The 8 Best Massachusetts Lighthouses to Visit and Photograph

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Massachusetts lighthouses are always a lot of fun to visit and photograph. Lighthouses in Massachusetts and around the world, typically allow for easy access and exploration. Often, our local guiding lights are situated in scenic and beautiful locations leading ways into safe harbors. The settings, along coastal Massachusetts and on Cape Cod, make great seascape photography subjects and I frequently head out to capture my vision. This lighthouse road trip starts on Cape Cod and ends on Cape Ann, just north of Boston. Come join!

Images and Words by Juergen Roth. Find more of his work here:

Nauset Beach Light

A lighthouse shines its lights under a starry sky next to a home at night.

Nauset Light is on the Cape Cod National Seashore near Eastham, MA. It is worth visiting at any time of day or season, but I love coming here for chasing the nightlight and milky way. I love the iconic appearance of its tower in red and white which is in beautiful contrast with the night sky and milky way.

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Nobska Light 

A white lighthouse is next to a historic red home surrounded by a white picket fence under a sunset.

From Nauset Beach Light we travel to Nobska Light in Woods Hole, MA at the southwestern tip of Cape Cod. This beautiful Cape Cod lighthouse leads the way into Buzzards BayNantucket Sound, and Vineyard Sound. Sunset is a good time for lighthouse photography here. The white fences around this beacon of hope are great foreground elements and can also be effectively used to lead a viewer to the main lighthouse subject.

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Scituate Lighthouse 

A white lighthouse is on a rocky coast under a sunrise.

Back on the road up north, we stop at Scituate Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse is in Scituate atop a seawall that can be beautifully used in your composition. Last time I visited, a bunch of washed-up lobster traps made for fantastic foreground elements. Sunset is a great time to visit but don’t ditch a full moon rise at this location. It’s a real treat!

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Minot Ledge Light

A lighthouse in the middle of the ocean has waves crashing around it.

Not far from Old Scituate Light, we find Minots Ledge Light. This one is located a mile offshore has been bracing the waves of the Atlantic Ocean for ages. It’s a miracle how the lighthouse withstands the sheer force of nature out in the Massachusetts waters and has not crumbled. Storm and wave chasers alike love coming here and watching the waves explode around Minots Light. Sunrise and sunset are equally great times to capture this scenic lighthouse.

Boston Harbor Light and Graves Light

Two lighthouses on rocky islands surrounded by water at night.

Up the road, there is a great vantage point at Fort Revere Park in Hull, MA to see the Boston Harbor Light and Graves Light in the distance. They beautifully align and great lighthouse photos can be taken. A long telephoto lens, 600mm and up, is required for a frame-filling image. I find a tripod essential for a stable setup and non-blurry images. Golden hours around sunrise and sunset are both good times to photograph and provide pristine lighting condition. 

Fort Pickering Light

An old black and white lighthouse with a holiday wreath sits on an island surrounded by water. The moon can be seen in the blue sky behind it.

Fort Pickering Light is located on Winter Island in Salem, MA. It safely directs ships into Salem harbor. Sunrise, sunset and moonrise are interesting times to stop here to create lighthouse memories. Rock and boulders along the island coast are great compositional features while a beautiful view of the lighthouse and waters can be found by exploring the area. 

Annisquam Harbor Lighthouse

A rocky home is sitting on top of a boulder by the coast. In the distance, a white lighthouse is perched on the coast under a sunset sky.

Our New England lighthouse road trip in Massachusetts concludes at Annisquam Harbor Lighthouse on Cape Ann. This lighthouse is a bit tricky to get to and parking is not easy, especially during high seasons. Early or late arrival are your best chances to secure a spot and to capture beautiful images at dawn, sunrise, sunset and dusk. I love incorporating the wooden boardwalk into a composition and the setting along the rocky shoreline is very scenic. 

There are dozens of lighthouses in Massachusetts that are waiting to be explored, hope this article and photos inspire your next visit and adventure.

Good light and happy photo making!

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