Any opinions on what area of the US would be best to learn to fly? Is it better to be in a northern state and get more weather variety and challenges, or is it best to be in a possibly more stable southern climate?
I think that all of the areas have advantages to them. The southern part of the US certainly has good weather, but so does the northern part with the exception of winter. Even during winter those cold, clear days make for excellent flying.
I think you will find weather challenges no matter where you are and the reality is that in a small airplane you will be avoiding most of the weather anyways, regardless of what area you are in.
I would pick the location that is most convenient to you. Also keep in mind that if you train with ATP you will get some serious real cross country time, which will expose you to weather all over the country.
I second what Chris said on this one. There are pros and cons to pretty much all the locations. While the weather is generally more favorable in the South, they also get monster thunderstorms. North you get the cold, snow and ice in the winter. West coast gets haze and smog with crazy winds. Pick based on convenience or maybe if you ever thought “hey I wonder what it be like to live in…” here’s a chance.