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America's Best Sunrises and Sunsets

  • Stephen Alvarez/National Geographic

    First Sunrise: Cadillac Mountain, Maine

    For most of the year, 1,532-foot Cadillac Mountain reigns as the site of the first sunrise in the continental United States. It's also easily scaled by car. After the show: At 110 feet, nearby Otter Cliff is among the highest Atlantic oceanside cliffs north of Rio de Janeiro.

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  • Medford Taylor/National Geographic

    Most Secret Sunset: Key West, Florida

    Skip Mallory Square, where mobs of cruise-ship passengers and street performers gather every evening, and head about 2.5 miles southeast to the quiet setting of White Street Pier, the southernmost spot you can stand on in Key West. After the show: Stop by the nearby Casa Marina resort (305-296-3535; casamarinaresort.com) or Louie's Backyard (305-294-1061; louiesbackyard.com) for a very civilized drink.

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  • Joel Addams/Aurora Photos/Corbis

    Best City Sunrise: Salt Lake City, Utah

    Because the city is nestled just west of the Wasatch Range, the sun fires up the sky above the peaks well before it comes blazing over the ridge. After the show: On Sundays attend the free 9:30 a.m. Mormon Tabernacle Choir radio broadcast (801-240-4150; mormontabernaclechoir.org).

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  • Warren Marr/PanoramicImages/National Geographic

    Reddest Sunset: Grand Canyon, Arizona

    Join the faithful at Hopi Point, where the rose-colored sun splashes over the exposed Redwall limestone of the canyon wall. Or head for much quieter Lipan Point at Desert View. After the show: Rangers give nature presentations each night from May through October in the Grand Canyon Lodge auditorium. (928-638-7888; nps.gov/grca/).

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  • Stuart Westmorland/Science Faction/Corbis

    Last Sunset: Mauna Kea, Hawaii

    You'll need to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle to climb up to the Big Island's 13,796-foot summit, but it's worth the trouble to see the mountain's pyramid-shaped shadow stretch hundreds of miles, across sea and clouds. After the show: The summit closes after sunset, check out the Visitor Information Station at 9,300 feet for its stargazing program (808-961-2180; ifa.hawaii.edu/mko/).

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  • Matthew Kazmierski/Getty Images

    Sneakiest Sunset: Yosemite Valley, California

    Turn your back to the sunset from the Tunnel View parking area as the shadows creep up Half Dome and El Capitan. After the show: Double back for dinner at The Dining Room in The Ahwahnee Hotel (209-372-1489; yosemitepark.com/Ahwahnee) and ask to sit where Queen Elizabeth did in 1983.

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  • Stephen Alvarez/National Geographic
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