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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

As Cape Cod-based freelance photographer, I get to see everything from gleaming beaches to scenic gardens to beautiful home interiors.
I’ve never been able to pick one favorite subject on the peninsula, because there are so many great ones, but Cape Cod’s harbors have always had a special allure for me.
Being surrounded by water on three sides, the Cape has a number of little-known, “hidden” harbors that are amazing to visit and photograph.
In the summer and through late fall, these picturesque spots are filled with charming little boats and skiffs and can be great spots for kayaking, paddle boarding or simply relaxing.
These three harbors are not well known, but are definitely worth seeking out, whether you’re a photographer, a kayaker, or you just want to visit and explore the Cape in all its beauty.
Oyster River Harbor in Chatham, MA
Oyster River Harbor

A moment of peace at Oyster River Harbor by Betty Wiley Photography

This little harbor is located at the end of Barn Hill Road off Route 28 and is home to the Chatham Kayak Company, which is happy to supply you with rented kayaks or paddleboards. Here you’ll see quaint little fishing boats, along with skiffs in the scenic marsh grass next to the harbor.
Between late March and into September, you’ll likely also see an osprey or two circling overhead in search of a meal. In the distance, across the marsh, is the Stage Harbor Lighthouse, which was decommissioned years ago but still provides a nice backdrop.
Boat Meadow Harbor in Eastham, MA
Most people (very understandably!) flock to Rock Harbor in Orleans for beautiful sunsets. If, however, you want to experience spectacular sunsets with a little less company, then you should check out a hidden gem next door to Rock Harbor known as Boat Meadow.
Boat Medow morning

Rise and shine at Boat Meadow by Betty Wiley Photography

This is another small harbor, usually with a few skiffs, recreational fishing boats and maybe a catboat or two. I especially like this location at low tide and it’s a wonderful place at sunrise as well. The image above was taken at sunrise at low tide; I immensely enjoy the peaceful tranquility of this lesser-known spot on the lower Cape.
Pamet Harbor in Truro, MA
This beautiful harbor is a bit hard to find, but well worth the effort. The Pamet area is probably best known as the place where Edward Hopper lived and painted. Pamet is one of the most beautiful areas on Cape Cod, in my opinion, and I really love the little harbor.
Pamet Harbor

Boats in the harbor under a blue sky at Pamet Harbor by Betty Wiley Photography

During the summer months, Pamet Harbor, which sits next to a stunning marsh, is filled with lots of wonderful boats and skiffs. At low tide, you can walk around the side to the marsh area to do some exploring. Like Oyster River Harbor, Pamet is also a wonderful destination for kayaking or paddeboarding. And like each of the two previously mentioned hidden harbors, Pamet is not overly commercialized, with no marina or other amenities.
For these harbors, your mileage may vary, but I personally like the early mornings, as there’s usually less wind and I can capture the beautiful reflections of the boats and buoys with my camera.
To see more gorgeous scenes from Cape Cod and the rest of the world, head on over to my website. I also recently released an ebook on photographing Cape Cod, which is an excellent resource for aspiring photographers and is available by clicking on this link.
Betty Wiley is a Cape Cod-based photographer who resides in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts. Since moving to Massachusetts more than 30 years ago, Betty has frequently contributed to a number of Cape Cod and South Shore magazines. You can learn more about her work here.
Photo at the top of Pamet Harbor by Betty Wiley Photography