I always swore it wouldn’t be me.
I would never be that guy you’ve spotted holding his smartphone at arm’s length, smiling for seconds on end while staring at his on-screen reflection and pushing the photo button once, or twice, if the angle wasn’t perfect.
Now matter how much I watched other people do it, I refused to be someone who snapped selfies.
But sure enough, about four months after the birth of my son, there I was on a dock in Maine at the start of a long weekend getaway. My son was strapped to my chest in an infant carrier as my wife and I stood on a dock overlooking a beautiful blue bay of water. With my free hand, I reached out and snapped the very first Morse family selfie.
In retrospect, it was a lot of fun and I certainly don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way about our modern-day self-portraits.
Like it or not, selfies have become a part of 21st century travel.
Experiencing fantastic places has always been a big part of visiting destinations near and far, though showing friends and family you were there via social media isn’t far behind for some travelers.
Here are a few great spots to snap a selfie and they’re all within a day’s drive.
Battleship Cove, Fall River, Mass.: Selfie opportunities abound at Battleship Cove, which claims to have the largest collection of preserved U.S. Navy ships in the world. Visitors can get up close with PT boats and a submarine, not to mention the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., a gigantic destroyer-style warship. You’d also be hard-pressed to miss the USS Massachusetts, a battleship in name and appearance. Its cannons are long decommissioned but they’re one of many solid options for a photo commemorating your visit.
Brooklyn Bridge, N.Y.: It’s probably the most touristy thing you can do, but what’s wrong with that? The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic piece of New York architecture. Aside from visiting the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building, few selfies will better illustrate where you spent your weekend. Visitors looking to a snap a shot against the bridge can do so while walking across, but crowds may make it hard to find the perfect moment. A safer bet is Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre parcel stretching 1.3 miles along the East River. It probably won’t be as crowded and there are plenty of options to put the bridge in your backdrop.
The Hall at Patriot Place, Foxborough, Mass.: The Hall at Patriot Place is a great stop for football fans. Visitors can re-enact their favorite player’s game-winning moves, try on some pads, relive memorable moments in team history and even experience the feeling of walking through the tunnel onto the field in Patriots United Grand Hall. If it’s a selfie you’re after, consider something in front of the Patriots’ five Lombardi trophies.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.: The nation’s capital is a place made for selfies. While the Smithsonian has banned selfie sticks, there are still plenty of places around Capitol Hill for selfies, including the White House, the Washington Monument and, one of our favorites, the Lincoln Memorial. The towering statue of a seated Lincoln is the obvious photo op, though you shouldn’t overlook chances to snap the Gettysburg Address or Lincoln’s second inaugural address, which are carved on either side of the monument.
LOVE Park, Philadelphia, Pa.: It’s pretty easy to find great selfie opportunites in Philadelphia. The “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are an obvious way to go, as is the Liberty Bell at Liberty Bell Center. Couples, however, have a particularly great opportunity at John F. Kennedy Plaza, more commonly known as LOVE Park for the famous sculpture of the word (spoiler alert!) love. The park is also a great jumping off point for exploring the scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Madame Tussauds New York, New York City: Just because you didn’t meet anyone famous on vacation doesn’t mean you have to tell your friends that. With the right kind of selfie, you can even have a photo to back up your claim. Madame Tussauds is famous for its lifelike wax sculptures. Former presidents, pop stars, athletes, famous movie characters and even superheroes are some of your options for an awesome shot. The museum is one of innumerable places for tourists to enjoy on a trip to Manhattan, and it’s by Times Square which in an unbeatable selfie spot if there ever was one. Save 15 percent on admission, concessions and merchandise with a valid AAA card.
Niagara Falls, N.Y.: Perhaps the best part of Niagara Falls is that it actually presents a few selfie spots. The name is a collective title for three waterfalls covering the U.S. border with Canada. Horseshoe Falls, in Ontario, is the widest of the group; bring a passport if you’re planning to visit. American Falls is the tallest, at 184 feet, while Bridal Veil, also in the U.S., is the smallest. Luna Island is a great spot for a selfie as is a trip on the Maid of the Mist.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park, West Orange, N.J.: As inventors go, it’s tough to be more famous than Thomas Edison, who spent a significant portion of his life in New Jersey. The Thomas Edison National Historical Park gives visitors a glimpse of how he lived, and while photos aren’t allowed in Glenmont Estate, Edison’s 29-room mansion, the laboratory complex is loaded with great selfie opportunities. Eye-catching equipment is spread over several floors in addition to other interesting structures, including a reproduction of an early motion picture studio known as the Black Maria.
WaterFire, Providence, R.I.: WaterFire is one of Providence’s signature attractions. It’s also something you need to see in-person to really appreciate. More than 80 braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial Park are set ablaze at sunset, illuminating the banks of the city’s three rivers. Stroll the installation and take a few moments to stop, lean back, and snap a quick selfie against a backdrop of flames.
World’s Largest Lobster, New Brunswick, Canada: There’s plenty of opportunity for skiing, snowshoeing and other winter fun around New England and Canada. If you’re seeking a unique selfie, however, New Brunswick has something you won’t find anywhere else. About a half-hour northeast of Moncton is the city of Shediac, also known as the world’s lobster capital. In recognition of this achievement, tourists can visit (and snap a photo with) a 35-foot-long, 16-foot-wide and 16-foot-tall lobster statue. Good luck finding something similar anywhere else.
Did we miss one of your favorites? Tell us your favorite picture spot in the comments.