Here in Monterey County, sunset is our favorite color. Whether you’re soaking in the day’s final rays on Carmel’s white sandy beach or overlooking the bountiful agriculture fields of the Salinas Valley, it'll be worth your while to stop and enjoy the view.
As they say, no two sunsets are alike, so make an effort to soak in Mother Nature’s nightly show at some of our favorite spots below. Be sure to report back and let us know of your favorites too!
Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea
For the quintessential California sunset experience, grab Fido and head straight to dog-friendly Carmel Beach. The sunset brings out a reoccurring block party as locals and tourists comingle around beach fires with s’mores and dinner recommendations. The scene, fully framed by cypress trees and white sand beaches, makes for a memorable Kodak moment. Head over to nearby Grasing's following the views for a delicious dinner and glass of wine to end the day! And if you happen to be walking past Carmel-by-the-Sea's Sunset Center as the sun sets, take a look at the way the gothic arch catches the light at just the right angle, you won't be disappointed.
River Road, Salinas Valley
Sip on a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir at one of the many tasting rooms along the River Road Wine Trail as the day slowly fades away. The contrast between the lush vineyards, golden mountain range and a fiery sunset sky make it easy to see why John Steinbeck coined the area as “Pastures of Heaven.” Insider tip- Head to Wrath Wines or Hahn Family Wines for sweeping views of the entire valley.
Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove
Watch the brilliant hues of the sun glisten against the Pacific Ocean at Asilomar State Beach. Set along Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove, there are plenty of places to watch the sun dip behind the horizon, including your car! A good place to pull off and enjoy the view is at Point Pinos Lighthouse, it sits on the northernmost tip of the Peninsula near the intersection of Asilomar and Lighthouse Avenues, and is the perfect spot to catch the beauty. Be sure to keep an eye out for local wildlife including adorable sea otters and migrating whales. And if you’re lucky, you may even catch the green flash!
Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach
Nothing pairs better with a sunset than a little background music and a glass of Monterey County wine. At The Inn at Spanish Bay you can achieve all of the above! Every evening the lone bagpiper plays traditional Scottish songs as he makes his way around The Links at Spanish Bay, a Scottish tradition. Grab a drink at the outdoor bar and gather around the fire pits to let it all sink in.
Pinnacles National Park, Soledad
Head inland and view the sunset just behind the high peaks at Pinnacles National Park. The massive rock spires turn a fiery orange as the light hits the formations just right.
Marina State Beach, Marina
Enjoy a peaceful sunset at Marina State Beach where the sprawling coastline allows everyone to have a front-row seat to this reoccurring show. You may even spot a hang glider or two as the breezy conditions make it a prime launching spot to soar above the shoreline.
Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur
Experience a dramatic golden hour at Sand Dollar Beach along Big Sur's epic coastline. The colorful hues slowly tuck behind the majestic Pacific Ocean making for a photo-worthy moment that will look great on your living room wall.
Sunset Cruise on Monterey Bay
What better place to see the sunset than from the ocean! Take a 1-hour sunset cruise with Princess Monterey Whale Watching. Learn about the inner harbor animals and the close-to-shore ecosystem featuring the giant kelp forest, sea lions, and sea otters all while enjoying the sun set over our beautiful coastline.