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The Best Places to Witness Sunsets in La Mesa

Backpacking with a Book

A town in Southern California, La Mesa — some 9 miles from central San Diego — is known as the Jewel of the Hills. What used to be a small southwestern city is now a popular destination for its quaint character and lively downtown. One thing you absolutely must experience while there are the marvelous sunsets. Here are five places to indulge in nature’s artwork on the horizon in La Mesa.

Mt. Helix: Where Solitude Reigns

Image via Flickr by brianjbaxter

No two sunsets are the same. And the one you’ll see from atop Mt. Helix is a testament to this. Every clear day, locals and travelers alike scale the hillside, hunt for a comfortable spot to sit, and witness that magical moment when the sun glides behind the ranges and casts a warm glow on the city. At the peak, expect a crowd that wants to experience the same special moment. But don’t worry, Mt. Helix is one of those places where solitude is best when shared.

Lake Murray: Where You Can Be Merry in the Afternoon Light

There’s something to be said about the afternoon light, especially that 4 to 5 p.m. glow. It’s soft, warm, and feels nice on the skin. At Lake Murray, it’s easy to go out and enjoy a moment in the evening light. Lake Murray is one of the best places in La Mesa to enjoy activities such as bird-watching (149 bird species call the area home), kayaking, float-tubing, and private boating. Cap any of these activities with a sunset viewing.

Mission Trails Regional Park: Where the Great Outdoors Reward You

Comprised of 7,220 acres of recreational areas and natural spaces, Mission Trails Regional Park makes your stay at La Mesa memorable. It is just 8 miles from downtown and plenty of centrally located hotels in all price ranges. Head to the park to indulge in a much-needed escape. Visit in the late afternoon to be rewarded by the sun’s afterglow. While your trip to the park might be short, your memory of it will surely last.

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve: Where Enjoying Nature Comes Guilt-Free

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve is comprised of seven recycled water lakes that are replete with sports fish. The entire preserve runs on 4 acres of solar electricity. It’s safe to say you’re not in any ordinary park. Santee Lakes prides itself on its environmental efforts and natural experiences. Come sundown, gather your loved ones and find a sweet spot to witness the sun drowning in the lake.

Chollas Lake Park: Where Oasis Takes the Shape of a Park

Many park-goers call this place their oasis. It bustles with activity — someone is always jogging, feeding the ducks and geese, fishing, or picnicking. Many local kids learn to fish in this lake, and if you are traveling with kids, you can rent a fishing rod on-site. Cap your day with your favorite drink and a sunset view while recalling all the activities you enjoyed.

Make some memories of stunning sunsets with loved ones during your next trip to La Mesa.

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Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi, I'm Jona! I write stories and poetry and take a lot of photos, which I'm too lazy to upload. If you want to receive some photos that I don't share here on the blog, please leave your email here. I'm crazy about cats too. Feel free to browse through BWAB, and I would love it if you say hi! For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com For more stories about BWAB, check here. Connect with us through

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