Yuma, Arizona, located in the southwest corner of the state, is considered to be the sunniest and driest spot in the U.S. The sun shines 90% of the days each year, with just over 3 inches of rain annually, which makes it a popular winter destination for snowbirds. Yuma’s population was 95,429 (2012 census), but that number swells during the winter months. Yuma, once known as Colorado City and later as Arizona City, served as a gateway during the gold rush of 1849, when thousands of fortune hunters passed through while heading west to California. The U.S. Army also found Yuma to be in a prime location along the Colorado River and used it as a supply base for Army posts. Today the Army’s presence is still important to the area as it operates the Yuma Proving Ground, a testing site of all weapon systems and equipment used by U.S. soldiers which includes helicopters, parachutes, tanks and artillery. It is also home to the Marine Corps Air Station, one of the largest employers in Yuma. Photo of the Old Yuma Post Office which is listed on National Register of Historic Places and photo of the Sonoran Desert near Yuma courtesy of Wikipedia. Photo of downtown from Ken Lund (Flickr).