4th July celebration – The Big Bay Boom
We had our first ever Independence day in the United States in the city of San Diego and through word of mouth, we heard about the Big Bay Boom. The renowned Big Bay Boom celebration is San Diego’s biggest 4th of July Fireworks show and the largest on the West coast of the United States.
The Bay of San Diego, stretching along the water from Shelter Island to South Embarcadero, sees the launch of fireworks and pyrotechnics from four different water barges that are strategically placed for all to see.
The barges are specifically located at Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, Marina District and CoronadoFerry Landing.
The choreographed firework display in the heart of San Diego lasts approximately 17 minutes.
People dress up in all things America and line the streets of San Diego before heading to the Big Bay Boom at dusk where they wait for the colorful display of choreographed explosives.
The 4th July fireworks display is broadcast live on THE MIGHTY 1090 AM and MAX FM 105.7.
Where to Watch
The best view of the Big Bay Boom will be by the water at the following locations:
- Shelter Island
- Harbor Island
- North Embarcadero
- Marina District
- Seaport Village/South Embarcadero (closest to the Gaslamp Quarter)
- Coronado Ferry Landing
Locals and visitors congregate in all areas, most take their own camping chairs, tents, BBQs and picnic blankets to reserve a spot early on for the best views.
The Big Bay Boom atmosphere is electric, USA flags and light up memorabilia are sold as well as beers, soft drinks and snacks.
We chose to watch the Big Bay Boom fireworks by Seaport Village, less than a ten minute walk from the famous Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.
No matter where you are in the Bay area, you will see fireworks, we managed to see all 4 areas launching colourful fireworks simultaneously.
We saw something we had never seen before during the Big Bay Boom firework display, smiley face fireworks which were simply incredible!
If you’re looking for a memorable 4th July experience, head down the San Diego, pull up a camp chair and enjoy the free display of modern pyrotechnics.
Big Bay Boom tips
- Make a day of it, get there early with a BBQ or picnic and soak in the amazing atmosphere.
- Take your own blanket, chair, cooler, food and drink, you may be sitting a while to secure a good spot.
- Find out where the nearest restroom is as soon as you’re there.
- Buy 4th July accessories before you get there, street vendors will overcharge at the event.
- Traffic is heavy from the hours of 4pm to 11pm, time your journey right.
- Use public transportation and the free shuttle service for minimal stress.
- Take a camera that captures good night photography.
- Take a tripod so you’re not watching the display through a lens.
- Car share – not only will you minimize traffic, you’ll help the environment too.
Big Bay Boom Parking and Free Shuttles
Hundreds of thousands of people turn up to the Big Bay Boom every year and parking can be a bit of a headache. To accommodate the large crowds expected on San Diego Bay on independence day, the Port of San Diego have set up free parking lots with $1 shuttle services to Harbor Island and Shelter Island. Drivers are strongly encouraged to use the free Big Bay Boom shuttle service due to limited parking in the city.
Information on Big Bay Boom parking and shuttles can be found here.
Boat owners are asked to arrive at their viewing locations before dark and to observe 300-yard safety zones around the barges where the fireworks are launched. Boats should also use proper signals and navigation lights, and keep be vigilant around other boats gathered in the area. Life jackets should be carried for each passenger.
Only one lane of the Shelter Island boat launch is open, so delays can be expected. Boaters are asked to consider other locations for viewing the Big Bay Boom.
For more information, check the official website here.
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