Experience the beauty and charm of New England

Check Availability

12 Best Spots To Capture A Sunset on Cape Ann

A Few of Our Favorite Sunset Spots On Cape Ann, Massachusetts

If you are a photographer, you are probably well-aware that Cape Ann has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in New England. From Rockport to Gloucester to Essex and Manchester there are so many fantastic landscapes and such incredible lighting that it almost feels like point and shoot at times.

But getting the perfect shot is all about timing and having a little bit of luck on your side. You only get 2 chances a day, so you have to make them count!

What are the best spots for to capture a sunset on Cape Ann? In this article we will share with you some of our favorites. So, without further ado, here are the 12 Best Spots to capture sunset on Cape Ann.


Motif #1 

Perhaps an obvious choice, but we are going to kick things off with a tried and true subject matter here in Rockport, Motif#1.  This humble red fishing shack has been a symbol of the town of Rockport as well as the quintessential Cape Ann image for many years.  Its position in the harbor, the contrast of its red paint, and its rustic presence make it the perfect photograph. 

Rockport MA Motif #1

It’s no wonder that it has been drawing painters and photographers to the area for years to try and capture and put a unique spin on this Rockport landmark. The picture above was captured by the talented Jasen Sousa from Boston. 


Annisquam Lighthouse

Located at Wigwam Point at the northern end of Annisquam River, the Annisqaum lighthouse is a north shore treasure. The station was established in 1801 and the current lighthouse tower was built in 1897. It was ultimately automated in 1974.

The brick tower stands 41 feet tall and utilizes a 5th Order Fresnel lens to guide mariners.

Annisquam Lighthouse Sunset

The Annisquam lighthouse can be photographed from a couple of different locations, depending on the desired composition. The first, is from Wingaersheek Beach. Shooting from Wingaersheek will provide you a little bit more of distant view of the lighthouse.

The more popular shot of the lighthouse that you see more frequently is the close up shot. This is taken from a small private beach near the lighthouse. You will want to park on Walnut Street off of Route 127 and follow the hiking path down to the beach.

If mother nature delivers, it’s sure to be a fantastic capture. 


Lobster Pool

Another excellent spot to capture a sunset on Cape Ann is the Lobster Pool Restaurant in Rockport. Located off the beaten path up past Halibut Point, the Lobster Pool will bring you back to childhood memories of eating seafood on the coast.

Situated right on Ipswich Bay, the Lobster Pool is a classic, no-frills, New England seafood shack. There is outdoor seating right on the water where you can capture an incredible sunset.
Of course, at the Lobster Pool, there is the nice ancillary benefit of some tasty treats. Enjoy a succulent lobster, meaty fried clams or piping hot clam chowder and wait for the sun to set from your westerly facing perch.

One thing to note: the Lobster Pool is BYOB so if you are in need of a couple fermented beverages to enjoy with your meal you may want to stop off at Sea & Cellar or WhistleStop Market to pick up some provisions.


Good Harbor Beach

A world class Cape Ann Beach, no matter the season, it’s always a good day to visit Good Harbor Beach. The soft sandy beach provides a beautiful landscape for your photograph. Plus there is also some fantastic subject matter right on the beach.

On one end of the beach you have a beautiful bridge and a home perched upon the rocky shoreline that provides some great framing for the shot. On the other side of the beach, you have Salt Island and the the twin lights of Thacher Island to provide some points of interest.

When the tide is low, you can even walk out to Salt Island and get a completely different vantage point for your photograph.

Good Harbor is truly a fantastic spot to capture both sunrises and sunsets on Cape Ann.


Plum Cove Beach

One of our favorite Essex County Hidden Gems has to be Plum Cove Beach. Just around the tip of Rockport before your reach the Annisquam village you will find this special little cove.

It is perfectly protected by bluffs on each side and has some grassy dunes as you enter. The westerly facing beach provides the perfect spot to capture a sunset over Ipswich Bay. We guess you’ll just have to bide your time in this beautiful cove to wait for the perfect moment. Life on Cape Ann can be tough.  


Eastern Point Lighthouse

On the eastern tip of historic Gloucester Harbor you will find the, aptly named, Eastern Point Lighthouse. One of the 6 Cape Ann lighthouses, it is held near and dear to photographers hearts.
The tower was originally planned in 1829 and ultimately erected by 1832, its first light shining on New Year’s Day. It was rebuilt in 1848 and 1890 and the current tower stands 36 feet high.

The home, oil house and additional structures were all added between 1879 and 1951 and the lighthouse currently serves as housing for the US Coast Guard.

The Eastern Point Lighthouse is a favorite among photographers and even appeared in a painting by Winslow Homer!

The lighthouse can be accessed from downtown Gloucester. Simply follow Eastern Point Ave down to the end where you will find a parking lot for visitors to the lighthouse.


Niles Beach

Just down the road from Eastern Point Lighthouse you will find this small town beach overlooking Gloucester Harbor. Niles Beach offers beachgoers a sandy beachhead, an opportunity to find some nice seaglass, and on a nice day you can even take in the Boston skyline in the distance!

It’s also a great spot to capture a stunning sunset. The parking can be challenging to those without a Gloucester beach sticker, but aside from that it’s a peaceful spot and a great alternative to some of the larger, more popular beaches.


Emerson Point

Another fantastic spot to shoot sunsets, sunrises, and seascapes is off Emerson Point on Loblolly Cove. From this peninsula photographers can capture some great shots of Thacher Island and the twin lights as well as the more distant Straitsmouth Island.

To get to Emerson Point you simply take Penzance Road off of Route 127A (or South Street). Photographers can then meander across some craggy rocks to find the perfect vantage point for an epic sunrise or sunset pic!


The Headlands

This rocky outcropping, overlooking Rockport Harbor and Sandy Bay, is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch and to capture and epic Rockport sunset.

The vantage point from the Headlands allows photographers an opportunity to shoot back toward the village Rockport and capture all of the boats on moorings, Sandy Bay Yacht Club and Motif #1. It’s a beautiful spot to really capture the beauty and charm of this intimate little harbor.

Looking south you will also get a distant view of Straitsmouth Lighthouse.

To get the Headlands, on foot, you walk up Mt. Pleasant Street, take a left onto Atlantic Ave and follow to the end. If driving, you can take Mt Pleasant Street to Norwood Ave and then take a left on Atlantic. There is a small gravel lot where you can pull over and park.


Old Garden Beach

Right around the corner from the Headlands, down Old Garden Road, you will stumble upon Old Garden Beach. Old Garden Beach is a small beach with sand and stone that is attached to a small park. It’s a favorite amongst area divers on the hunt for crab, lobster, Sea Raven or Goosefish.

It provides visitors a beautiful vantage point to overlook Sandy Bay as well as some grassy areas to relax with family and friends.

It is also a great place to capture a sunset. The peace and serenity of this intimate little beach is cathartic and provides and fantastic spot to watch the night roll in quietly on the heels of the day.


Halibut Point

One of the most popular Rockport attractions is Halibut Point. Formerly the Babson Farm quarry, Halibut Point is a 67-acre site that offers beautiful views of Crane’s Beach in Ipswich, the Isles of Shoals off of the New Hampshire Coast and even Mount Agamenticus in Maine.

The granite at Halibut Point is said to be 440 million years old and the granite from the quarry was used to pave thousands of city streets including Boston and Philadelphia.

You hike all the way to down to large rocks on the ocean and, you can even bring your furfiends along with you, provided they are kept on a leash. The location of Halibut Point provides the perfect vantage point for a sunset photograph out over Ipswich Bay. 


Wingaersheek Beach 

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of the best sunsets on Cape Ann is Wingaersheek Beach. Located in Gloucester, Wingaersheek is one of the most popular beaches on the north shore of Massachusetts. 

With soft sands, tidal pools that are teeming with sea life, plenty of rocks for climbing and some warmer waters than other area beaches, Wingaersheek is a fantastic place to spend a day. In the off-season you will find local residents cruising the sands with their canine counterparts. 

With a beautiful landscape and lighthouse views it’s a fantastic spot to capture a Cape Ann sunset. 


12 Best Spots To Capture A Sunset On Cape Ann MA 

We hope that you enjoyed our list of the 12 Best Spots To Capture a Sunset on Cape Ann. We think that these are all fantastic locations for a beautiful photograph. Of course this list is not exhaustive! There are many other incredible locations in Rockport, Gloucester, Essex and Manchester for sunrises and sunsets but we hope this sets you off on a good course!   


Check Availability