Sunset Cliffs and Cave in San Diego at Point Loma - The Best Sunset Ever
Sunset Cliffs and Cave in San Diego at Point Loma

Sunset Cliffs and Cave in San Diego at Point Loma

United States
United States

When Is the Best Time

The Sunset Cliffs is truly a magical place 15 minutes west of Downtown San Diego. Point Loma Peninsula offers breathtaking views of the fragile sandstone cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. It is a popular spot for surfers, tourists and locals alike to hang around, to watch the surfers at sunset and migrating gray whales from November to January and again in May.

Panorama of the sunset cliffs
The Sunset Cliffs

We visited the nearby Cabrillo National Monument before, but it is usually closed before sunset, and luckily, a ranger recommended this spot to us.

A surfer on a wave with an orange and pink sunset in the back
This picture is not photoshopped; this was the sunset on our second visit.

It is a relaxed atmosphere on top of the sunset cliffs. People meet up, sitting on blankets in summer and winter and admire the terrific sunset. You don’t have to hike to an awesome place when the sun sets. We saw many locals and surfers sitting in their vans enjoying the colourful sunset in orange and pink.

A sailing boat and the orange and yellow sunset
The picture was taken with a zoom camera.

I will give you all details and answer all questions which may come up for the Sunset Cliffs and Caves at Point Loma. When to arrive, where to park your car to enjoy one of the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever watched.

Is Sunset Cliffs Wort to Visit?

The sunset in multiple colours with palm trees in front of.
Wait roughly another 20 minutes after the sun sets to get such colour explosions.

It is so worth it that we visited the Sunset Cliffs twice. If you are in San Diego, don’t miss out on this magnificent spot. I guarantee these unmatched sunsets and beautiful scenery will catch your breath.

How to Get to Sunset Cliffs?

The uneven bumpy road to the parking
Small parking lot to the right and a bigger one behind.

You get here easily by car or Uber. If you wish to watch the sunset, come at least one hour before to easily find parking at one of the small parking lots or on the street. 

How to Get to the Sunset Cliffs Caves?

People walk into some the Sunset Caves at Sunset Cliffs
Some of the caves which you are able to see from the cliffs.
  • A staircase leads down to the beach at the end of Ladera Street/Sunset Cliffs Blvd. It is a short walk to an easily accessible sea cave. Google Maps Location
  • The most spectacular cave of all Google Maps Location
    To get to the most spectacular sea cave at Sunset Cliffs, a negative tide is essential to access the cave and for your safety. Negative means low tide below sea level. Tide Times Sunset Cliffs
    Walk along the Sunset Cliffs Blvd to Luscomb’s Point. A steep and slippery path descends to the seabed. From here, it is a short walk to the left.

Opening Hours Sunset Cliffs

The entrance to the Nature Park and the parking to the right.
Information signs, parking and regulations in high resolution.

The cliffs are open 24 hours, and no entrance fee is requested neither for the cliffs nor for the parking, which is rare nowadays. Parking is closed from 10 pm until 4 am to avoid overnight stays in vehicles.

When to Visit Sunset Cliffs?

An orange sunset from Sunset Cliffs

As its name indicates, this is the perfect and best spot to watch the sunset. Otherworldly, when low tide occurs shortly before, you can watch the phenomenal sunset out of a sea cave. The low tide must be around or below 1 ft to be on the safe side. 

Visitors on the cliff top admiring the sunset
Please, be careful the cliffs are not stable.

Come already an hour before sunset to get a parking spot and walk along the clifftop. At sunset, the cliffs are a little crowded.

5 Tips for an Awesome Visit

A visitor on the cliff top with the sunset to the right
The nature path along the cliffs.
  1. There aren’t any restrooms, bars or cafes along the Sunset Cliffs coastal path, only portable toilets in the Natural Park, so go before you get here.
  2. The evening breeze is a little chilly, especially in winter, and a jacket is well-needed.
  3. Bring a blanket and a picnic and soak in the beauty of this place.
  4. Some of the cliffs are unstable, and a knee-high chain barrier protects visitors from falling. Walk carefully - accidents happened here already.
  5. Bring binoculars; you may watch whales in the distance and hummingbirds in the shrub.

What Kind of Shoes to Wear?

A woman at the cliffs watching the sunset
We visited the cliffs in January; pleasant with 70°F during the day, but evenings were chilly.

Flip-flops are sufficient if you do not plan to walk along the cliff path or down to the beach. If you plan to explore the caves at low tide or walk along the cliff path, I recommend shoes with good traction. The soil of the cliffs is slippery.

The steep and fragile cliffs and Sunset Beach with visitors.
Eroded and sloping cliffs and the sunset beach at the bottom.

Depending on where you want to access the seabed, you need proper shoes also for balancing above rocks to get into the caves. Flip-flops are not really suitable for this exploration. Best are water shoes to protect your feet, and such shoes can get wet when walking through paddles.

My Tips For San Diego and Point Loma

The Seafood Light form the seafood shop
The seafood shop with outdoor seating is fantastic.

Markus and I are foodies, and being at sea means for us trying different seafood like the fresh Dungeness Crab and Clam Chowder. This seafood shop is outstanding, serving excellent quality. Make a stop here before you continue to the cliffs. Opening Hours: 9.30 am - 7 pm - Google Maps Location

The seafood shop from inside.
Picture high resolution for their menu and prices.

Another fantastic activity in San Diego is Whale Watching, when gray whales pass by on their migration route from Baja California, to Alaska. However, there is more to see, like humpback whales and playful dolphins, and the tour guides love to share their knowledge with you. 

Whale Watch tour and a dolphin
The dolphins came very close to the boat.

We spotted a gray whale mom and her calf, humpbacks, and plenty of dolphins. The views from the boat to San Diego and Point Loma were another plus for this tour.


These are my recommended tours via GetYourGuide with 24 hours advance cancellation policy. Thx for booking via my website! With your support, I am able to provide all information first-hand. Tour prices are at no extra cost!

Best Months to Visit


Related Topics

Location and Tips

San Diego, Point Loma
United States
United States

San Diego, close to the Mexican border, is an exceptional city with a population of roughly 1,4 million and continues to increase for good reasons. The mild climate, the fantastic beaches, the huge food variety, the relaxed atmosphere and the unique vibe make San Diego so special. The city experiences more than 3000 hours of sunshine annually, giving you a great chance to watch this magical moment from the Sunset Cliffs.

A maintained path in the nature park with low growing scrub.
Low growing plants thrive in the entire park and attract hummingbirds.

More than 80 species of natice plants like sage scrub occur in the Sunset Cliffs Nature Park. The plants adapted to the semi-arid coastal climate having green leaves and yellow flowers after the winter and spring rains. In summer most of them are brown and looking death until the next rain occurs.

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…