D.C. 4th of July Fireworks… from the water!

A month or so ago, I had an amazing idea: instead of fighting the crowds to see the fireworks from the downtown mall in D.C., why not watch them from the water instead?


After a little online research I discovered that the new Key Bridge Boathouse (formerly Jack’s Boathouse) rents out kayaks on July 4th. Perfect! We rounded up a group of friends, booked our kayaks, and got pumped.


We arrived at the boathouse around 8 last night and got suited up in our lifejackets and glow stick necklaces. Here we are, ready to rock! Sorry for the blurry photo – I was using my waterproof camera for obvious reasons. :)


Our partners in crime for the adventure were Matt’s brother Drew and his girlfriend Morgana, who are here visiting (we’re leaving with them for a family beach trip in the Outer Banks tomorrow morning!), and our friends Steve and Lauren and Zach and Kathleen. Fun group!

We set off just as the sun was starting to set. It was perfect weather to be out on the water! After a week of storms, we were all really glad it didn’t rain. :)

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And we’re off!


Blurry selfie!


We took our time kayaking towards downtown, enjoying the views. Check out all the people lined up on Key Bridge to see the fireworks!




Here are Steve and Lauren as we passed the really lit up (and mobbed) Georgetown waterfront:


Glow stick FTW!


The view back towards Georgetown:


The Kennedy Center with Kathleen and Zach floating along in front of it:


Me and Matt:

matt and anne

photo 2

Just as it was starting to get dark, we arrived in a perfect viewing spot. The group of us all linked our kayaks together by holding each other’s oars and floated along together, chatting until the fireworks started. A few short minutes later and the show began!

fireworks from the potomac



This will definitely go down in the books as one of my favorite 4th of Julys. All of us have already decided we’ll be back next year, too! Watching the fireworks from the water was so amazing and peaceful and with great views. Best idea ever.



photo 4

photo 5

DC puts on quite the firework show and this year was no exception. Beautiful!

After enjoying the show, we slowly made our way back to the boathouse, enjoying the beautiful views along the way. This sure beat fighting the crowds back to the metro downtown!


Can’t wait until next year. :)


  1. 1

    Unreal! What an extraordinary way to spend the day! As a former resident of the DC area, I am so appreciative of how magical this really was! Certainly a once in a life time event, so glad you captured so many pictures and shared them with us!

  2. 2

    What an awesome way to see the fireworks! Could there be an even better way? I think not.

  3. 3

    That is brilliant! I live in Vancouver (BC) and could totally do that here too! Plan for next year’s Canada Day fireworks.

  4. 4

    Wow, what a great idea for watching the fireworks! We watched the fireworks by the water down here in Williamsburg to avoid the crowds and I’m so glad we did. DC does a great fireworks show, too!

  5. 5

    What a fannetastic (sorry, couldn’t help it) idea! Little bit of physical activity, no crowds, peaceful surroundings, perfect vantage point…what a great way to watch fireworks. :)

  6. 6

    This looks like so much fun! I would be so nervous about boaters not seeing me though.

    • 7

      We thought that might be an issue but it totally wasn’t. There were hardly any boats where we were and we had glow stick lights on the kayak and ourselves!

  7. 8

    Looks like you had a great time! If you don’t mind me asking, how much did this cost and how far in advance did you have to reserve a spot?
    Thanks so much!

    • 9

      It was $100 total for our two person kayak and we had it up to 4 hours (7 until 11). I think I booked a month or two ago!

  8. 10

    That is such an awesome idea. I’m going to check into that for next year where I leave!!

  9. 11

    What a fun day Anne! Amazing pics. regards from Costa Rica. :)

  10. 12

    That’s such a great idea! I hate crowds, but I love fireworks. Looks like you guys had a beautiful night to take them in.

  11. 13

    That is such a great idea! Thanks for giving me something to add to my bucket list!!

  12. 14

    What an awesome idea! The fireworks must have been absolutely amazing from that point of view!

  13. 15

    I love this idea! I love that boathouse, and may have to remember that for next year :) What a beautiful view!

  14. 16
    Lauren K says


  15. 17

    Wow! Looks awesome! :) I like that Matt is doing all the work paddling while you are taking the selfie ;)

  16. 19
    Roadrunner says

    Love it! What a great adventure, Anne. Another well done to you and Matt!

  17. 20

    Oh wow! I imagine that would be the best place to watch fireworks. I have to admit I think I would be a little fearful of kayaking in the dark afterwards, but what an amazing idea.

  18. 21

    What a neat way to enjoy the fireworks!! This year I got to enjoy the fireworks show sitting on the beach right on the edge of the ocean. It was one of my favorite fireworks moments ever!

  19. 22

    Great pics! I wasn’t too successful at capturing Canada day fireworks :(

  20. 23

    I have some friends that did this as well and they loved it as well! I think I’ll do it next year :) My one concern was having to go to the bathroom while out on the water!

  21. 24

    Wow what an awesome way to see fireworks, love it :)

  22. 25

    Awesome, Awesome, Awesome! We are kayakers ourselves and would love to watch fireworks this way, although, in our city this would not be allowed without lights, due to boater rules.
    Next year maybe consider the standup boards in the background of one of your pictures. Those are great fun also.

  23. 26

    What an awesome way to spend the 4th! I might have to try this if I’m still in DC next year. Looks amazing.

  24. 27

    Wow! That looks like so much fun! We watched from atop the Kennedy Center. Amazing show.

  25. 28

    This is such a cool idea! I would never have thought to try something like this. For Canada day last year, the traffic was so bad leaving the event site that I swore I’d never go back. Spending over an hour at a complete standstill will do that to ya!

  26. 29

    wow what a fun way to watch the fireworks!

  27. 30

    I always enjoyed the fireworks from the Iwo Jima Memorial (great viewing spot and fewer crowds than downtown), but the view from the water looks like it’s 100 times better! What a fun way to spend the 4th!

  28. 31

    What an amazing way to see the fireworks! My husband and I visited DC three years ago and just fell in love with Georgetown. We also love to kayak, and now I’m trying to figure out if we can do that next year in San Diego. Love!!

  29. 32

    What a cool way to see the fireworks! I love the fireworks in DC, but don’t always love all the crowds. This looks like a beautiful way to spend the evening!

  30. 33

    That’s AMAZING! I remember the giant cluster that the fireworks in D.C. are. Maybe I’ll come down next year ;)

  31. 34

    what a fun, memorable way to watch the sparks fly!

  32. 35
    Chris Anne says

    Just reading this now, love it! I live in Annapolis and have gone out to watch them here on the water, it’s great. We also watch the Blue Angels (when they are not furloughed) from our kayaks, it’s the best! So glad you enjoyed, looks like a great group!


  1. […] a fun 4th of July! We booked kayaks again to watch the downtown DC fireworks from the water (like last year!) and are pumped. If you’re looking for something to make, my No Bake Blueberry Custard […]

  2. […] The first year we did the DC fireworks by kayak was 2013 – I remember it not being crowded out there at all! Even last year it wasn’t that crowded. Well, this year the secret is definitely out – there were tons of kayaks (as well as boats) out on the water! Still plenty of room to float around and not be on top of each other, though. […]

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