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Fourth of July Celebrations

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Where to see the fireworks celebrations from your boat, wherever you are.

This weekend is the Fourth of July, and all across the nation people will be celebrating with the most American of traditions—shooting a bunch of explosives into the sky. Here are a few places you can go to tie up, kick back, and celebrate America.

Fireworks in San Diego

San Diego, California
San Diego’s main fireworks display is called the Annual Big Boom July 4 Fireworks Show—which sounds promising. The largest display in San Diego county, the celebration entails four barges positioned around north San Diego Bay, and can be seen from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the Embarcadero area, and Seaport Village and Coronado Landing. In addition, after that wraps up the folks over at Sea World get their festivities under way. Fireworks are also launched from the Ocean Beach pier. So basically drop the hook and look up and you should see some fireworks.

Newport, Rhode Island
New England’s city by the sea is always a blast for the Fourth. The harbor is jammed, the docks are packed, and the town is ready. If that pesky Tropical Storm Arthur currently gaining strength off the shore of Florida doesn’t decide to crash the weekend’s festivities, this Friday they’ll be holding their 375th Anniversary 4th of July Fireworks—after that much practice they know how to do it right. In the event of rain, they’ll hold the event on Saturday.

New York, New York
After five years on the Hudson River, New York’s fireworks celebration will be taking a trip across town and will return to the East River, with three barges positioned near the Brooklyn Bridge giving Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights front row seats. If you don’t want to navigate what will most likely be a nightmarish mix of water taxis, police, boaters, and everything else that comes along with traffic on the East River, there are many private dinner cruises that you can take that will let you watch the fireworks, and not everyone else around you.

Fireworks in New York

Chicago, Illinois
Throw some sausage on the grill and take in the fireworks off of Chicago’s Navy Pier, the only place in Chicago that technically does puts on a fireworks display. However, many local neighborhoods, suburbs, and rambunctious patriots shoot off their own set of fireworks. Docked off (or near) the Navy Pier, you should be able to get a good few of them all.

San Francisco, California
Things get groovy off of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 during the Fourth. The place can get a little crowded on land during the festivities (recommendations if you’re planning to be shore-side is to get there early and use public transit), and while the bay certainly won’t be sleepy, you should be able to find a place in the harbor (or near it) to take in the celebration.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The beaches of Florida’s yachting capital will be literally booming this Friday as barges off the Fort Lauderdale Beach will be shooting off fireworks. This display should be fairly easy to see from the water, head out the inlet and look for the barge.

Charlestown, South Carolina
Charlestown’s Patriot’s Point 4thh of July Blast offers some great options for viewing the fireworks. Boaters can see the display as the fireworks are set off from a barge in the Cooper River, or if you want to watch the fireworks from a bigger boat, there are a limited amount of tickets for taking in the action from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown (they’ll run you $20 a pop, $10 for children 11 and younger).

Seattle and Bainbridge, Washington
Seattle’s South Lake Union Park will put on a fireworks display, or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can take in the fireworks 11 miles to the west in Bainbridge, Washington, where there are festivities all day long capped off by a fireworks display over Eagle Harbor.

St. Ignace and Port Austin, Michigan
Boaters on Lake Huron have a few options when it comes to where they want to celebrate their independence—as it should be. St. Ignace fireworks will go off over Moran Bay, with the backdrop of beautiful Lake Huron and Mackinac Island. Over in Port Austin, there is activities throughout the day at Veteran’s Waterfront Park, with fireworks over the harbor once dusk sets in.