Set the scene for nightfall over Miami
A coastal city on the southeastern tip of Florida, Miami may not seem like an ideal place to watch the sunset, seeing as it doesn't face west. While you can't watch the sun go down over the Atlantic Ocean, watching it descend behind palm trees and the coral and white towers of the Magic City is a pretty nice way to spend an evening. There are a number of wonderful places in Miami to watch the sun go down and enjoy the city during what locals call the "golden hour."
Best times for sunsets
Unlike a lot of the East Coast, wintertime in Miami is pretty temperate. However, the sun does go down earlier than in other seasons, and from December through February, sunset times begin somewhere around 5:15 p.m. As the calendar moves toward springtime, the days lengthen, and a Miami sunset in April or May takes place closer to 6:30. Once you get to June and the summer solstice, the days are longer and the nights shorter, and you can begin to watch the sun go down as late in the evening as 8:15. After June 21, the daylight hours begin to slowly decrease in length, and autumn sunsets in Miami take place anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30.
Weather and seasonal considerations
The best time of year to visit Miami is between March and May. Weather conditions are balmy and warm, and you're all but guaranteed clear skies that are perfect for sunset viewing. Between June and August is the region's rainy season, so you're likely to encounter more than a few thunderstorms that can darken the skies and make seeing the sun go down nearly impossible. September through February are clearer overall, although precipitation is a regular threat in Miami at almost any time of the year. That fact can be discouraging to visitors, but thanks to Miami's tropical climate, storms move in and move out of the city fairly quickly. Rain at 3 p.m. in September could mean skies are perfect for sunset viewing by 6 p.m.
Best places to watch the sunset
Not all the beaches in Miami face west, but the few that do remain popular locations for both tourists and locals to watch day turn into night. The beach at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park boasts a view of the ocean that skews west, so if you get there at the right time, you can see the sun dip below the horizon. Matheson Hammock Park offers a view of the sunset from Miami's only atoll pool. Dip your toes in the water and watch the sun slide between the palm trees.
For a better vantage point, think altitude: The roof deck of hotels like the Standard Spa Miami Beach provide the perfect vantage point of both the beach and the city skyline, guaranteed to offer a stunning array of colors in the sky on a clear day. The aptly named Sunset Harbour in Maurice Gibb Memorial Park offers spectacular views of the darkening sky and the silhouettes of sailboats on Biscayne Bay.