© Juliengrondin | Dreamstime.com
© Juliengrondin | Dreamstime.com
© Juliengrondin | Dreamstime.com
Even if you aren’t an early bird, catching a sunrise from one of these stunning spots will be well worth getting out of bed.
Maine is home to one of the most beautiful sites in American parks — Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Not only does it boast breathtaking early-morning views, but from Oct.7 through March 6, it’s the first place in the United States to see the sun rise. The peak is all the way up at 1,530 feet, making it the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. Taking in a glowing sunrise from the mountaintops while overlooking the rocky coast of Maine is definitely worth waking up at the crack of dawn.
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Any desert region is made extra spectacular when the sun is near the horizon. And the different colors hitting the sand during sunrise at Death Valley National Park is a sight to see. The National Park Service suggests visitors see the sunrise from Zabriskie Point, which overlooks the golden-colored badlands of the Furnace Creek Formation. Other spots at Death Valley to watch the sun come up are Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Dantes View and Harmony Borax Works.
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Sunrise is a spectacle at the Taj Mahal — the early morning light turns the magnificent site a soft, golden color. Tourists flock to Agra to see the monument that was built by a Mughal ruler as a declaration of his love, so the early dawn hours are likely to be the best time to visit the Taj Mahal as it will be more quiet and peaceful overall.
To view the sunrise near one of the world’s most iconic landmarks — the Hollywood sign — head to the Griffith Observatory. The observatory is open every day from sunrise until 10 p.m. and it’s completely free.
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The National Park Service recommends visitors arrive 30 minutes before the sun hits the horizon and stay an hour or more after sunrise. Since the Grand Canyon is scenic everywhere you look, the NPS also says to simply look for a viewpoint where you can see both the east and west sides, like Mather or Yaki Points.
Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and an obvious choice for viewing waterfalls. But you’ll also find deep valleys, meadows, sequoia trees and a wide-open wilderness perfect for watching the sun rise. For an elevated view of the horizon, head to Taft Point, which sits 7,500 feet above sea level.
Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel in the Andes Mountains, is a popular bucket-list destination for a lot of travelers. In order to visit Machu Picchu, you’ll need a ticket, which can be purchased online or from ticket offices in Cusco — definitely plan ahead if you want to catch the sunrise from the ancient Incan ruins. The highest peak measures up to 7,874 feet.
At Bryce Canyon in Utah, there’s no better place to be at dawn than Sunrise Point. This spot is the beginning of the Queen's Garden Trail, which is an easy hike to trek. According to the National Park Service, the amazing geometry of Bryce Canyon is from tectonic activity that began 15 million years ago.
Kruger National Park has nearly endless vantage points to witness a beautiful sunrise. On your adventure, consider visiting archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela early in the morning for an impressive sunrise amidst cultural monuments.
Catching a sunrise at Mount Fuji in Japan might be most suitable for avid mountaineers. However, novice hikers can go, too, as it’s divided into 10 stations with the first station at the foot of the mountain. The fifth station, Fuji Subaru Line/Yoshida Trail, is the most popular base, according to Japan’s tourism website, and the best spot to see the sun rise.
Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming is a classic American destination for mountain enthusiasts. It’s teeming with wildlife, exquisite lakes and alpine terrain where visitors can backpack or go on plenty of scenic drives. To catch a gorgeous sunrise, take the Signal Mountain Summit Road for panoramic views of the Teton Range and Jackson Hole.
For a sunrise spot in the Great Smoky Mountains, check out Clingmans Dome, which has an elevation of 6,643 feet. Not only is Clingmans Dome the highest mountain in the Smokies, it’s home to the highest point in Tennessee and has the highest peak along the entire 2,192-mile Appalachian Trail. Visitors can watch the morning sun from the observation tower with spectacular 360-degree views.
For a beautiful ocean view under the rising sun, head to Plum Island Beach in Massachusetts. Plum Island is a barrier beach off the coast of Newbury and Newburyport in the northeastern part of the state, and the North Point of the island is where the Merrimack River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The wide ocean view makes the sunrises in this East Coast location extra special.
Key West is ideal for many things — beaches, seafood and Duval Street just to name a few. Add “catch a sunrise” to your Key West to-do list because the views are worth the early-morning wake-up call.
There’s a spot on Mount Rainier called “Sunrise,” at an elevation of 6,400 feet. According to the National Park Service, it’s the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mount Rainier. The location is ideal to catch a summer sunrise, with meadows down below bursting with wildflowers
Considering Washington D.C. is typically crowded and bustling with busybodies, you can imagine why sunrise is a perfectly still and pretty moment. For an especially unique viewing, park yourself the National Mall lawn to watch the sun come up behind four of America's great landmarks — the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Thomas Jefferson Memorial — all from a central location.
UNESCO calls Angkor Wat one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, boasting forests and magnificent remains of the different capitals from the 9th- to 15th-century empires. Imagine early-morning hues of dusty pink, red and gold right behind the temples.
Skógafoss is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland. For a perfect sunrise, the Skógafoss waterfall is worth a trek along Iceland’s South Coast, near Reykjavik. When the sun rises, you might even catch some rainbow stripes through the falls.
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Tuscany is cinematic — the rolling hills, mountain peaks, vineyards between lush green landscapes. A sunrise in any of Tuscany’s most popular cities — Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, Versilia — is likely to be breathtaking and right out of a movie.
Yellowstone National Park is known for its geysers, including the famous Old Faithful, and hot springs. Because of its massive open lands that are home to wildlife like grizzly bears, bison and elk — the park makes for a fascinating sunrise. For a memorable morning, consider the West Thumb Geyser Basin near Grant Village in the southern part of the park. The Grand Loop Road is also a great spot with stunning views across the water.
Florida’s Canaveral National Seashore welcomes visitors daily starting at 6 a.m., which is a great time to get there for a summer sunrise.
For a picture-perfect sunrise in Australia, head to Cape Hillsborough National Park, where you can get the best of both worlds — rainforest and the ocean. There are also volcanic rock formations along the shore.
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A sunrise at Joshua Tree is bound to be peaceful and scenic with desert landscapes and pleasant California weather. The Keys View, which is right on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains, has panoramic views for an expansive look out into Coachella Valley at dawn. And if you are looking for more than just a beautiful sunrise, but also beautiful weather check out these postcard-perfect warm-weather destinations.
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