Celebrating Independence Day with spectacular fireworks along the shore is a big Fourth of July tradition in many American beach towns. Every year, these top vacation destinations illuminate the night sky with dazzling displays accompanied by thunderous explosions, offering plenty of great viewing spots for everyone.
Panama City Beach, Florida
Hosting the largest 4th of July fireworks celebration on the Gulf Coast, two of Panama City Beach’s piers orchestrate simultaneous nighttime shows every year. Viewers gather on the beach between City Pier and County Pier (or on a condo balcony if it’s oceanfront). Also, Pier Park’s outdoor shopping center offers a view of the celebrations, while beachfront restaurants are jaw-dropping viewing spots. In nearby Panama City, the best place to see Fourth of July fireworks is the marina along Beach Drive (or on a boat cruise).
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Each year on Independence Day, the Outer Banks hosts a variety of family-friendly fireworks events along the entire coastline. Avon Pier on Hatteras Island is the site of celebrations including live music, food, ice cream and cold beverages. Nearby, the Nags Head Fishing Pier also has its own fireworks show with great sightlines, along with Currituck Heritage Park in Corolla, which hosts a Fourth of July festival complete with children’s games, a watermelon eating contest and a cornhole competition.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
With several celebrations on Independence Day, visitors can choose from a variety of spots to witness the area’s 4th of July fireworks. The Fourth of July Celebration at Harbour Town is an annual family tradition with plenty of daytime events, including a patriotic parade. In the evening, the fireworks extravaganza takes place above the area’s famed Lighthouse and rustic Calibogue Sound. Nearby, Shelter Cove Harbour hosts a popular celebration with festivities and live music. Two area restaurants, La Fontana Waterfront Grill & Pizza and Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill, both have prime outdoor seating for the flashy sky rockets.
Charleston Islands, South Carolina
Celebrations abound throughout Charleston’s lovely beach towns, as the region hosts a number of Independence Day fireworks. Located close to Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island, Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant has a Fourth of July “Blast” that offers special VIP tickets for optimal viewing. Folly Beach fireworks are always a major display, while the City of North Charleston hosts a July 4th celebration at Riverfront Park. Attendees start gathering early in the day, as the event features music, food trucks and kid-friendly activities.
Setting Florida’s Emerald Coast ablaze, Destin’s Fourth of July Extravaganza on the Harbor is held annually at HarborWalk Village. Featuring a roster of country and rockabilly bands throughout the afternoon and evening, this patriotic salute also includes local snacks, drinks and lots of family-friendly activities before the big blast. An ideal spot for waving the flag and viewing the sky, the event culminates with stunning fireworks illuminating Destin Harbor.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Cheering the red, white and blue is always a festive occasion at Fort Walton Beach’s Independence Day celebration. Each year, this seaside panhandle town presents a stellar fireworks show that brightens the sky with shimmering displays. Located along the city’s waterfront at Landing Park, the annual festivities welcome both residents and visitors with professional entertainment, local cuisine and lots of patriotic summertime fun for adults and kids.