U.S. Beaches With Breathtaking Sunrises
There are few things in life worth waking up early for: cheap flights, once-in-a-lifetime tours and sunrises. And everyone knows that there is no better place to catch a sunrise than at the beach.
While you're likely to see a beautiful sunrise at any beach, why not take it to the next level? What do we mean, exactly? Check out these 10 best beaches in the U.S. to see out-of-this-world sunrises.
10. Coligny Beach
Location: Hilton Head, South Carolina
Hilton Head is one of South Carolina's most popular destinations. The island is renowned for its beautiful beaches and tranquil vibes. Catch the sun illuminating the Atlantic in Coligny Beach.
Besides natural beauty, this public beach has facilities like a kids' park with water fountains.
*Rankings are based on Hawaiian Islands’ 2023 “Best Beaches to See Sunrises and Sunsets Around the World” report.
9. Lanikai Beach
Location: Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
Skip the famed Waikiki Beach for sunrises unless you want to find yourself surrounded by drunk tourists. Instead, head to Lanikai Beach, which delights visitors with its soft white sand.
Unlike other beaches in the state, this one has relatively calm water, so once the sun is up, you can go take a dip in the ocean.
8. Sandbridge Beach
Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Though Virginia Beach is a popular seaside destination, Sandbridge Beach manages to escape overcrowding. Come watch the sun turn the sky from black to blue, and hear the waves wash up on the shore.
Expanding 5 miles, you'll likely have the beach to yourself or share it with only a few people — especially if you go in the early morning.
7. Tybee Island Beach
Location: Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island attracts thousands of tourists a year, especially in the summer. Even celebrities love coming here to jet ski, sunbathe and go boating. But while this won't be the most quiet beach during the day, not too many people are willing to get up early after a night of partying.
That said, you might encounter people who just simply never went to sleep and decided to stay to see the sun come out.
6. Jacksonville Beach
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Often ignored in favor of southern Florida cities (we're looking at you, Miami), Jacksonville is a great beach destination. Its namesake beach is arguably its most famous, and watching the sunrise here is a popular pastime.
Still, sunrise is one of the best times to catch this beach without its almost omnipresent crowds.
5. St. Augustine Beach
Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Another northern Florida beach, St. Augustine Beach is highly underrated. Start your day by seeing the sun rise over the oldest city in the United States before hitting several interesting historical landmarks.
Sure, you'll only want to get in the water during spring and summer, as the city is north enough to have low-ish temperatures in the fall and winter. But it never gets cold enough that you won't be able to enjoy the sand while you wait for the sun to wake up.
4. Daytona Beach
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach is famous for attracting rowdy spring-break crowds that rival those of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Avoid this beach at all costs during this time of year, as even the early morning hours bring unleashed college students.
At any other time of year, this city is a gorgeous destination. To find this specific beach, you'll have to search for "The World's Most Famous Beach." We doubt this title is true, but Daytona people simply decided they were going to make this the name of the city's main beach.
Florida will be Florida.
3. Shipwreck Beach
Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai is known for its rugged wildness that evokes a spirit of adventure. While there once was a shipwreck on this beach (hence the name), you will no longer find such an attraction. But this beach is so beautiful that people still make the effort to come here.
Driving is the best option to get here in time to catch the sunrise at this beach, which is located in Poipu Beach Park. But if you decide to come at any other time of day, you should complete the moderately easy hike, which will give you magnificent views of the beach and ocean from a seaside cliff.
2. Ormond Beach
Location: Ormond Beach, Florida
Just north of Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach offers a perfect sunrise experience for those who don't want to deal with the party crowds. If Daytona is personified by cheap beer, Ormond is a classy craft cocktail.
You'll also find beachfront parks with great facilities like picnic tables and playgrounds. Though some won't be in service until later in the day, you can use them after seeing the sunrise from the sand.
1. Driftwood Beach
Location: Jekyll Island, Georgia
Imagine this: You wait in the darkness of early dusk while a symphony of air and waves fills the air. As the sun brings light into the world, you start to see large driftwoods decorate the horizon. Once you see it, you'll immediately understand why this beach beats every other in the country for its sunrise.
Plan to stay for a while, taking unique pictures and walking on the driftwood that are partially submerged in the water. The experience is magical.
Best Beaches to Watch the Sunrise