Share in the comments!