Washington DC Fireworks by Kayak

Hey friends, and happy belated 4th of July to my American readers! Matt and I continued our tradition this year of watching the DC fireworks by kayak. :)

dc fireworks by kayak

I think this was our 4th time watching the fireworks by kayak; it’s expensive (you pre-book a kayak through the Key Bridge Boathouse and they charge an outrageous amount of money – it’s more than double what it used to be years ago) but it’s such a unique and cool way to see the fireworks without dealing with the massive crowds at all the other prime viewing spots.

Plus, we figure this might be our last year for awhile doing this (something tells me taking a 7 month old in a kayak next year would probably not be the brightest idea…), so I’m glad we made the push!

dc fireworks by boat

We lucked out with nice weather – not too hot, not too cold, and not too windy, either! It stormed in the afternoon which cooled things off nicely, and even though there was rain/storms in the forecast for the evening, it stayed dry while we were out there. Whew!


4th of july kayak rental

4th of july fireworks kayak dc

You can take the boats out as early as 6, but we didn’t get out there until about 8. Sitting in a kayak for 4 hours straight didn’t sound super comfortable. ;) Our departure still gave us plenty of time to paddle the 30ish minutes from Key Bridge over to the water in front of the Lincoln Memorial!

IMG_2497 (Edited)

fireworks by kayak dc

The first year we did the DC fireworks by kayak was 2013 – I remember it not being crowded out there at all! In 2014 there were more people but still nothing crazy, and even last year it wasn’t that crowded (although it was a little rainy last year so that might be why). 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.


kayaking on 4th of july in dc

Just as it got dark, the fireworks began!

dc fireworks via kayak

Gorgeous – here are some of my favorite shots. I took a bunch of pictures in the first minute of the show and then put my phone away, relaxed, and enjoyed the rest technology free. :)

dc fireworks from the water

dc fireworks from a kayak

dc fireworks from a kayak

dc fireworks from a kayak

dc fireworks from a kayak

Just before the grand finale, a MASSIVE group of geese floated by. Matt snagged a photo of them – too funny! This was only like 1/4 of them – there were so many! Apparently they weren’t enjoying the fireworks so much, but they didn’t seem to be bothered by all the kayakers!

geese with fireworks on potomac river

Such a fun night. We got stuck in lots of traffic trying to get out of Georgetown last night after paddling back to the docks, but it was worth it. :)

Did you watch fireworks last night? Where were you?

Have you ever watched fireworks from the water? I love the way the fireworks light up the water in front of you – so cool looking!


  1. 1

    This definitely looks like it’s worth the money! It would be such a cool experience. I actually didn’t get a chance to see ANY fireworks this year. :( I didn’t mind over the weekend, but now that I’m seeing all the recaps I’m feeling a little like I missed out. Maybe next year I’ll see if I can find a kayak rental nearby like you!

  2. 3

    Thanks for sharing these photos! What a view! In my little city, we’re fortunate to have the 39th Army Band perform. They always put on a great show. We’re also happy to live within walking distance of all the fun — no traffic jams after the fireworks.

  3. 5

    Terrific way to watch the fireworks. I watched the DC fireworks from the Air Force Memorial.
    They made an anouncement saying a thunderstorm was on the way with 25 mile per hour winds.
    But nothing happened so we did get lucky with the weather.

  4. 7
    Caitlin says:

    We did the DC fireworks via kayak a few years ago! Such a great experience!

  5. 9

    Such a pretty and unique way to watch the fireworks sans crowds! My husband I watched some we could see from the deck off our new townhouse and that was perfect for us.

  6. 11

    I wish I had done that when I lived in DC, it looks so fun! We could see the fireworks from our apartment in Arlington, so I always went with the easy way….

  7. 13
    Roadrunner says:

    Wow, what a vantage point! Some epic photos there. Glad the weather cleared for you. Well done!

  8. 15

    I’ve always wondered how so many people had kayaks! I’m definitely going to look into this for next year..even if it is a bit outrageous. It looks like a once in a lifetime experience!

    • 16

      It is! Get on the email list for Boating in DC/Key Bridge Boathouse and they will email out a heads up when pre-booking is open for July 4 kayaks!

  9. 17

    This is such an awesome way to experience the fireworks!

  10. 18

    My boyfriend and I were able to see fireworks from his condo downtown on Saturday for Canada Day (we live in Calgary). Seeing fireworks from the water in a kayak looks like it would be pretty fun.

  11. 20

    That is such a great idea! Too bad it’s become more popular now LOL. I did not get to see any fireworks, I heard here in Nashville there were 289,000 people downtown! Yikes! Too many people for me!

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