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Harkness Memorial State Park Engagement Review – Quite Possibly The Best Place In Connecticut For Engagements

Here is a review of Harkness Memorial State Park as your engagement photo location.

Please bear in mind that when I’m reviewing I’m not critiquing the couple in the photos! This is purely focused on the location, the look, lighting, and options you have while onsite.

Hopefully, this helps you pick out the perfect spot for your engagement photos!

If you are still searching for your perfect venue be sure to bookmark our List of Wedding Venues in CT!

venue spotlight


Danielle and Stephen’s Engagement Shoot

Rachel and Kevin’s Engagement Shoot

Sarah and Sean’s Engagement Shoot


275 Great Neck Rd, Waterford, CT 06385

phone number

venue type

Park, Garden, Field, Mansion, Beach, Rustic, 


Overall Rating 86%
Variety 100%
The Look 85%
Unique Factor 85%
Cleanliness 80%
How Active 70%
Bonus - Massive Space 95%

The Review


Variety 100%

Harkness Park seriously is a perfect score when it comes to variety, within a 5-minute walk you can be at a nice beach, then a mansion, a couple big gardens, mystical looking trees, a MASSIVE field overlooking the ocean, and a ton more.

You are not going to find this kind of variety that is done as well anywhere else in CT.  If you do PLEASE tell me at

The Look

The Look 85%

Harkness Park gets an 85% here because each spot looks fantastic, but like all “Jack-Of-All-Trades” it is not the best at any individual item….but it is most certainly in the top 5 for all of them.

But trust me when I say this, you will be happy even if you decide to just go with one look here.

Unique Factor

Unique Factor 85%

Harkness Park isn’t the most unique spot in Connecticut, everything here you can most certainly find at other places around Connecticut, so why an 85%?

Well if you haven’t gotten it yet, I’m really trying to drill home that this place is special because it’s an all-in-one package.  Even when you take engagement photos out of the question, this place is a solid beach (for Connecticut standards), a great place to have a picnic, fly kites, have a wedding, and the list goes on.  This park really has it all.


Cleanliness 80%

This park is surprisingly clean for how crowded it can get at times.  To be honest the only reason why I gave it an 80% is because it gets so busy at times so it’s inevitable for people to leave parks a little dirty after their use.

But this has never effected my ability to take photos.  I never had to clean areas in order to take photos or avoid entire sections.

How Active

How Active 70%

This is the biggest drawback and you should’ve saw this coming…but yes, people flock to this place and I don’t blame them!

Like most fantastic engagement locations if you go on a weekday then odds are you won’t run into a ton of people.  But if it’s a weekend you are easily going to run into hundreds of people, and possibly a wedding or two.

So….how did this place still manage to score a 70%?  Well, this place is just massive.  You almost always can just take a 10-second walk, and suddenly you are away from people.

I’ve talked about this in my Elizabeth Park Review, but it can get pretty annoying if a handful of photographers are in the same area taking photos.  BUT at Harkness Park this is not that annoying.  The last time I did an engagement session there, there was easily 4-5 other photographers in the mansion area.  At Elizabeth Park, this would’ve been tough to work around, and we would’ve had to move to a different area.  But at Harkness we each had plenty of space to shoot without interfering in each other’s work.  So this means for you that you get the photos you want, where you want.

Bonus - Massive Space

Bonus - Massive Space 95%

You really don’t understand how massive this place is until you get there.  I already mentioned this, but this place can have 100’s of people around but it doesn’t feel like it.  There’s a wedding going on just about every weekend, and half the time you wouldn’t even know it unless if you walked to the mansion section where they host it, or saw everyone exiting the wedding.

Final Thoughts

Overall Rating 86%

“So your favorite place in Connecticut gets a B?”

YES!  Because there can always be better places in other parts of the world, and locations here can also drastically improve.  For example, Harkness would gain a TON of points if they added a pier and docks to the beach section.

But if you are having a tough time deciding where to have your engagement photos, Harkness Park is an easy answer.  It literally has everything.  The only reason to go with other locations is if it’s a long drive, or if you want to focus on photos in one section (i.e. just a beach shoot), because there are most certainly better places out there if you want to focus on just one kind of look.

hey there!

I’m Gary Pope, the lead photographer of Love Long and Prosper.  I’m your typical super-geeky dude turned photography enthusiast who just loves capturing quirky couples!