The Best Sunrise & Sunset in America

I love the sky. The clouds, the stars, the moon, the sun - anything enormous that appears tiny in our vast and endless atmosphere. The sky is constantly inspiring me to remember that there is more - and that more is huge. That's why, not only are Daniel and I avid star-gazers, we also happen to enjoy a good sunrise/sunset.

And I believe I've experienced the greatest place to watch the sun rise in America, and the greatest place to watch the sun set.

The Sunrise 

In Acadia National Park in Maine, the East Coast's highest mountain sits in the middle of a granite mountain range and the rocky New England coast. Cadillac Mountain is amazing - the ocean-and-island view, and the thin, fresh air must be part of the reason why Maine was given its motto: "the way life should be." Maine is a place you go when you want to relax and refresh. And that is why its the perfect place to watch the sunrise; you can sit and relax on the mountaintop while the world refreshes itself and prepares for a new day.

A quick internet search will tell you what time the sun will rise - plan to arrive on Cadillac Mountain about 20 minutes earlier than that so that you can grab your "seat" (aka a granite boulder). No matter what time of the year it is, it will be dark and cold when you arrive - so dress accordingly. It's silent, cold and windy when you first arrive; people are huddled in blankets all over the mountaintop. Some sipping coffee, some dreaming of the coffee they'll get at the breakfast restaurants nestled in quiet Bar Harbor nearby.

When the sun begins to rise, you forget how tired or cold you are. It is the only time of day when the sun seems friendly - you can stare right at it and it won't harm your eyes. It's a majestic ascent that begins with stripes of pink and ends in the whole mountain range flooded with sunshine. Definitely an experience worthy of a bucket list. And then don't forget to indulge in some blueberry pancakes afterward.

The Sunset 

It just makes sense that the East Coast would have the best sunrise and the West Coast would have the best sunset, right? Especially when the sun descends behind a seemingly never-ending blanket of ocean, and its reflection dances in the water below it.

In Santa Monica, we had the chance to view the sunset from the pier. It was brilliantly orange, yellow and tropical, framed by the silhouette of palm trees and the shadow of seabirds searching for fish in the last of its light. Many other people stopped what they were doing in the busyness of the pier and joined us at the railing, pausing for a moment to admire the beauty. I love those moments when humans - almost always busy and bustling - pause simply to reflect on something beautiful. When on the West Coast, always plan on setting aside those few moments to watch the sunset.

A Few Fun Facts: 

The summit of Cadillac Mountain is actually the first place you can view the sun when it rises in the United States from October 7 through March 6.