Best Cities to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks by Boat

fourth of july fireworks by boat

When it comes to fireworks, Independence Day celebrations are hard to beat. As great as they are on land, though, they’re even better from the water. Here are the best boat-friendly places for watching fireworks this Fourth of July.

Boston, Massachusetts

boston fireworks fourth of july

Celebrate the Fourth of July on the Charles River Esplanade with the world-famous Boston Pops. Marking its 49th year, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will be held on Monday, July 4 from 8–11pm.


Chicago, Illinois

The pyrotechnics show off Navy Pier will light up Lake Michigan on both Saturday, July 2 and Monday, July 4 this year. If you’re close enough to shore, you might hear the music to which the spectacle is synchronized. Navy Pier hosts fireworks shows every Wednesday and Saturday night this summer, too.


Kemah, Texas

Grab the kids and spend the day at the Kemah Boardwalk before returning to your boat at the adjacent Kemah Marina to watch the fireworks. The show, over Galveston Bay, starts at 9:30 p.m. Like Chicago’s Navy Pier, the Boardwalk hosts fireworks every Friday through July.


Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada Border

lake tahoe fireworks

Lights on the Lake literally lights up the southern waters of Lake Tahoe. Between the highly touted display and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it’s no wonder the show is considered among the country’s best.


Marina del Rey, Califorina

This 20-minute spectacle attracts onlookers from miles around. Start time is 9 p.m. Check the Visit Marina del Rey website for tips on when to arrive, as well as options for kayak and paddleboard rentals if you decide to spend the day.


Miami, Florida

miami fourth of july fireworks

South Floridians have lots of options when it comes to boat-friendly places for watching fireworks. The Fire on the Fourth Festival, over the Atlantic Ocean in North Miami Beach, is popular.


New York, New York

The largest display in the USA is the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. Because the show encompasses the Brooklyn Bridge as well as four barges along the East River, there are lots of good vantage points.


Rockaway Beach, Oregon

USA Today names Rockaway Beach’s celebration one of the nation’s best. The city, in northern Oregon, sends up the fireworks after a day marked by a big parade, wiener dog races, beach treasure hunts, and more.


Seattle, Washington

seattle fourth of july fireworks

Seafair Summer Fourth is one of the most spectacular ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in the Pacific Northwest. The full choreographed fireworks show begins at 10:15 p.m. and is visible from both the Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park areas.


Tampa, Florida

Tampa’s Boom by the Bay celebration encompasses four different fireworks displays over 2.5 miles along the water. The celebration includes live entertainment, kids’ games, food trucks and more.


Washington, D.C.

washington dc fourth of july fireworks

While the fireworks display on the National Mall is the highlight of the Independence Day celebration in the nation’s capital—boaters know the fireworks are even more impressive when viewed on the Potomac River. You’ll be in good company, since several sightseeing boats organize fireworks viewing trips on the Fourth as well.

Regardless of where you go, be mindful of possible Coast Guard waterway restrictions, and remember to follow these simple safe boating tips. Have a happy and safe 4th!


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