The Independence Day fireworks spectacular is returning to Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh with a big bang with people expected to hit the beach and boardwalk for the 25-minute extravaganza beginning at 9:30 p.m. on July 4.
Garden State Fireworks will be producing the pyrotechnics with a patriotic display of more than 500 shells with a red, white and blue theme, says State Parks Regional Director George Gorman, Jr. Radio stations WALK 97.5 FM and KJOY-98.3 FM will simulcast music during the fireworks.
The Jovia Financial Credit Union Fireworks Spectacular "will give viewers an overwhelming feeling of patriotism as we continue to come out of the pandemic," says Gorman, who noted the show has been "a Long Island tradition for nearly 25 years."
With nearly 70% of New Yorkers vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine, Jones Beach parking fields ($10 parking fee charged until 9 p.m.) the beach, boardwalk and concessions are now "fully open," Gorman says. However, Gorman adds, "unvaccinated people who cannot social distance to six feet should wear a mask." He adds that a traffic management plan will be in place on show night and state police will be redirecting traffic to alleviate congestion after the show.
Want to avoid the beach traffic? Here are other ways to see the fireworks spectacular by bus, on a cruise, or at a restaurant or nearby public park.
On July 4, NICE (Nassau Inter-County Express) will be running buses to Jones Beach State Park on a regular weekend schedule. Beach-bound buses will leave from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every half-hour from the Freeport Long Island Rail Road station and on the hour from the Hempstead Transit Center in Hempstead Village. Post-show return trips to Freeport and Hempstead will begin at the park’s West Bathhouse 30 minutes after the show — and buses will return to the bathhouse until all passengers are picked up. Bus passengers are required to wear masks and are encouraged to maintain social distancing. Further information is available at nicebus.com/Passenger-Information/Jones-Beach.
Watch with a cocktail in hand on a Fourth of July fireworks cruise. The 65-foot Bay Princess II Private Charter Boat cruises from the Captree Boat Basin from 6:45 to 11 p.m. on July 4. Bring your own food and drinks to sip and sup as you watch the show. Board from 6 to 6:30 p.m., $65, reserve at 631-587-6024 or online at bayprincess.com/fireworks; Captree State Park, 3500 Ocean Pkwy., Babylon.
In the mood for dancing under the stars? The Moon Chaser, a double-decker dinner boat with a DJ and room for 100 passengers, leaves Captee at 7:30 p.m. on July 4. Beer, wine, soda and cold appetizer platters will be available, a cash bar for liquor. Board at 7:15 p.m.; $65 for adults, $55 for children, 631-265-1848, themoonchaser.com.
Freeport Water Taxi & Tours' 44-foot, 28-passenger American Yacht catamaran leaves at 8 p.m. for a two-four cruise including a cash bar. The boat "anchors east of the Meadowbrook Parkway bridge for a perfect view of the show," says Captain Rick Cohen. Board at 211 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport; $60 for adults, $40 for children, reservations required, 516-521-7744, freeportwatertaxi.com.
The Capt. Lou Fleet also offers two cruises. The Captain Lou VIl is an 85-foot cruiser with a covered upper deck, climate controlled cabin and galley. Spectators can bring a small cooler with food and one unopened bottle of water; other beverages must be purchased at the cash bar ($70). Passengers on The Starstream VIII, a 100-foot super-cruiser, will be served food and alcoholic drinks at an open bar, with onboard DJ entertainment ($100). Board at 7:45 p.m. for 8 p.m. departure at 31 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport. Reservations are required and can be made online at 516-623-5823 or captloufleet.com.
BY DINING RESERVATION:
Watch the night sky light up from a seat at Gatsby on the Ocean, the restaurant and catering facility on the second floor of Jones Beach’s historic Art Deco West Bath House. Both the ballroom and the terrace dining areas offer ocean views and will be open throughout the fireworks show serving a special menu including baked clams, New York strip steak, lobster rolls and Cobb salad. The $25 parking voucher can be used to defray your dinner bill. Reservations: 516-785-0012; gatsbyontheocean.com.
VIA AN OFF-SITE PARK:
See the fireworks from a different viewpoint on the pier and long shoreline at Wantagh Park (1 King Road, Wantagh, 516-571-7460) or at nearby Cedar Creek Park (3340 Merrick Rd., Seaford, 516-571-7470). Admission is free, but spectators are required to present proof of Nassau County residence. Nassau County residents with a Leisure Pass can see the show at Nassau County’s Nickerson Beach Park, located on Long Beach west of Jones Beach. Parking costs $15 (880 Lido Blvd., Lido Beach, 516-571-7700).