Often when we travel, we plan our day around the sunset. Cavemen did it. We do it too. It’s a show on caveman TV not to be missed. Of course, the beauty of the locations played a large roll in the rankings of these sunsets but there are other variables at play. Read on to find out what made these our top 5 sunsets:
1. Twin Beaches, Philippines
December 2016 – After about 1.5 hour bumpy trek to Nacpan Beach (one of the twins in “Twin Beaches”) we finally made it! Unlucky for us, it was cloudy, rainy, and not a great beach day. Fortunately there was a small beach shack serving cold beers AND french fries with banana ketchup. What more did we need? We were good where we were, protected by the rain with a beautiful view. After hiding out under cover for 4 hours, the clouds started to break and the sun came out. Dan and I finished our San Miguels, sprinted down the beach like we had never seen sun before, and dived straight into the water. The only other beach goer we saw was a Norwegian man who was staying at Calitang Beach (the second twin of the “Twin Beaches”). He invited Dan, myself, and my parents to watch the sunset with him and his host family at the adjacent beach. We were more than excited to check out the other beach and happy to have help finding the way. After hopping over rain puddles and passing plenty of tied up pigs, prized roosters, and Filipina women doing laundry – our walk through the nipa huts ended and Calitang beach lay straight ahead of us. The sun was just dipping below the horizon as we arrived and it seemed as if the beach was coming alive after an afternoon of rest. Stray dogs watched the local kids play and the “evening shift” was just beginning for local fisherman. Dan, Dad, along with 6 other men helped a fisherman get his boat into the ocean while Mom chatted with the locals.
2. Grand Canyon – Yavapai Point, Arizona
September 2017 – We arrived in Las Vegas at around 1 AM, rented a car, and slept in a parking lot until the sun came up. After running around Vegas doing errands in the rental car (including picking up food and alcohol for a week on the road) we dropped off the rental car and picked up our campervan. This would be our home for the next week. After sleeping in a sedan for a night, a campervan with a queen bed was a major upgrade. We had our eyes set on the Grand Canyon for sunset. We barely made it after getting stuck in a traffic jam consisting of18-wheelers in every single direction, but we did! Just in time too. Sunset at Yavapai Point at the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, hitting every color of the light spectrum. The other tourists left to catch the last shuttle back to the campgrounds and hotels but we lingered a little longer and had the place to ourselves while the sky continued to change colors.
3. Blackrock Summit, Virginia
October 2016 – After getting a late start on a Saturday, Dan and I head off to Shenandoah National Park to see if we could snag a first-come first-serve spot at the Loft Mountain Campground. We hadn’t planned on going camping but the weather was perfect for it and we wanted to be outside. We lucked out and got one of the best spots in the campground. It was getting late but we set up camp in turbo-mode and started a super short hike nearby – the Blackrock Summit trail in the southern district (there happen to be two hikes with this name in the park.) I don’t think either of us intended on staying for sunset but after reaching the summit quicker than we expected, we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave. Clouds rolled over the Shenandoah’s as the sun lowered behind the western most hills. A slight chill snuck up on us and we found ourselves in the clouds. The setting sun shining through the mist cast a bright orange glowing light – similar to smoke coming off a forest fire.
4. Siquijor, Philippines
December 2016 – After a long day of travel, we (Dan, my sister Nicole, her bf Brian, and myself) arrived on the island to find that our Airbnb host had accidentally double booked our stay and the place we paid for was not available. We threw our backpacks into the replacement accommodation (two adjacent huts on the beach) and decided to try our luck snorkeling. We took our gear out and walked into the water, hoping to find good snorkeling. Unfortunately, after about 100 yards of trying to navigate around the spiky sea urchins we decided to turn around. There were hundreds in site, dispersed like landmines among the floating seaweed. The tide was too low to swim and the risk of stepping on one was too high. Lucky for us, the Tubod Marine Sanctuary was a short scooter ride away which offered the most marine life we had seen all trip. After a few hours snorkeling we caught a gorgeous sunset with views of the southern tip of Negros Island to the west. The views combined with the significance of the location is what made this sunset so special. We were standing on an island our Dad visited when he was our age and living in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer, watching the sun set behind island that our Mom grew up on. After sunset and dinner, the four of us hung up our hammocks and drank beers under the stars.“Now THIS is what I had in mind when I imagined vacationing in the Philippines.” – Nicole
5. Sarasota, Florida
July 2017 – Sarasota is our home away from home. Well at least one of them. We try and visit Florida at least twice a year. It’s our idea of a real vacation – one in which we can sleep-in, relax, and not have major FOMO if we decide to veg out on the beach ALL DAY LONG. We have a home base in Florida that we are beyond fortunate for, as our family seems to be migrating there in flocks as they reach (real) retirement. At this point, we had probably seen over 50 Florida sunsets – but again, it’s a show we don’t like to miss. On this particular day, the show was spectacular. A storm had just passed and a huge rainbow spread across the sky. We waded through the warm Gulf waters as another rainbow stretched across the sky. It was a FULL ON DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SKY! What does this mean?
More sunsets to come…
We are such huge fans of a good sunset that we planned our wedding schedule around the sunset – lining up the end of cocktail hour with last light. We may keep out shades closed all day, but when the sky starts to turn pink, we open all the blinds. We have worked hard for some of our favorite sunsets. Others have come with little effort and a lot of luck. The ones we work hard for are rewarding, but it’s often the unexpected ones that feel like the greatest gift.