6 Great Places to See a Spectacular Florida Sunset
By Kevin Mims
There's nothing quite like a Florida sunset. No matter how many times you witness the sun going down over the water, it's always a magical experience.
I've had the good fortune to watch the sun set at tons of places along Florida's coast, from beachfront communities and fishing towns, to lots of no-name spots along the roadside.
Some of the best ones have been those moments when I've just been driving and the conditions were perfect, and I've just pulled over and watched the show from the seat of my vehicle.
This isn't meant to be a "best places" type of list – I don't think that you can really make it as simple as that. It's more like a "right place, right time" kind of thing, but here are six places where I've seen spectacular sunsets in Florida right on the beach over the last couple of years. Go there, bring a friend or loved one and enjoy the show!
1. St. George Island
What's to say, really? It's terrific. This area of the Sunshine State is called "The Forgotten Coast," but I've had the most unforgettable times there.
In between Apalachicola and Eastpoint, take the bridge to St. George Island and grab a seat at the Blue Parrot Cafe for a little while. Afterward, stroll down to the beach and take a walk while the sun goes down. You'll love it! What I remember most about the St. George Island sunset was the stunning cloud formations as the sun was going down.
2. Mexico Beach
I can't say enough good things about Mexico Beach. It's one of those places frequenty overlooked, but I love the laid-back vibe there.
I witnessed an incredible sunset from the window of my corner room at the El Governor Motel. The whole side of the room was one huge window, and I had an elevated view of the beach and the pier just a short distance away. Simply amazing.
3. Cedar Key
Yep, Cedar Key never seems to disappoint when it comes to a great Florida sunset. I've seen tons of breathtaking shows from the pier, and lots from the Rusty Rim Pub/Coconuts Sports Bar.
They have a huge outdoor seating area overlooking the water, where you can watch the sun go down. On one particular trip, I took in the show with a dozen oysters on the back deck and watched the sun melt away until it was pitch black.
If you haven't made it out to Cedar Key, do so. It's a spot on Florida's Nature Coast that I always have a hard time leaving.
Located a little south of Cedar Key, Yankeetown is another great spot to catch a Nature Coast sunset. I've seen some of the most vivid (and unexpected) sunsets in Florida right here, with colors that feel otherworldly.
Late spring and early summer seems to be the best time that I've experienced sunsets here, and the sun just seems to float like a huge burning ball in the sky.
5. Naples Pier
I tend to be drawn to places that are a little off the beaten path, but a Florida sunset at the Naples Pier is world class.
A year or so ago, I spent some time wandering around swanky Third Street South after a fantastic meal at Sea Salt. Afterward, I noticed a lot of people heading in the same direction – turns out they were all headed for the pier.
There were dozens of folks on the beach, and the pier was packed with sunset-watchers, and shortly after I got what all the fuss was about. What a show!
6. Grassy Key
When it comes to the Florida Keys, pretty much every place is a great place to be.
I've seen sunsets in the Florida Keys from campsites, resorts, from the decks of fishing and dive boats, and staring out the window of waterfront restaurants. One sunset at Grassy Key (that's in the Middle Keys) in particular stands out as one of my favorites.
This was one of those "whoa, check that out" moments while driving along. I pulled over and watched the sun fade from a fiery orange to pinks and purples as it dipped below the horizon. Those few minutes along the road made the whole trip worth it.
Again, you'll find great sunsets just about everywhere in Florida. Hey, we don't call it the Sunshine State for nothing, you know?