The Sky’s On Fire

by May 28, 2024Art & Culture, Outdoor Recreation

The best places to watch sunrises and sunsets in southeastern North Carolina.

One of the best things about living in southeastern North Carolina is that the skies are never a miss. Walking on the beach under a beautiful morning sky or sitting by the river watching the sunset will always be my favorite things to do. Here are my favorite spots to catch a breathtaking sunset or sunrise.


1. Wrightsville Beach
As the sun begins to rise on Wrightsville Beach, the sky transforms to warm hues, illuminating the waves and sand. Wrightsville Beach offers a front-row seat to the display of colors that paint the sky, a sight that will leave you breathless. Wrightsville Beach’s sunrises are sure to captivate you and leave you with a sense of serenity. Find a comfortable spot on the beach, settle in and let the beauty of the sky wash over you.

Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach

2. The Rocks at Fort Fisher
As the sun rises over the ocean, Fort Fisher transforms into a breathtaking canvas of warm hues and golden light across the water and paints the sky with vibrant hues of pink, orange and purple. As the morning sun peaks above the horizon, beaches come alive with the sounds of seagulls and gentle waves, giving a calming feeling. Apart from the beach, Fort Fisher is also a historic site. It is a 19th-century Civil War fortification and offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. So whether you love history, are a nature lover or simply seeking beauty, Fort Fisher is a must-visit destination for witnessing the most breathtaking sunrises near Carolina Beach.

Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher

3. Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville
Hidden in the Town of Belville, Brunswick Riverwalk is a secret spot for those seeking an unobstructed view of the Cape Fear River. This spot shows a lush natural setting and is a perfect atmosphere perfect for witnessing the beauty of a sunrise. With parking, a scenic boardwalk, benches and a park, the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville is an ideal spot to pause and reflect with the beauty of nature.

4. Surf City
Topsail Island comes alive with a breathtaking sunrise over Surf City. This coastal town, on the northern end of the island, is a haven for those seeking to experience the beauty and majesty of the morning’s first light. As the sun rises, the sky is set with a gentle blend of pinks, oranges and yellows that are painted across the horizon. The clouds, tinted with shades of the sun, are such a pretty sight. Grab breakfast, find a cozy spot on the beach and settle in to watch the breathtaking view.

Surf City

Surf City Photo by Unique Media & Design

5. Figure Eight Island
Tucked away in a corner of Wilmington, Figure Eight Island is a hidden gem that offers an unparalleled coastal experience. This private and secluded spot is a favorite among locals and visitors seeking a place to witness the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Figure Eight Island provides a calming setting to connect with nature. As the sun rises over the Atlantic, the sky is set ablaze with hues of pink, orange and purple, casting a warm glow over the island. With its limited access and exclusive atmosphere, Figure Eight Island is the perfect spot to escape the crowds and enjoy Wilmington’s coastline.


1. Bald Head Island
Bald Head Island is a treasure of natural beauty. Accessible only by ferry, this car-free island is a haven for those seeking a serene getaway. Instead, golf carts are the mode of transportation of choice, allowing you to explore through the island’s landscapes at your own pace. As the day comes to an end, the island transforms into a breathtaking sunset haven. Drive your golf cart to one of the beach accesses, with the most stunning spot located near the front of the island. You won’t be disappointed; the sunsets here are truly unforgettable, and the most beautiful sight I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. In my opinion, Bald Head Island is the most spectacular sunset spot in the entire SENC area, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a tranquil and visually stunning experience.

2. River Lights
For a breathtaking, unobstructed view of the sunset over water, River Lights is the ultimate destination. From the comfort of the boardwalk or boat launch, you can witness the stunning setting sun. Plus, nearby restaurants like Smoke on the Water offer the perfect place to savor the views while enjoying a meal. The vibrant colors of the sky are mirrored on the water’s surface, elevating the experience. If you’re short on time but want to catch a memorable sunset, head to River Lights, you won’t be disappointed.


3. Oak Island
As the day winds down on Oak Island, the sky transforms into so many colors. The sunsets on this barrier island are a true treasure. The sky is bathed in a soft light and vibrant hues. As the sun sets on Oak Island, the stresses of everyday life melt away.

Oak Island

Oak Island

4. End of the World: Fort Fisher
The end of the world is a hidden spot in Fort Fisher. The location is easily accessible by driving past the beach and continuing to the end of the road. Once you arrive, you can park your car and enjoy the stunning view from the comfort of your vehicle or take a short walk to the boat launch. From either point, the view of the sky and water is simply breathtaking. It’s a place where many people go and watch the sunset together. This is one of the best places to see the sunset because you see nothing but water and a beautiful view of the sky. Whether you are sitting in your car or on the boat launch there is always a perfect view of the sky.

5. Downtown Riverwalk
As the sun sets over the Cape Fear River, the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington is transformed into a warm, golden glow. Walk along the 1.5-mile Riverwalk, lined with shops, restaurants and galleries, and find the perfect spot to witness the breathtaking sunset. The Riverwalk comes alive with the sounds of the water, talking and laughter, making it an ideal spot to grab dinner and soak in the atmosphere. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, the Riverwalk is a must-visit spot to experience the beauty of Wilmington’s sunsets.

The Wilmington area is a treasure of stunning sunrise and sunset spots. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photographer or just someone looking for a peaceful moment, these locations have got you covered. So, head out to experience the beauty of the coast!

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