You’re not going to want to miss this.
The sun paints Florida’s sky twice a day and depending on where you are standing, the view is unbelievable. Whether you are an early riser or ending the day with a beautiful scene, Florida is home to some of the most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets in the world. You can catch a glimpse of this gorgeous sky from just about anywhere in the Sunshine State. To make sure you have a front-row seat, we picked out some of the best places to catch the sunrises and sunsets around the state.
Rise and Shine!
Cocoa Beach Pier
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the Cocoa Beach Pier is one great start to the day. Grab your beach gear, get an early start, and secure some prime real estate on this beach as you enjoy the daybreak. Cocoa Beach is one of the key locations to catch some surf in Florida, so while you relax on the beach you’ll be able to watch the local surfers ride the waves. If you’re feeling adventurous – rent a board and give “hanging ten” a try for yourself!
The Cocoa Beach Pier is home to shops, restaurants, and a tiki bar on the end of the pier called the Rikki Tiki Tavern. Since you’ll already have gotten an early start to the day, you’ll get to spend a few hours enjoying the beach before heading over to the tiki bar as it doesn’t open to the public until 11 AM.
To learn more about what Cocoa Beach Pier has to offer, check out their website.
3rd Street Beach Yoga
Miami Beach may be a major night-life and party destination, but if you happen to get up early enough (or stay up late enough) you can witness the beautiful sunrise as it kisses the skyline of the city. Grab your towel and get ready to experience the peaceful, zen-like side to this energetic, vibrant city. 3rd Street Beach Yoga holds classes 365 days a year for sunrise and sunset. What’s the best part? The classes are all donation based! Start the day right as you listen to the waves crashing and stretch to salute the sun.
The classes are open for everyone to join and they offer classes at every level. After yoga, spend the day enjoying the beach or any of the other exciting activities, restaurants, and bars that Miami Beach has to offer.
Note: Of course yoga mats are welcome but, according to their website, a towel works best on the sandy ground!
For more information about 3rd Street Yoga, visit their website here.
Canaveral National Seashore
Part of the National Park Service and located in Titusville, FL, the Canaveral National Seashore makes for a spectacular view of the sunrise. Park your car and go for a walk along the shoreline of this national park. This area is full of Florida wildlife and natural landscape. The park protects over 58,000 acres of hammocks, dunes, and coastline surrounding Cape Canaveral.
If you are lucky, you might even get to witness any one of the rocket launches that are visible from the park. The Kennedy Space Station is merely a 15-minute drive to the park and if you check their website, you can see when the next launch will be.
Although there is a small fee for your transportation to enter the park, it is worth it.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Another magnetic destination for surfers, Sebastian Inlet State Park in Melbourne Beach, FL is one of the state’s best-kept secrets. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this untouched shoreline offers a peaceful and enjoyable sunrise. This park offers over 42 different experiences and amenities to enjoy it, including geo-seeking and primitive camping.
Sebastian Inlet State Park is also one of the premier saltwater fishing spots in Florida and you can build your seashell collection at the Indian River Lagoon. Although you need to get there pretty early to catch the sunrise, you can bring camping gear and stay there for the weekend and catch a few sunrises.
With so many activities to fill your time at the park, visitors are sure to work up an appetite. Just down the street from the park is the Inlet Grill & Gifts where you can grab a bite to eat.
Big Talbot Island
Only 20 miles from downtown Jacksonville, Big Talbot Island is a natural preserve that gives you a glimpse of Northeast Florida as it was hundreds of years ago. This state park is a prime location for bird watching, studying nature, and photography. Let the sound of the waves crash as you enjoy a peaceful and beautiful view of the sun when it peeks over the horizon.
To learn more about Big Talbot Island, check out this website.
A Perfect End to the Day
Located in Key West, FL, The Key West Sunset Celebration begins two hours before sunset and invites everyone to take part in viewing as the red and pink hues of the sun grace the horizon on the Gulf of Mexico. Every night, this festival hosts visitors from all over the world and locals alike. You can catch the entertainment of jugglers, clowns, magicians, psychics, local musicians, and artists in Mallory Square. There are countless food vendors and the bars in the area help take this celebration of sunset into the night for a full party! The Key West Sunset Celebration started in the 1960s and has continued to be immortalized by stories, art, poetry, and photography.
This celebration draws both tourists and locals alike and is full of history, beauty, and passion – just like Key West.
To plan your trip to Mallory Square, be sure to visit their website.
Sunsets at Pier 60 Park
This nightly festival at Pier 60 Park on Clearwater Beach is home to artists, craft vendors, and street performers. It also happens to be one of the best spots to catch the beautiful Florida sunset. The Sunset festival begins two hours before the sun sets and goes for two more hours following the sunset. Named the Nation’s #1 Beach, Clearwater Beach makes for a great way to spend the day and watching the sunset on the Pier is a perfect way to end it.
Check out the Sunset Cinema on Fridays and Saturdays. The park plays a free family-friendly movie in the park, open for all to watch.
To learn more about Pier 60 Park and any upcoming events, check out the website here.
Take it back to the flower power and love ages of the 60s on Sunday nights, an hour before sunset on Siesta Key, when people gather together for a drum circle. Everyone is invited to join in the fun celebrating Mother Nature and basking in the beautiful sunset. Siesta Key is located in Sarasota and is home to more than a popular MTV show. Women, men, and even some children gather just south of the pavilion for this exciting ritual.
Join the locals for drums, dancing, and fire to bring in the sunset every Sunday night. To learn more about this drum circle, visit the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce website.
Schooners Last Local Beach Club
Home to another sunset celebration, this beach club located on Panama City Beach fires a cannon off every night, rain or shine, to ring in the night. Both a restaurant and bar, Schooners Last Local Beach Club hosts a long list of events year round. This fun, casual atmosphere has good food, refreshing drinks, and live music every night. People come during the day to play volleyball, relax on the beach, and watch the waves roll in. Oftentimes, they then find themselves staying for the party after dark.
The sunset from this beach club is worth the trip, but if you can’t make it – that is no problem at all! Schooners Last Local Beach Club has a live sunset cam so you can experience the beautiful sunsets from virtually anywhere in the world.
To learn more about Schooners and plan your next visit, check out their website.
The best-kept local secret on St. Pete Beach is a beachfront restaurant with a rooftop viewing deck that gives its visitors a 360-degree view of the colorfully-painted sky at sunset. Tourists who have been clued-in and locals gather here every evening to watch the sunset. Located in the historic district of Pass-a-Grille, The Hurricane is a perfect place for dinner after soaking up the sun on St. Pete Beach.
Just past the Don Cesar, you can’t miss the big rainbow building that is The Hurricane. Check out their website to find out how you can visit this fun destination.
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail
For a change of pace from the ocean-view sunsets, check out the vibrantly-painted sky as the sun sets over Lake Okeechobee. Located in Central Florida, Lake Okeechobee is the second largest lake within the borders of the United States. The sunsets over this lake are beautiful and have been immortalized by local artists and photographers. Florida is surrounded by ocean water and full of sandy beaches, but we can’t forget this breathtaking sunset destination. The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, or LOST, is a primarily a paved walking and cycling route open for the public to enjoy.
Take a hike and get “LOST” in the colorful sunset on Lake Okeechobee, learn more about the trail here.
Located just north of St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, FL has been recognized as having some of the most beautiful sunsets in Florida. This 3-mile stretch of shoreline between the Gulf of Mexico and Boca Ciega Bay is a great place to lay out a towel and watch the sunset. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphins! Dolphin sightings are common and add to the beauty of the sunset.
To learn more about Treasure Island, visit their website.
Last, but definitely not least, Florida is home to a unique ecosystem known as the Florida Everglades. The Everglades National Park is a 1.5 million acres wetland preserve in South Florida. Hundreds of wildlife species call this park home and it is a major component to the history, culture, and ecosystem of Florida as a whole. This park is even home to endangered species such as the Florida panther, West Indian Manatee, and Leatherback Turtle.
As the sun sets over these wetlands, the silhouette it creates is stunning. It is no wonder that it is featured in countless works of art and remains a staple image when people visualize Florida. Considered the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, the sunsets at the Everglades National Park provide a bountiful viewing experience for everyone. The biodiversity of flora, fauna, and wildlife is magnificent.
The parks are often open to the public for biking and hiking. To make this viewing special, you can book a guided tour that specializes in sunsets. This tour comes with a free champagne toast and if you are one of the lucky few, you might even get to see the coveted “green flash.”
To learn more about viewing sunsets in the Everglades National Park, visit their website here.
Celebrate The Sun by Witnessing The Sunrise and Sunset in Florida
Rightfully nicknamed “The Sunshine State”, Florida has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the world. Now it should go without saying … but just in case, please do not stare directly into the sun – that is dangerous. Be careful not to damage photography equipment and lenses when photographing the sun – that is expensive.
Even though it happens every day, simple things like the sun rising and setting can easily be taken for granted. There is a reason it is featured in so many songs, poetry, dance, art, photography, and stories. It is clear why in some places, on a daily basis, it warrants a festival-like celebration! When one takes the time to appreciate and focus on this, it can often feel as if time stands still for a moment. The Florida sky paints itself into a masterpiece twice a day, be sure to allow yourself to soak it in as often as possible!
Check out our Visit section to learn about more amazing places to go in Florida!