Sunset Cruises in San Diego: Rentals, Locations & Planning

Written by Boatsetter Team
January 21, 2022

San Diego is a beautiful community with awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean, offering breathtaking and dramatic sunsets. The best thing about San Diego is the miles of coastline where boaters can head out into the ocean and watch the sun paint the sky with bright colors as it sets. There is nothing like free-floating on the water, listening to the waves, and watching the sunset behind the horizon.

Though watching the sunset from a San Diego beach is a fantastic experience, being out on the water is truly a unique experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.

Rent a boat in San Diego, CA

7 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in San Diego on a Boat

There are so many fabulous places to watch the sunset in San Diego, including beaches, hillsides, rooftops, and water. Here’s  best places to watch the sunset include:

  1. Coronado Island
  2. Crystal Pier
  3. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
  4. La Jolla Cove
  5. Mission Beach Boardwalk
  6. Ocean Beach Pier
  7. Palisades Park

1. Coronado Island

Coronado Island Boat rentals

Boating is a popular activity when exploring Coronado Island. Boaters can enjoy the beautiful views around the island all day long and then become amazed as swirling colors take over the sky at sunset. So go early, spend the day exploring the island and then relax on your boat until the sun starts to set. One of the best places around the island to capture a fantastic sunset is just off the shoreline from the beach of the Hotel del Coronado.

2. Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier boat rentals

The waters off of Crystal Pier are the perfect place to hang tight and wait for the sun to set. The pier is privately owned but is open to the public, offering overnight stays in one of the pier’s quaint cottages. Spend the night, watch the sunset from the dock, then the next day, adventure out on the water for an even more fantastic view of the evening sky.

3. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park offers a beautiful coastline with unique topography, including intricately carved coastal bluffs and sea caves. Though this park provides many locations on land to watch the sunset sink into the horizon, being on a boat makes the experience much more memorable. Just before sunset, you may be able to catch a glimpse of some California gray whales migrating from Baja California to the Bering Sea and back.

Rent a boat near Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

4. La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove boat rental

Set your sights on hanging out off the shores of La Jolla Cove, where you can watch everything from the sun setting to sea lions relaxing on the rocks. La Jolla Cove is one of the best locations to watch the sunset and experience local wildlife. However, this area lies within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, so make sure to follow all rules about boating in this area, as some spots may be off-limits.

5. Mission Beach Boardwalk

Mission Beach Boardwalk boat rentals

The Mission Beach Boardwalk is the perfect place for those who love being active to spend the day, rent a boat and go out on the water to watch the sunset. This location provides a beautiful view with vibrant orange, yellow, and red colors as the sunsets. Then the night sky lights up with twinkling stars. It is truly a remarkable experience, and you must stay out on the water a bit to watch the stars.

6. Ocean Beach Pier

ocean beach pier boat rental

The Ocean Beach Pier is an exciting place to explore and spend the day at the beach, wading through tide pools, fishing, and swimming. Boating around this pier offers fantastic sunset views and even more magical views just off the coastline on a boat as the sun sets. Before getting to the boat, stop for some fish tacos at South Beach or grab a pizza at Pizza Port.

7. Palisades Park

Palisades Park boat rentals

The calm waters off the coastline near Palisades Park offer a quiet place to hang out in a boat waiting for the sun to set. Because of the calm waters, this is a popular location for amateur boaters. Make sure to arrive early to ensure you claim the perfect spot to watch the sunset.

What to Pack for a Sunset Cruise

Whether you have booked a sunset cruise or are renting a boat to go out on the water in the San Diego for a fantastic night of skywatching, it is essential to ensure you have everything you need packed and ready to go. Having all the necessities ready to go can help make your sunset cruise experience comfortable and memorable. Here are some things you should consider packing before heading out on the water:

  • Motion sickness medications, especially if you have never been out on the ocean in a boat
  • A jacket or sweater, because it can get chilly on the water, 3specially after the sun sets
  • A battery pack to charge cell phones
  • Snacks and beverages to eat while watching the sunset
  • Cash to tip the crew (if you hired someone to operate the boat for you)

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