History and celebration come together in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches
St. Augustine, Fla. (June 26, 2023) – There’s no better place to celebrate the birth of American Independence than Florida’s Historic Coast! With a wide array of ways to enjoy the 4th of July holiday, there’s no end to the fun to be had. So put on your best red, white, and blue outfit and head to the nation’s oldest city to celebrate the land of the free and home of the brave.
Fireworks Over the Matanzas is the event for those looking for a traditional 4th of July fireworks show. This classic show brings in thousands of people to St. Augustine every year. It kicks off at 6pm with the All-Star Orchestra performing in the gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitución. They’ll play a two-hour show of big band and swing hits, and patriotic favorites. Bring a comfy chair, non-alcoholic drinks, and a picnic basket or grab dinner from one of the many fabulous downtown restaurants.
Speaking of restaurants, downtown St. Augustine boasts dozens of eateries with views of the fireworks display. O.C. White’s Seafood & Spirits is located across the street from the bayfront and specializes in fresh seafood and tropical cocktails. Located at the foot of the Bridge of Lions, Casa Reina Taqueria & Tequila features a menu inspired by the flavors of Mexican, Latin American, and Florida Coastal cuisine. Also located on the Bayfront Meehan’s Irish Pub & Seafood House has a relaxing atmosphere that is the perfect spot to enjoy a pint, swap a story, and enjoy dinner. On the corner of Avenida Menendez and Charlotte Street, River & Fort Restaurant & Rooftop Lounge is situated directly across from the Castillo de San Marcos and offers local seafood, steaks, and craft cocktails.
Other downtown St. Augustine restaurants and venues to check out during your 4th of July holiday, include Mojo Old City BBQ, Catch 27, The Floridian, Preserved, Forgotten Tonic, Prohibition Kitchen, Harry’s Seafood, Bar & Grille, and The Ice Plant. Or you can get a ticket to the Red, White & Boom Viewing Party from The Tasting Tours’ fifth floor suite overlooking St. Augustine for one of the best views in the historic district.
St. Augustine’s fireworks show begins at 9:30pm with a spectacular display shot off a barge anchored in the Intracoastal Waterway. The fireworks can be viewed from downtown St. Augustine, the Bridge of Lions, the Davis Shores neighborhood, and Vilano Beach. No matter your location, plan to arrive early to find parking and a seat.
Fireworks meets music, fun, and dancing at Oakfest with Chillula at the Colonial Oak Music Park. Tucked away beneath majestic oaks, the Colonial Oak Music Park is a hidden gem on St. George Street. Oakfest begins Monday, with local artists performing from 5pm to 8pm. Then on Tuesday, Chillula, a popular local dance band, goes on at 7pm and will get you on the dance floor with their blend of R&B, Funk, Hip- Hop, Soul, Rock, Reggae, and Jazz. Music will pause at 9:30pm so that everyone can enjoy the fireworks. Chillula then comes back to the stage to close out the evening with more dance hits. This free event is perfect for the entire family.
If hanging at the beach with your toes in the sand sounds like a great day to you, Florida’s Historic Coast delivers. With wide expanses of pristine sand and 42 miles of access to the Atlantic Ocean, there’s a reason our beaches are known world-wide! Local public safety professionals take great pride in providing the safest beach experience. To ensure that safety is a top priority during the busy holiday, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, St. Augustine Beach Police Department, and St. Johns County Marine Rescue personnel will patrol the beaches throughout the weekend. St. Johns County Marine Rescue lifeguards will be stationed along the beaches from 10am to 6pm. Always check for beach flags indicating water and surf conditions and be sure to obey them. For more information about beach swimming conditions, visitors can stop by a staffed lifeguard stand.
With the beach being a popular destination over the 4th of July, St. Johns County offers two free beach shuttles, to help reduce congestion and make travel to the beach safe and convenient. The St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier Shuttle picks-up beachgoers at the St. Augustine Beach City Hall, 2200 A1A South, and drops-off at the St. Augustine Beach Pier. The second covers northern St. Johns County, departing from Cornerstone Park, 1046 A1A North, for Mickler’s Landing. Both shuttles run from 10am until 4pm beginning Saturday, July 1 and continuing through Tuesday, July 4.
Those preferring to drive and park on the beach may do so from 8am until 7:30pm in permitted areas. Drivers are reminded that they must stay in the designated lanes and always be attentive to pedestrians and beach-goers. Driving conditions on the beach can change multiple times each day, depending on the tide, wind, and other factors. We recommend following the St. Johns County-area beaches on Facebook and Twitter @SJCBeaches, downloading the Reach the Beach mobile app, or checking the St. Johns County Beach Services website for the most up-to-date driving and weather conditions.
Nature lovers will enjoy fireworks from above and below on Independence Night Paddle! Guana Lake’s bioluminescence is a unique phenomenon, viewable nightly, thanks to the protection of the dam. A large population of comb jellies create sparkling lights and whirling orbs in the water. Both sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks are available for single and tandem paddlers. The tour will explore the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR) where the group will experience a stunning sunset, ethereal bioluminescence, and the best fireworks show around from the safety of a marsh cove. Excursions are launching at 7:30pm and 8pm for two to two-and-a-half hours. Rates begin at $60 per person.
Painting with a Twist in Ponte Vedra is offering a super groovy way to kick off your July 4th with their Blacklight Night! Their studio has a full suite of black lights that make glow and neon paints come alive. It’s a party, so be sure to wear your brightest neon outfits. Participants can enjoy a traditional painting or add on a DIY candle! Be sure to arrive early to grab a drink and get smocked up. Blacklight Night is from 4pm to 6pm and begins at $42 per person.
After a week of fireworks, beach, and fun, the beaches can use some love and attention. Help out by joining St. Johns County Parks & Recreation for the CleanSweep STA Beach Cleanup. This family-friendly cleanup event takes place Friday, July 7 from 5-8pm. Participants should meet at the Vilano Beach Pavilion, 2752 Anahma Drive. All supplies are provided and there’s even prizes at the end of the cleanup. There is no cost associated with the cleanup, but please be sure to register your entire party.
Florida’s Historic Coast is the perfect place to don your best red, white, and blue outfit and celebrate America’s Independence. For images to accompany postings click here.
Located midway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, Florida’s Historic Coast includes historic St. Augustine, the outstanding golf and seaside elegance of Ponte Vedra, and 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches. For more information on events, activities, holiday getaways and vacation opportunities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com, in Spanish at www.Viajastaugustine.com, become a fan on Facebook or call 1.800.653.2489.