At the end of a day, at the end of a destination drive, what better way to savor the moment than to watch the sun go down over the water? We have combed the beaches of the nation for you, and present the best of the beach vantage spots for sunset.
Mayflower Beach in Dennis, Massachusetts, is the best sunset beach on the Cape and maybe even the finest sunset beach in all of New England. You can walk for miles at low tide. Mayflower Beach is a gorgeous and great for people of all ages. There are many shallow pools to explore when the tide is low. The waves are usually small and the sea is normally calm here.
Blue Mountain Beach, in Walton County, is the highest point along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. So you get wonderful views of the coastline. Before sunset, enjoy the setting with the blue lupine blooming on the dunes, from which the beach gets its name. The water will probably have a bright green tint, which is why they call this the Emerald Coast.
Key West is another spot where the golden hues of sunsets and the color green meet—it is the most famous sunset gathering anywhere, as residents and visitors alike stroll down to Mallory Square in order see the sun go down and to watch for the “Green Flash” – a brilliant green spot where the last ray of the upper rim of the sun hover on the skyline. The conditions have to be just right, with no obstructions or clouds on the horizon. So go, enjoy, and hope for the best. As they say in Key West, “See you at Sunset!”
Southwick Beach State Park, New York, is a wonderful family beach on beautiful Lake Ontario. You can enjoy the beach for the whole day, but be sure to linger for sunset. Head for the Lakeview Beach Trail. As you walk away from the State Park, there’s a lot more beach and you have the beach to yourself. You walk on the broad sand, and pause to explore the two wooden decks to Lakeview Pond and Floodwood Pond — separated from the Lake by the dunes. Look for the poetic solitary tree at the edge of the water; it is New York’s version of the famous Lone Cypress sentinel tree along the Pacific coastline.
Headlands Beach State Park, in Mentor, Ohio, provides a sunset with a view of the Fairport Harbor Light House. Truly picturesque at all times of the day and in every season of the year. This is the longest natural beach in Ohio, often ranked as Ohio’s Best Beach. It is dramatic with winter waves as ice forms around the light house. The large beach is well-maintained. There are trails through the dunes, and paved walking and biking paths. Searching for sea glass is a favorite pastime here. And yes, enjoying some of the best sunsets you will ever see.
Warren Dunes, Michigan, has some of the highest sand dunes along the great lakes and a lovely long stretch of beach. You get a marvelous view at the top of the sand dune; but, no, you cannot see all the way across Lake Michigan to Chicago, which is due west. Warren Dunes is known as Tower Hill to the locals, because of the 180 feet height of the sand dunes. It is a great place to explore, whether sunbathing, climbing the dunes, or hiking the nature trails.
Silver Sands Beach, Great Salt Lake, Utah, offers an inland sunset with mountains framing the vast expanse of the Lake. If the light is just right, it looks as if the mountains are floating in the lake. The shoreline here is small, but there is enough room to park, stroll the shoreline, explore the rocky point, and savor the sunset as it puts on its display. Silver Sands Beach is located on the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake State Marina. Parking for the beach is at the marina; the beach and marina are day-use only and a fee is required. Because the shoreline rises or falls depending on the season, there is no development here, so you have unspoiled views.
Ruby Beach at Olympic National Park, Washington – If you are looking for fabulous rock formations, you will enjoy this tour de force of nature, with so many varied shaped seastacks. Then there are the driftwood logs, a fallen forest of timbers fill whole swaths of the beach. There are tidal pools with their green sea urchins and orange, purple and silver starfish. Combine all this with the sea mists and you have a fairy tale scene. You are sure to keep busy making wonderful photos even before the setting sun takes center stage. Ruby Beach is named for the ruby-like crystals that get washed onto the beach. Kids and adults will savor exploring this scenic wonder.
Sunset Beach State Recreation Site, Oregon, features spectacular twin rocks to frame your views as the day ends. Lewis and Clark were here in their trek to the Pacific, in the winter of 1805-6. You can follow their footsteps on the Fort-to-Sea Trail, a 6.5 mile route that traces their historic Corps of Discovery. Sunset Beach is ideally named; on any given day there will be a showpiece as the sun sinks slowly into the west here.
Natural Bridges State Beach, at Santa Cruz, California, provides sunsets amid the key feature of the massive outcropping of rock with its water eroded tunnel, hence the name, natural bridges. The spot is famous for monarch butterflies in November. All year, there are tidal pools to enjoy. The beach is reached by a quick relaxed walk, and features a stunning setting due to the natural arch bridge. Enjoy walking the beach, climbing the boulders, and taking in the delightful scenery. The outcropping are beautiful in the fading light as the sun sets and paints the cliffs, rocks and beach.
As a bonus, head for the foot of the aptly named Sunset Boulevard, where it meets the ocean at Santa Monica. Even if you do not drive an Isotta Fraschini like Norma Desmond’s, you can watch the sun go down at Santa Monica State Beach with the Santa Monica Pier as part of the scene. If the scene looks familiar, that is because so many movies and TV shows are filmed here. Even if there’s not a camera crew on hand, you just may happen to see some famous faces as you watch the sun go down.