Yuma, Arizona

Photo by Matt Harding

Where in the West Should I Go? • 52 Places to Visit in 2022

If you’re looking for sun, heat or lettuce, look no further! 

Yuma is the sunniest city in the U.S., boasting sunny days roughly 90% of the year. It’s also the hottest – seeing about 175 days annually above 90 degrees. In the summer months, temps are in the 100s almost daily. The hottest day on record there in 124 degrees, set in July 1995. 

But it’s also a wintertime escape. Many thousands of “snowbirds” come from Canada and parts of the northern U.S. – oftentimes from late fall to early spring – to enjoy that famous sunshine and temps that can only be described as perfect. Does it get better than 75 and sunny?

However, the weather isn’t all Yuma is known for. Yuma County is known as “America’s salad bowl,” producing 90% of the country’s leafy vegetables like lettuce from November to March. Agricultural tours and farm-to-table meals have grown in popularity, and it’s not just lettuce growing. Dates and lemons are also area specialties. Cruise down a county road with the windows rolled down and take in that delicious ag smell.

While in Yuma, you’d be remiss to miss its historic downtown, which includes the Colorado River State Historic Park and Yuma Territorial Prison – plus the cool Ocean to Ocean Highway Bridge that connects Yuma with California. 

With Yuma’s proximity to Mexico, you can also divert down to the border. But if you’re seeking nature in the States, follow the road north to Mittry Lake and Martinez Lake. Further up the Colorado River is Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, a beautiful area that provides a home for migratory waterfowl and other birds.