This post was most recently updated on August 25th, 2020
One thing that makes southern California so amazing is the plethora of locations from which you can view a beautiful sunset. In fact, my favorite date night includes going to a beach to photograph the sunset with my husband. Over the years, I have amassed quite the collection of San Diego’s best sunsets. This article is especially for you — so that you can see some beautiful sunsets as well as learn where to see the best of them yourself.
I’ve even included a map to help you visualize where my sunset-shooting locations were. I’ll list my locations from north to south along the coast, plus two inland locations where you’re sure to see stunning sunsets!
To make it even easier, this article has been converted to a GPS-embedded guide on GPSmyCity. Use it without internet or data to follow our footsteps! (I will receive a small commission if you purchase the guide — thank you!)
1. South Carlsbad State Beach
You’ll get beautiful photos here, whether you take them from down on the beach or up in the campground above the cliffs.
2. Del Mar Beach
In Del Mar, you can snap gorgeous photos at Seagrove Park, Del Mar Beach, Del Mar North Beach, or North Bluff Preserve. Or drive down any side street towards the sea!
3. Torrey Pines State Beach
This beach has great views from the park above the cliffs as well as down on the rocky beach and at the entrance to the lagoon. While it does cost money to park at one of the two parking lots here, you’ll sometimes get lucky and snag a free parking space right along the beach!
4. Torrey Pines Glider Port
There is plenty of parking at the Torrey Pines glider port, and it has the added dimension of possibly catching a hang glider silhouetted against the setting sun!
5. San Diego’s best sunsets in La Jolla
You’ll find many incredible vantage points in La Jolla for sunset viewing and photgraphing. Check out the La Jolla Cove and nearby cliffs, the Children’s Pool, or the La Jolla tide pools for views like this:
6. Windansea Beach
This beach is probably one of the most popular beaches for photographing in San Diego. You’ll often see professional photographers here and a crowd of sunset watchers. It’s no wonder!
7. Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach and its neighbor, Mission Beach are wonderful sunset viewing locations. There’s the Pacific Beach ‘Ocean Front Walk’ that runs parallel to the beach, the Crystal Pier, and anywhere along the beach itself.
8. San Diego’s best sunsets in Mission Bay
There are plenty of places in the Mission Bay area that make for great sunset-viewng. Try the observation tower at Paradise Isle. Bonita Cove adds the element of sunset reflections, lovely palm trees, and a roller coaster. You can even catch sunsets with sailboats or bridges.
9. The San Diego airport
Don’t forget to look out your airplane window when taking off from the San Diego airport during sunset. You’ll get a view you can’t get any other way!
10. Downtown San Diego and Seaport Village
Whether you’re viewing one of San Diego’s best sunsets from a downtown rooftop…or along the water near the Convention Center or Seaport Village, you are sure to catch a gorgeous one. Look for objects silhouetted against the light to add special elements. Or catch the sunset from Coronado, across from downtown San Diego, to catch the city skyline.
11. Sunset Cliffs
The name of these stunning cliffs is certainly fitting, because they make a very good place from which to watch the sun set at the close of the day. Some of the cliffs even form arches, and you can often catch some dramatic waves crashing against the cliffs.The orange color of the soil here adds to the color, too.
12. Old Pt. Loma Lighthouse
At Cabrillo National Park, you can see beautiful sunsets from the top of the bluff at the old lighthouse. Nearby at the Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, you’ll see sunsets with the added element of white marble tombstones.
13. Rancho Penasquitos
Rancho Penasquitos is a nice neighborhood within the San Diego city limits with several wonderful locations for viewing sunsets. The Hilltop Community Park allows one to see all the way to the ocean, as well as view hot air balloons making their way east from the coast. Sunset views from the top of Black Mountain would also be amazing — just be sure to take a flashlight so you can make your way back down safely.
14. Lake Poway Park
Really, any high point in east San Diego County will give you beautiful views of a sunset with layers of hills. This sunset photo was taken from a high point in Lake Poway Park.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my collection of some of San Diego’s best sunsets. Because every sunset is just a little different, there’s no end to the gorgeous sunset photos you can take. Sunsets can come in hues of orange, pink, red or purple — with lots of clouds for extra drama, or none at all. I suggest you go check out a few San Diego sunsets on your own. They are the perfect close to each day.
Great news! I am now selling 2021 wall calendars with many of these California sunset photos. They make the perfect gift, and you’ll be able to enjoy them all year-round! Find them in my online store.
Can’t get enough of our San Diego sunsets!
What a beautiful collection of sunset photos and a great guide for where to go when visiting San Diego! Thanks for putting this together, especially during a time when getting to the beach is hard to do. I’ll enjoy these stunning views virtually!