12 Pretty Sunsets Worth Taking an End of Summer Road Trip For

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There’s nothing like a beautiful sunset to make you feel alive.

Whether it be the golden glow on your face as the sun slips below the horizon or that deep orange and red halo of light, there’s no denying how magical they can be.

One thing is for sure: we’ve got some amazing ones here in America! That might just be why so many people love taking pictures of them.

So if you’re looking for some inspiration, here are twelve spots in the United States where you can take a quick road trip to find some of the most pretty sunsets you’ve ever dreamed of.

These sights so spectacular you just have to see them for yourself!

It is better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times ~ Asian Proverb

What state has the best sunsets in the US?

The sunset is a beautiful sight to behold, and there are many states with gorgeous sunsets.

We all know that the sunsets are different depending on where you live, but which state has the best?

beautiful sunset photo

Some people think that Hawaii has the best sunsets, while others say it’s California.

It’s hard to say, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Personally I love sunsets over water – they always win for me.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the most popular sunsets in America and see what people have to say:

New York City: “The sky was pretty dark when I left work so it wasn’t until I got home around 8pm that I saw this amazing sunset.”

California: “I love living next to the ocean because there are always beautiful sunsets.”

Texas: “One thing I like about living in North Texas is how many great sunsets there are!”

So who wins? You tell us!

Let’s Find the Most Beautiful Sunset in the US

The sun is getting close to setting on summer, and it is the perfect time for one more quick road trip to take in all the most beautiful sunsets in the US.

All over North America, there are breathtaking landscapes that make for some of the world’s best sunsets.

Now, all you have to do is pack a picnic and hit the highway.

Be sure to bring your camera and have your sunset quotes ready for those Instagram captions.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Have you ever been to Acadia National Park?

The park offers some of the most beautiful scenic views in Maine, and it’s easy to see why people flock here every year!

Acadia National Park is the only national park in Maine and is a beautiful place to visit during the day and at night.

The best thing about traveling is the chance to see amazing things. Whether it’s a new landscape, wildlife, or architecture.

And there are few places in America that can compete with Acadia National Park for its awe-inspiring beauty.

It has everything from short hikes to challenging climbs, scenic overlooks to remote camping spots, serene ponds to bustling beaches.

From the rocky coastlines, amazing hiking trails, and breathtaking sunsets; there are countless things to do at this national park. You can be as active or relaxed as you want during your stay.

acadia national park pretty sunsets

From the beach, the sunset will leave you in awe as the sun dips below the horizon, leaving behind a palette of colors that can’t be recreated anywhere else on Earth.

You’ll find yourself wondering if someone just painted this sky with bright oranges and deep purples for your viewing pleasure.

The Acadia National Park Beach is free to walk around so bring your walking shoes to take it all in!

Santa Barbara, California

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, making California home to some of the most beautiful over-ocean sunsets imaginable.

Personally, I like to stick to warmer southern California making Santa Barbara and it’s shores a top pick.

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city with incredible beaches and breathtaking sunsets.

Santa Barbara beautiful sunset

One of the most popular places to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous view is at West Beach, found on Santa Barbara’s coastline, just south of downtown.

West Beach has been named as one of America’s Best Beaches by Travel + Leisure magazine for its stunning scenery, calm waves, and soft sand.

Here is the perfect weekend itinerary for Santa Barbara filled with luxury, wine and adventure if you decide to visit.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is a place of wonder and beauty and it also boasts some truly breathtaking sunsets that you don’t want to miss out on! 

The canyon has been around for millions of years, and it continues to fascinate people from all walks of life.

There are many things that you can do at the Grand Canyon such as hiking, camping, biking, rafting, or just enjoying the view from one of its many viewpoints.

With its miles of stunning views, it’s not hard to see why this national park is such a favorite.

The Grand Canyon offers hikers an incredible landscape full of colorful rocks, wildlife, and history.

Grand Canyon Beautiful Sunset

While the Grand Canyon offers some of the most iconic views in the world, nothing compares to seeing it at sunset.

The overlooks at Grand Canyon have unimpeded views of the sunset, and the vast terrain will mesmerize you.

The sky is a mix of orange, pink and purple as the sun goes down. It’s like putting on an awesome show for you! 

The red stone of Arizona grabs the vibrant colors of the sun and gives the sunset such an intensity, it is hard not to be moved by it.

Yosemite National Park

There is nothing like the awe and wonder of a sunset in Yosemite National Park. The colors are vibrant and breathtaking.

This park has so much to offer, from beautiful scenery to amazing hikes, there is something for everyone.

The sunsets here will leave you breathless!

Ansel Adams is one of the photographers that has made Yosemite a major spot for photography.

Yosemite National Park Horsetail Fall sunset

Of the millions of people that flock there, capturing the perfect sunset photo is top of the list, especially the “firefall” effect that happens for one week in February when the sun hits the water at Horsetail Fall and makes it look like lava.

Aside from this phenomenon, Yosemite has a variety of amazing spots to snap that perfect sunset, and Glacier Point is one of my favorites.

Sit back and relax as it lights up the sky with pinks and oranges before disappearing into darkness behind Half Dome Mountain.

As soon as it’s gone, take a short hike down into valley where you might be able to catch another one over El Capitan or Bridalveil Falls.

Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine

Portland Head Lighthouse, a stunning landmark on the southern coast of Maine, is an iconic American lighthouse.

The lighthouse overlooks Penobscot Bay and has been a beacon of safety to sailors since 1791.

At 80 feet tall, Portland Head can be seen from miles away along the coastline.

On clear days, you can see Acadia National Park from the top of Portland Head Lighthouse.

It’s no wonder that it is one of the most visited lighthouses in New England!

Portland Head Lighthouse Pretty Sunset

One of my favorite things about visiting this lighthouse during sunset is taking a walk down to Cushing Beach which offers panoramic views of Mount Desert Island and Frenchman Bay. 

The sunset over this beautiful structure makes for an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss!

Photography Tip: Be sure to set up your tripod or place it on something sturdy like a picnic table.

You want your camera high enough off the ground to see past any people who might be standing between you and the lighthouse (or the sunset).

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a MUST for anyone who loves the outdoors. There are so many adventures to be had here!

Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for some breathtaking views, Glacier has it all.

This is a popular site for people who want to see alpine lakes and glaciers, as well as wildlife like mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, black bears and grizzly bears.

In fact, this area has one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America with species from five different biomes: tundra/taiga forests animals; prairie grasslands animals; deciduous forest animals; coniferous forest animals; and aquatic species! 

glacier national park sunset

In Glacier National Park, there is a road that goes from east to west through the park.

The road is called Going-to-the-Sun Road and it goes over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road has parts that are open all year, and it is an amazing, if not a heart pounding drive.

I highly recommend visiting during the summertime when Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is most open.

The Going-to-the Sun Road sunset is very beautiful. You can drive along this scenic route and stop at any of the viewpoints or hike trails along the way to see even more spectacular views!

Its twists and turns as it climbs the mountain will make anyone white-knuckle the steering wheel, but it is worth the views especially during a sunset.

This road provides access to Logan Pass, which overlooks St Mary Lake (one of my favorite places in Glacier).

The sunsets on this lake are absolutely gorgeous; I would definitely bring your camera if you go during that time of day!

Key West, Florida

The Mallory Square Sunset Celebration is one of the most iconic and famous things about Key West.

It’s a free, daily event that attracts people from all over the world to see this beautiful spectacle.

The sunset is best viewed at Mallory Square in downtown Key West, where you can relax on benches or buy snacks from local vendors while enjoying breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys.

Key West Mallory Square sunset with sailboat on the water

As the sun sets on Mallory Square, you can’t help but feel the excitement in the air.

The music is playing louder and there are people everywhere trying to find a spot at one of the restaurants or bars lining this iconic waterfront location.

It’s not hard to see why it has been voted as one of America’s most beautiful sunset destinations.

Go early with your friends and enjoy some drinks before hand – it will be a night to remember!

Oahu, Hawaii

Ok, so maybe you can’t “road trip” to this pretty sunset destination, but you can’t have a list of beautiful sunsets in the US without including Hawaii!

Sunset Beach is on the North Shore of Oahu, and it lives up to its name.

The sunsets on Sunset Beach are known throughout Hawaii as some of the best and most beautiful in all of America.

sunset beach oahu

The colors are unbelievably captivating and people flock to the beach to capture its serene beauty.

The beach itself is also very affordable and if you love good food and drinks, there is plenty nearby!

This isn’t your typical tourist trap like Waikiki; it’s more relaxing and laid back.

There are no facilities here so make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen! 

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Every year, thousands of people flock to the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina to catch a glimpse of the most beautiful sunsets.

It is a peaceful drive that captures the wild beauty of North Carolina and an ideal spot to watch the sunset.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is located along the Appalachian Mountains ridge line between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The parkway itself spans around 469 miles long from Virginia’s Skyline Drive all the way down into North Carolina where it ends at Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC.

Along this route are many great picnic spots but none as popular as Graveyard Fields where you can enjoy your lunch or dinner with a beautiful view of the distant mountains.

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina - sunset at Flat Rock Overlook

One of the best overlooks to visit here in the fall is Flat Rock Overlook, where you can see a beautiful sunset from an elevated position.

Sit along this scenic road and watch as the sun sets behind the mountains, painting them with vibrant oranges and reds against a bright blue sky.

You will also be able to see some wildlife, including deer grazing nearby or birds flying overhead! 

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park has a variety of beautiful spots to watch the sunset, but Cape Flattery is one of the more amazing areas.

Located just 5 hours away from Seattle on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 101, is this amazing national park with so much to offer.

You’ll be able to explore miles of hiking trails or oceanside beaches before coming back in time for dinner in the evening! 

It is the northwestern most point in the contiguous United States, and the water, looming stacks and wildlife make sunsets breathtaking.

Cape Flattery Olympic National Park sunset

Cape Flattery will have your jaws dropping at its stunning sunset views and rugged beauty.

As the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean, it bounces off of the water and creates a beautiful contrast against the sky.

The colors change from yellow to orange to pink as you watch in awe at this display of nature.

Gay Head Cliffs, Massachusetts

The Gay Head Cliffs in Massachusetts were formed by erosion and weathering of clay, which was then exposed to the elements.

The cliffs stretch across a 2 mile area and are 126 feet tall and provide beautiful views of the sunset because their colors change as the sun sets.

They go from pinkish-reds to purples and oranges as if they were on fire!

There is also a lighthouse open part of the season, and visitors can climb it to get a bird’s eye view of the area.

Gay Head Lighthouse, Massachusetts sunset

This is such a beautiful spot but be sure to consider that you’ll be climbing up stairs for about 1/2 mile, so wear comfortable shoes and bring some water along with you – it’s totally worth all the effort though! 

The Gay Head Cliffs are home to many different species of plants so there is always something new to see depending on what time of year it is, so be sure to go a bit early so you can enjoy the area a bit before sunset.

There are trails that run through the hills for you to walk on while admiring all of the different plants and animals that live here including birds, deer and foxes.

9 thoughts on “12 Pretty Sunsets Worth Taking an End of Summer Road Trip For”

  1. These sunsets are awe inspiring. I got teary eyed looking at them. I love sunsets too and it has been my dream to capture photos of beautiful sunsets in places I visit. Thank you for sharing these photos. You made me truly happy today.

  2. Wow, so many amazing sunsets! I think ocean sunsets are my favorite by far but the view from the Cadillac Mountain really is breathtaking!

  3. These are gorgeous and give me some tips for when I want to visit the US! I went to Crete, Greece a few years back and the sunset was breathtaking.


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