Byline: Taylor Hill and Eston Ellis
Nothing symbolizes Independence Day like Fourth of July fireworks — and there’s no better place to view Southern California’s best waterfront fireworks shows than on the water, aboard your own boat.
On the nation’s 236th birthday, the night sky will be ablaze with color, and the water of harbors from San Diego to Santa Barbara will dance with the reflected light. Along with fireworks displays that can be viewed on the water, many harbors are planning parades, concerts and other special activities to celebrate the Fourth of July.
As always, boaters will have the best vantage points for viewing aerial displays. However, those preparing to head out for the festivities are advised to plan accordingly, as the number of boaters on the water will increase dramatically on July 4.
Along with advising boaters to get to local harbors bright and early before the crowds start to gather, Southern California harbor patrols have also issued advisories covering areas that boaters must stay clear of during fireworks displays. Boaters should be aware of these exclusion zones before they hit the water.
To help you plan your holiday cruise, here is The Log Newspaper’s annual list of Independence Day fireworks shows and related activities that Southern California boaters can enjoy — from San Diego to Santa Barbara:
San Diego: Big Bay Boom
Where: San Diego Bay
When: 9 p.m. July 4
Best Views: Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North, Seaport Village, Embarcadero South Marina Park, Coronado Landing and Imperial Beach
Boating Info: Boaters are instructed to stay outside of the 300-yard safety zones around the fireworks barges off Shelter Island (32 degrees, 42.78 minutes north latitude; 117 degrees, 13.28 minutes west longitude); Harbor Island (32 degrees, 43.33 minutes north latitude; 117 degrees, 12.00 minutes west longitude); the Embarcadero (32 degrees, 43.04 minutes north latitude; 117 degrees, 10.82 minutes west longitude); Seaport Village/Coronado Landing (32 degrees, 42.20 minutes north latitude; 117 degrees, 10.04 minutes west longitude) and the Imperial Beach Pier
Fun Events: The five fireworks locations will be shot off in unison, and in conjunction with music broadcast on 105.7 The Walrus FM radio station.
San Diego: Maritime Museum of San Diego Independence Day Festivities
Where: The Embarcadero
When: 5-9:45 p.m. July 4
Best Views: Aboard the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley, the tall ship Californian or the museum’s 1914 pilot boat.
Fun Events: An Independence Day barbecue dinner — $30 for adults, $18 for children — will be held on the observation deck of the museum’s historic steam ferry Berkeley (first seating; 5-6:30 p.m., second seating; 7-8:30 p.m.), where there will be spectacular views of the Big Bay Boom fireworks display. The museum is also offering fireworks cruises aboard the tall ship Californian ($65 per person), and aboard the museum’s 1914 pilot boat ($30 per person). Passengers on Californian will experience the booming sound of the ship’s 6-pound deck guns as they are fired to signal the start of the fireworks show.
Coronado: Independence Day Celebration
Where: Glorietta Bay
When: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. July 4
Fun Events: A day packed with fun-filled events starts with the 37th annual 15K Run/Walk at Tidelands Park at 7 a.m. Other events include a rough-water swim at Central Beach (check-in at 7:30 a.m.), Art in the Park (8 a.m.-4 p.m.), the 64th annual Independence Day Parade along Orange Ave. (9 a.m.), a Coronado Community Concert Band performance at Spreckels Park (4 p.m.) and fireworks viewing at 9 p.m.
La Jolla: La Jolla Cove Fireworks Show
Where: Ellen Browning Scripps Park
Best Views: Scripps Park, along with nearby La Jolla Shores and Kellogg Park
When: 9 p.m. July 4
Parking: At Scripps Park: Along Coast Blvd. and nearby streets in downtown La Jolla Village. At La Jolla Shores and Kellogg Park: Large parking lots are located next to the beach and park, and visitors can park along adjacent streets.
Mission Bay: SeaWorld “Into the Blue” Fireworks Show
Where: SeaWorld San Diego
When: 9:30 p.m. (approx.) July 4
Best Views: South Shore Park east of SeaWorld, Crown Point Park and Beach in North Mission Bay, Tecolote Shore Park in East Mission Bay, Ski Beach Park and Fiesta Island.
Info: Using the orchestral music of SeaWorld San Diego’s newest show, “Blue Horizon,” the “Into the Blue” Fireworks Show provides a spectacular ending to Independence Day celebrations.
San Clemente: Fourth of July
Where: San Clemente Pier
When: 9 p.m. July 4
Oceanside: Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade
Where: Oceanside Yacht Club
When: 2-4 p.m. July 4
Info: Boaters can enter the annual contest and decorate their dinghies (12 feet and smaller) in the most patriotic way possible. Trophies are handed out to the top four entries.
Dana Point: Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza
Where: Doheny State Beach
When: 9 p.m. July 4
Best Views: Fireworks are shot from a barge outside the harbor, so boaters in Dana Point Harbor have some of the best views. Heritage Park and Lantern Bay Park are also good viewing points.
Fun Events: Dana Wharf Sportfishing is offering a fireworks barbecue buffet dinner cruise from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ($79 for adults, $39 for kids ages 5-12 and free for children ages 4 and younger) and a fireworks-only cruise from 8-9:30 p.m. ($29 for adults, $19 for kids 3-12 and free for children 2 and younger).
Contact: danapoint.org; danawharf.com
Laguna Beach: Fourth of July
Where: Monument Point, Heisler Park
When: Between 8:30 and 9 p.m. July 4
Best Views: Main Beach
Newport Beach: Old Glory Boat Parade
Where: American Legion YC, Newport Harbor
When: 7 a.m-5 p.m. all-day gala, with a 1 p.m. boat parade start time; July 4
Boating Info: All boaters are invited to decorate their vessels and participate in American Legion Yacht Club’s “It Stands for Freedom” yacht parade, led by grand marshal Paul E. Mock.
Fun Events: Pancake breakfast, 7-11 a.m. ($10); barbecue lunch and dinner, noon-5 p.m. ($10) and live music and dancing, 1-5 p.m.
Newport Beach: Family Fun Fourth of July Extravaganza
Where: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina
When: Activities from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., fireworks start at 9 p.m. July 4
Fun Events: Daytime activities include a dunk tank, bungee run, cake walk, limbo contests inflatable jumpers and bounce houses. Tribute bands honoring “legends of rock” are scheduled to take the stage throughout the day, with a fireworks spectacular capping off the event at 9 p.m.
Huntington Beach: Pier Plaza Festival
Where: Huntington Beach Pier
When: July 1-4
Fun Events: The four-day event will feature food vendors, live entertainment and planned family activities every day from 10 a.m.
9 p.m. The Fourth of July events include the Surf City 5K Run and Fitness Expo (7 a.m.-noon), the 108th annual Fourth of July Parade (10 a.m.-noon) and the grand finale fireworks display shot off the end of the pier beginning at 9 p.m.
Catalina Island: Avalon Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks Display
When: Parade starts at 12:30 p.m., fireworks at 9:15 p.m. July 4
Fun Events: The Olympics-inspired theme, “America! Go for Gold” should inspire participants in this year’s golf cart parade down Crescent Ave. A barbecue and buffet dinner, along with music from the University of Southern California Marching Band, can be enjoyed by guests at the Casino Ballroom’s balcony, overlooking the fireworks display ($40 adults, $20 children ages 3-11). Fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m. over Avalon Harbor.
Catalina Island: Two Harbors Fireworks Display and Dinghy Parade
Where: Two Harbors
When: July 6-7
Fun Events: A fireworks spectacular is set to blast off over Isthmus Harbor, beginning at dark, July 6. The next day, boaters are invited to decorate their dinghies in the most patriotic way possible, and participate in a parade through Catalina’s West End coves from 10 a.m.-noon. Prizes will be awarded to the most creatively decorated dinghies.
Long Beach: Long Beach Firefighters Memorial Association Fundraiser and Fireworks
Where: Alamitos Bay
When: 4-11 p.m. July 3
Fun Events: Hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, the event will feature a barbecue, fundraising opportunities for the Long Beach Firefighters Memorial Association and a fireworks display over Alamitos Bay.
Long Beach: Party on the Pier
Where: Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier
When: 10 a.m-10 p.m. July 4
What: Live Music, a barbecue and beer garden, boat rides and great views of the Queen Mary fireworks show can be enjoyed at the Belmont Veterans Memorial Party on the Pier event ($20 adults, $10 kids ages 12 and younger.
Long Beach: Queen Mary Fourth of July Celebration
When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. July 4, fireworks begin at 9 p.m.
Fun events: Daytime activities include entertainment by strolling performers, live musical acts and dancing. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m., and tickets are $39.95 for adults, $3495 for senior/non-active military and $19.95 for children ages 12 and younger.
Port of Los Angeles: Fourth annual Cars and Stripes Forever
Where: Harbor Boulevard and the Vincent Thomas Bridge, San Pedro
When: 5-10 p.m. June 29; fireworks at 9 p.m.
Parking: There will be free parking at Harbor Boulevard and First Street, and Sixth Street and Ports O’Call Village. A free shuttle to downtown San Pedro will be provided.
Fun Events: The third annual event includes live music, more than 100 pre-1971 classic cars on display, dancing water shows at the Gateway Plaza Fanfare Fountain, gourmet food trucks and a beer garden, and fireworks at 9:20 p.m.
Marina del Rey: Fourth of July Fireworks
Where: Burton Chace Park
When: 9 p.m.
Best Views: Waterfront sides of most hotels, restaurants, beaches, apartments and anchorages throughout the marina. Fisherman’s Village, Burton Chace Park and Marina Beach are popular spots to watch the 20-minute show.
Boating Info: Vessels are allowed to idle in the main channel, but anchoring is prohibited. Boats are not to enter designated fallout zones near the fireworks launch site.
Fun events: The Marina del Rey WaterBus will be in operation from 11 a.m. to midnight July 4 to provide a waterside shuttle to seven locations throughout the harbor.
Redondo Beach: Seaside Lagoon Community Fourth of July Celebration
Where: Seaside Lagoon, pier and King Harbor
When: Gates open at 2 p.m. July 4; fireworks at 9 p.m.
Seating: E-tickets will be used again this year. When purchased online, an email will be sent with a unique PIN number and a link to print out bar-coded tickets to bring to the event, allowing one admission per ticket.
Fun Events: The sixth annual event includes live music from bluegrass to instrumental surf, a community sing-along, dancing with a live DJ, the Free to Be Me Drum Circle, swimming in the lagoon, arts and crafts, paddleboard lessons, a Mad Science Marvels of Motion Show, a Coast Guard helicopter swimmer rescue demonstration, paddleboard races, puppets, a 56-foot inflated obstacle course with a slide and the sixth annual Kids’ Freedom Parade. Food options will include barbecue chicken and tri-tip plates, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, funnel cake, Italian ices and a wide selection from the Ruby’s Diner service window on the lagoon. The fireworks show begins at 9 p.m. and will be synchronized to patriotic music broadcast live on 93.1 Jack FM.
Channel Islands Harbor: Fireworks by the Sea
Where: Channel Islands Harbor
When: Activities from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. July 4; fireworks at 9 p.m.
Fun Events: Daytime activities include the 10K Race and 5K Fun Run/Walk, at 8 a.m. along Sunset Beach and Hollywood Beach; and the fifth annual Children’s Parade, at 10:30 a.m. from Albacore Way up Harbor Boulevard to Cabezon Circle. At Marine Emporium Landing, a day of activities includes a farmer’s market, an old-fashioned family barbecue at 11 a.m., crafters, live music, a petting zoo, rock climbing and pony rides. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m.
Santa Barbara: Spirit of ’76 Parade
Where: This year’s parade theme is “The Gift of Individual Liberty,” The parade begins at Micheltorena Street and proceeds down State Street to Old Town Santa Barbara, concluding at Cota Street.
When: 1 p.m. July 4
Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara 2012 Freedom Celebration
Where: West Beach
When: Activities from noon-midnight July 4; fireworks begin at 9 p.m.
Fun Events: Come down to the waterfront and enjoy food and beverages from dozens of vendors along Cabrillo Boulevard — between State and Castillo streets — starting at 11 a.m. The celebration continues at 7 p.m. on West Beach with Santa Barbara Sparkle’s Freedom Celebration, featuring patriotic and family friendly entertainment including live music from the 50-piece Air National Guard Band of the Southwest. Music to accompany the fireworks show will be simulcast on AM Radio 1290.