I love Thrillist, since it is Fall, they have come up with a list of the worst places to live in the winter and believe it or not, Alaska doesn’t come in as the worst. You may be surprised to find out who does. So let’s go through all 50 states and see how they ranked:
50.) Hawaii: Even if you have never stepped foot in Hawaii, you can imagine is pretty close to paradise. I have been there and, yes, it is almost paradise. Believe it or not, they do get snow, but it is only in one place and it isn’t a place that will prevent you from swimming, surfing or enjoying the sun.
49.) Arizona: You can probably guess that the deserts of Tucson and Phoenix don’t qualify. I mean, it does get chilly during the winter, but any place that has to shut down the airport because it is too hot to land aircraft isn’t going to be a place where winter is an issue. That isn’t to say they don’t get snow. They have Snowbowl and Flagstaff that do get their share of snow, but it really doesn’t count, does it?
48.) California: Another place you wouldn’t think of snow, however, Mount Baldy, Tahoe and Big Bear Lake get a LOT of snow. Those places, though, are the exception, not the rule. For the most part you have to deal with wind and overcast skies for a couple of month in the winter and in June. But think about it, when winter comes in, the Smog is not a real factor.
47.) Colorado: Now you are going to say Thrillist is crazy for not putting this one higher on the list. But remember is it a list of the WORST places for winter. In Colorado, winter is celebrated with beer, football and skiing, all the while the sun is shining. I mean, how bad is that?
46.) Florida: Let’s see, you will need a jacket, there isn’t much rain during winter, you may get an ice storm every couple of years in the panhandle, you don’t get hurricanes in winter and the sun is still shining. Heck, you even get 80s during this time of year in Southern Florida. Next….
45.) New Mexico: Combine the desert of Arizona and the skiing possibilities of Colorado and well…livable and enjoyable.
44.) Louisiana: This is where you get to experience winter in a whole new way. Cajun Christmas is something to behold. You also get LSU football, Saints NFL games and there isn’t a time of year in Louisiana where they aren’t partying in preparation for Mardi Gras.
43.) Texas: Yes, the Texas pan handle get hammered. The rest of the state, not so much. As a matter of fact, they don’t see much snow, if any at all, the farther West and South you go. North East Texas gets icy during the winter and will shut down even Dallas, but that doesn’t happen often. The rest of the state, doesn’t see much except for a few bone-chilling days.
42.) Georgia: Freezing rain and tornadoes suck, but consider where we live. It really doesn’t factor much to us…however, to Georgians, it will paralyze them for a day. (Not a bad thing, but they aren’t the most hearty of people)
41.) Alabama: The Thrillist article says it best, it is football weather almost every day in the winter in Alabama. It is also great hunting weather. Bundle up in a deer stand, and you will be ready for anything. Mother nature is awesome in Alabama.
40.) South Carolina: Sure the mountains get snow, but they are mountains, that is what happens in winter. Aside from that, you have the Atlantic ocean on the Eastern side, so the water kind of buffers the state from bad weather.
39.) Mississippi: Very much like Alabama in that that weather is perfect for football and hunting. I lived there and winter is bone-chilling cold at night with the wind, but the days are sunny and feels great.
38.) North Carolina: They have mountains on one side and the Atlantic ocean on the other. How nice is this. They get protected from bad winters on 2 sides. Lucky.
37.) Nevada: While Arizona and New Mexico have mild winters. Nevada sucks. But it sucks in summer and winter. It is hella windy and cold. Then there are the tourists who flock there for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. There is no winning with this one.
36.) Tennessee: Tennessee is hit and miss. Sometimes you get a dusting a snow, other times you get a massive downpour of snow, depending on where you live. In Memphis, it is pretty mild all winter, but Chattanooga, well, that could be bone chilling cold and snow drifts. So they don’t really rank too high
35.) Utah: When you consider the Winter Olympics was held in Utah, you know they get a large amount of snow, but like Colorado, they celebrate the snow and have fun with it for Christmas and for skiing. And as clean as Salt Lake and St. George are, how could that be a bad thing in winter?
34.) Arkansas: As a person note, Arkansas sucks, if you aren’t in Little Rock or Hot Springs. It is pretty to look at, but aside from hunting, there isn’t much to do when old man winter comes in with some gusto. Overall, it isn’t bad.
33.) Oklahoma: Oklahoma get some wind, which makes it a bit colder during winter. They do get some snow, but it is the ice that makes it fairly un-fun during winter, but overall, it is a lot like Texas in the winter. One big ice storm and a lot of wind.
32.) Virginia: After living in Virginia, I can attest to how harsh the winters can be. The closer you get to Washington DC, the more snow you get. Occasionally, the state has some fairly mild mid-winter temperatures, but they don’t last long. If you are on the coastal regions, like Norfolk/Virginia Beach, be prepared for overcast skies for months at a time. That can be worse than the snow, cold or wind.
31.) Maryland: Maryland is on the nothern part of the Atlantic above Washington D.C., so you have the D.C. weather and colder more harsh possibilities for snow. But let’s be honest, they have Baltimore and no matter what time of year it is, Baltimore sucks.
30.) Kentucky: Just south of Ohio, you will find some fairly mild temperature, in comparison to Cleveland…but then again, there isn’t much that can compare to that. (see Ohio down the list). Kentucky is a destination for some people in the north, so they can kind of get away from the upper North East winters, but still have a winter.
29.) West Virginia: I like how Thrillist said that John Denver called it “almost heaven”. But I don’t think he went there in winter. The first blizzard I drove in was in West Virginia. Not something I would suggest. Spring, Summer and Fall, absolutely.
28.) Missouri: Iowa’s neighbor to the South, seems to be given a pass when it comes to winter. It is just a bit warmer than Illinios (down the list), but cooler than Oklahoma without the wind…and much prettier than Oklahoma in winter too, but still much colder than east Texas, so I think that is why they made it mid-park on the list…that and they don’t have a lot of sports, outside of college football.
27.) Kansas: Bi-polar weather. Not like North and South Pole, but more like I can’t make up my mind. I have driven here when it is sunny and 70 in the dead of winter with the windows open and again when there was a brewing blizzard.
26.) Delaware: This place doesn’t have horrible winters, but they aren’t fun. They get snow, but not enough to enjoy. They get sun, but just enough to make you realize you wished that you had more. It is kind of like the middle kid in the family. They are present, but sometimes passed over because they are too quiet.
25.) Nebraska: Here is where I scratch my head. Iowa and Illinois are higher up the list and Omaha will get blasted, but the rest of the state is pretty much left unscathed. I guess the Huskers fans can enjoy their time watching the game of the week and life is good.
24.) New Jersey: I don’t care what anyone says, yes, they have open fields, cows and lots of sticky snow, but come on, when you have Newark, the carjacking capital of the world, sitting in the shadow of New York City, there isn’t much that anyone can like about a winter in New Jersey. I mean you could go to a lot of better places/more scenic places like New York, Pennsylvania or Connecticut.
23.) Pennsylvania: If you have ever been to Pittsburgh or Philadelphia in the winter, you can see why it is higher on the list. The cold, the wind and the snow is a bit much with the combination of a big city, it can be a bit annoying. However, westward, the winters are a bit more mild.
22.) Vermont: I don’t care how high up the list this place is, I totally dig the idea of winter in Vermont, though I have been told they can sometimes give Fargo and Buffalo a run for their money.
21.) Rhode Island: Why does anyone even consider this place a state? Robin Williams once said it was so small, they could carpet the whole state. But here’s the kicker, I looks like Massachusetts and Connecticut gave some of their territory, so they didn’t rank higher up on the list. One snow storm could blanket the whole state…and Peter Griffin wouldn’t be able to make it it the Drunken Clam.
20.) New York: While New York City and Albany don’t get too hard (and are a couple of the bigger cities with the most population), you have to consider they have Buffalo and Rochester. I mean, I have been in Buffalo in January and sure they have the Bills and access to Canada, it doesn’t mean much if you have snow drifts so high you can’t get out of your driveway, much less your front door.
19.) Connecticut: Thrillist says it best, it is all brutal and no skiing. I guess that is why my friends vacation there in the summer only.
18.) Washington: After living in the Pacific Northwest, I can’t see any logical reason to live in Washington. It is cold all winter long, but you have the added bonus that it rains every day of the year, but I guess it could be worse…
17.) Oregon: …To continue from Washington…you could be in Oregon. Imagine being cold and wet for 9 months of the year. You have this mist that makes everything, at the least, damp and slick from the moss. It’s like a being waterboarded all winter long, while you have to wear a thick waterproof rain slicker and rubber boots to do anything. There is one bright spot, you could live in the mountain regions like Bend. That is a lot of snow and skiing opportunities, so when you need to get away from it all, you have that.
16.) Indiana: Blizzards, Lake Michigan and treacherous driving. Ya, that sounds like fun…not. However, it isn’t Cleveland…come to think of it, it is exactly like Cleveland OH across the whole state.
15.) New Hampshire: considering it’s proximity to Maine and Vermont, you kind of have to expect the brutality of winter. After all, it is on the upper Atlantic, so you are pretty much assured it will suck.
14.) Ohio: Cleveland is why snowbirds infiltrate Arizona and Florida. If you have ever been through “lake effect snow”, you are in for a treat. I have seen this in action. And boy howdy, when I was a kid, we were trying to drive home to Columbus, OH from Cleveland, but the weather got so bad we had to turn around…TO CLEVELAND!?!?!? At least you can say the people in Cleveland and Ohio know how to handle their winters. They can drive in it, play in it and have NBA and NFL teams to keep them preoccupied.
13.) Illinois: Yep, Iowa’s broke neighbor to the East. Now, down where we are and further South, we can’t complain too much. However, Chicago winters are nothing I would would want to mess around with. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for Southern Illinois, I would bet Chicago, alone, could put the state in the Top 3.
11.) Wyoming: I love Wyoming and would move there in a heartbeat, but I would have to prepare myself for flat land massive wind in the winter. But it is only the wind that makes it feel cold, because the temperatures aren’t that bad.
11.) Iowa: Our home state is said to have “50 days of thunderstorms; an average of 47 tornadoes a year (in 2008 there were 105). Even Wikipedia calls [our] winters “harsh.””, but when you have a winter like last year, that wasn’t much in the way of anything, but cold and windy, we may have to be prepared for mother nature to throw her worst at us soon.
10.) Massachusetts: ever had a key break off in you hand when you were unlocking a door? Yes, that is how cold Boston can be in the winter. Wind, cold and wet snow all the time. When someone says nor’easter think this state.
9.) Montana: I love Montana and have lived there…and would go back in a heartbeat. It can be bone-chilling cold, have feet of snow dropped on you in an hour and be in the negative 20’s for weeks on end, but no one there cares. It is just a way of life. Not to mention, after those cold temps, when the thermometer goes above zero, you are walking around with your jacket open and no hat. Your perspective on winter changes here. But I think Montana’s relish this ranking (and probably wish it was higher on the list), as it keeps people away from the state. They aren’t much for outsiders, unless you embrace EVERYTHING about the state.
8.) Idaho: it is all of it’s surrounding states combined: Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada and Alberta Canada all wrapped into one. Cold, windy, snow and rainy. Sounds like a crappy place, huh? It’s not. Like Montana, it is a gem among the mostly unkind weather and keeps the undesireable visitors out. If you REALLY want to see what Idaho can be, check out Coure d’Alene…I would never leave, if I was here.
7.) Wisconsin: The best quote about Wisconsin, “cheese curds can only carry you so far”. While the state has some wonderful people, if you are prone to depression, you may want to avoid this place. There is a grey overcast sky here all winter long.
6.) South Dakota: They have a territory called the Badlands. Do I need to say more? OK, I will. My uncle lived there and constantly had to thaw out his toilet in the morning before he could use it.
5.) Maine: Most people in Maine live near the water because winter isn’t as bad. The winters here aren’t as harsh as other places, but winter last for a LONG LONG time. So if you like cold and snow, it is perfect. (As an aside, like Montana, a ranking like this makes people from Maine happy, as it keeps out people they don’t want.)
4.) North Dakota: When you land at the Fargo Airport, you see a massive stuffed bear and shop where they sell shirts that say “I survived winter in Fargo”. Need I say more?
3.) Alaska: OK, so let’s put this into perspective. you are closer to the North Pole than any other part of the country. You have glaciers present all year long and in most of the state, there is new snow all year long. Then there is winter…remember, in the summer time the sun is out all the time? Well, in Winter, you have lack of sunlight all the time. When is day, when is night. Then there is the snow, the packed snow on the roads…ok, you get the picture.
2.) Michigan: Winter is a 6-month time of year here. They have no Fall (except for maybe a week or 2) and no Spring (except for a week or 2). Like Alaska, you have very little, if any sunlight. And when you do, it is covered by clouds. That gives the city a nice gray tinge for most of the year. Then you deal with an inordinate amount of black ice, as the roads freeze at night, so when you get up to go to work at the crack of dawn, driving is extremely treacherous. Sounds glorious.
1.) Minnesota: It gets down to -60 degrees here, at times. Then you can have driving snow. But on the plus side, large lakes around the state freeze, where ice fishing is a real thing (think Grumpy Old Men). I mean, it gets so cold, you can drive multiple cars and trucks on these lakes, all at the same time!
All in all, it really comes down to where do you want to live? What climate do you enjoy. Personally, after many years in the heat of the South, I will take some snow and a variety of seasonal temperatures. What say you?