Seasonal Spotlight

Celebrate the 4th of July with these Unique Spots


Independence Day. Even the words conjure up images of family gatherings, barbecues, parades, and of course, fireworks! The evening fireworks are the culmination of July 4th celebrations, literally ending the holiday with a “bang!”. There are many historical and scenic areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed that draw in throngs of people, hoping to catch a glimpse of these breathtaking, colorful explosions.

For those wishing to view the fireworks in a less crowded location, we have compiled a list of some Chesapeake sites that still offer an awe-inspiring show,  but in a less-crowded and personal setting.

Solomon’s Island July 4th Fireworks

A fabulous spot to see fireworks where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay! The show begins between 9:15pm and 9:30pm and can be viewed from the Patuxent Riverwalk. Parking is limited with proceeds going to a local Boy Scout troop and the show. Arrive here early to guarantee a parking spot and take a walk on the boardwalk to gain a beautiful view of the river. The Calvert Marine Museum, located nearby, is a great stop for families, offering many hands-on activities and exhibits about the history and ecology of the Bay.

Colonial Beach Fireworks

Beginning around 9pm, watch fireworks as they shoot up over the Potomac. The best viewing areas are on the beachside of town or on the Colonial Beach Municipal Pier. If you have time earlier in your day and are looking for a beautiful view of the Potomac River, consider visiting George Washington Birthplace National Monument or Westmoreland State Park where you can hike, swim, fish, and more.

Victory Landing Park

Located near the mouth of the James River, enjoy music by the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band from 7:00pm to 9:30pm and catch the fireworks that will light up the port of Newport News. Visit the Virginia Living Museum and see animals native to the Chesapeake Bay while you wait for the fireworks show!

Independence Day at Yorktown

A day of celebration starts with an 8K run and 5K walk in downtown Yorktown followed by a parade along the water. Spend your day at local historical sites such as Yorktown Battlefield and National Cemetery, or the American Revolution Museum, take a stroll along Gloucester Point Beach Park, and enjoy a patriotic concert in the evening while watching fireworks over the York River!

Gettysburg 4th Celebration

Join Gettysburg College for a community concert and fireworks celebration of our Independence. Music starts at 6:30 and the fireworks are set to go off at 9:30. Before the show, you can spend the day at Gettysburg National Military Park or the Eisenhower National Historic Site.


Non-traditional Celebrations

Spirit of America

Not a fan of fireworks or have small children? Visit the Virginia Living Museum for a laser show in their planetarium. The Spirit of American show is a laser show set to the tune of many American artists’ music.

Independence Day Celebration in Cooperstown, New York

The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York celebrates Independence Day with the sights and sounds of the mid-1800s. The festivities last from 10am to 5pm. Spend your day at Glimmerglass State Park and swim, fish, hike, and cookout with your loved ones in celebration of Independence Day!

Reedville Celebration Weekend

If you want to avoid the craziness of the holiday, or wants to continue the celebration, you can head to Reedville, Virginia where there is a whole weekend of festivities!


Now that you have seen some of the things that the Chesapeake offers, how will you find YOUR Chesapeake? Share with us what it is that you love about the Bay.

We would love to see your pictures and learn about how you celebrated Independence Day! Tag us on social media using #FindYourChesapeake.

Virginia Living Museum

See animals native to Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay swim, slither, roam and fly in the all-new, three times larger Virginia Living Museum.

Reedville Fishermen’s Museum

The Reedville Fishermen's Museum sits in one of the most active fishing ports in America, telling the story of menhaden fishing in the Chesapeake. The museum houses a collection of artifacts and historical material.

Kelsey Everett

Kelsey is the Digital Resouces Associate working with both the Chesapeake Conservancy and the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office. Previously, Kelsey held a Chesapeake Conservation Corps internship with the National Park Service. She is a graduate of University of Maryland, Baltimore County and holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Geography.

June 24, 2019

Main image: Unknown / pxhere
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