Good day, sunshine.

By Susan Hall Mahon
September 26, 2019

In a world where there are endless ways to rank beach towns: the best ones to live in, most affordable, best for retirees, best for singles, friendliest, coziest, and so many more, it's easy to overlook one of the most important elements of time spent at the beach: the weather.

Forces of nature can make or break a beach trip, and since predicting the weather is often a fool's errand, it can be wise to set your compass for seaside locations with as many pleasant weather days as possible.

That's where Zillow's new report comes in. There are are plenty of “sunniest places” lists (hello, Yuma, Arizona), but Zillow's new ranking considers weather on a broader scale, including temperature, precipitation, and sunshine, among other factors. The resulting ‘pleasant day’ index was applied to cities across the United States. Then Zillow layered in each city's median home value to determine the relationship between pleasant climate and cost of living. The results are enlightening.

Surfer's Point, Seaside Park, Ventura, California
Ron and Patty Thomas/Getty Images

Of the top 10 places with the most pleasant days per year, sunny, temperate California claimed nine. These top 10 locations had another thing in common: generally high median home values, with seven of the top 10 pleasant weather cities also ranking in the top 10 for highest median home value.

"The top five metro areas for pleasant weather have median home values around $600,000, more than double the national median of $229,000," writes Jeff Tucker of Zillow. "Northern California—the most pleasant region after SoCal—costs even more, with median home values ranging around $1 million in the Bay Area metros of San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz."

Like a trip to the beach, we're here for good weather, so without further ado, the number one pleasant weather city on Zillow's list is ... Ventura, California. The natural beauty on the Central Coast, just south of Santa Barbara, is casual, artsy, and outdoorsy, with first-rate beaches, surfing, and hiking. And with close proximity to farms, wineries, and the bountiful Pacific, there is no shortage of fresh, delicious food and drink to indulge in.

Pair these gifts with 304 pleasant weather days a year, and you can see why people are willing to pay a bit more for housing here. Ventura's median home price is $591,500, more than double the national median of $229,000, yet lower than almost every other top 10 pleasant weather city in the ranking (see below).

Valeria Venezia/Getty Images

Here is the full list of top 10 metro areas based on pleasant days per year, along with their median home value:

  1. Ventura, CA | 304.1 pleasant days | $598,000 median home value
  2. San Diego, CA | 276.1 pleasant days | $591,500 median home value
  3. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA | 266.7 pleasant days | $602,800 median home value
  4. Salinas, CA | 259.1 pleasant days | $574,700 median home value
  5. Los Angeles, CA | 252.9 pleasant days | $650,600 median home value
  6. San Jose, CA | 248.8 pleasant days | $1,144,800 median home value
  7. San Francisco, CA | 240.8 pleasant days | $938,100 median home value
  8. Kahului, HI | 240.7 pleasant days | $628,400 median home value
  9. Santa Cruz, CA | 237.0 pleasant days | $821,700 median home value
  10. San Luis Obispo, CA | 235.7 pleasant days | $613,000 median home value

Related: 10 Best Little Beach Towns in Florida

On the other side of the country, an interesting flip happens. Cities with both pleasant weather and a lower median home value tended to occur in the Southeast. If you can endure the warm summers, here you'll find generally good weather and reasonable home prices. We plucked the top coastal cities from Zillow's list and put them in order of most pleasant days per year:

  1. Daytona Beach, FL | 207 pleasant days | $210K median home value
  2. Hilton Head Island, SC | 198 pleasant days | $303K median home value
  3. Brunswick, GA | 185 pleasant days | $194K median home value
  4. Daphne, AL | 185 pleasant days | $194K median home value
  5. Charleston, SC | 179 pleasant days | $254K median home value
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