15 spots around Buzzards Bay to watch the sunrise

Watching the sun rise is one of the best rewards that comes with being an early bird. What could be better than views of brilliant yellow, orange, coral pink, and fiery red filling the sky alongside a soundtrack of birds beginning their morning songs?

With an abundance of east-facing coastline, Buzzards Bay has some outstanding sunrise spots where the morning colors are reflected and magnified by ocean waters, still ponds, and quiet bays. Here are 15 places you can visit for your next early morning walk or coffee with a view.

(And if you’re not an early riser, check out our list of 10 spots to watch the sunset instead — we guarantee the views will be just as spectacular.)

1. The Knubble (Westport)

people standing on the beach watching the sunrise over Buzzards Bay

Take an early morning stroll to watch the sun rise.

If you’re a Westport resident, head to The Knubble to catch a one-of-a-kind sunrise from the dramatic “Point of Rocks,” a towering nub of exposed granite bedrock. On this rocky outcropping at the entrance to the Westport River inlet, you’ll get a multi-sensory sunrise experience surrounded by crashing of waves and the smell of salt as the sky floods with color.

2. Gooseberry Island (Westport)

Although Gooseberry Island is a hotspot for coastal activity of all kinds, we would be remiss if we didn’t include this go-to Westport destination as a great place to catch the sunrise as well. Stretching out into Buzzards Bay like a long finger, Gooseberry has 360-degree views that take in every compass direction – making it an amazing spot to catch the sun at any time of day. At sunrise, the sun emerges from behind Cape Cod and illuminates the roaring waves with wild colors.

3. Smith Farm (Dartmouth)

A former dairy farm might not be the first place you think to watch the sun come up, but Smith Farm’s location near the coast makes it unique. The trails lead you down to the edge of Nonquitt Marsh, a rich salt marsh with eastern-facing frontage on Buzzards Bay. We recommend giving yourself about a half hour before sunrise to walk the orange trail down to the marsh; that way, you’ll arrive just as the marsh fills with daubs of orange and pink. Stand on the wildlife observation platform here for a while and watch as coastal wildlife like ducks, osprey, and egrets begin hunting for breakfast.

4. Star of the Sea Reserve (Dartmouth)

Tucked into the corner of inner Apponagansett Bay, Star of the Sea Reserve is another place where you can appreciate the way sunrise highlights the shapes and colors of a salt marsh. For quick access to the best sunrise spots, we recommend parking at the entrance to the reserve’s blue trail and following its southern branch towards the water. Watch the sun come up over the marsh from an old stone bridge along the trail, or follow an unmarked trail east to get closer to the water along the old stone causeway. Just be sure to visit at low tide, as the causeway often floods!

5. New Bedford CoveWalk / Saulnier Memorial Bike Trail / Fort Taber Park (New Bedford)

sunrise over New Bedford and Clarks Cove

The calm, protected waters of Clarks Cove are an excellent destination for boating and paddling. Get here early to catch a spectacular sunrise!

City dwellers don’t need to head to the country to see a spectacular sunrise. Just go for a walk, jog, or bike ride on the New Bedford CoveWalk, which runs along Clarks Cove atop the city’s Hurricane Barrier. After about a mile, the CoveWalk connects with the Saulnier Memorial Bike Trail, which will take you all the way down to the southern tip of New Bedford and Fort Taber Park. From there, look out at a panorama that takes in all of Buzzards Bay, and on clear days, stretches to the Elizabeth Islands.

6. Shipyard Farm (Fairhaven)

Start your walk down the straight path at Shipyard Farm roughly 15 minutes before sunrise and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking change of scenery. The wide-open fields of this working farm surround you with sky, which will fill with color as you walk from the fields to verdant salt marsh. By the time you reach the coast, the sun will just be cresting the horizon and covering the water with its warm glow.

7. West Island (Fairhaven)

West Island juts out like a fist into the open waters between Nasketucket Bay and Buzzards Bay, giving it some of the most interesting and varied coastal views in the region. The entire eastern side of the island is a state reservation, fringed with beaches and marshes that offer a wealth of different places to catch the sunrise. Between the views and the wildlife, West Island State Reservation and neighboring West Island Town Beach have enough variety to keep you coming back morning after morning.

8. Brandt Island Cove District (Mattapoisett)

Take a short walk through protected woodlands to reach a spectacular salt marsh at Brandt Island Cove District. There are two particularly good spots here to watch a sunrise. A bird observation stand about halfway down the trail provides a high vantage point from which you can watch the marsh wake up before your eyes. Or continue all the way down to the edge of the marsh to immerse yourself in the morning sounds of the wetland.

9. Ned’s Point (Mattapoisett)

Sweeping views of Buzzards Bay and a charming little lighthouse make Ned’s Point a particular favorite of photographers, especially when the sun stains the horizon with color. Early risers will be rewarded with more than just a spectacular view — though Ned’s Point is a popular spot to watch the sun set in the evening, mornings provide the opportunity to have this pretty spot all to yourself. In the spring, your only company may be striped bass fishermen taking advantage of the great fishing available off this picturesque point.

10. Peirson Woods (Marion)

Take short walk along the loop trail at Peirson Woods to reach the edge of Blankenship Cove, a long, skinny inlet of Sippican Harbor ringed with salt marshes. At the end of the trail, you’ll reach a southeastern-facing observation platform that makes for a perfect place to see the sunrise. In the summer, look for ospreys that nest on the platform beginning their morning hunt, while in wintertime you can watch fascinating array of migratory ducks rafting in the morning water.

11. Myles Standish State Forest (Carver)

You don’t need to be on the coast to catch a gorgeous sunrise. With their still morning waters, the string of ponds running through Myles Standish State Forest are like mirrors set up to catch morning colors. Camping in this state forest is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a sunrise walk, but there are also several places to stop by if you’re driving in from elsewhere. We recommend parking at the lot near East Head Pond and walking along its shores as the sun comes up; in the winter and spring, this pond is often covered with an eerie layer of fog that diffuses with different colors. Alternately, take a sunrise drive northward on College Pond Road, which runs beside East Head Pond, New Long Pond, and Three Cornered Pond, and watch the sky change outside your window.

12. Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Wareham)

sunrise over Buzzards Bay from West Island

West Island in Fairhaven is a spectacular destination to watch the sunrise over Buzzards Bay.

If you want to start your day with a refreshing hike that rewards you with stunning views, take to the trails at Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Navigate your way to the Heron Point Loop trail, located in the north side of Stockton Short Cut, and you’ll soon find yourself in a peaceful coastal forest surrounded by towering pine trees. After about a mile, you’ll reach the edge of the salt marsh along Bass Cove, which opens up to the entrance of the Cape Cod Canal. This is a gorgeous place to watch the marsh fill with color while you spot interesting boats silhouetted by the rising sun as they make their way through the canal.

13. Lawrence Island (Bourne)

Given Cape Cod’s largely western-facing views of Buzzards Bay, it can be difficult to find a good sunrise spot on this side of the Bay. Lawrence Island in Bourne provides a beautiful solution: it’s sandwiched between the waters of Megansett and Squeteague Harbors, which gives this spit of land water views in all directions. Take an early morning walk around the island’s loop trail to find your ideal location – whether that’s perched on a bench or rock with coffee or spread out on the beach with a blanket.

14. The Knob (Falmouth)

With its panoramic westerly views of Buzzards Bay, The Knob is another one of those special places that’s lovely for a stroll at sunrise or sunset. From the main trail, take one of the small staircases down to The Knob’s rocky beaches along Quissett Harbor for a top-notch seat to watch the sun come up over the water. If you brave chilly temperatures to take a walk in the winter, you’ll get an even better view as the sun rises south of true east.

15. Nobska Lighthouse (Falmouth)

Beautiful 19th century Nobska Lighthouse is a great place to watch the crash of ocean waves any time of day, thanks to its 360-degree panoramic views. Though the lighthouse is closed at sunrise, it still makes for an amazing subject for early-morning photos, lit by the rising sun’s colors. We also recommend crossing the road to walk down the short path that leads to Nobska Point, which offers stunning views of Vineyard Sound and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Category: Featured Adventures

Find Places To Go and Things To Do

Discover Buzzards Bay

It’s your Bay, so get outside and enjoy it! From hiking and biking to fishing and paddling, you can discover Buzzards Bay at dozens of parks, trails, and beaches near you. Whatever your fancy, you’ll find it here on Buzzards Bay.

Get outside ›

Related Stories

Bay Adventures are back with a full summer schedule

The Coalition is launching a full schedule of free outdoor activities for the summer, resuming its Bay Adventure program, which aims to connect people to outdoor fun on Buzzards Bay and its watershed lands.

Full Story ›
Seventeen places to see (hear and smell) the signs of spring

The best way to celebrate the spring season is to get outside and savor the re-awakening that is taking place. You’ll find the signs of spring in the woodlands, wetlands, salt marshes, and waters of Buzzards Bay. Here’s a quick list of places you are most likely to spy hopeful signs of the warmer weather that is on its way as well as some pointers on what to look for.

Full Story ›
Taking the time to be mindful in nature can be good for our health

A mindfulness walk can be good for mind, body, and soul. Best of all, it's an activity that can be done at any park or reserve near your home.

Full Story ›

Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: