Boston Logan Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

Boston Logan International airport handled 36,3 Mio passengers in 2016 and is one of the biggest airports on the US east coast. Jetblue, American, Spirit, Cape Air and Delta are the main carriers. International traffic is dominated by European carriers but the demand for flights is increasing rapidly and JAL, Hainan and Cathay offering flights to Asia whilst Emirates and Qatar the MEA.Almost the whole airport is surrounded by water, what makes planes spotting not easy. Also six runways in different directions are in use. The distances between the spots are pretty huge and a runway switch is not unusual here. The spotting locations are pretty nice as you are always next to the water and you can get some unique pictures with the Boston skyline as a background for example.

Written by Julian Mittnacht, Clive Grant, Thomas Okaty and Harry Xue (photos spot #4) / Last Update May 2017

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Information  Runways 04L/22R 04R/22L 09/27
2.396 m (7.861 ft) 3.050 m (10.005 ft) 2.134 m (7.000 ft)
15L/33R 15R/33L 14/32
779 (2.557 ft) 3.073 m (10.083 ft) 1.524 m (5.000 ft)
Terminals Terminal A Terminal B
Delta, United Express, Alaska Air Canada, American,
Spirit, USAirways,
Virgin America
Terminal C Terminal E
Cape Air, JetBlue, United, All Intl. Carriers
Spotting Information Ladder not needed
Car recommended as the spotting locations are spread around the airport
Restrooms see description for the different spots
Drinks/Food see description for the different spots
Hotels hotels are pretty expensive in the summer and not close to the airport (check priceline.com to get one in downtown Boston)
Season best during the summer, winter is pretty heavy
Runway Usage  04L/22R the inner runway is mainly in use for departures in both directions
04R/22L the outer runway is mainly in use for arrivals in both directions
09/27 27 mainly in use
15L/33R not in use
15R/33L 33L mainly in use
14/32 less usage

Spot #1 – Coughlin Park – 27 arrivals
WHERE This spot is pretty far away from the airport, located at the Coughlin Park in Winthrop, MA. I have no informations if its possible to reach this location by public transportation. If you have a car, please use your GPS or Google Maps to reach the Park next to the Bay View Ave. You can park your car along the road for free.
WHAT This is the best, and only spot to catch the 27 arrivals. Find your preferred spot along the BayView Ave and the Grand View Ave. Don’t enter the Coughlin Park as the planes are directly above this place. If you wanna make the famous evening pictures with the skyline on the background, go into the Grand View Ave and you will see the airport (you have also a better angle here).
TIME Great spot from morning until afternoon (depends on time of the year)
MISC. There are many dogs in the park. So be careful if you have a problem with this animal. There are no facilities at this place as well.
FOCAL LENGTH 50-200 mm

Spot #2 – Sargent Street – 22L arrivals / 22R departures / taxiway Mike
WHERE Its tricky to find this location. Again its in Winthrop, MA. Try to get on the Pleasant St somehow until you can make a turn into the Sargent St. Drive this road all way down until you reach the end and see the water and airport in front of you. Park your car here at the end of the road. On the left side is a small path and a ladder which leads to the water. Here you are.
WHAT Once arrived, you can make great touch down pictures from aircrafts arriving on 22L. Also the taxiway,which is between the two runways, is within range. You see the 22R departures too and can take interesting pictures with the skyline of downtown Boston on the back.
TIME Only good from morning until noon. There can be a lot of heat haze as you have to take your pictures over the water. So I wouldn’t recommend during the summer. In October I had problems as well but 22L arrivals should be fine.
MISC. Again here is nothing within walking distance so please take the stuff you need before you go there. No restrooms, no food and drinks, but can all be found on Saratoga St / Rte 145, which is the main access road to Winthrop (coming from BOS / I-90).
FOCAL LENGTH 300-500 mm

Spot #3 – Brook Field – 22L arrivals / taxiway Mike
WHERE Use the Pleasant St again and drive out of Winthrop until you see a very tiny beach and some benches on your left side. Park your car in the Brookfield Road along the Park and walk the few meters to the spot.
You can use the Metro to the Orient Heights Station (Spot 4) and walk to this location.
WHAT Best place for 22L arrivals and some taxiway Mike action for aircrafts rolling to the threshold of 22R
TIME Only good from morning until noon. There can be a lot of heat haze as you have to take your pictures over the water.
MISC. There are benches to sit down but no restrooms. No food and drinks, but can all be found on Saratoga St / Rte 145, which is the main access road to Winthrop (coming from BOS / I-90).
FOCAL LENGTH 200-500 mm
Spot #4 – Constitution Beach – 22R departures / taxiway November
WHERE One of the most famous spots in Boston is the Constitution Beach Park. Its easy to reach by the Metro. Take the Blue Line from the Airport to Orient Heights Station and follow the Barnes Ave south-westwards for about two hundred meters. By car take the exit from the 145 (Saratoga St) into the Barnes Ave and park your car in the park (free).
WHAT Its a pretty nice place as you can sit on the benches or relax on the beach while you were taking your pictures. You get all aircrafts running up taxiway November for 22R departure. 22L arrivals are far away for single aisle aircrafts. If you wanna get those, go to the Bayswater St which is not far away and within the walking distance.
TIME Good spot from the afternoon until evening. There can be a lot of heat haze as you have to take your pictures over the water.
MISC. Restrooms are within the park. Some Fast Food Restaurants are behind the railroads.
FOCAL LENGTH 200-400 mm
Spot #5 – Fort Independence/Pleasure Bay – 04R arrivals
WHERE A spot that is pretty far away from the airport. You have to drive to Fort Independence on Castle Island, next to the Boston harbor. Its a famous place for locals as there is a pretty big beach and a huge park. There are many parking lots where you can park your car for free.
WHAT You get all the 04R arrivals from these two spots.
TIME From morning until noon find a place next to the fort. When the sun turns, return back to the parking lots and find a place along the boardwalk
MISC. There are restrooms and small snack bars around the fort. During the summer its pretty busy here.
FOCAL LENGTH 70-200mm

Morning location. Pictures taken from the Castle Island/Fort Indipendence parking lot

Afternoon location. Pictures taken from the Head Island Causeway.

Spot #6 – Parking Garage – Ramp Action, 04/22 runways
WHERE The location is on the higher levels of parking garage Terminal B or Central Parking. Its up to you where you going to stand.
WHAT You can photograph different areas from this location. Traffic on the ramps to the north and east, traffic on Runway 04L/22R and traffic on taxiway M between the parallel runways.
TIME From afternoon into the evening.
MISC. Probably best not to stand on the top level of the parking garage as you’re likely to be more conspicuous up there. Security checks this place from time to time.
FOCAL LENGTH 100-300 mm depending on aircraft type and location.
Spot #7 – Boat Ramp – 22L arrivals / 22R departures
WHERE This is an alternative to spot #3 and 2. The spot is on a boat ramp at the end of Loring Rd. From the previous spots just get on the Court Rd. until you cross the intersection of Loring Rd.. This is a residential area, parking is available roadside (Court Rd & Loring Rd) at no charge, but mind potential restrictions (e. g. street cleaning). The boat ramp is accessible for the public, but privacy of adjacent properties needs to be respected.
WHAT Perfect for Rwy 22L which is mainly used for arrivals, Rwy 22R too which is mainly used for departures but very far.
TIME From morning until noon only.
MISC. No restrooms, no food and drinks, but can all be found on Saratoga St / Rte 145, which is the main access road to Winthrop (coming from BOS / I-90).
FOCAL LENGTH Rwy 22L = 70-300mm lens is sufficient, depending on a/c type
Rwy 22R >400mm lens is required

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7 thoughts on “Boston Logan Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

  1. Max (german-planspotter)

    hey in summer i will come th boston for 5 days from germany and i would know which is the best position to make photos

  2. Thomas

    Has anyone tried Loring Rd (off of Court Rd in Winthrop)? There appears to be a boat ramp at the end of the street and it is closer than spot #3. Not sure though whether it is accessible for the public … planning to check it out on my next trip to BOS.

    Pleasure Bay is actually a pretty nice location, you can pick up fish & chips from Sullivan’s (in case you don’t like fish they have other options, too), sit on one of the numerous benches along the boardwalk (moving along with the angle of the sunlight as described above) and catch all the action when they come in on 4L/4R with a 70-300mm lens (APS-C DSLR) …

    1. JulianJulian Post author

      Hi Thomas, we have no infos about the location at Loring Rd but it sounds good. Please let us know if you had success.

      -Julian

      1. Thomas Okaty

        Hi Julian,

        Went there today, it is a very good location for catching planes on final to Rwy 22L (70-300mm lens is sufficient, depending on a/c type) and touchdown (>200mm, but you need to climb up on the concrete wall next to the boat ramp, otherwise a private pier will block your view). For decent pictures of traffic lining up for departure from 22R a >400mm lens is required. Rwy 22L mainly used for arrivals, Rwy 22R mainly used for departures.

        This is a residential area, parking is available roadside (Court Rd & Loring Rd) at no charge, but mind potential restrictions (e. g. street cleaning). The boat ramp is accessible for the public, but privacy of adjacent properties needs to be respected. No restrooms, no food and drinks, but can all be found on Saratoga St / Rte 145, which is the main access road to Winthrop (coming from BOS / I-90).

        If you like, I can send you sample photos … I should be able to upload a few to Flickr later today.

        Gruss in die Heimat,

        Thomas

  3. Greg

    Sargent St. was probably the best site for spotting! Great view, no one around. Not really a good spot for available seating, and won’t be able to get on the beach at high tide, but up close to the runway for arrivals and departures.

    Definitely recommend, and thanks for the tip!

  4. Romulo Machado Carlos Lemes

    Good night!
    I used this site to guide me during a private trip to Boston. I loved the look that has excellent airport.
    I went to the parking lot (# 6 spot) and stayed for three hours, an airport employee to appear and asked me out, because that place was not allowed to photograph. Anyway I took a lot during the period that I photographed the car.
    Hugs from Brazil and I hope soon to return to Boston.

    Thanks and sorry for bad english

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