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You won’t believe what happened to me during the most invigorating sunrise experience I’ve ever had… I have been on a mission to find places to watch the sunrise near me. The kind of places that make waking up before dawn on the weekend worth it. Recently, I discovered the granddaddy location in Port Royal, South Carolina. Are you familiar with The Sands Beach, a small tidal beach, boat ramp, and boardwalk leading to a five-story observation tower? The views from the tower are breathtaking, and there is even more to The Sands than meets the eye, making it the best place to watch the sunrise near me. Read my personal story below to find out what made it so wonderful.

Sunrise Breaking Through Fog Over River Near Sands Beach, Infusing Blue Haze with Warmth

I experienced a magical moment on the last sunrise of 2022.

About That Experience

Buzz! The blaring sound of my alarm jolted me awake, a harsh reminder that it was time to rise with the first light of day, roughly around 7 am. My initial thought, I confess, was a longing to sink back into the warm embrace of my mattress. Fortunately, my husband, the morning person, had the clarity of mind to motivate us out of bed and onto the path of an extraordinary sunrise adventure.

With groggy eyes and the promise of a breathtaking view ahead, we embarked on our journey. Our destination: the epic tower that would soon reveal the splendor of a sunrise like no other. As we ventured forth, the world around us was still cloaked in the soft, pre-dawn hush, a tranquil prelude to the day’s grand spectacle.

Our path led us to the Sands boat ramp, a place that, on this particular morning, greeted us with an unexpected and enchanting surprise: a thick, eerie mist that hung in the air, lending an otherworldly quality to the scene. It was as though we had stepped into a realm where reality and fantasy converged, where the ordinary gave way to the extraordinary.

Pier Extending into Pale Blue Cloudy Sky with Water's Reflection, Creating an Illusion of Floating in the Sky

As I paused to capture the serene scene of the dock, a sudden, unmistakable splash disrupted the tranquility, echoing from my left. My senses heightened as I strained to discern the source of the sound. It was close, and it carried the weight of something substantial. At that moment, curiosity warred with caution, and I made the prudent choice to retreat slowly, putting some distance between myself and whatever lurked in the water.

I maintained my gaze with each measured step, acutely aware of the unseen presence lurking beneath the surface. Once a peaceful backdrop, the dock had transformed into a place of mystery and intrigue. The atmosphere crackled with anticipation as I continued my journey, my senses on high alert.

Boardwalk extending to a covered seating area, jutting rightward and extending further into the gray hazy sky.

With each step closer to the observation tower, my anticipation surged, matching the gradual dissipation of the morning fog. Before me stood the towering wooden structure that had drawn me from my slumber. There was a sense of urgency in my steps, a feeling that every moment counted in capturing the sunrise’s splendor. I raced up the stairs, believing my haste could influence the rising sun.

As I ascended the final steps and emerged at the tower’s pinnacle, an impressive reveal awaited me. The world unveiled itself in all its glory, and I knew, without a doubt, that this view was a reward well worth the early wake-up call. The horizon stretched out before me, bathed in hues of soft pastels, as the sun painted the sky with its first gentle strokes of light.

Breathtaking horizon with the yellow sun turning the sky coral and orange, high above a long boardwalk near Sands Beach in Port Royal South Carolina.

It was the best place to watch the sunrise near me in all its radiant glory. We stood there, mesmerized by the changing hues bouncing light off the water’s surface. You can also see Parris Island, the Marine Corps recruit training base. The sound of recruits chanting can be heard across the river at an amplified volume. But, what’s even more interesting was waiting below…

The Sands Observation Tower Ranked #1 in Places to Watch the Sunrise Near Me

SPLASH! The mysterious sound echoed once more, but with fewer clouds obscuring the view and my elevated vantage point from the tower, there was no mistaking the source. It was a group of playful dolphins leaping and frolicking in the waves. The realization brought an infectious sense of wonder, and the little girl within me couldn’t resist the urge to speak to these majestic creatures in that high-pitched, princess-like voice we all know.

To my amazement, it seemed that the dolphins heard me. As if in response to my enthusiastic greetings, three of them began to swim in perfect unison toward us as though we had been chosen to witness their extraordinary performance. As they gracefully popped up and down in the water, their synchronized movements left an indelible mark on my heart.

It was a moment of pure magic, an encounter with nature’s beauty that transcended words. With their playful dance, the dolphins seemed to convey a message of joy and unity, a reminder of the marvels surrounding us when we take the time to appreciate the world around us.

As I left The Sands that day, I carried a euphoric, dolphin-sunrise energy that seemed to portend great things for the year ahead. It was a moment of serendipity, a reminder that sometimes, the most extraordinary experiences come when we least expect them, and they leave us with a sense of wonder that lingers long after the sun has risen.

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Comment below if you have also experienced something unexpected during a sunrise/sunset watching experience.


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