The ancient celebration of the summer solstice falls on the 20th June 2024 in the northern hemisphere. As the U.S. begins basking in long summer evenings and beach horizons, the solstice also ushers in the best time of year to enjoy a mesmerising sunset. Visit The USA rounds up five of the most striking sunset destinations to capture the summer’s fleeting golden hour on the longest day of the year.

1. Quaint New England Summers in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The Lowdown: Spend the solstice amidst the captivating charm of New England in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Offering fresh-from-the-ocean seafood to unadulterated natural beauty, Cape Cod blends maritime character with an air of seaside romance.

What to Do: In the Cape, summer is prime whale-watching season, so head to Hyannis for an unforgettable expedition to catch a glimpse of majestic humpback whales, dolphins and seals near the shores of Massachusetts. The six towns of the quaint island jewel Martha’s Vineyard, are populated by microbreweries and restaurants, some dating back 350 years and only accessible by ferry. Menemsha Beach against the backdrop of the illustrious Aquinnah Cliffs is the ultimate sunset spot to indulge in classic New England lobster rolls from Larsen’s Fish Market.

2. Southern Charm in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama

The Lowdown: At the southern tip of Alabama in the coastal towns of Gulf Shores and Orange beach, find miles of sugar-white sandy beaches made entirely of fine quartz grains, washed down from the Appalachian Mountains thousands of years ago.

What to Do: Stroll along the coastline, where the warm waters off the Gulf of Mexico lap at the shore. Pack a picnic for golden hour on Dauphin Island, the small southern town nicknamed the ‘Sunset Capital of Alabama,’ or dive into the culture of the coast at Flora-Bama, the legendary honky-tonk beach bar that straddles the Florida-Alabama state line. Sunset-seekers can enjoy sundowners with live music and a Bushwacker cocktail – a frozen concoction combining a chocolate milkshake with a Piña Colada, or savour Seafood Boils and Shrimp ‘N Grits, at The Hangout for your dose of fresh seafood with southern soul.

3. Summer Glow in Lake Charles, Louisiana

The Lowdown: The charming city of Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana is the perfect sunset pitstop when road-tripping across the south.

What to Do: The Lake Charles Lakefront is home to a scenic boardwalk, picturesque piers, and sprawling lawns which provide the ideal backdrop for a summer solstice picnic. Pick up some homestyle BBQ plates and boudin sausage (traditionally a blend of cooked port, rice, onions, peppers and seasonings stuffed into a sausage casing) from Famous Foods and a peach pie from Mrs Johnnie’s Gingerbread House to enjoy while soaking in the fiery hues of the setting sun. While in the city, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the bustling marina and explore the 9/11 Memorial and Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Photo credit: Visit Lake Charles

4. Escape to a Spiritual Haven in Sedona, Arizona

The Lowdown: Known as The Grand Canyon State, Arizona is a tapestry of colour, geology and landscapes. The city of Sedona offers travellers a true wellness oasis against the backdrop of the magnificent golden Arizonan desert.

What to Do: Embrace the longest day of the year amidst the sacred vortexes – concentrated centres of energy from the Earth believed to have spiritual and healing powers. The mighty Cathedral Rock is recognised as one of the most powerful vortexes in Sedona and is a beloved spot for mediation. A hike to the top of the trail offers rewarding views of the sweeping orange-hued rock formations. At Crescent Moon Picnic Site, take a dip in the waters of Oak Creek to cool off from the desert heat, and catch a blissful sunset amongst the grandeur of Cathedral Rock towering in the distance.

5. Getaway to the Golden State in Monterey, California

The Lowdown: Uncover a central California paradise in Monterey, comprising 12 cities with a topography of spectacular rolling hills and seaside cliffs.

What to Do: Experience the panoramic beauty by taking a road trip along Highway One where the drive weaves through the wetlands, cypress forests and rocky coastline up to Big Sur. For a scene-stealing sunset, head to Carmel-by-the-sea where the vibrant turquoise of the Pacific Ocean cuts against miles of soft sand, and the Californian bluffs are adorned by a golden sky.  A trip to Monterey is not complete without sampling a taste of the Bay. Follow the Monterey Wine Trail to Wrath Wines in Salinas Valley, and revel in the epic sights of the Santa Lucia Highlands with a glass of California’s finest in hand.