Independence Day 2015 is just a weekend away—and we can’t think of a better place to celebrate America’s 239th birthday than on the water! There’s nothing quite like watching the skies explode in vibrant colors from the deck of your boat. So, cue the ooh’s and ahh’s as we review some of the best places in the U. S. to watch fireworks on the water.
Annapolis, Maryland July 4, 2015— 9:15pm
Annapolis’ 4th of July Fireworks in Historic Annapolis is launched from a barge in the Annapolis Harbor. Boaters are welcome to enjoy the spectacle from the harbor as long as they observe the U.S. Coast Guard-established safety zone.
Chicago, Navy Pier July 4, 2015— 9:30 pm
While you can watch spectacular displays of fireworks synchronized to music on Lake Michigan all summer long, Navy Pier’s 4th of July display is truly special.
Milwaukee, July 3, 2015 at dusk (about 9:25pm) Fireworks at the Lakefront
Launched from three barges on Lake Michigan, the popular hour-long fireworks display is along-standing tradition that draws big crowds.
Charles River, Boston July 4, 2015— 7:00 pm
Given its revolutionary heritage, its no surprise that Independence Day is a BIG deal in Boston. The annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular features 7 barges with 10,000 fireworks timed to the music of the Boston Pops.
Cape Coral, Florida July 4, 2015—9:30 pm
With its large boating population, the Sunshine State boasts numerous places to watch fireworks by boat. One of the biggest is the Cape Coral Red, White and Boom, which features a music-synchronized display of more than 4,000 exploding shells.
San Diego, North Bay July 4, 2015—9:00 pm
Billed as the largest fireworks display on the West Coast, the Big Bay Boom draws more than 500,000 spectators annually. Fireworks are launched from 4 barges, and boaters can avoid the crowds and watch from anywhere in the bay, as log as they follow distance rules.
Marina del Rey, California—July 4, 2015— 9:00pm
A full day of patriotic festivities climaxes with a 4th of July Fireworks Celebration launched from a barge across the main channel between Fisherman’s Village and the Breakwater. Boats can idle in the main channel to watch the show.
Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront July 4, 2015 6–10pm
Red, White & Boom is a two-day patriotic celebration featuring live music, food, fun family activities and ending with a fireworks grand finale.
Seattle, Gas Works Park & Lake Union Park, July 4, 2015 9:00 pm
The Seafair Summer Fourth is a day-long celebration of our nation’s independence that culminates in a fantastic fireworks show choreographed to music. Boaters can watch the fireworks from the south end of the lake.
Obviously, this is by no means an exhaustive list. We’d love to hear about your favorite places to watch fireworks from a boat. You can share with us in the comments area below.
A final word on safety—because you’ll be operating your boat at night, be sure you are prepared to pilot in the dark. Before you leave the dock, check your running lights. Once you’re out on the water, keep your boat a safe distance, preferably upwind, from where the fireworks display is being launched. Learn more about nighttime boating here.