No summer vacation to Florida is complete without catching at least one fireworks show, and for the Fourth of July in 2018, the city of Tampa will celebrate the birth of America with a variety of special events, concerts, and pyrotechnic displays.
While you could always buy your own fireworks, watching a professional show, eating some traditional hot dogs or hamburgers, and listening to a patriotic concert is one of the best ways Americans celebrate Independence Day, and there are plenty of places to do just that in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area this year.
Whether you're in town on a family vacation or you're enjoying the mid-week holiday during a business trip to Tampa, these events and fireworks are sure to brighten your day and light up your Fourth of July night.
01 of 07
Perhaps the area's biggest event of the holiday, Budweiser's "America's Birthday Bash" will take over downtown Tampa's Bayfront Park and Marina accompanied by a spectacular firework show over Sarasota Bay starting at 9:30 p.m.
The scenic park, located by Ringling Bridge, features O'Leary's Tiki Bar and the famous "Unconditional Statue." Throughout the day, children can play in the Family Fun Zone (which opens at 3 p.m.) and adults can enjoy the Budweiser Beer Garden along with a series of concerts starting at 2 p.m.
For prime viewing of the fireworks, you can also make reservations at Marina Jack's, where you can enjoy food and live music while you look out over Sarasota Bay.
02 of 07
The amusement park Busch Gardens has a special Independence Day event planned for July 4, when fireworks will light up the sky accompanied by a new patriotic medley, which starts at 9 p.m.
You can spend the whole holiday enjoying one of the many thrill rides, including the newest family spin coaster Cobra's Cruise, or you could dance the day away at one of the DJ party zones in the park. Either way, your admission price will get you up-close access to the fireworks, or you could just show up to the parking lot around 8:30 and watch from there—though you may be charged for parking.
03 of 07
About 22 miles west of Tampa across the West Courtney Campbell Causeway, the city of Clearwater will celebrate Independence Day with the largest fireworks show in the Tampa Bay area.
The event takes place at Coachman Park, and the gates will open at 4 p.m. Along with performances by the Coachman Park Pops Orchestra, you can enjoy an afternoon of food, drinks, local vendors, and family-friendly activities before the firework show starts between 9 and 9:30 p.m.
04 of 07
The waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg hosts the city's Fourth of July fireworks celebration starting with live music at North Straub Park from 5 to 7 p.m. on July 4, 2018.
The main attraction, the fireworks, are set to start as early as 8:30 but can start as late as 10 depending on the weather. You can view the show along Bayshore Drive in city parks including Albert Whitted, North Straub, South Straub, North Shore, Elva Rouse, and Flora Wylie.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Located on the southeast corner of St. Petersburg, the community of Gulfport will also host a day-long celebration in honor of the holiday. Family activities at the downtown waterfront district will include a fishing derby, a parade, and a sand sculpture contest as well as a market for produce, arts, and crafts. The event ends with a firework show over the Boca Ciega Bay Aquatic Preserve starting at 9 p.m.
Further southeast, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, you can also catch a small community fireworks show at St. Pete Beach Access Park, which starts at dusk.
06 of 07
Safety Harbor's annual Independence Day celebrations will take place at various venues around the city on July 4, 2018, but the best places to view the fireworks show are at Waterfront Park or the marina itself.
Starting off with Fourth of July bike decorating at 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the John Wilson Park and Gazebo, festivities continue with the parade down Main Street led by the American Legion Auxiliary, which kicks off at 10 a.m.
Later that evening, beginning at 5 p.m., the Safety Harbor Marina will host the annual celebration event featuring children's activities, live entertainment, food, and fun for the whole family followed by a firework display over Tampa Bay starting at 9 p.m.
07 of 07
About an hour south of Tampa, the city of Siesta Key will put on its annual fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico starting at 9:30 p.m. on July 4, 2018. Siesta Beach was rated as the Number One Beach by TripAdvisor and AARP in 2015 and Dr. Beach in 2011, making it one of the most picturesque locations to see fireworks in the Tampa Bay area.
The 28th annual community event is entirely sponsored by public donations and proceeds from the Siesta Key Beach Concessions. While there are many places along the beach to catch the display, buying tickets for access to the VIP viewing area not only helps the event become a reality, but you also get preferred seating as well as complimentary drinks and snacks.