Fireworks with a Twist: Reimagine Your 4th of July on the Bay

The Chesapeake offers ample opportunities for watching fireworks displays over the water. And if you’re on your boat, this is one of the greatest nights of the summer.

The stress of late-night traffic, however, can dissuade many pyrotechnics enthusiasts from traveling to see fireworks. But don’t let that keep you inside this week, because some of the better firework shows aren’t located in urban areas: these off-the-beaten path displays rival the bigger shows, and share an element of Chesapeake Country charm that you won’t find anywhere else.

Sherwood Forest Fireworks
July 3, Just After Dark
You wouldn’t believe it, but some locals say the better fireworks display happens just outside Annapolis… and a day beforehand. The fireworks display of the Sherwood Forest neighborhood is a cut above everyone else, as the neighborhood pulls together to put on a show that no one will forget. The Forest is a gated community, however, so heading up the Severn by boat is ideal.

Newport News Stars in the Sky
July 4, 6 – 9:15PM
The James River offers one of the best anchorage areas in the southern Bay, and the fireworks launched off Victory Landing Park are known to be one of the best patriotic celebrations in the area. Event organizers are great about adding more to their pyrotechnics, though, bringing in the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra and other live arts performers. If you’re coming by land, there’s free parking at the Newport News City Hall and around town, but leave the bikes, the pets, and skateboards at home.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland River Concert Series and Fireworks
July 5, 7-9pm
The River Concert Series is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, and the Fifth of July concert will feature a program of John Williams’ classics along with the 1812 Overture, as performed by the Chesapeake Orchestra. Fireworks will follow. Food and beverages, provided by local vendors, will be available for purchase on location. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own refreshments, blankets, and chairs, but please leave pets at home (they don’t like fireworks, anyway). This concert series is free thanks to community support.

St. Michaels CBMM’s Big Band Night and Fireworks
July 6, 7-10pm
In St. Michaels, it’s about much more than fireworks. Throwing down your anchor in the harbor allows you to listen to the great sounds of the Shades of Blue Orchestra beginning at 7pm before fireworks kick off at dusk. If you travel by car, or if you simply want to get off the boat, there are multiple spots around town to throw down a lawn chair and watch the display. The Museum is selling tickets to the event for reasonable prices, so if you’d like to go and check out their fantastic displays before you get your swing on, definitely register in advance. Rain date is July 7.

Middle River Fireworks Extravaganza
July 6, 2024, 9:15pm
Do not sleep on Middle River. The event is community supported (and has been for decades), which leads to a tradition of some of the best patriotic displays in the area. This year, the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County is promising to put on a phenomenal display that we don’t want to miss (and lucky us, it falls on a Saturday night). If you’re bringing your car up, make sure to pack lawn chairs (food vendors will be on-site). If you’re coming by boat, there are plenty of places to anchor that will allow for great views and quiet coves, where you can sleep in late.

Crisfield Sandcastle and Sea Glass Festival
July 6, 4-10pm
The Sandcastle and Sea Glass Festival takes place at the Somers Cove Marina with an eight-foot sandcastle demonstration and plenty of build-your-own projects for the whole family. The Sea Glass Festival is free and brings in artists and vendors beforehand, starting on Friday, July 5. Cap off your visit on the 6th for evening fireworks and a performance by the band Riptide.