24 November, 2020

The best places to enjoy a sunrise or sunset in Virginia

Full of mountains, beaches, lakes and rivers, Virginia has numerous picturesque spots to enjoy a sunrise or sunset. As the sun rises and sets over these varied landscapes, something truly magical happens, creating unforgettable moments that are stunningly beautiful.

While you can really see a sunrise or sunset from anywhere, we've picked a few of our favorites. At sunrise or sunset, head to one of these destinations to get a glimpse of Virginia at its finest!

Watchtower with tall buttonsNorton

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Photo Credit: Brad Share IG Account: @ brad.deel

Located at the top of Stone Mountain's High Knob Recreation Area in Virginia's Heart of Appalachia region, the High Knob Observation Tower is located at an elevation of over 4,000 feet. On a clear day, the summit offers sweeping views of five states (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia). The watchtower was reconstructed in 2014 and is now accessible for the disabled, allowing all visitors to enjoy the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets from the top.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk-Virginia beach

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<p>The Virginia Beach Boardwalk runs parallel to the sandy beach, so you never lose sight of the ocean as you stroll past this iconic landmark. The Boardwalk is an ideal place to watch a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, and if you are lucky you can also see dolphins jumping over the water during sunrise. </p><div class='code-block code-block-5' style='margin: 8px auto; text-align: center; display: block; clear: both;'>
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Salamander Resort—Middleburg

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<h5 class=Photo credit: Salamander Resort

Salamander Resort features 168 luxurious rooms, a lavish spa, a full-service horse riding center and both indoor and outdoor pools. Located on 340 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the uninterrupted rolling countryside creates one of the best places to enjoy a sunrise or sunset in the Middleburg region.

Wachapreague

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One of many small towns on Virginia's east coast, Wachapreague is located on the east coast of the coastline and provides an excellent vantage point for sunrises. Wachapreague has long been a well-known destination for avid anglers, but the town has shied away from the greater crowds seen at many coastal destinations. Instead, the residents of Wachapreague have chosen to protect their vast acreage of pristine wetlands and barrier islands (some of the latter in the mid-Atlantic states) so you can admire the sunrise with barely a soul in sight.

The skyline of the city of Richmond

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<h5 class=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 watch a sunrise or sunset over the Richmond skyline is from Floodwall Park on the south side of the James River or Belle Isle, a 54-acre island in the middle of the river, easily accessible from a pedestrian bridge that runs from Tredegar Street on the north side of the James.

Montpelier by James MadisonMontpelier Station

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<h5 class=Photo Credit: Aaron Watson @aaronwatsonphotography

The lifelong home of President James Madison, father of the Constitution and architect of the Bill of Rights, Montpelier spans more than 2,600 acres in Orange County, Virginia. Visit the estate later in the day to watch a spectacular sunset over the grounds.

Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve—Kilmarnock

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<p>Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve consists of protected wetlands, undeveloped beaches, sand dunes and upland forests. Several endangered animals call the reserve home and it is an important wintering area for migratory waterfowl and songbirds. Hughlett Point is also a habitat for bald eagles, ospreys and harriers. With so much wildlife and pristine scenery, Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve is a beautiful spot for a sunrise or sunset. </p>
<h2><strong>Primland Resort</strong><strong>– Dan's pastures</strong></h2>
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Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG Account: @sdeanphotos

Enjoy scenic views of the Roanoke Valley from Mill Mountain Overlook at the Roanoke Star. Built in 1949 and visible from just about every part of the valley, the stunning 30-meter star is located at the top of Mill Mountain, and from this vantage point, both dusk and dawn are breathtaking.

False Cape State ParkVirginia beach

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<h5 class=Photo Credit: Trevor Frost, IG Account: @tbfrost

Located between Virginia Beach's Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, False Cape State Park is one of the few remaining undeveloped areas along the East Coast of the U.S. The park offers the opportunity to get back to nature in a unique setting, on just minutes from the hustle and bustle of Virginia Beach but in a seemingly remote landscape. Plus, you can hike primitive oceanfront campsites, pitch a tent to enjoy the sunset and sleep under the stars, then wake up to a gorgeous sunrise over the Atlantic.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

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Photo Credit: Scott K. Brown

The 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway follows the Appalachian Mountains and has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The route runs from Virginia's northern Shenandoah Valley to North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has dozens of scenic lookout points where you can stop and enjoy a sunrise or sunset. Would you like to add more picturesque mountain views to your trip? The Blue Ridge Parkway connects to Skyline Drive on the north side and takes you through the famous Shenandoah National Park.

High Bridge Trail State Park-Farm village

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

Farmville & # 39; s High Bridge Trail State Park is a multi-purpose trail used for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The centerpiece is the majestic High Bridge, which is over 750 meters long and 50 meters above the Appomattox River, and from this vantage point both sunrise and sunset are absolutely breathtaking.

Netherlands Carillon—Arlington

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<h5 class=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 has one of the best views in the area, overlooking the Potomac River with Washington D.C. in the background.

McAfee button—Catawba

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Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG Account: @sdeanphotos

How about combining breathtaking views with one of Virginia & # 39; s best hikes? A 4.4 mile (8.8 mile round trip) trail takes you to the awe-inspiring McAfee Knob, one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. The Knob offers a nearly 270 degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east. On a clear day, you have some of the best views in the southern Shenandoah Valley from the top. This is a popular hike, but if you head out early to see the sunrise you will likely reach the top before it gets too crowded.

Cape Charles

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A charming town on the south side of Virginia's east coast, Cape Charles is the ultimate quiet beach destination. Catch a sunrise or sunset from the beach, or take a kayak tour with SouthEast Expeditions to Chatham Vineyards. Starting at a working watermen's wharf on the banks of Nassawadox Creek, the 45-minute paddle will take you through the swamp waters before arriving at Chatham Vineyards where you can relax and enjoy a nice glass of Virginia wine. Pro tip: The 2:30 pm tour time gives you the chance to see a sunset over the water during the shorter days of the year.

Breaks Interstate Park– Breaks

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<h5 class=Photo Credit: Joshua Moore, IG Account: @ jtm71

Stretching across the Virginia-Kentucky border, Breaks Interstate Park is one of only two Interstate parks in the country and encompasses more than 4,500 acres of greenland and mountain scenery. The best place to see a sunrise or sunset in the park is probably overlooking the "Grand Canyon of the South," the deepest canyon east of the Mississippi River. In addition to fantastic views, the park offers moose-watching tours, miles of hiking trails, fishing, paddle boats, cabin rentals, campgrounds, a lodge and visitor center, an on-site restaurant, and gift shop.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge—Chincoteague

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The Eastern Shore's Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a 14,000-acre nature preserve that is mainly on the Virginia side of Assateague Island (some parts 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, and with hours running from 6am to 6pm, you can see both the sunrise and sunset from the mountain lodge depending on the time of the year.

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

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