When to watch nightfall in New Jersey
Although New Jersey is on the Eastern Seaboard, this doesn't mean there aren't spectacular places to view the sunset over the water. The state's bays, lakes and rivers roll out watery backdrops where you can witness the vivid reflections of the fiery sun descending in the west. In addition to dramatic sunsets over water, the state offers opportunities to watch day's end over forested hills and city lights.
When to catch the sunset
Long summer days end with the sun setting at about 8:30 p.m. in late June and early July, when the state's warmest temps reach into the upper 70s F or higher. July is the rainiest month, but afternoon rainstorms often give way to picturesque, cloud-strewn sunsets. Autumn is the driest season in New Jersey, while you can look for sunset at 6:15 p.m. by mid-October. Winter sunsets make the perfect time to enjoy a thermos of Manhattan clam chowder while watching the sun dip low in the sky as early as 4:30 p.m. in early December. As days get longer in spring, clocks shift forward in March, taking sunset from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Summer sunset and so much more: Sunset Beach
Perched on the southwestern tip of the state, Sunset Beach serves up delicious views of the sun descending into the blue waters of Delaware Bay. The beach has more to offer than just sand and a view that goes on for miles. Spend the time waiting for sunset looking for smooth, clear "Cape May Diamonds" along the beach or enjoying a round of miniature golf. The beach also has a 1920s shipwreck visible from shore, and it's not unusual to see dolphins frolicking offshore during the summer months. As the sun begins to sink during the months of May through September, "Taps" sounds as the park's flag ceremony honoring a deceased veteran begins. Each flag is a veteran's casket flag brought by relatives especially for the ceremony. Sign up for reservations to have your loved one's flag flown at a flag ceremony on Sunset Beach's website on May 1. Reservations fill up quickly for the season. View the sunset year round at the park, but expect frost anytime between October and April with winter temperatures dipping below freezing.
City lights reflections: Liberty State Park
Witness the sun's reflection light up the Manhattan skyline from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Stroll along the 2-mile promenade flanking the Hudson River to see the city lights come up as night falls. Or take a hike in the 36-acre Richard J. Sullivan Nature Area and surround yourself in the tidal marsh with views of the city in the background. Plan to spend the day at the park and explore the historic railroad terminal where immigrants boarded trains taking them to their new lives. Experience a show at the nation's largest IMAX dome theater, or take a ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Expect warm, humid weather in the mid-80s from late June through early August. From December through mid-March, bundle up for temperatures that can descend to the mid-20s.
A view from the top: High Point State Park
Check out the view from 1,803 feet above sea level at High Point State Park in New Jersey's extreme northwest corner. Gaze out at a pastel sky spreading over three states—New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania—as forested hills and farmland valleys fade into the shadows below. Although there's a 220-foot monument you can climb to the top of during summer months, it closes between 4 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. The park's campground makes it easy to enjoy sunsets from different park vistas for days in a row. Camp along the shoreline on the east side of Sawmill Lake for sunset views from camp. The park is open year-round and has snowshoeing and Nordic skiing trails and equipment rental. Dress for temperatures in the upper 70s in July and freezing winter temperatures from December through February.