No matter what year, or which county you’re in, two things are dependable in the Tampa Bay area on Independence Day: first, it will be hot. Second, there will be amazing activities and celebrations no matter where you plan to spend our country’s most patriotic day.
Celebrating Independence Day in Gulfport
If you’re ready to start early, Gulfport has a full day of entertainment and celebrations planned. Pack up the kids and head to the Gulfport Marina’s Fishing Derby at the Michael J. Yakes Recreation Complex’s (5730 Shore Blvd. S.) from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Free registration is located on the seawall. Bring your own fishing pole as the marina’s staff will provide bait and prizes.
The Free Family Sand Sculpture Contest sponsored by the Gulfport Recreation Division, will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Gulfport’s Municipal Beach. The theme is “Patriotic.” Bring your own tools and supplies, registration opens at 9:30 a.m. Winners will be announced at 12:15 p.m. Then, at 6 p.m. Gulfport’s Independence Day Parade will begin, followed by live music by the New Horizons Band of Gulfport as they perform patriotic music on the Casino Deck area at 7 p.m. At 9 p.m., a fireworks display will launch from the Williams Pier. The best viewing location will be at Gulfport Beach. For details click here.
The Fourth at the St Pete Pier:
Another perfect place to celebrate freedom on the 4th is at the St. Pete Pier for “The Fourth” Independence Day Celebration. This event will offer fun activities for all, including the 2nd annual St. Pete Pier Run, Craft Beer Garden, food trucks, vendors, live music by Nightrain, a Guns N Roses tribute band on the Visit St. Pete Clearwater Main Stage.
The 13th US Army Band will perform patriotic orchestra music prior to the traditional Fourth of July fireworks show at 9 p.m. and will be visible from the entire downtown waterfront, including Bayshore Dr, Straub Park, and Vinoy Park, among others. 600 2nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 For details click here.
Fireworks and Entertainment at Central Park:
Bring your chairs, blankets, and family and enjoy Largo’s 4th of July fireworks show at Central Park. Limited on-site parking is $10 or you may park and walk from Largo High School or Largo Middle School for $5 starting at 5 p.m.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Live music will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Dave Matthews Acoustic Tribute Band. At 7:45 enjoy the Florida Man Band and then at 9:00 p.m. the Indian Rocks Baptist Church Choir prior to fireworks. The park is located at 101 Central Park Dr. Largo, FL 33771. For details click here.
Clearwater July 4th Festivities at BayCare Ballpark:
Clearwater’s July 4 festivities begin at 6:00 p.m. at BayCare Ballpark with a concert by The Black Honkeys (RIGHT), including giveaways and activities for children and the young at heart. The event will conclude with a music-choreographed fireworks show at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $5 with food and beverage concessions as well as adult beverages available for purchase. For details and tickets click here.
Celebrate at Dunedin’s TD Park with Fireworks and more!
Head to the TD Ballpark in Dunedin on Sunday, July 3rd for Hometown, USA. Festivities will include the movie Angels in the Outfield from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. The Bay Kings Band will play in the 3rd base concourse area beginning at 7:00 p.m. with a break for fireworks at 9:00 p.m. Grandstand seating will be open to watch the movie and the fireworks show. Concessions will also be available. This event is free and visitors may park at the Dunedin Library, Hale Senior Activity Center, and at the event venue, TD Ballpark, 373 Douglas Avenue, Dunedin, FL 34698 . For details click here.
July 4th at Ben T. Park To Hold Healthy Run
Another reason to wake up early on Monday is the opportunity to cross over beautiful Tampa Bay in your most comfortable running shoes. Head to the Ben T. Davis Park for a special 4th of July run on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
According to Run Tampa’s Debbie Voiles, “People tend to eat more over holiday weekends,” so why not start your day in a healthy way? To participate as a guest of the club, contact Voiles prior to the event or before the run that morning to fill out a visitor waiver. Meet on the east side of the Ben T. Davis pavilion. The free event is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. For more information click here.
Celebrate Independence Day in Safety Harbor
After the run, head west on the Causeway to Safety Harbor for their annual 4th of July parade, starting at 10:00 a.m. and ending around noon. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and find a space along Main Street’s sidewalks. Immediately afterward, head to the gazebo at John Wilson Park in the 400 block of Main Street. Safety Harbor’s American Legion Post 238 will host a patriotic celebration with free snow cones, water, juice, cookies, and popcorn, as well as live patriotic music and presentations.
At 5 p.m., walk a few blocks to the Waterfront Park for the city’s annual 4th of July fireworks celebration with food vendors, children’s activities, and live entertainment. Fireworks will start at 9 p.m. The park is located at 110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor, FL 34695. Parking is free along side streets throughout the city. For details click here.
Tarpons Springs Offers Old Fashioned Picnic
Perhaps an old fashioned picnic with friends and family is what you’re looking for. If so, the City of Tarpon Springs will kick off its Fourth of July celebration with a picnic at Craig Park, including a hot dog eating contest (16 and up), a water slide, paddle boarding, inflatables, and lawn games from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Later, beginning at 8:30 p.m., head to Howard Park Beach or Howard Park Causeway to view a Fourth of July Fireworks display launched from Sunset Beach. The park, beach and causeway will be open for parking. Craig Park is located at 5 Library Lane, Tarpon Springs, Florida, 34689. Howard Park Beach is located at 1700 Sunset Drive. For details click here.
Tampa’s Boom By the Bay:
Tampa’s Boom by the Bay event is about celebrating all things America and this year, the City of Tampa is hosting the largest firework show yet along Bayshore Boulevard, with an entirely remastered show curated by Magic in the Sky, the same pyrotechnic company that works with Busch Gardens. Besides three different locations to watch fireworks. residents will be able to enjoy food trucks, live music, a water ski show, family-friendly activities and more along Tampa’s downtown waterfront. To see a full schedule of activities and a map of events, visit BoomByTheBay.com.
Celebrate with a Boat Parade at Tampa’s Riverwalk
The Tampa Riverwalk’s July 4th Boat Parade and Blessing of the Fleet will start at 4:00 p.m. at the Convention Center basin, travel to the Heights, and end at Sparkman Wharf. Public viewing locations include: Armature Works, Sparkman Wharf, Tampa Convention Center, Curtis Hixon, Davis Island, Harbour Island, Channel Drive, and Water Works Park.
The boat parade will be followed by fireworks displays at multiple locations. The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began years ago but is still practiced in many fishing and boating communities around the world to ensure a safe and bountiful season. Boats will be decked out in red, white and blue and compete for the most patriotic boat trophy. For details click here.
No matter what your plans entail on this patriotic day, enjoy it to the fullest and remember that you, your family, friends, and traditions are a big part of what makes this country special.
Story written by Laura Kepner exclusively for Destination Tampa Bay™. All photos are for editorial purposes to sample events– all right reserved.