Let’s take a look at the time, weather conditions, and best places of a Texas sunrise.
Best Time to View Sunrise in TexasTexas is the second-largest state of the USA after Alaska, which means it has different times for sunrises and sunsets all over Texas. In the state capital Austin, sunrise happens early enough in summer. Between April and mid-July, the time of sunrise ranges between 6:15 AM to 6:45 AM. It inches past 7 AM by the beginning of September. In November, the Daylight Savings is deactivated, and the sunrise time sets back by around half an hour or so. By the end of December and beginning of January, it gets as late as 7:30 AM. The time begins to move earlier by mid-April.
Seasonal and Weather ConditionsWinter is the best time to enjoy sunrises in Texas for two reasons - timing and visibility. Wintertime sees past-7 AM sunrises, which is better for those not used to rising early. Moreover, the slow movement of air during summer means the visibility gets affected big time. A haze is created with the dust particles and pollution and impedes the crystal clear view that makes a great sunrise snap.
However, in places like Austin, which has good air quality, it should not be a big problem. Houston, in comparison, has one of the worst air quality among the US cities.
10 Best Places to Watch Sunrise in TexasHere are the best places you can visit to catch the beautiful Texas sunrises.
1. Guadalupe Mountain Peak
Summiting at 8,750 feet, Guadalupe Mountain's top is the highest point in Texas and one of the best places to enjoy sunrises. The view along the way up is mindblowing as well and worthy of several photography pauses. But do not take too long if you wish to make it to the top by sun-up. It is best to start early as the sky catches colour at least an hour before sunrise.
Location: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Culberson County.
Ascent: 3,000 feet
Distance: 8.4 miles
Campsites: Pine Springs near Visitors Centre and Highway 64; Dog Canyon near McKittrick Canyon trail
2. Balanced Rock, Big Bend National ParkThe sun’s first rays hitting on the Balanced Rock of Big Bend National Park is a must-see attraction in Texas. The exciting Grapevine Hills Trail takes one to the Balanced Rock summit. The trekking trail is mostly sand and gravel. You will know the summit by the distinct scenery of one big boulder balanced between two columns of rocks. The Chisos Mountains can be seen in the backdrop. Make it to the top in time to see the first rays of sun hit the rocks, making it a brilliant composition for shutterbugs.
Location: Big Bend National Park, southwest Texas
Distance: 2.2 miles
Ascent: 311 feet
Duration: 1-2 hours
How to Reach: Take the Grapevine Spring road off Gano Springs Road, located near Panther Junction Visitor Center. Take the branch off to Chisos Basin Visitor Center and follow the signs to spot the starting point of the trek.
3. Fort Leaton, Presidio CountyA fort is an unusual place to enjoy a sunset, but Fort Leaton is no ordinary fort. Once an adobe residence of traders and bounty hunters, it is now a historical site of exploration and day excursions. Fort Leaton serves as the western entrance for Big Bend Ranch State Park. Backpacking, trekking, hiking, and camping permits for the ranch can be obtained here at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center. But the fort itself is beautiful to see during sunrise.
Location: Farm to Market Road 170, Presidio County, TX 79845, Texas
Entry Fees: Adults - USD 5 per head; Children under 13 years - Free
Hours: 08:00 AM to 04:30 PM everyday
Peak Season: September to March
4. Corpus Christi, South Texas
The beaches of Corpus Christi are the perfect locations to watch wonderful sunrises. Bob Hall Pier, Oleander Point, McGee Beach, Whitecap Beach, North Beach, Seawall Beach and many more are ideal destinations. Enjoy the view and then have a fun day out at the beach, swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. At Padre Island National Seashore, you can catch one of the best views, learn to windsurf, and also witness Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles hatch.
5. The 360 Bridge Overlook, Austin
Austin, Texas's capital, boasts of a magnificent 360-degree view from the Austin 360 Bridge, locally known as Pennybacker Bridge. The bridge stretches 350 meters over Lake Austin, connecting the northern and southern parts of Loop 360 Highway. The trail starts from the parking north of the bridge and goes along the cliff. It takes only 10 minutes to reach the top, but the uphill road is rocky and uneven. From the top, you can get a bird’s eye view of Austin skyline on the west, the hill county to the north, and the Colorado River in the distance.
Location: 360 Bridge over Lake Austin, Austin, Texas
Distance: 200 meters
6. Enchanted Rock, Central Texas
Enchanted Rock's granite dome with pinking hues in its soil is the perfect location to hike, trek, camp. If one can do all of that before the day breaks, then enjoy a lovely sunrise as well. The Summit Trail is the most expansive, and it stays closed in rainy weather. The Loop Trail is the only one that remains open after sunset. There are nearly 11 miles of trails to hike and trek for the adventure-minded people. Sunrise can be viewed the best from the top of the Rock, reached by Summit Trail.
Location: 16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624, Texas
Entry Fees: Adults - USD 8 per head; Children under 12 years - Free
Hours: 06:30 AM to 10:00 PM; Gates close at 08:00 PM
Peak Season: September to April
7. St. Agnes Church, Terlingua, Brewster County
St. Agnes Church in the ghost town of Terlingua is a secluded yet serene location to view a sunrise from. Once popular for its mines of quicksilver, Terlingua is now deserted. But the Old Church still stands tall, teeming with history. The open field around the church creates an obstruction-free panorama for the sunrises. Afterwards, you can pay a visit to the altar and the Chisos Cemetery nearby where Mexican and Anglican residents of Terlingua were buried together.
Location: Between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park in southwest Texas
How to Reach: Take the I-20 Highway west of Odessa, turn to either Farm Road 1053 or Highway 18 from Monahans. Go south to Fort Stockton. Take Highway 67 South next to Alpine to reach Terlingua.
8. Tres Palacios Bay, Matagorda County
Tres Palacios Bay, the northeastern extension of Matagorda Bay, is a popular fishing and sunrise viewing destination. Enjoy the sun peeking up far away along the horizon and be ready with your cameras to snap away. The shores of Palacios Bay are an excellent birdwatching location as well.
9. Bayview, Galveston CountyBayview is basically a cluster of houses forming a community by the Galveston Bay. The area has officially merged with Kemah and Clifton-by-the-Sea, but it is still a spectacular sunrise viewing location. History and natural beauty together make a great dawn-time destination here.
Location: East of State Highway 146 and North of Farm to Market Road 646, between Clifton-by-the-Sea, now Bacliff, and Kemah.
10. Lake Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto and Parker Counties
Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway have hiking, trekking, and rock climbing opportunities. Amid adventures, take a day to wake up early and catch the sunrise by Lake Mineral Wells. You can also do boating in the lake by bringing your own kayak or paddleboard, or renting one from the Park.
Location: 100 Park Road 71, Mineral Wells, TX 76067, TexasHope you enjoy enjoying the best sunrises all around Texas and capturing them in your camera!
Entry Fees: Adults - USD 7 per head; Children under 12 years age - Free
Hours: 08:00 AM to 08:00 PM