Where to Watch 4th of July Fireworks by Boat

Published on 6/22/17 11:00 AM
One of the sweetest perks of living in a city by the sea is being able to escape the noise, exhaust, and hoards of people by getting out on the water. And when 4th of July rolls around? The night skies and their reflections on the water are absolutely stunning.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published 6/28/16, and as of 6/22/17 has been updated with 2017 dates and new events. To share your event please contact

We want to help make sure your 4th is squared away, so we've shared some boating safety tips from our friends at BoatUS, as well as some of the best spots to watch the fireworks by boat. Check it out!

According to BoatUS, nearly 12 million registered boats across the country will be participating in 4th of July celebrations this year. To avoid boater gridlock and keep your crew safe:

  1. Be wary of boating and drinking, particularly when compounded by sun and a long day on the water.
  2. If you need spare life jackets for your extra July 4th stowaways, borrow one from the BoatUS Foundation’s Kids’ Life Jacket Loaner site.
  3. Keep your boat afloat! A good rule of thumb for boat capacity: make sure everyone has a seat. 
  4. Stay untangled & charged: TowBoatUS reports that many July 4th assistance calls are for anchor line disentanglements and battery jumps.
  5. Paddle safe: Navigation lights apply to SUP boards. Stay visible and avoid congested boat areas. Read more tips from BoatUS.

Ready to make your plans? Check out these fireworks shows below and some of their nearby Dockwa marinas!

Kennebunk, Maine Fireworks 2017

While only home to ~3500 year-round residents, Kennebunkport is known for having some of the best displays in the state. Kennebunk and Kennebunkport team up each year to set off a spectacular show from Narragansett Point, between Gooch’s and Middle beaches. The show starts at 9PM on Tuesday, July 4th, and the best spot by far to watch is from on the water. For more information on Maine fireworks, click here.


Portsmouth, New Hampshire 2017 Fireworks

As a major coastal town in one of the original Thirteen Colonies, in a state whose slogan is Live Free or Die, it's safe to say Independence Day means a lot to the people of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The sparks start (officially) flying at dusk, around 9:15PM on Monday, July 3rd from South Mill Pond by City Hall. Make your way to this beautiful seaside community for a day of activities, and enjoy a night at Prescott Docks on the Piscataqua River! 


Massachusetts Fireworks 2017

If you're out nightsailing 4th of July weekend on the coast of Massachusetts – and in particular out of Boston or the North or South Shore – you're guaranteed to see some shows! Make a floatplan based on the highlights below, and start booking so you can enjoy an overnight or weekend on the water.

  • Boston Harbor: July 4, 10:30PM as part of Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
  • Hingham: July 1, 9PM from Button Island over Hingham Harbor
  • Falmouth: July 4, 2017 at dusk  (more info - thank you to Dockwa boater Peter S.!) 
  • Gloucester: July 3, 9:30PM over Gloucester Harbor
  • Lynn: July 3, 9:15PM from a barge near Red Rock
  • Quincy/Weymouth: July 3, 9:35PM from a barge off Wessagusset Beach
  • Martha's Vineyard: July 4 at dusk over Edgartown Harbor
  • Nahant: July 4, 9PM from Bailey’s Hill Park
  • Plymouth: July 4, 9PM on the Plymouth Waterfront
  • New Bedford: July 3, 9PM over New Bedford Harbor
  • Nantucket: July 3, 9pm over Jetties Beach
  • Fall River: July 4, 7pm at Battleship Cove


Rhode Island

Li'l Rhody packs a punch on Independence Day! Makes sense: with so much water real estate, everyone wants to highlight their pretty harbors. Take yourself and your crew on a tour of Narragansett Bay:

  • Warwick: July 3, 9PM from the Oakland Beach seawall
  • Jamestown: July 2, 9PM over Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay
  • Bristol, RI Fireworks: July 3, 9:30PM from Independence Park. Get there early and stroll over to the concert series downtown! 
  • Block Island: July 2 , at dusk from Town Beach Pavilion
  • Newport: July 4, 9:15PM over Newport Harbor


New Jersey Fireworks 2017

If you're heading to the jersey shore for 4th of July weekend this year there are some great festivities planned! Take a look at some the shows below and book your Independence Day weekend now.

  • Lavallette: July 2, 9PM at Lavallette Gazebo
  • Manasquan: July 1, at dusk on the beach
  • Ocean City: July 4, 9pm at Ninth Street Beach
  • Beachwood: July 4, at dusk at Bayside Ave.
  • Point Pleseant: July 4, at dusk at Jenkinson's Boardwalk & Beach
  • Barnegat: July 1, at dusk at Barnegat Municipal Dock


NEW! Tom's River in New Jersey


We asked for your favorite fireworks displays in a recent newsletter, and Ray K. from Millville, Delaware shared his favorite: 

Since I was 7, (61 years ago LOL) I have been going by boat into the Toms River where the small town of Beachwood puts on a fireworks show that is awesome. There are close to 700 boats anchored up in the River which in itself is a stunning sight. Many thousands more view from rooftops and beaches along the River. Now my children bring my grand children home for the show. In December Joni and I moved to Bethany Beach, DE, but will make the trip back to Toms River in our 44' Ocean for the 4th. It's a 5-hour boat ride, but we will not only be with family and friends, but continue a lifelong family tradition of Fireworks on the River. I have missed less than 6 for various reasons over the years and still thrills me.

Toms River fireworks are traditionally held on the 4th, and we've contacted them to confirm. Keep an eye on the Toms River town website.


Chesapeake Bay Fireworks 2017

Chesapeake Bay pulls out all the stops, with booms and sizzles ricocheting around the water for three nights in a row! From Havre de Grace to Cape Charles, you'll find a Dockwa marina ready to make you feel at home for the Fourth.

  • Rock Hall, MD: July 3, 9PM over the harbor
  • 4th of July Celebrations

    Independence Day celebrations can be found throughout the state. Enjoy food, live entertainment and the colorful firework displays.

    - See more at:

    4th of July Celebrations

    Independence Day celebrations can be found throughout the state. Enjoy food, live entertainment and the colorful firework displays.

    - See more at:
    Havre de Grace, MD: July 2, 9:15PM, from the island at Tydings Park
  • Annapolis: July 4, 9:15PM from Susan Campbell Park. Get there at 8PM for the Naval Academy's Concert Band performance.
  • Baltimore: July 4, 9:30PM over the harbor. Get there at 7PM for a concert by the U.S. Navy Band at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater!
  • Cape Charles, VA: July 4, after dark over the harbor
  • Solomons Island, MD: July 4, 9:15PM

4th of July Celebrations

Independence Day celebrations can be found throughout the state. Enjoy food, live entertainment and the colorful firework displays.

- See more at:

4th of July Celebrations

Independence Day celebrations can be found throughout the state. Enjoy food, live entertainment and the colorful firework displays.



Charleston, South Carolina Fireworks 2017

Spend July 4th in Chucktown and catch the fireworks – their largest show to date – and live music performed by The Charlestones starting at 9:10PM. The party starts at 3PM at Riverfront Park in the city of North Charleston with musical guests, children's activities, food trucks, and craft vendors. Book your slip and join the fun!


Savannah, Georgia Fireworks 2017

While the fireworks turn up the heat in Savannah, you can be sitting pretty with a front row seat right on the water. The show launches from the pier on Tybee Island on Tuesday, July 4 at 9:15PM, and can be enjoyed anywhere along the eastern side of the island.


Chicago Fireworks 2017

When the city of Chicago canceled its fireworks show in 2011, Navy Pier took up the helm and has been Independence Day central ever since. A patriotic soundtrack blares as fireworks rocket overhead. Book a slip on Navy Pier or at a nearby Dockwa marina, and watch the fireworks over the water on July 4, 9:30PM.


New Orleans Fireworks 2017

New Orleans knows how to throw a good party. If you're in the area, get in on what is sure to be a borderline-insane celebration of our nation's independence. Weather permitting, the fireworks display begins aboard “dueling barges” anchored at mid-river on July 4 at 9PM, and can be viewed from either side of the river.



Bay Harbor, MI Fireworks 2017

Visit Bay Harbor and enjoy an always amazing show by the Petoskey Steel Drum Band beginning July 3rd at 8 pm. Enjoy food trucks and other special offerings. An unparalleled fireworks display over Bay Harbor Lake will commence at dusk. 


Happy 4th of July from the team at Dockwa! 

Post by Becky Pineo

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