10 Sunniest Cities in Washington State – Based on Climate Data

We looked through all the weather & climate data to find the sunniest cities in Washington State that offer the most days of sunshine and limited rain.

While Washington is known for being a wet and gray state, this reputation is actually only generally valid for the northwestern part of the state around the Seattle area.

In fact, the regions east of the Cascade Mountain Range offer a much warmer and sunnier climate compared to the cities in the Puget Sound region.

Therefore, we evaluated every town and city in The Evergreen State to determine which places offer the highest number of sunny days per year along with a limited amount of rainfall so that you can soak in the sun’s rays frequently throughout the year.

Afterall, sunshine has been proven to help elevate mood and happiness levels, so let’s take a look at the sunniest cities in Washington State.

Sunniest Cities in Washington State – Background

Before we begin with our list of the sunniest places to live in Washington State, let’s set a baseline of sunshine and rain levels with the city of Seattle so that you can compare it with the rest of the cities here.

Residents of Seattle experience about 152 days of sun per year, which is about 42% of their days. Meanwhile, they receive about 38 inches of rain annually.

While Seattle may not be as gray and dreary as you may expect, there are certainly sunnier and drier places in the state.

The 10 Sunniest Cities in Washington State in 2022

10. Friday Harbor

sunniest-cities-in-washington-state-Friday-Harbor

Population: 2,562
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 43%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 27 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Friday Harbor starts off our list of the sunniest cities in Washington State. Its climate is actually quite similar to Seattle’s, which isn’t surprising since it is located just 100 miles north.

But, residents of this quiet island town enjoy a bit more sun and a lot less rain throughout the year.

Still, Friday Harbor would not be considered a very warm place to live, as average highs in the summer only reach about 70-75 degrees.

9. Coupeville 

Population: 1,972
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 44%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 20 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Coupeville is a small town that is located on Whidbey Island about halfway between Friday Harbor and Seattle in Northwest Washington.

Residents here can enjoy about 161 days of sun per year, while the rainfall only amounts to about 20 inches per year, which is less than Seattle or Friday Harbor.

But, despite it being located on an island, Coupeville is not exactly a tropical paradise. Its average highs in the summer only get up to about 70-75 degrees.

8. Spokane

sunniest-cities-in-washington-state-Spokane

Population: 228,989
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 47%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 17 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Spokane is Washington State’s 2nd largest city and is located deep in Eastern Washington close to the Idaho border.

This thriving metropolis offers a great blend of amenities, affordability, and of course, sunny weather, with 171 days of sunshine on average.

But, be warned that Spokane also features four distinct seasons and experiences a lot of snowfall during the winter.

Its average of 45 inches of snow per year is the highest amount on this list. Still, even with all that snow, it is one of the sunniest cities in Washington State.

7. Pullman

Population: 34,506
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 47%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 21 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

This lively collegetown is home to Washington State University and offers a balanced life of good weather and fun living.

Located about 1 hour and 20 minutes south of Spokane in the southeastern corner of the state, Pullman’s climate is very similar to Spokane’s and also experiences lots of sunny days, but also a long winter of snowy conditions.

But, it is still quite warm during the summer, with temperatures reaching average highs of about 80 to 85 degrees in July and August.

We also named Pullman as one of the best cities in all of Eastern Washington.

6. Walla Walla

sunniest-cities-in-washington-state-Walla-Walla

Population: 32,900
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 52%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 19 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Walla Walla is located in the southern part of the state just 10 minutes from the border with Oregon.

The city enjoys 188 days of sunshine per year, which is a prime reason why it is also the home to over 120 wineries that can grow grapes in this ideal Mediterranean-like climate.

Summers are pretty warm here too, with average highs reaching 90 degrees, making it one of the sunniest cities in Washington State for folks who also want to enjoy some warm weather.

Meanwhile, it rarely snows in Walla Walla and temperatures only dip down to about 30 degrees in the winter.

5. Kennewick

Population: 84,347
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 52%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 8 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Kennewick is the largest of the Tri-Cities of Washington, which are located in the southern part of the state where the Yakima and Columbia Rivers meet up.

This sunny city receives about 191 days of sunshine per year and also features warm temperatures throughout each season.

The official climate of Kennewick is a “semi-arid” climate that is actually close to a desert climate. That creates summer temperature highs of 90 degrees with low humidity.

4. Pasco

Population: 75,432
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 53%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 8 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Pasco is another city in the Tri-Cities region, which makes its climate very similar to the warm and sunny environment found in Kennewick.

More than half of the days here are sunny and summers are hot and dry as well.

Pasco is also tied with the other Tri-Cities for having the lowest amount of rainfall on this list. Its 8 inches of rain per year is almost 80% less than what Seattle gets. 

3. Richland

sunniest-cities-in-washington-state-Richland

Population: 60,560
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 54%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 8 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Richland is the 3rd and smallest of the Tri-Cities trio in Southern Washington State, but it is also the sunniest.

We also ranked it as one of Washington State’s best cities.

Richland receives about 196 days of sun per year, which is about 5 more than its neighboring cities.

Its desert-like climate makes for hot, dry summers and mild winters that are warmer than the majority of the state. It also rarely snows in Richland (and the rest of the Tri-Cities).

During a heatwave in 2021, Richland even tied the state’s all-time high temperature, with a maximum temperature that reached 118 degrees in June 2021, making it one of the sunniest cities in Washington State as well as one of the hottest.

2. Yakima

Population: 96,968
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 55%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 9 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Yakima is a sunny city that is located close to the Cascades in the lush Yakima Valley. This region is famous for its wineries and apple orchards, which is aided by the ample number of sunny days that it receives.

Yakima gets 199 days of sun on average. which allows its vineyards and farms to flourish.

The temperature here is also quite comfortable, with average highs of 90 degrees during the summer and lows that are just above 20 degrees in the winter.

But, that also means that there is a bit more snowfall here. You can expect about 20 inches of snow per year during the winter.

1. Ellensburg

sunniest-cities-in-washington-state-Ellensburg

Population: 21,111
Percent of Sunny Days per Year: 56%
Average Inches of Rain per Year: 9 inches

Location: Check on Google Maps

Ellensburg tops our list as the sunniest city in Washington State. This historic city is located on the Yakima River about 40 minutes north of Yakima in Central Washington. It is also the home of Central Washington University.

Residents of Ellensburg enjoy about 204 days of sunshine per year, which makes it the only city on this list that receives more than 200 days of sun annually.

Temperatures are a bit milder here compared to Yakima or the Tri-Cities, but they are still quite warm for Washington standards.

Average highs in July and August hover around the 85 degree mark, while winter lows reach about 18 degrees.

Additionally, the city receives about 27 inches of snow per year.

Still, you can enjoy sun here on almost 2 out of every 3 days, which makes it the sunniest city in Washington State.

Sunniest Cities in Washington State – Summary

Overall, the sunniest places in Washington State are:

  1. Ellensburg
  2. Yakima
  3. Richland
  4. Pasco
  5. Kennewick
  6. Walla Walla
  7. Pullman
  8. Spokane
  9. Coupeville
  10. Friday Harbor

Most of these cities are located in south and eastern parts of the states, although they are quite spread out, which means there are many places to get a lot of sun within Washington.

We hope this list also dispels the myth that the whole state is always cloudy and rainy as these cities receive sunshine for roughly half the days of the year.