5 San Diego Spots For Families to Enjoy 4th of July Fireworks

Big Bay Boom - San Diego's Largest 4th of July Fireworks Display

It’s no secret in my family how much I absolutely enjoy a great fireworks show! There’s the excitement of the bright booming lights and also the fun of the thrilled faces on my children! There’s a range of places across the county to enjoy the show, but my favorite places in San Diego to watch 4th of July fireworks with kids are below!

Big Bay Boom

Big Bay Boom - San Diego's Largest 4th of July Fireworks Display

Big Bay Boom – San Diego’s Largest 4th of July Fireworks Display

The Big Bay Boom is hands down the ultimate 4th of July fireworks show! Enjoy the water, the thrill of downtown, the fun of Seaport Village and cap off the day with an extraordinary show of FOUR launching destinations (San Diego Bay, Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Embarcadero Seaport Village/ Coronado landing)! All go off at the same time, for the ultimate bay-front fireworks display! Accompanied by 105.7 FM music, it’s truly a treat to see the water light up!

Location: San Diego Bay Surrounding Areas
Time: 9:00 PM
> Find out more about Big Bay Boom

Fireworks at San Diego Attractions

SeaWorld Fireworks - Summer Nights

The skies over SeaWorld San Diego light up during Summer Nights

Get two bangs (get it?) for the price of one by visiting one of San Diego’s popular attractions AND end the day with a 4th of July celebration. Choose from Legoland, Seaworld and the Del Mar Fairgrounds for a fun-filled day followed by fireworks fun!

Location: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
Time: Fireworks at 10:10 PM
> Find out more about Sea to Shining Sea 4th of July Fireworks

Location: LEGOLAND California – One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad
Time: Fireworks at 8:30 PM
> Find out more about Red, White and BOOM!

Location: San Diego County Fair – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar
Time: Starts at 9:30 AM, Fireworks at 9:00 PM
> Find out more about San Diego County Fair Fourth of July

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove 4th of July Fireworks

Beautiful Beaches and Beautiful Fireworks at La Jolla Cove

One of my all time favorite destinations is the up close show at the La Jolla Cove! Accompanied by an orchestra and over looking the ocean, grab your hot chocolates and sit back and relax with ocean breezes and the feeling of fireworks you could almost reach out and grab!

Location: Ellen Browning Scripps Park, 1180 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla
Time: 9:00 PM
> Find out more about the Fourth of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove

4th of July Celebration in Coronado

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Getting into the spirit of America’s freedom, a day in Coronado is truly a treat! Enjoy a morning parade down Orange Ave, a concert in Spreckles park in the afternoon, followed by a fireworks show to remember!

Location: Throughout Coronado
Time: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
> Find out more about the 4th of July Celebration in Coronado

Santee Town Center Community Park East

Santee Salutes

Santee Salutes features an afternoon of fun and night filled with fireworks

East County moms recommended the fun of the Santee Town Center Community park! Enjoy live music, bouncy houses for kids, food stations and so much more as you wait for the 9:00 PM fireworks show!

Location:Town Center Community Park East – 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA 92071
Time: 3:30 to 9:30 PM
> Find out more about Santee Salutes

> Browse all of the 4th of July Fireworks & Celebrations

With so many fun places to choose from throughout the county, the fourth of July in San Diego is the ultimate booming destination!

Robert Arends

Big Bay Boom – Star-Spangled 4th of July Fun on San Diego Bay!

San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration
San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom 4th of July Extravaganza.

When it comes to 4th of July celebrations, three words that say it all: “Big Bay Boom” the biggest most spectacular fireworks show in San Diego!

This star-spangled extravaganza, impeccably choreographed to music (105.7 FM), takes place on San Diego Bay – “The Big Bay” – launching from barges strategically placed off Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Embarcadero North and South.

Where to Watch Big Bay Boom

More than 850,000(!) people are expected to ring the bay throughout the day to claim a prime viewing spot. The best viewing is at the north Embarcadero (scope out the beautiful new Waterfront Park), Seaport Village, Embarcadero Marina Park North and South, Coronado Ferry Landing, Shelter Island and Harbor Island.

Waterfront Park - prime new spot to watch the Big Bay Boom (photo credit: County of San Diego)

Waterfront Park – prime new spot to watch the Big Bay Boom (photo credit: County of San Diego)

The Port of San Diego is offering a FREE shuttle service to/from Shelter and Harbor Islands starting at 6 PM, going until 11 PM. Shuttles depart from the Port’s Administration Building parking lot (3165 Pacific Highway) and near the West Marine parking lot (3717 Rosecrans St.).

What to Do on the Bay Before the Fireworks

Big Bay Boom begins at 9:00 PM and lasts about 17 minutes. Since you’ve got all day to play beforehand, check out the plethora of attractions and activities on the bay, including:

Make a Splash

Take a ride on an authentic U.S. Navy Swift Boat!

Take a ride on an authentic U.S. Navy Swift Boat!

Ahoy! Maritime Merriment

Fun for all ages on the USS Midway!

Fun for all ages on the USS Midway!

  • Cabrillo National Monument, the Plymouth Rock of the West where explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542; kids will love the tidepools!
  • Spanish Landing Village where you can view a life-size replica of Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador taking shape (it’ll be set to sail this September)
  • Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship (Arrr! 😉 )
  • USS Midway aircraft carrier, where San Diego’s rich Navy history comes to life on the world’s most visited ship museum!

Animal Attractions

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

Fine Dines and Shop-Portunities

Have fun on San Diego Bay and see you at the Big Bay Boom! 🙂

> Browse the Comprehensive list of 4th of July Fireworks and Celebrations in San Diego

P.S. Just for fun, check out 2012’s Big Bay Boom which went off accidentally in one big 15-second boom seen around the world.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – 2013 4th of July Weekend Edition

San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration

Get ready to spend the long summer weekend in San Diego with the family enjoying fireworks, barbecues, the beach, fun and these top things to do:

Fourth of July

San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom 4th of July Extravaganza.

Celebrate the birth of our nation by spending Fourth of July at the beach and enjoying a night full of fun, friends, family and fireworks throughout the county. Big Bay Boom, the largest in the county, will offer 17 minutes of excitement starting at 9:00 PM. Many of the boating and cruise companies will be offering special fireworks cruises, just make sure to book early to guarantee a spot on the boat!

> Browse Fourth of July Celebration in San Diego

Star Spangled Pops with Bill Conti

San Diego Symphony Summer Pops Concert Series

San Diego Symphony Summer Pops pairs music with the beautiful downtown skyline.

Celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with a patriotic extravaganza featuring all-American hits from Main Street to Broadway, complete with John Philip Sousa marches, a tribute to the military and a spectacular fireworks display to light up the sky!

Where: Embarcadero Marina Park South – 206 Marina Park Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: July 4-6, 2013
Time: 7:30 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $20-$79
> Find out more about Star Spangled Pops with Bill Conti

US Mens National Soccer Team versus Guatemala

United States Men's National Team - Soccer - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Be prepared to stand, sing and cheer on the USNMT as they take on Guatemala

For the first time since 2006, the U.S. Men’s National Team will return to San Diego and face CONCACAF rival Guatemala in the team’s only tune-up before the start of the 2013 Gold Cup.

Author’s Note: Join me and the American Outlaws at the game to show Seattle and Salt Lake City that San Diego has the largest number of true soccer fans. I want to see Qualcomm filled with Red, White and Blue Jerseys!

Where: Qualcomm Stadium – 9449 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: July 5, 2013
Time: 8:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $22-$175
> Find out more about the US Mens National Soccer Team versus Guatemala

San Diego Clásico: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles vs Club América

San Diego Clásico - Xolos - Top Things to Do in San Diego

See Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles take on Club América at the San Diego Clásico

Two great soccer games in one weekend! Petco Park will host the San Diego Clásico exhibition soccer match featuring storied Mexican franchises, Club America from Mexico City, Mexico and region favorite – Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente from Tijuana, Mexico.

Where: Petco Park – 100 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When: July 6, 2013
Time: 7:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $20-$50
> Find out more about the San Diego Clásico: Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles vs Club América

San Diego Junior Masters

San Diego Fringe Festival

San Diego Fringe Festival

Breathing new life and inspiration into the performing arts community, the Fringe Festival will bring local, national, and international artists together for a week of performances including; theatre, dance, music, puppetry, cabaret, cirque, comedy, multi-media presentations and more!

Where: Various Locations
When: Through July 7, 2013
> Find out more about the San Diego Fringe Festival

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.


4th of July Fireworks and Celebration in San Diego

San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration
San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom 4th of July extravaganza.

It’s not too late to make plans to be in San Diego on the 4th of July to celebrate the birth of our nation and to see one of the spectacular fireworks shows around town. Gather up the kids, or get together with your best travel buddies, and watch the San Diego skyline light up from San Diego Bay to Del Mar to South Bay and the inland communities. San Diego’s exciting pyrotechnic displays never disappoint and always go off with a bang!  Here are just a few:

Annual Big Bay Boom

San Diego Bay, also known as “The Big Bay,” is fittingly home to the West Coast’s biggest and most fabulous fireworks extravaganza. Honoring San Diego’s rich military past and present, the Big Bay Boom is billed as “A Salute to the Military Families of our Service Heroes.” Prime viewing locations include Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero and Seaport Village along the bay, as well as the Coronado Ferry Landing in Coronado. Spectators can also view the show on Broadway Pier and the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal on downtown’s waterfront.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

San Diego County Fair, “Game On”

The San Diego County Fair is themed “Game On” and runs mid-June through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The fair comes to a close on Independence Day with one of the summer’s best fireworks displays. The evening festivities begin at 7:00 PM with the “Hometown Heroes Parade,” followed by a special tribute to the victims of 9/11 and a fireworks finale. Because the fair is already outside, there’s no better place to watch the show than from the fairgrounds.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

Summer Nights at Sea World

When the sun goes down, SeaWorld heats up at night with a fantastic fireworks display – not just on the 4th of July, but all summer long. The display is set to the orchestral music of the Blue Horizons attraction, and colorful fireworks fill up the sky all around Mission Bay. Spend the day in the park, and in the evening, settle in for an impressive display of sparkle and excitement Shamu-style.

Fireworks start time: 9:30 PM


Coronado has a full lineup of activities on July 4th starting with an annual Independence Day 15K Run-5K Run/Walk, an “America the Beautiful” parade, a concert at Spreckels Park and fireworks over San Diego Bay. For the best views, stakeout a spot near Glorietta Bay or Tidelands Park along the waterfront.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach is one of San Diego’s most laid-back beaches and the fireworks show is a favorite among locals. The fireworks are launched from the end of the pier, which is also one of the longest piers in Southern California extending a good ½ mile out to sea. Best viewing is from the beach.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

Imperial Beach Pier

Imperial Beach fireworks show is synchronized with the Big Bay Boom extravaganza at San Diego Bay. The day kicks-off with several bands playing country, jazz, the blues and other music, leading up to a spectacular fireworks display after dark. Best viewing is from the beach.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM 

The Imperial Beach Fireworks have been canceled for 2013.

El Cajon

Experience an old-fashioned 4th of July at Kennedy Park in El Cajon, which is located in San Diego’s East County. The day starts with a centennial-themed picnic with food, carnival games, crafts, kiddie train rides and musical entertainment. In the evening, grab a blanket and find a spot at the park to watch the fireworks.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

> Browse more 4th of July activities in San Diego

What do you plan on doing for 4th of July in San Diego?

Robert Arends

Coronado: Essential Summer Guide, Part I

As Coronado counts down to its big annual, star-spangled 4th of July bash, I thought I’d give you the lowdown on what’s hot and what’s new on the island, as well as some incredible lesser-known sights that are sure to delight visitors this summer.

I’m calling it the Essential Summer Guide to Coronado. Since there SO many cool things to see and do, I’ll present them a few at a time throughout the summer months.

These first ones just happen to be 3 for Free – as in there’s no cost to check them out!

  1. Flock to The Del… I thought the strangest thing I’d ever see at the Hotel del Coronado was an ice skating rink on the Windsor Lawn (every winter holiday season), out back by the beach (the #1 beach in America, BTW) Boy was I wrong! Now you can see about a half dozen falcons and hawks on perches eyeing the skies for pesky seagulls and doing a fantastic job of scaring them away from the resort! Visitors can enjoy thrilling up-close encounters with these majestic raptors, courtesy of X Falconry, every Thursday through Sunday.
  2. Lark in the park… My latest discovery on Coronado Island is a little slice of paradise that visitors can have all to themselves (shhh! Don’t tell anyone 😉 ) for picnics on the bay, panoramic backdrops to take family photos and even fishing! It’s called Shoreline Park, located on First St. at I Ave. I’d never been there until I bicycled out with a Coronado Biking Adventure Tour last week. In a word, “Wow!” You can see the sparkling bay, San Diego skyline and an aircraft carrier at NAS North Island next door. It’s an incredible pocket park – my new favorite spot!
  3. Tide you over… If I had to pick one place where you can do just about anything under the sun, it’d be Tidelands Park on the bayside of the island. On any given day, you’ll spot joggers, bicyclists, kayakers, sailboats, volleyball, soccer and frisbee games, swimmers, sunbathers, and families picnicking and just taking in the great outdoors. It’s a vast aquatic wonderland hugging San Diego Bay – the perfect setting for a summer outing in Coronado!




Robert Arends

5 to Try: Star-spangled Fun in Coronado!

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Let your patriotic colors fly this 4th of July – and all weekend long – in Coronado, just across the bridge from downtown San Diego.

Coronado’s Independence Day bash is the most popular in San Diego County. The prominent Navy presence on the island is a big reason why. There’s NAS North Island, aircraft carriers like the famous USS Carl Vinson which just returned from the Middle East, and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado where the elite Navy SEALs train. (Did you know: Coronado traces its rich military roots back to 1911 when the first navy plane flew from its shores)

A jam-packed day of July 4th fun includes a 5K/15K run/walk, rough-water swim at North Beach and a two-hour parade down Orange Avenue, Coronado’s quintessential “main street USA,” complete with military bands, floats and Navy aircraft. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life with families of locals and visitors alike lining the route donned in red, white & blue and waving flags. There’s also “Art-in-the-Park” and a music concert in Spreckels Park, and at night, catch the spectacular fireworks display over Glorietta Bay.

Before, during and after the festivities, following are Five Fun Places to Try along Orange Avenue:

The Music Man at Lamb's Players Theatre.

  1. Guaranteed to have audiences humming “76 Trombones” all weekend long, the musical classic “The Music Man” takes center stage at the Lamb’s Players Theatre on July 2-3. Great way to launch into the 4th and set the celebratory mood.
  2. Catch a movie at the all-new Village Theatre, a polished cinematic gem at 820 Orange Ave. The dazzling Art Deco design and 3-D color murals are eye-candy for the kids – adults too! Bargain matinee shows before 6pm are only $8.50. Current flick: Pixar’s “Cars 2.”
  3. Sample handmade candies like “Coronado Crunch” (white or milk chocolate with peanut butter, marshmallows and rice krispies, drizzled in more chocolate!). at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory at 1126 Orange Ave. Other tempting sweets: caramel, fudge, turtles and several varieties of caramel apples.

    Elvis (and a cow!) greet ice cream fans at Moo Time.

  4. Another sweet place to “chill” is MooTime Creamery at 1025 Orange Ave., famous for their fresh made-to-order ice cream creations and hand rolled waffle cones with totally cool flavors like girl scout mint, apple pie and “silly vanilly.” There’s a Moo Time at the Hotel del Coronado too!

    One of Artist Navarro Montllor's amazing seascapes!

  5. Take home a slice of paradise at the Art & Frames by Wood Gallery at 936 Orange Ave. Their just launched exhibit of fantastic seascape paintings by world-renowned artist Navarro Montllor are so realistic you can almost hear the waves crashing through the frames!

Have a fantastic 4th of July weekend!


4th of July Fireworks

The epic 20-minute Big Bay Boom fireworks display over San Diego Bay is the largest display in the region. At 9 p.m. on July 4th, fireworks are launched simultaneously from four barges placed around the bay and choreographed to music broadcast on 105.7 FM radio. Back for its 10th year, the Big Bay Boom fireworks display can be seen throughout downtown San Diego, neighboring Coronado, Point Loma and many communities throughout the city. Great viewing spots are all along the bay front and aboard popular harbor cruises. 

Coronado will celebrate a patriotic Independence Day with events on Saturday, July 3 including a morning rough water swim, two-hour American flag-waving parade along Orange Avenue, the community’s main thoroughfare, Art-in-the-Park and an afternoon concert in Spreckels Park.  The festivities culminate on July 4 with a spectacular fireworks display over Glorietta Bay that complements the Big Bay Boom fireworks show just across the water.

On July 4 at 9:30 p.m., SeaWorld San Diego will celebrate Independence Day with a special, patriotic Shamu’s Skysplash USA fireworks show over Mission Bay.  One of the most popular fireworks shows for locals, best viewing areas are from the shores of Mission Bay, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

After a spectacular fireworks show at 9 p.m. on July 4, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts take the stage at 9:30 p.m. at the annual San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  The concert and fireworks are included with fair admission, and all the exhibits halls and rides stay open until midnight.

Farther up the coast in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND® California will present a star-spangled Red, White and BOOM! Celebration on July 4 with live musical performances by The Jumpitz at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. and festive fireworks at 8:30 p.m.   During the day, family favorite Uncle Sam will also be roaming LEGOLAND on stilts, as guests enjoy old fashioned lawn games including potato sack races  and LEGO Limbo.

Fireworks over San Diego Bay