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46 Unforgettable Sunset Spots In California 🤯

Have you been to the best sunset spots in California? 

From the North’s rugged cliffs to Central California’s sandy shores and the iconic beaches of the South, we’ve curated a list of 46 breathtaking sunset spots.

This list is split into 3 sections of California:

  • Northern
  • Central
  • Southern

So EVERYBODY can find a sunset spot near them.

These are spots where you can witness those sunsets that you just NEVER forget.

Let’s see how many YOU can tick off from this list. 🧐

Northern California

1. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

golden gate bridge sunset

Experience a mesmerizing sunset over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge while strolling along the waterfront.

The bridge’s silhouette against the vibrant sky creates a breathtaking scene that’s both romantic and picturesque.

2. Point Reyes National Seashore

Marvel at the sun sinking into the Pacific Ocean against a backdrop of sandy beaches and rugged cliffs at Point Reyes National Seashore.

This pristine coastline offers plenty of serene spots to soak in the natural beauty of the sunset.

3. Baker Beach, San Francisco

Relax on the sandy shores of Baker Beach and savor the moment as the sun sets behind the bridge, casting a warm and ethereal light over the landscape.

It’s a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

4. Marin Headlands

Hike to the top of Marin Headlands for panoramic views of the bay and the city’s sparkling lights as the sun dips below the horizon.

marin headlands sunset (1) (1)

The tranquil setting and remarkable vistas make it a favorite spot for both locals and visitors.

5. Land’s End, San Francisco

Take a scenic coastal walk at Land’s End, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

The rugged beauty of this trail adds to the magic of the sunset.

6. Mount Tamalpais State Park

Hike to the summit of Mount Tamalpais to witness jaw-dropping vistas of the entire Bay Area during sunset.

The golden hour from this vantage point offers a serene and awe-inspiring experience.

7. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite sunset glacier point

In Yosemite Valley, you can witness majestic sunsets with towering cliffs and stunning waterfalls as your backdrop.

The natural beauty and tranquility of this national park make sunset moments truly unforgettable.

8. Lake Tahoe

Enjoy serene sunsets by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe, where the colorful sky reflects on the lake’s surface, creating a magical atmosphere.

lake tahoe sunset (1)

It’s a peaceful and romantic setting for couples and nature enthusiasts.

9. McClures Beach, Point Reyes

Discover McClures Beach, a hidden gem where you can enjoy quiet and secluded moments while watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

The unspoiled beauty of this spot adds to its charm.

10. Russian River, Sonoma County

Relax by the Russian River’s calm waters and watch the sun dip below the horizon.

This serene setting is ideal for unwinding and enjoying a peaceful evening.

11. Mendocino Coast

The Mendocino Coast offers dramatic sunsets with its rugged cliffs and crashing waves, creating a powerful and memorable sight.

sunset spot mendocino coast

It’s a perfect place to experience the raw beauty of the ocean at dusk.

12. Trinidad State Beach

Embrace the charming coastal vibes of Trinidad State Beach while gazing at the sunsets and unique sea stacks.

The peaceful atmosphere and stunning scenery make it a delightful spot to relax.

13. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

glass beach fort bragg sunset

Visit Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, where colorful sea glass covers the shore, adding a unique touch to your sunset experience.

The blend of natural beauty and a touch of history makes this spot truly fascinating.

14. Mount Shasta

Witness the sun go down behind the striking silhouette of Mount Shasta, surrounded by the serene beauty of nature.

shasta sunset (1)

This mountainous landscape provides a tranquil backdrop for sunset enthusiasts.

15. Shasta Lake

Enjoy peaceful sunsets over Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir in California, set amidst rolling hills and lush forests.

It’s a perfect spot to unwind and appreciate the tranquility of the evening.

Central California

16. Big Sur

big sur at sunset

Enjoy dramatic coastal sunsets along the rugged cliffs and stunning vistas of Big Sur.

The beauty of this iconic stretch of California’s Highway 1 is a sight to behold.

17. Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur

Visit Pfeiffer Beach to witness unique sunsets through the keyhole arch and relax on its distinctive purple sands.

It’s a photographer’s paradise.

18. Morro Rock, Morro Bay

Watch the sun set behind the majestic Morro Rock, an iconic volcanic plug in the Pacific Ocean.

morro rock sunset (1)

The coastal views here are captivating.

19. Pismo Beach

Stroll along the long stretches of sandy beaches at Pismo Beach, known for its charming pier and delightful sunsets.

It’s a perfect place for a beachside sunset walk.

20. Avila Beach

Relax in the serene coastal town of Avila Beach, where you can enjoy beautiful sunsets from its picturesque pier.

The tranquil atmosphere makes it an ideal spot to unwind.

21. Carmel Beach

carmel beach sunset

Sit on the white sandy shores of Carmel Beach and admire the beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

It’s a great romantic destination for couples.

22. Montaña de Oro State Park

Explore Montaña de Oro State Park near San Luis Obispo, where you can enjoy scenic coastal sunsets and tide pools.

The natural beauty here is a true gem.

23. Santa Barbara Harbor

Stroll along Santa Barbara Harbor and appreciate the stunning sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

santa barbara harbor sunset

The harbor’s charming setting adds to the experience.

24. San Simeon State Park

Enjoy breathtaking sunsets as you watch the sun dip below the horizon near Hearst Castle at San Simeon State Park.

The coastal bluffs provide an excellent vantage point.

25. San Juan Bautista

Visit the historic San Juan Bautista mission and its surrounding gardens for peaceful sunset moments.

The mission’s architecture adds to the ambiance.

26. Venice Beach Boardwalk

sunset venice beach

Experience the eclectic atmosphere of Venice Beach while watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

The lively boardwalk offers a unique setting.

27. Malibu Beach

Relax on the upscale Malibu Beach and enjoy picturesque sunsets along its pristine coastline.

The upscale vibe adds to the charm.

28. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Witness stunning desert sunsets in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with striking landscapes and desert flora.

anza borrego state aprk sunset (1)

The natural beauty here is rugged and unique.

29. Dana Point

Take in breathtaking sunsets from the cliffs overlooking Dana Point’s picturesque harbor and the Pacific Ocean.

The coastal views are simply captivating.

30. Coronado Beach, San Diego

Coronado Beach sunset

Enjoy stunning sunsets at Coronado Beach with the iconic Hotel del Coronado as your backdrop.

The wide sandy shores make it a delightful spot for sunset enthusiasts.

Southern California

31. Santa Monica Pier

Experience classic California sunsets at the iconic Santa Monica Pier, where you can enjoy the view over the Pacific Ocean.

The vibrant atmosphere and amusement park lights make it a lively spot for sunset enthusiasts.

32. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

griffith observatory los angeles

Witness panoramic views of Los Angeles and stunning sunsets from the Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills.

The observatory’s architecture adds to the charm of the experience.

33. La Jolla Cove, San Diego

Watch the sun dip below the Pacific Ocean while surrounded by seals and sea lions at La Jolla Cove.

la jolla cove sunset (1)

The coastal beauty and wildlife make it a must-visit spot.

34. Huntington Beach Pier

Known as “Surf City USA,” Huntington Beach offers fantastic sunsets after a day at the beach.

The pier provides a scenic spot to enjoy the view.

35. Joshua Tree National Park

sunset joshua tree national park

The desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park offers a unique backdrop for sunsets, with striking silhouettes of Joshua trees.

The stark beauty of the desert comes to life during golden hour.

36. Santa Monica Beach

Relax on Santa Monica Beach’s sandy shores and enjoy the sun setting over the vast Pacific Ocean.

santa monica beach sunset (1)

It’s a popular spot for beachgoers and sunset seekers alike.

37. Malibu Pier

Visit the historic Malibu Pier to watch the sun set over the Pacific while taking in coastal views.

The pier’s charming, laid-back vibe adds to the experience.

38. Leo Carrillo State Beach, Malibu

Explore the tide pools and relax on the sandy shores of Leo Carrillo State Beach as you catch a scenic sunset.

The rocky shoreline enhances the beauty of the setting.

39. El Matador Beach, Malibu

El Matador Beach, Malibu

Discover the hidden gem of El Matador Beach, known for its sea caves and dramatic coastal sunsets.

It’s a favorite spot for photographers.

40. Laguna Beach

Enjoy artistic sunsets in the artsy town of Laguna Beach, known for its vibrant art scene and picturesque coastline.

laguna beach sunset (1)

The seaside galleries and views create a unique atmosphere.

41. Oceanside Pier

Stroll along Oceanside Pier, where you can watch the sun set over the Pacific while enjoying ocean breezes.

The pier offers a relaxed and family-friendly environment.

42. Del Mar, San Diego County

Del Mar, offers some of the most breathtaking sunsets on the West Coast, where the sky transforms into a vibrant canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples.

del mar sunset

This picturesque beach town provides a perfect backdrop for an unforgettable evening as the sun dips below the Pacific Ocean’s horizon.

If you’re around 11th Street or 15th Street you can also watch surfers catching some waves.

43. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, San Diego

Hike the coastal trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and be rewarded with breathtaking ocean sunsets.

The unique coastal vegetation and sandstone formations add to the scenery.

44. Palos Verdes Peninsula

Explore the Palos Verdes Peninsula and its dramatic coastal cliffs, offering stunning sunset views over the Pacific Ocean.

The upscale atmosphere and natural beauty make it a peaceful retreat.

45. Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach

sunset newport beach

Take in beautiful sunsets at Balboa Peninsula, known for its charming boardwalk, bay views, and sandy beaches.

The peninsula’s relaxed vibe is perfect for a sunset stroll.

46. Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, Rancho Palos Verdes

Discover the serene Abalone Cove Shoreline Park and its coastal trails, providing peaceful sunset moments with ocean vistas.

The park’s tide pools and rugged coastline make it a hidden treasure.

Summary

Here’s a quick round-up of all the locations again…

Northern

  • Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Baker Beach, San Francisco
  • Marin Headlands
  • Land’s End, San Francisco
  • Mount Tamalpais State Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Lake Tahoe
  • McClures Beach, Point Reyes
  • Russian River, Sonoma County
  • Mendocino Coast
  • Trinidad State Beach
  • Glass Beach, Fort Bragg
  • Mount Shasta
  • Shasta Lake

Central

  • Big Sur
  • Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur
  • Morro Rock, Morro Bay
  • Pismo Beach
  • Avila Beach
  • Carmel Beach
  • Montaña de Oro State Park
  • Santa Barbara Harbor
  • San Simeon State Park
  • San Juan Bautista
  • Venice Beach Boardwalk
  • Malibu Beach
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Dana Point
  • Coronado Beach, San Diego

Southern

  • Santa Monica Pier
  • Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
  • La Jolla Cove, San Diego
  • Huntington Beach Pier
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Santa Monica Beach
  • Malibu Pier
  • Leo Carrillo State Beach, Malibu
  • El Matador Beach, Malibu
  • Laguna Beach
  • Oceanside Pier
  • Del Mar
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, San Diego
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula
  • Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach
  • Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, Rancho Palos Verdes

Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.

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