Massachusetts has a lot to offer landscape and nature photographers. From the beaches and cliffs of the coast and islands, to waterfalls, mountains, and woods, there are plenty of options. And if you want to capture urban landscapes or cityscapes, Boston is perfect. This page showcases some of the most noteworthy places in the state for photography. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Gay Head Lighthouse and Cliffs
The Gay Head Lighthouse and Cliffs are located in Aquinnah on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. They are on the west side of the island, and the beautiful clay cliffs are an excellent subject for photographs. To reach Martha’s Vineyard you can take a ferry from one of several different towns, including Falmouth and New Bedford. You can get information on those ferries, and also flights, at this page.
Bash Bish Falls State Park
Bash Bish Falls State Park is located in southwestern Massachusetts, very close to the New York state line. Bash Bish Falls is one of the more popular waterfalls in Massachusetts with photographers. With cascades that total nearly 200 feet it is the tallest waterfall in the state. Viewpoints can be reached from Falls Road or by taking a short, steep trail.
→ Related reading: 10 Tips for Fabulous Waterfall Photography
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is located in northeastern Massachusetts and includes part of Plum Island, a long barrier island. It is an important location for migratory birds, and parts of the refuge are not open to the public. Sunset Drive/Refuge Drive runs the length of Plum Island and there are several overlooks, trails, observation towers, boardwalks to the beach. It is open from sunrise to sunset but can reach capacity during summer months, which means additional visitors may not be allowed in for a few hours.
Mount Greylock State Reservation
Mount Greylock State Reservation, located in northwestern Massachusetts, includes Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state. The park provides plenty of nature to explore and excellent views of the Berkshires. There are more than 70 miles of trails that allow you to get great photos of the landscape. The summit features a war memorial (please note that the memorial is closed for renovations through 2017). The road to the summit closes for the winter due to weather.
→ Related reading: 10 Tips for Impressive Mountain Photography
Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
Purgatory Chasm is located in southern Massachusetts, about 50 miles southwest of Boston. It is home to a 70-foot deep chasm of granite that runs for about a quarter of a mile. There are also two miles of trails around the chasm.
Doanes Falls is located in Royalston in northern Massachusetts, about 75 miles northwest of Boston. It is a series of five waterfalls on the Lawrence Brook, and is accessible by a short but steep trail.
Birch Pond makes a beautiful setting for photos and is conveniently located in Saugus, just north of Boston.
Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod National Seashore includes more than 40 miles of seashore and a total of more than 40,000 acres. The area includes multiple lighthouses, ponds, woods, and great beach views.
→ Related reading: How to Photograph the Beach or Coast
The Knob in Falmouth offers a great view over Buzzards Bay, especially at sunset. You’ll also get a view of Quissett Harbor and marshes. The Knob is part of the Salt Pond Areas Bird Sanctuaries. There is a trail that leads about one mile to the view point.
Gray’s Beach (also known as Bass Hole) in Yarmouth features a boardwalk and salt marsh.
Race Point Lighthouse
Located on Cape Cod in Provincetown, Race Point Lighthouse is right at the tip of Cape Cod.
Great Point Light
Great Point Light, also known as Nantucket Light, is located on the northern tip of Nantucket Island. The current structure was built in 1986 and made as a replica to the previous structure. It is located within the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. Nantucket is south of Cape Cod and east of Martha’s Vineyard and is only accessible by ferry or plane. You can get information about the different options from this page.
The Edgartown Lighthouse is one of several lighthouses located on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. It is located on the east side of the island, about 20 miles from the Gay Head Cliffs.
Nobska Lighthouse is located in Falmouth on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod. It overlooks Martha’s Vineyard and Nonamesset Island.
Motif Number 1
Motif Number 1 is a well-known structure in Rockport (northeastern Massachusetts) that is famous for being a favorite subject of painters and artists. The original structure was destroyed by a storm in 1978 and the current replica was rebuilt the same year.
Boston Harbon can provide an great view for cityscape photos. Other options for Boston skyline views include Fan Pier & MIT Pavilion.
Back Bay, Boston
Back Bay is a neighborhood in Boston that sits along the Charles River, west of Boston Harbor. It includes some of the tallest buildings in the city as well as historic architecture. There are a lot of opportunities for urban photography within Back Bay, and as you can see from the examples below, the water and skyline make excellent subjects as well.
The Longfellow Bridge in Boston spans the Charles River connecting Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood with Cambridge.