There are few states that celebrate the 4th of July like Florida does. In Miami, you’ll find everyone counting down the new year in the clubs. In Jacksonville, families flock to the beaches in packs for a day of fun and fireworks.
But beautiful St. Augustine offers you a distinct experience altogether; the combination of history and the breathtaking bayfront is why families have flocked there for decades. It doesn’t hurt that they host one of the biggest and best fireworks displays on the entire east coast.
Where to Watch 4th of July Fireworks in St. Augustine | A Local’s Guide
Fireworks Over the Matanzas
The ‘Fireworks Over the Matanzas’ is a four-hour-long celebration of America’s birth. Live musical performances of big band and swing music are scheduled in Plaza de la Constitución and the stunning fireworks display is held over the bayfront and the Castillo de San Marcos.
The fireworks themselves are spectacular and you’re encouraged to bring your own blankets and lawn chairs to secure yourself the best seat in the house. The best viewing point is between the Bridge of Lions and the Castillo; get yourself situated there and you’ll have an amazing view of the 20-minute-long fireworks show.
There are over 5,000 individual shells in the show, and they explode anywhere from 100 feet away to 2,000 feet in the air. The display is choreographed to patriotic music that can be heard on the entire bayfront through their sound system. Keep in mind that this is produced by Fireworks by Santore, which is the same company that produces shows for venues like Walt Disney World.
Rooftop Restaurants & Lounges in St. Augustine
There are many restaurants and lounges in St. Augustine with rooftops or outdoor seating that are perfect for viewing the fireworks from. This is great for a family or group of friends that want to get together for the festivities but want to stay away from the bustle at Castillo de San Marcos. And anywhere that has food is instantly an excellent choice!
Some of our favorite restaurants with rooftops/ outdoor dining are:
- A1A Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom
1 King St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
- River & Fort Restaurant & Rooftop Lounge
12 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, FL 32084
- Ice Plant Bar
110 Riberia St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
- O.C. White’s Seafood & Spirits
118 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, FL 32084
- Mill Top Tavern
19 1/2 St George St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
- Odd Birds Kitchen and Cocktail Lounge
200 Anastasia Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Fireworks at The St. Augustine Lighthouse
If you’re looking for a more romantic setting to enjoy the fireworks at St. Augustine, head on over to the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Not only will you get an eagle-eye view of the fireworks, but you’ll also be able to see the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean prior.
There is very limited spacing in the lighthouse, so you’ll have to reserve your seats in advance; it’s $40 per person and definitely worth every penny.
The Great Cross at Mission of Nombre De Dios & La Leche
The Great Cross at Mission of Nombre De Dios & La Leche is a wonderful (and calmer) place to view the fireworks from on the 4th of July. If you plan it properly, you can go a few hours ahead and learn about the history of St. Augustine and how it has developed over the years prior to the show.
Fireworks on the Water
What better way to view St. Augustine’s spectacular fireworks display than from on the water? Get out on the bay with the many cruises and boat tours that are available during the 4th of July.
- Florida Water Tours
You’ll have one of the best seats in town with Florida Water Tours. They have two boats operating during the 4th of July, both of which last around two hours from 8:30 to 10:30 PM. The Island Breeze is a family-friendly boat with a BYOB policy while The Osprey is for adults only and includes a complimentary glass of beer, wine, or champagne. Tickets range from $39 to $59 and sell out quickly!
- St. Augustine Scenic Cruise
Climb aboard the Victory III for a memorable Independence Day celebration that you will talk about for years to come. Tickets cost around $50 per person and the cruise lasts from 8:30 PM to 10 PM.
- Black Raven Adventures
This 4th of July cruise comes with a little bit of a twist! Black Raven Adventures offers an Independence Day celebration aboard an adults-only pirate ship complete with skits, songs, snacks, and more. Tickets are $75 per person and include entertainment and appetizers.
Porpoise Point, Vilano Boat Ramp, or Vilano Pier at Vilano Beach
While not actually in St. Augustine, Vilano Beach is a ten-minute drive away. The Vilano boat ramp, Vilano Pier, and Porpoise Point have a great vantage point of the fireworks and are sure to be much less crowded. Even better, you can make a beach day of it and get in some swimming and sun before the fireworks begin so bring along your towels and beach chairs.
No matter where you decide to watch the St. Augustine fireworks from, keep in mind that the show starts at 9:30 on the dot, so get to your location with enough time to navigate through the traffic and secure a good spot; there may be road closures and extra traffic along the way.
But if you know where the best spots are and prepare yourself, witnessing the fireworks display in St. Augustine is sure to be a memory of a lifetime!