Fireworks on the Fourth of July are a national tradition, and a much-beloved one. But there’s a way to make this spectacular display of patriotism even better: with a boat.
Watching fireworks from the water, where you can see them explode right above you and where there’s nothing to block your view, is an unforgettable experience, and this list from boat buying and selling website Boat Trader (by Boats Group) has the best places to head to sea (or lake or river) for a fantastic view.
#1: Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital is an ideal location and prime destination for many looking to catch fireworks on the Fourth, but by taking to the water, you can avoid the worst of the crowds. The fireworks launched from the National Mall are easily visible from the Potomac River, with the best spots between the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and the Arlington Memorial Bridge.
#2: Charleston, South Carolina
The Charleston area has a number of fireworks displays the evening of the Fourth, but one of the best is the Patriot’s Point display on the Cooper River. Anchor in the river or grab a slip at Charleston Harbor Marina, then sit back and watch the show.
#3: Seattle, Washington
You have your pick of fireworks shows in the Seattle area, but Lake Union Park’s is the largest, with almost 8,500 pounds of fireworks; they can also be easily seen from Lake Union.
#4: Port St. Joe, Florida
Kill two birds with one stone by cruising out into the Saint Joseph Bay in time for sunset, then hold your spot until the fireworks at Frank Pate Park begin. And if you’re one of many who might not own a luxurious boat, rental services like Boatsetter, (the Airbnb of seas) lets you rent a yacht hassle-free-- captain included!
#5: New York, New York
Macy’s annual fireworks show shoots off from the East River; grab a spectacular view of the fireworks exploding over the skyline from the Hudson River.
#6: Ludington, Michigan
This Lake Michigan town boasts a 20-minute firework display, easily seen from the cool waters of the lake itself.
#7: New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy’s massive Independence Day event takes place on the riverfront, where you can stay on land or grab a space on the Mississippi River for a great view of the show.
#8: Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis Harbor’s display is best seen from the waters of the Harbor itself. Even better, the wide harbor offers plenty of space, so you can avoid crowds to your heart’s desire.
#9: Chicago, Illinois
Boat out onto Lake Michigan for a view of Chicago’s Navy Pier fireworks show with the city skyline in the background.