Readers Choice

10Best Readers' ChoiceChosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best

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    #10 - Tybee Island, GA

    This laid-back Georgia vacation spot has a great secret that visitors to nearby Savannah often don't know:  Tybee Island's western edge has a beach which looks west . . . and right up Tybee Creek.   It's a solitary and beautiful place to catch a sunset in winter . . . while the rest of the year it offers a near-perfet place for an end-of-day ritual.  Kiss?  Cocktail?  Photos?  It's all good at Tybee sunset.   

    Photo courtesy of megancorwin

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    #9 - Sedona, AZ

    Magical is the word often used to describe sunset in Sedona, where monolithic red rock formations jut out of green forests in a circle all around the city.   Whether you're actually facing east, to photograph late-day light on formations visible from Upper Red Rock Loop Road . . . or enjoying a panoramic view from atop the rocks along Airport Road, you'll never forget sunset in Sedona, considered by many to be a life-altering event.  

    Photo courtesy of kerinin

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    #8 - Panama City Beach, FL

    The Florida panhandle destination of Panama City Beach is where southerners go to cool off in sumer.  It's also a famed spring break destination.   What many people don't realize is that this stretch of the panhandle extends further into the Gulf, giving Panama City Beachgoers an exquisite vantage point for sunset.   

    Photo courtesy of Timothy J Carroll

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    #7 - Tucson, AZ

    West of lovely Tucson is the dramatic viewing area Gates Pass, on the way to West Saguaro National Park.  It sits high above the desert floor and offers visitors sevearl turnouts and two amazing lookouts from which to watch the sun set.  Tucson's indigenous cactus and broad expanse of sky combine with warm hues of day's end to paint a mind's eye picture worth a thousand words.   

    Photo courtesy of Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire

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    #6 - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

    When you're on the Pacific coast of Mexico, it feels like the setting sun is . . . right there.  Views of the sun sinking into the ocean from Puero Vallarta are simply breathtaking:  ask any visitor who's had the pleasure of experiencing this treat.   Locals often head to the beach for a view of this event:  why would you miss it if you didn't have to?  

    Photo courtesy of Mike Willis

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    #5 - Outer Banks, NC

    Where else do you drive east for sunset in the west?   The Outer Banks are perfectly situated for glorious shows at day's end.  Kitty Hawk may have the best location of all, with its westerly views over Albemarle Sound.  But no matter which stretch of the OBX you choose for setting up your camp chair or pulling off the road, look west and you'll remember that particular day for a long time to come.   

    Photo courtesy of waxhawian

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    #4 - Key West, FL

    Ernest Hemingway surely did it. Heck, Tennessee Williams probably did, too.  Watching a Key West sunset (especially from Mallory Square) is one of those things that defines "getaway" . . . after all, the Southernmost Point of the US is in Key West.  Sunset watchers feel inspired (and likely relaxed) as they watch each beautiful end to another day in the "Conch Republic."

    Photo courtesy of Serge Mashtakoff

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    #3 - Albuquerque, NM

    One of the first things any Albuquerque resident will do when they have visitors is take them to the top of Sandia Peak (10,378 feet above sea level) on the world's longest aerial tram to watch the sunset over the extinct volcanoes of the West Mesa.

    Photo courtesy of Jay Blackwood

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    #2 - Leland, MI

    The charming village of Leland, on the Leelanau Peninsula between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau, is one of the great scenic places in America to enjoy lake life and all its perks, including nightly sunset.   The setting is rustic in a way that only an historic fishing village can be.  Nature lovers watch the sun set over Lake Michigan for a postcard-perfect experience.  

    Photo courtesy of Jim Sorbie

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    #1 - Clearwater Beach, FL

    Florida vacations on the Gulf coast are all about sunset.  Clearwater Beach's luxuriously wide sandy beach and landmark pier draw locals and visitors for each evening's spectacular event over the Gulf of Mexico.  Nearby bars and restaurants on the beach also have a perfect view of the horizon and sky, as the sun dips into the sea, setting off an evolution of color. 

    Photo courtesy of Robert Neff

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Clearwater Beach Voted Favorite Sunset Spot

Leland Michigan, Albuquerque, Key West, OBX also winners

The public loves a beautiful sunset, and it shows!  The winners are in for 'Best Place to Watch a Sunset' and voting was as intense as the colors in a sunset sky.  

Balmy Clearwater Beach, on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, took top honors, its wide expanse of beach and iconic pier no doubt playing a part in driving votes.  But to prove that 'Margaritaville' is a state of mind and clearly unrelated to latitude, other winners spanned the United States from north to south . . . and some winners weren't even on the water.  

The 10 Winners in the 'Best Place to Watch a Sunset' Readers' Choice contest category are as follows:

  1. Clearwater Beach, FL
  2. Leland, MI
  3. Albuquerque, NM
  4. Key West, FL
  5. Outer Banks, NC
  6. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  7. Tucson, AZ
  8. Panama City Beach, FL
  9. Sedona, AZ
  10. Tybee Island, GA

Congratulations to all our beautiful winners!  The sun will never set on your popularity as a destination at day's end.   

Romantics, dreamers, nature lovers and photographers: these winners make a perfect list for you to consult the next time you're booking a trip.  

To vote in other Readers' Choice contests, visit http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/

For more information on Clearwater Beach: www.visitclearwaterflorida.com

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Meet the Experts

Libby McMillan

A longtime travel journalist, Libby McMillan often bases her vacation choices on having access to sunsets.  Whether her vantage point is on a beach, high atop a mountain or the porch of a gorgeous cabin, she loves to soak up the last of the day's rays (and finds it an excellent time to reflect upon good fortune). Libby spent 20 years on the west coast of Florida, but has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Nashville and Austin.  She's happy to have enjoyed sunset in many of the places on the nominee list.   

Lydia Schrandt

Photo Editor Lydia Schrandt, originally from the great Southwest, has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and South America.  She's lived in Albuquerque, Galveston, Austin, Thailand, Korea, China, Ecuador Colombia and Argentina.  She speaks a little Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese, and loves photography.  So it's no surprise she's a fan of beautiful sunsets.   

Natasha John

Natasha is not born and raised in Vancouver, but happily calls her beautiful city home. After jumping around Canada, Texas, Arkansas and the UK, she planted herself near Vancouver's beaches.  
Not one to take things for granted, Natasha soaks up awe-inspiring sea and mountain views  on a daily basis.