29 July, 2021
The best places to see a sunrise or sunset in Virginia

The best places to see a sunrise or sunset in Virginia

Full of mountains, beaches, lakes, and rivers, Virginia offers countless scenic spots to enjoy sunrise or sunset. When the sun rises and sets over these varied landscapes, something really magical happens that creates unforgettable moments that are breathtakingly beautiful.

While you can really catch a sunrise or sunset anywhere, we’ve picked a few of our favorites. Visit one of these destinations in the morning or evening light for a glimpse of Virginia at its finest!

High Knob Observation Tower– –Norton


Photo credit: Brad Share IG account: @ brad.deel

The High Knob Observation Tower is located on top of Stone Mountain’s High Knob Recreation Area in the Heart of Appalachia region of Virginia at an elevation of over 4,000 feet. On a clear day, you can get expansive views of five states (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia) from above. The observation tower was reconstructed in 2014 and is now handicapped accessible so that all visitors can enjoy the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets from the summit.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk-Virginia Beach


The Virginia Beach Boardwalk runs parallel to the sandy beach so you never lose sight of the ocean as you stroll along this landmark. The promenade is an ideal place to watch a sunrise over the Atlantic. If you are lucky, you can also see dolphins jumping over the water in the morning hours.

Salamander Resort– Middle castle


Photo credit: Salamander Resort

Salamander Resort has 168 luxurious rooms, a spacious spa, full-service equestrian center, and indoor and outdoor pools. The uninterrupted rolling landscape sits on 340 acres at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is one of the best places to enjoy a sunrise or sunset in the Middleburg area.



Photo Credit: Adam Lewis IG Account: @adamtlewis

Wachapreague, one of the many small towns on the east coast of Virginia, is located on the east coast of the coast and offers an excellent viewpoint for sunrises. Wachapreague has long been a well-known destination for avid sport fishermen, but the town has shied away from the larger crowds in many of the coastal areas. Instead, the residents of the Wachapreague have chosen to protect their large expanse of pristine wetlands and barrier islands (some of the last in the mid-Atlantic states) so you can enjoy the sunrise with barely a soul in sight.

The Richmond City skyline


Photo Credit: Adam Lewis IG Account: @adamtlewis

While many choose undeveloped landscapes to enjoy a sunrise or sunset, the Richmond skyline offers a more urban beauty. One of the best places to catch a sunrise or sunset over the Richmond skyline is either Floodwall Park on the south side of the James River or Belle Isle, a 54-acre island in the middle of the river that is easily accessed via a footbridge runs from Tredegar Street on the north side of James.

James Madison’s Montpelier– –Montpelier station


Photo Credit: Aaron Watson @aaronwatsonphotography

Montpelier is the lifelong home of President James Madison, father of the Constitution and architect of the Bill of Rights. It covers more than 2,600 acres in Orange County, Virginia. Tour the property later in the day for a spectacular sunset over the grounds.

Hughlett Point nature reserve– Kilmarnock


The Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve consists of protected wetlands, undeveloped beaches, dunes and highland forests. The reserve is home to several endangered animals, and it is an important wintering area for the migration of waterfowl and songbirds. Hughlett Point is also a habitat for bald eagles, ospreys and harriers from the north. With so much wildlife and pristine scenery, the Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve is a beautiful spot for a sunrise or sunset.

Primland Resort– Meadows by Dan


A luxury resort surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains Primland offers spectacular views, chalets on the mountain tops, elegant food and a wide range of leisure activities such as shooting, ATV tours and horse riding. With mountains all around, you can experience a beautiful sunrise or sunset at Primland Resort.

The Roanoke Star– Roanoke


Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG Account: @sdeanphotos

Take in scenic views of the Roanoke Valley from the Mill Mountain Overlook on Roanoke Star. The magnificent 100 foot star was built in 1949 and is visible from almost every part of the valley. It’s on the top of Mill Mountain. From this vantage point, both twilight and dawn are breathtaking.

Wrong Cape State Park– –Virginia Beach


Photo credit: Trevor Frost, IG account: @tbfrost

False Cape State Park is located between Back Bay in Virginia Beach and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the few undeveloped areas on the east coast of the USA. The park offers the opportunity to get back to nature in a unique setting just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Virginia Beach, but in a seemingly remote landscape. You can also go hiking at primitive seaside campsites, pitch a tent to enjoy the sunset and sleep under the stars, and then wake up to a picture-perfect sunrise over the Atlantic.

The Blue Ridge Parkway


Photo credit: Scott K. Brown

The 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway follows the Appalachian Mountains and offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The route runs from the northern Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and features dozen of scenic overlooks for sunrise or sunset. Would you like to add scenic mountain views to your trip? The Blue Ridge Parkway joins Skyline Drive at the north end and takes you through the famous Shenandoah National Park.

High Bridge Trail State Park– Farmville


Photo Credit: Kyle LaFerriere, IG Account: @ laferriere.photography

The High Bridge Trail State Park in Farmville is a multipurpose trail for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The centerpiece is the majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 160 feet above the Appomattox River. From this vantage point, both sunrise and sunset are absolutely breathtaking.

Dutch carillon– Arlington


Photo credit: Tom Hamilton, IG account: @tomhamiltonphotography

If you’re looking for a fantastic sunrise or sunset in Northern Virginia, check out the Dutch Carillon in Arlington. The Dutch carillon is located near the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, and offers one of the best views in the area with a view of the Potomac River and Washington, DC in the background.

McAfee Knob– Catwba


Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG Account: @sdeanphotos

How about some amazing views with one of the best hikes in Virginia? A 4.4 mile trail (8.8 miles there and back) takes you to the stunning McAfee Knob, one of the most photographed locations on the Appalachian Trail. The Knob offers an almost 270 degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and the North Mountain to the west, the Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east. On a clear day, from above, you’ll get some of the best views in the southern Shenandoah Valley. This is a popular hike, but if you leave early to catch the sunrise, you’ll likely get to the top before it gets too crowded.

Cape Charles


Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG Account: @sdeanphotos

Cape Charles is a charming town on the southern end of Virginia’s east coast and the ultimate low-key beach destination. Witness sunrise or sunset from the beach, or go kayaking with SouthEast Expeditions to Chatham Vineyards. The 45-minute paddle begins at a working Watermen’s Wharf on the banks of Nassawadox Creek and takes you through the marsh waters before arriving at Chatham Vineyards for a relaxing drink with a fine glass of Virginia wine. Pro tip: The 2:30 p.m. tour time gives you the chance to see a sunset over the water on the shorter days of the year.

Breaks the Interstate Park-Breaks


Photo Credit: Joshua Moore, IG Account: @ jtm71

Breaks Interstate Park is located on the Virginia-Kentucky border and is one of only two interstate parks in the nation. It encompasses more than 4,500 acres of greenwood land and mountain landscapes. Probably the best place to catch a sunrise or sunset in the park is overlooking the “Grand Canyon of the South,” the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi. In addition to breathtaking views, the park offers moose watching tours, miles of hiking trails, fishing, paddle boats, cabin rentals, campsites, a lodge and visitor center, an on-site restaurant, and a gift shop.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge– Chincoteague


The East Coast Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a 14,000-acre wildlife sanctuary that is primarily on the Virginia side of Assateague Island (some sections are also on the Maryland side of the island). The island is home to a herd of wild ponies and is known for its migratory birds. With hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can watch both sunrise and sunset from the refuge depending on the time of year.

Where do you catch the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets in Virginia? Let us know your favorite spots in the comments below!

The Best Places to See Virginia Sunrise or Sunset Post first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.

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