The city of St Augustine puts on one of the largest fireworks displays on the East Coast. There are several great viewing locations. Here’s everything you need to know about Fireworks Over the Matanzas for spending 4th of July in St Augustine.
Before the Fireworks Start
Prior to the big show, the City of St Augustine will host The All-Star Orchestra from 6-8 pm at the Plaza de la Constitución. This show is filled with big band and swing music along with all the traditional patriotic favorites. The concert is free but you’ll need to bring your own seating.
Castillo de San Marcos
There’s no better view than fireworks from the Fort green. The boom echoes on the waterway, as patriotic music plays in the background. Families lay on blankets all over the grassy field. If you plan to grab a spot here, remember that San Marco (in front of the fort) will be closed to traffic due to the high density of people attending. Admittance is free. Good viewing spots can be found around the Castillo de San Marcos down to the Lions Bridge. The Parking Garage ($12 parking) is the best option since many side streets will be closed to traffic.
In A Boat
If you own a boat, viewing the fireworks from the water can be an awesome experience. While part of the waterway will be closed off to prevent boats from getting too close, a good spot can be secured from just about anywhere. Plan to spend the day out on the water. Hang out on a nearby sandbar or take in a little fishing as you wait for the fireworks to start. We always pack lots of snacks and head to Aunt Kate’s or Caps on the Water for an early dinner. Parking at the Vilano Boat Ramp will be crazy so be prepared to wait a while once the fireworks conclude.
Located on Vilano Beach, Porpoise Point is the most southern tip of Vilano Beach. While you cannot drive on the beach, you can walk along the boardwalk. Bring beach chairs or towels to sit on as you view the firework show. Alternately, grab a good seat and delicious meal at Beaches at Vilano or stand on the Vilano Pier.
Vilano Beach Boat Ramp
The boat ramp offers a great view of the Matanzas Inlet without being in an actual boat. This is the perfect option if you want to avoid (most) of downtown traffic. Lots of people bring grills and camp out all day to save their spot before dark.
The Great Cross
Located at the Mission of Nombre De Dios & La Leche, The Great Cross, erected to celebrate the city’s 400th anniversary, is a great area for watching the fireworks for 4th of July in St Augustine. This is generally less crowded but still has a good view of the show.
Things to Keep in Mind
The fireworks show starts at 9:30 p.m. and lasts 20 minutes. No matter where you view the fireworks from, be prepared to arrive early to save a good seat and stay late due to traffic.
The road along the Bayfront South Castillo Drive will be closed from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. The Bridge of Lions will be closed to both boat and vehicle traffic. Everyone attending should find parking before 8:30 p.m.
Free Park & Ride Shuttle
A free shuttle service will be available on July 4th from 6:00 p.m. until midnight from four parking locations along Anastasia Blvd. including Anastasia Baptist Church (1650 A1A South), St. Augustine Amphitheatre (1340-C A1A South), R.B. Hunt Elementary School (125 Magnolia Dr.) and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park (999 Anastasia Blvd.). The shuttle will drop passengers at the east end of the Bridge of Lions and pick-up from that location for the return trip following the fireworks. Old Town Trolley Tours and Ripley’s Red Train Tours are providing a dozen buses for the shuttle.
Click here for more information about Fireworks Over the Matanzas, and don’t forget to check out our guide to all things happening in town to celebrate Independence Day.