Most people think about California when they think about the west coast. Not only is it a state full of beautiful sites, but it’s also a perfect place to watch the sunset.
Here are some of the best places to watch the California sunset.
- The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in California
- 1. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
- 2. Dillon Beach, Bagoda Bay
- 3. Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
- 4. Trestles Beach, San Clemente
- 5. El Matador Beach, Malibu
- 6. Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach
- 7. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur
- 8. Mission Beach Boardwalk, San Diego
- 9. Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach
- 10. Twin Peaks Boulevard, San Francisco
The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in California
1. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
On the southern side of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, you’ll find Griffith Observatory. Also known as the gateway to the cosmos, the observatory sits on a hillside far above the rest of the city to allow its visitors a view of the sky free of smog.
That’s precisely why it’s one of the best places in LA to see the sunset.
The air is fresher and clearer at the observatory, so you can relax and watch the busy city bustle down below as the sun sets on the horizon.
2. Dillon Beach, Bagoda Bay
If you’re looking for a beach view of the sunset, but you want a more exclusive sort of setting, Dillon Beach is the place for you.
This privately owned beach doesn’t see too many tourists for a simple reason: you have to pay to visit.
While you might be surprised, the fee is worth it. You get 55 acres of coastline virtually to yourself, so you can feel like you’re practically in your own personal paradise.
Your pass is good all day, so you can spend hours enjoying the scenery.
3. Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
The Santa Monica Pier deserves to be at the top of everyone’s California must-visit list. It’s full of rides, restaurants, and little shops that guarantee there’s something for everyone there.
Not to mention you can easily spend hours there.
However, locals will recommend you hold off on visiting until the late afternoon hours so you can enjoy the sunset from this famed attraction.
For an extra special sunset, get in line for the Ferris wheel and time your ride so you can be near the very top as the sun dips.
4. Trestles Beach, San Clemente
Trestles Beach borders both San Diego and Orange County and is a favorite spot for surfers worldwide.
However, even if you’re not itching to hit the waves, you still need to make sure you visit Trestles Beach so you can watch the sunset.
The sunlight shimmers off the waves beautifully in a way that sets it apart from the other beaches in the state.
Since this beach is known as a surfer’s paradise, many other beach-goers tend to flock to other locations, so you’ll have some privacy for your sunset.
5. El Matador Beach, Malibu
El Matador Beach in Malibu is the perfect spot for you if you’re looking for a beach spot to watch the sunset, but you don’t want to go somewhere that’s too polished.
This beach is 1 of 3 cliffside beaches in the Malibu area that draws visitors all year, especially in the summer.
However, you’ll notice most of the beach-goers tend to leave towards the late afternoon.
That’s because most tourists don’t know this is one of the best places to see the sunset in Malibu. So it’s like your little secret.
6. Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach
Not far outside Los Angeles, you’ll find Huntington Beach, a smaller beach town that’s known for its waves, making it a premier spot for surfers.
However, though the beach might be great for spending time in the water, the real secret is to find a good vantage point to see the sunset.
The entire oceanfront will offer good views, but watching the sunset from the sand is a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Most locals and tourists will be in the restaurants, so you’ll have much of the beach to yourself.
7. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur
Being in the wilderness is one of the best ways to watch the sunset, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is no different.
Covering over 1000 acres of land, there’s plenty to explore at all hours of the day.
However, around sunset is one of the most majestic times to be in the park. The trees create dramatic shadows and are washed in gorgeous colors that visitors regularly describe as dreamlike.
The park also has plenty of cliffs you can hike to watch the valleys below become washed in color.
8. Mission Beach Boardwalk, San Diego
Boardwalks are some of the best places to watch the sunset, and Mission Beach Boardwalk in San Diego is one of the best examples of that.
With dozens of stores, bars, and restaurants along the oceanfront, you won’t run out of things to do, so you can spend the whole day there while you wait for dusk.
You can watch the sunset from anywhere on the boardwalk, but for a relaxing experience, grab a drink or dinner reservation at one of the eateries or lounges to watch the crowds and the sun.
9. Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach is sometimes overlooked compared to other California coastal cities, but it’s one of the best and most laid-back places to enjoy some time in the sun.
While you’re in Manhattan Beach, don’t miss a chance to take in a west coast sunset. Anywhere in the city will offer a great vantage point, but the Manhattan Beach Pier is one of the best.
The pier usually isn’t too busy, especially during the low seasons. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to walk to the end before sunset.
10. Twin Peaks Boulevard, San Francisco
Visitors to the Bay Area often overlook Twin Peaks in San Francisco. So, going to this park makes you feel like you know something only the locals do.
The 64-acre park is perched atop one of the city’s many hills, which offers you a 360-degree view of the surrounding area.
That view is beautiful all day, but as the sun goes down, you get a view other tourists can only dream about.
San Francisco looks gorgeous bathed in sunlight, which is why you need to visit Twin Peaks.
Amar was born and raised in England and embarked on an 11-country round-the-world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second, which ended up being a 23-country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then, Amar has spent the last 14 years traveling the 7 continents.