Step up your firework-watching game this Fourth of July by heading out on the water, where the view is unbeatable. This list from Boat Trader will help you find the very best places for fireworks over the water.

By Lauren Phillips
June 16, 2017
Photo: Courtesy of Boat Trader
Photo: Courtesy of Boat Trader

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 already a prime destination for 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 biggest, with almost 8,500 pounds of fireworks; they can 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.

#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.

Photo: Courtesy of Boat Trader