Southern California is known for many things: Surfing, Tex-Mex cuisine, and, of course, stunning coastal sunsets! While there is no “bad” place to watch the sun sink below the horizon here, we think Encinitas has some of the absolute best sunsets in Southern California. Keep reading to find out why! Then, for more local travel tips, be sure to reference our complimentary Destination Guide to North County San Diego.
Our Favorite Places and Spaces
4 Spots to Catch the Best Sunsets in Southern California
Moonlight Beach is one of our all-time favorite spots to watch the sky explode into a kaleidoscope of purples, pinks, oranges, and reds at the end of a fun day. This beautiful seaside spot features everything you need to enjoy an absolutely perfect beach day in North County San Diego! A great way to experience it for yourself is to pack a picnic lunch, walk down to the shore (Moonlight Beach is a quick 7-minute walk away from The Inn at Moonlight Beach), and spend the entire evening soaking in the stunning views.
The San Elijo Lagoon Trails
If you’re an adventurer at heart, you need to see a sunset from the San Elijo Lagoon Trail Network. We recommend hiking Annie’s Canyon Trail, one of the best hiking spots around Encinitas! This ¼-mile loop trail features steep switchbacks and narrow, winding paths, so be prepared for a strenuous hike. If you time your trip just right, you’ll be able to conclude your hike to the summit with sweeping views of the San Elijo Lagoon and Pacific Ocean (200 feet above sea level). That’s what we call an epic sunset!
One of the best parts about an Encinitas sunset is having the option to enjoy it from a bird’s-eye view. Beacon’s Beach is a place where you can do just that! Find this beach just north of Moonlight Beach. It’s a 26-minute walk (or 7-minute drive) from the inn. The locals congregate here daily to hike the winding beach trail, sit atop the bluff, and watch the sun sink below the Pacific Ocean. You won’t want to miss it!
Our Favorite Place for Sunsets: The Inn at Moonlight Beach!
After exploring downtown Encinitas, our favorite place to watch the sunset is right here at the inn! After the sun sets, you’re right where you need to be to get some rest and relaxation. Our luxurious, family-owned inn is close to everything Encinitas has to offer. It also nourishes life from the inside out! We are the first boutique hotel in the world undergoing the WELL Building Standard™ certification. Our Sublime Suites’ thoughtful architecture and flourishing gardens make for a truly unique, elegant retreat just steps away from restaurants, shops, and the beach. Thanks to the clean air, purified water, circadian lighting, nutritious food, and on-site spiritual wellness activities, discovering your healthiest, most awakened self begins here. There’s no better place to return after a fun day out and about in North County San Diego!