There aren’t many cities as reflective of America as Jacksonville. According to a new WalletHub study, the River City ranks 5th among Metro Areas That Resemble the U.S., based on ethnic makeup, as well as educational and housing characteristics. Combine that with the fact that the nation’s oldest settlement is practically in our backyard, and it’s no wonder the First Coast is over the top when it comes to celebrating July 4th.
From the beaches and the St. Johns River to dry land, there are several venues for enjoying grilled burgers, good company, and most importantly—fireworks. Here are 9 fun ways to celebrate America’s birthday, broken down by area of town:
1.) Fireworks Over the Mantanzas - one of the largest fireworks shows on the East Coast, and this year is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! The lively 20-minute fireworks display is choreographed to a compilation of popular patriotic music played over an extensive sound system for an unforgettable experience.
The event kicks off at 6:00pm with a free concert at the Plaza de la Constitucion by The All Star Orchestra. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs and secure a spot near the Bridge of Lions (which will be closed to boat and vehicle traffic from 8:30 to 10:30pm).
2.) Freedom Paddle - Black Creek Outfitters will be hosting a pleasant Floridian-style celebration on the water the morning of Thursday, July 4th, from 9 - 10:30am. You can bring your own paddleboard or kayak or rent one through their shop. The event will launch and land at the Nocatee Kayak Launch (By the 210 Bridge in Palm Valley) and participants are sure to enjoy a two hour paddle around the scenic Intracoastal Waterway.
3.) Nocatee Golf Cart Parade - Nocatee is excited to carry on the tradition of the annual 4th of July Golf Cart Parade! Rally your community and come participate on July 4th, at 10:00am, starting at Nocatee Station Field. Awesome prizes will be given for three different categories.
4.) Splash Waterpark and Nocatee Spray Park - Live music, food trucks, bounce houses, oh, my! Nocatee’s annual 4th of July Celebration, 11:00am- 4:00pm, is sure to be a big hit with residents of all ages. Bounce houses and other activities ensure the day will be filled with patriotic family fun.
5.) Downtown Riverfront - Put on your favorite red, white and blue and take a seat along the majestic St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville for the best July 4th Fireworks show on the First Coast! The show will begin at 9:45pm.
6.) Jacksonville Beach - Grab your chairs, blankets and snacks, and hit the beach to watch an amazing fireworks display over the Atlantic Ocean. The fireworks show begins at 9:00pm and will be shot from the Jacksonville Beach Pier. Bring the entire family for delightful celebration in the sand. Get there early to claim your spot!
7.) Fernandina Beach - For patriotism at its finest, bring the entire family to Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach for waterfront live music, vendors, kids' zone, and everyone's favorite patriotic pet contest! End the evening with show-stopping fireworks over the water. Festivities begin at 5:00pm, and the fireworks display begins at 9:00pm.
8.) Orsay - Celebrate the 4th foodie style at the 10th annual 4th of July Backyard BBQ at Restaurant Orsay. This event puts a gourmet spin on classics, including popcorn with melted foie gras and truffle oil, John Boat Ale-poached hot dogs, as well as a bounce house and other activities for the kids.
9.) Riverside Arts Market (RAM) - Celebrate RAM’s Downtown Fireworks Viewing Party with bands, cold local brews and dining options from popular RAM vendors. The event kicks off at 6:00pm with music by Arvid Smith and LTP. The free live music is sure to keep the party going until the grand display of fireworks at 9:45pm.