Bay Area Photography: Best Sunrise & Sunset Spots
With great location comes great opportunities, especially for scenic photographic moments. While expanding my Bay Area photography horizons, I’ve had the chance to venture to some of the regions best sunrise and sunset spots. These spots will surely make your eyes glad that they rose early or stayed open a bit longer.
Best Bay Area Photography Spots for Sunrise & Sunset:
- Twin Peaks
- Lake Merritt
- Berkeley Marina
- Treasure Island
- Mt. Tam
- Grizzly Peak
This is San Francisco’s #1 sunset/sunrise spot. Without a doubt the best views & with a 360 perspective, you get a taste of it all. Besides for getting to see all of the city, the view down Market street to the Ferry building is unmatched. It gets very windy and cold up here so pack a jacket and plan accordingly.
If you’re in Oakland, Lake Merritt is a must stop for sunrise or sunset. Aside from the beautiful glow that will light up the skyline and create lovely reflections off of the lake, the energy that surrounds this place is why you visit. The 3.2 mile track that surrounds this is ideal for a stroll and if you get hungry you can pop into a number of restaurants or bars for whatever your heart desires.
This gem is tougher to access but well worth your while. The Berkeley Marina is the closest vantage point to Treasure Island and is solid place to see the sun rise or fall. Insider tip: grab a Mai Tai from Trader Vic’s before the sun sets and stroll along the waterfront path before the bridge lights up in front of you.
This used to be my favorite spot for sure but with island renovations that all has changed. With limited access to avenue of the palms, the beauty & ease has drastically affected Treasure Islands viewing pleasure. However, the views from the backside of the island facing the the bridge are excellent and if you don’t mind walking or briefly stopping (illegally in the center of the road), the overhead tunnel view shot is majestic.
Mt. Tam is a photographers dream and is my favorite spot for sunset in the North Bay and Bay Area region. With windy roads & unobstructed 360 views depending on where you position yourself, Mt. Tam can’t be missed. Bring your camera so you can catch the coastal fog lingering on the hillsides or shoot your shot directed at Stinson beach. (above)
Middle Harbor Shoreline
It wasn’t until recently that I’ve made my way here to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. Tucked away next to Oakland’s shipping port, this lightly trafficked park gives you one of the closest views of the bridge & Treasure Island. Just watch out for duck droppings as they are everywhere. You might feel like you are heading in the wrong direction or in an non authorized area, but keep heading towards your coordinates and the glory will be waiting for you.
Grizzly Peak aka Fish Ranch is the top spot in the East Bay. With ridge line views of the surrounding area & into San Francisco, this spot never disappoints unless it’s cloudy. Even when cloudy, still worthwhile to enjoy your time up in the clouds. The road is very windy and narrow so be careful not too stare too long at your view until you make your way too the top!
Bay Area Photography Contact
So these are only a handful of Bay Area photography spots that I frequent for sunrise and sunset moments. Have you made your way to any of them before? I would love to hear what spot is your favorite or if you have more spots that I should add to the list. Please leave a comment and hope to hear from any and all of you!
Bay Area Photography and More
Need some inspiration for other things happening in the Bay Area? Oakland is always a great spot for photography and has some amazing spots to choose from! If you haven’t bee before, read my Best of the Best: Lake Merritt, to find what you’re missing out on.
Heading to San Francisco? North Beach is the spot to go! Read my North Beach Guide so you can hit all the best spots in the Italian Neighborhood.
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