Florida, known as the Sunshine State, is a fitting place to witness the best sunset views. With the sun setting in the west, most of Florida’s best sunsets can be found on the state’s western coast and panhandle. Whether you are looking for an action-packed evening or a quiet sunset for two, Florida has everything you need.
Experiencing a great sunset is often a ‘right place at the right time’ experience. Read below for the best places to be at dusk.
Where Can I Watch the Best Sunsets in Florida?
Table of Contents
- 1 Where Can I Watch the Best Sunsets in Florida?
- 1.1 1. Bradenton
- 1.2 2. Cedar Key Sunset
- 1.3 3. Clearwater Beach
- 1.4 4. Destin
- 1.5 5. Enjoy the Sunset in Key West
- 1.6 6. Fort Lauderdale
- 1.7 7. Homosassa
- 1.8 8. Jupiter
- 1.9 9. Naples
- 1.10 10. Panama City Beach
- 1.11 11. St Augustine
- 1.12 12. St George Island
- 1.13 13. Okaloosa Pier
- 1.14 14. Islamorada
- 1.15 15. Pompano Beach
- 1.16 16. St Petersburg
- 1.17 17. Sanibel Island
- 2 What Time is Sunset in Florida?
- 3 Best Month of the Year for Sunsets in Florida
- 4 Where Will You Watch a Florida Sunset?
- 5 Who Paid for What in this Post?
Whether you are in the westernmost city of Pensacola or the southernmost Island city of Key West, Florida’s sunsets will take your breath away while welcoming the activities of the evening. Travelling over the ocean in Key West even appears in our bucket list ideas of things to do.
Here are the best places to watch sunsets in Florida.
Located on the Manatee River south of Tampa, Bradenton offers some incredible locations to admire the setting sun. The nearby Riverwalk Park stretches 2,4 km and offers views of the setting sun behind the 8th Ave bridge.
Stroll on the botanical walk and experience the area’s public art before enjoying the sunset from the fishing pier.
Do you enjoy watching the sun sinking into the horizon with your feet touching the water’s edge? Find a quiet spot to watch the sunset from Bean Point, the northern tip of Anna Maria Island. Limited parking means it is likely you will be secluded on the west side of the island.
2. Cedar Key Sunset
Cedar Key, an island city off the northwest coast of Florida, is the ideal location to watch the sunset from a beach. The latest sunset in Cedar Key occurs in June and takes place at 8:35 pm, with twilight ending at 9 pm.
The best location to watch the sunset in Cedar Key is from the fishing pier or sipping a cocktail from one of the coastal pubs or bars. In January, you can walk beneath the oak trees on third street while the sun sets ahead of you over the ocean.
3. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is on the west-central coast of Florida and is the ideal setting to climb onboard a Schooner for an authentic sailing experience. These vessels let you enjoy the last hours of light while an experienced crew and captain work around you throughout the trip.
Alternatively, head off on a two-hour sunset cruise along the Intracoastal waterway, Clearwater pass, and into the Gulf of Mexico (if the weather permits). This activity takes place on a 14-metre long double-deck vessel.
Prefer to have your feet planted firmly on the ground? The North beach is less crowded, while the south beach has a festive feel, with the 330 metre long Pier 60 hosting live entertainment in the evenings.
The Pier 60 bait house offers fishing gear, rentals, and bait should you wish to cast a line from this popular fishing point at the end of your day. The lights along the pier make it possible to fish in the late evening.
The city of Destin, in northwest Florida, has a coastline facing south, so you will experience the sunset at an angle. The sugar-white sand and emerald green water help to make sunsets in this city unforgettable. Visit in October for the best beach sunsets over the ocean around 6:15 pm and twilight ending at 6:40 pm.
Walk along the harbour before taking a sunset cruise into the Gulf of Mexico. The ocean conditions dictate what you will wear during your journey, however, so a rainproof jacket is always a good idea. Alternatively, watch the sunset while enjoying a meal at Dewey Destin’s Seafood restaurant.
Henderson Beach State Park is another excellent location in Destin to enjoy the last light of the day. The park costs $6 per vehicle to enter and boasts trails leading to the top of 9-meter high sand dunes. You will, however, need to leave the park soon after the sun has set unless you are camping.
5. Enjoy the Sunset in Key West
Florida’s southernmost city, Key West, is an island in the straits of Florida. As the last stop on US Route 1, the highway is an incredible setting with the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern side and the Gulf of Mexico on the west.
Visitors to Key West can enjoy a sunset ritual hosted by an eclectic mix of performance artists in the street theatre of Mallory Square.
For a unique perspective of the setting sun, set sail aboard a schooner while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and a drink. The replica of the 1851 Schooner America gives you the feeling of travelling back in time while the sails gently flap overhead.
Are you travelling with children? Key West is a great location for children to experience wildlife. Hop on to the Conch Train tour of the historic district or climb aboard glass-bottom boats to see colourful coral, tropical fish, sharks, turtles, lobsters, and crabs.
Unwind at the end of the day eating seafood while listening to music at the aptly named Sunset Pier restaurant.
6. Fort Lauderdale
Visiting the ‘Venice of America’ on the southeast coast of Florida? The city of Fort Lauderdale boasts 266 km of inland waterways and over 3000 hours of sunlight each year. Enjoy pleasant temperatures thanks to all-year-round ocean breezes.
Treat yourself and stay at the Westin Beach Resort for an idyllic and relaxing sunset. The latest sunset typically occurs in June at 8:15 pm, while the twilight ends at 8:40 pm. The east coast doesn’t offer the sunset over the ocean. However, you do wake up with the sunrise over the sea.
With sunset cruises offered near the resort, you can head out in the evening on the water to watch the sunset while toasting to the occasion.
Homosassa is on the southern end of the Big Bend and endures long, hot summers, which are often cloudy. While the winters are short and partly cloudy, the sunsets are dramatic. The best time to visit for warm-weather activities is in March, May, October, and November.
Known for its population of West Indian Manatees, the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the ideal location for a snorkel before sundown.
If you don’t want to get your hair wet, the Fish Bowl underwater observatory lets you see the Florida Manatee and up to 34 varieties of fish. Spend the last hour of light walking along the Homosassa River for a delightful sunset.
Despite being located on the eastern coast, Jupiter still offers spectacular sunset views. Aim to find an elevated vantage point like the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse to watch the setting sun.
Heading out onto the water for a sunset cruise is another excellent option for your evening. The Intracoastal waterway lets you pass by the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and cruise around Jupiter Island for incredible sunsets. Relax while the skipper navigates the waters and shares information about the city’s history.
Join a guided clear kayak tour for an insight into the wildlife and a chance to see starfish, dolphins, stingrays, manatees, and turtles. The clear bottomed kayaks will keep you curious and captivated as the sun slowly slips below the horizon.
Naples is a city in the southwest of Florida known for its golf courses and the Naples pier. This 304-metre long pier is perfect for sun gazing and is an ideal dolphin-spotting destination. If the pier is too busy for your liking, there are kilometres of beach on each side with calm waters and fine white sand.
Travel on a two and a half hour catamaran sailing excursion passed the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Ask your captain if you would like to collect shells on the secluded Keewaydin Island beach before enjoying a sunset glass of sparkling wine included! Set off from the Bayview Boat ramp and keep an eye out for dolphins, turtles, and roseate spoonbills.
10. Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is a waterfront town in northwest Florida. Take a guided ride on e-bikes with your family or friends to the best points of interest, like the St.Andrews Waterfront Farmers Market. The route and equipment are ideal for even beginner cyclists, allowing you to focus on the setting sun.
Take a comfortable seat beside your loved one in a spacious gondola on Panama City Beach’s SkyWheel. The attraction (when timed correctly) gives you incredible views of the sunset and the surrounding city.
To ensure you get your timing right, book a VIP experience that includes extra revolutions and a unique perspective from a glass-bottomed floor.
Did you bring your yoga mat? St Andrews State Park overlooking St Andrews Bay is an ideal location to relax and find a moment of silence. Practice for as long as your skill level allows and soak in the last of the light during a sunset yoga session. Unfortunately, only campers can stick around as the state park closes soon after sunset.
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11. St Augustine
In northeastern Florida, St Augustine enjoys pretty sunsets as late as 8:30 pm in June, with twilight ending at 8:55 pm. The earliest sunset in St Augustine typically takes place at 5:40 pm, and twilight ends at 6:05 pm.
To make the most of the sun setting in the West, we recommend finding a point of elevation to enjoy the view over the city.
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If you can afford it, why not take to the air during a guided sunset helicopter tour? The flight takes you over 19 kilometres of beach before returning with views of the sun setting over the historic downtown district. Looking for a romantic activity? This flight is the perfect occasion for a proposal or honeymoon.
12. St George Island
Head to the beach on St George Island for fantastic sunset views. This 28 mile long island is located just off North Florida’s Gulf Coast. The island has strict zoning and building codes so there are no chain stores or high rises. It is known as being one of the last unspoilt islands in Florida.
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13. Okaloosa Pier
Okaloosa Island fishing pier extends 400 meters into the Gulf Of Mexico. It is a picture-perfect sunset location and gives you a chance to cast a line and catch Mackerel, Redfish, Cobia, Bonita, Blackfin Tuna, and more.
Located on the West Coast on Florida in the Keys, head to one of Islamorada’s beach front bars or restaurants for some amazing sunset views. Make sure your bar is facing the Gulf.
15. Pompano Beach
The City of Pompano Beach is just 3 kms north of Fort Lauderdale and has 3 miles of beaches. Although Pompano Beach faces East there are still some beautiful sunsets to be seen.
16. St Petersburg
Head to The Hurricane beachfront restaurant on St Petersburg beach for some amazing sunset views of the Gulf and the Intracoastal Waterway. The rooftop deck is the best place to watch the sunset as it has 360-degree views.
17. Sanibel Island
Sanibel Islands offer beautiful white beaches and fantastic Gulf views. Head to Lighthouse Beach or Bowman’s Beach Park.
What Time is Sunset in Florida?
The latest sunset of the year always follows the summer solstice, which in the Northern Hemisphere typically occurs in June. On these days, you can experience the longest day with the sunset bringing night time as if it were an afterthought.
The week following the summer solstice usually experiences the latest sunsets, with Pensacola enjoying sunsets as late as 7:55 pm and twilight ending at 8:22 pm. On the same day further south, Key West experiences its latest sunset at 8:20 pm, with twilight ending at 8:45 pm.
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The shortest day of the year, during the winter solstice, typically occurs in Florida in December. In Pensacola, the sun sets at 5:20 pm and experiences twilight ending at 5:45 pm. On the same day, the sunset occurs in Key West as early as 5:40 pm, with twilight ending at 6:05 pm.
Best Month of the Year for Sunsets in Florida
We have recommended the above locations due to the incredible sunsets they experience. While every evening might not be a picture-perfect pink sky, you can count on Florida delivering gorgeous light. Late fall and winter are the best times for sunset viewing over most of the Sunshine State.
During May, June, and July, Florida’s sunsets take place later and offer you a longer day for activities. Bradenton is busiest in January and is best from May to September. Cedar Key is busiest between June and August and offers the best sunsets in Florida from January to March.
From December to April, winter in Key West is a pleasant time of year, while summer is rainy and humid. March is the busiest time, so consider visiting at the tail end of winter. Destin is a great location for sunsets from April to May, with warm water and comfortable temperatures.
Fort Lauderdale and Jupiter are located on the east coast and experience rain during the hurricane season from June to November, making them suitable to visit from December to May. Panama City Beach is busiest in June and is best visited in September and October for a quieter sunset experience.
Where Will You Watch a Florida Sunset?
Whether you are flying to the Sunshine State for a vacation or road-tripping the famous Route 1 across one of America’s best bridges, you will have a chance to watch a spectacular sunset in Florida. Armed with the information and locations listed above, you can choose where to watch the setting sun with confidence.
Have you been to Florida and seen the colourful twilight sky? Let us know your favourite place to enjoy a sunset in the Sunshine State.
Who Paid for What in this Post?
I covered all of the costs involved in writing this post. This sunsets in Florida post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.