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Fourth of July in Charleston: Activities and Celebrations

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What better place to celebrate the birth of our nation than in a city that has deep roots in its creation? The Fourth of July in Charleston, SC, is one of the biggest days of the year. From fireworks to cookouts to 5K races, we’ve got you covered with all the annual activities — and a few ideas of our own — to help you celebrate America’s independence.

How to See Fireworks in Charleston on the Fourth of July

Downtown Charleston is surrounded by water on three sides. This means that you’ll get the chance to check out fireworks from pretty much any vantage point or waterfront property in the city. You can head down to one of the special fireworks events — or create your own event at one of Charleston’s beaches, rooftop bars or sightseeing cruises.

Charleston Beaches

Even if you’ve already got a spot to check out Charleston’s fireworks, you can still head to one of the beaches earlier in the day. Charleston’s beaches offer miles of soft sand, plenty of areas for grilling and varying levels of surf for water sports.

Yet, if you’re headed to the shore for one reason and one reason only (to check out those beautiful fireworks!), you might want to stake your claim at a beach with a fireworks show. Beaches with fireworks include:

 

  • Kiawah Island
  • Isle of Palms
  • Sullivan’s Island
  • Folly Beach

 

If you’re heading to a beach that doesn’t offer a fireworks show, no worries. There’s a good chance you’ll get to see the fireworks shows in the surrounding areas from the comfort of your beach chair.

Charleston Rooftop Bars and Restaurants

Charleston is lucky to have so many rooftop bars and restaurants. We’re used to cocktails and snacks with a view here. On the Fourth of July, we up the ante by heading to these vantage points to get a great view of the fireworks.

Some of our favorite Charleston rooftop bars and restaurants include:

 

  • Aqua Terrace Roof-Top Bar
  • Pavilion Bar
  • Stars Rooftop Bar & Grill
  • Eleve Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge
  • Rooftop at the Vendue
  • The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits
  • Snapper Jacks
  • Red’s Ice House

Water Taxi Cruise

Most of the local water taxi and cruise companies don’t stop running just because it’s a national holiday. In fact, many of them offer special fireworks sightseeing cruises after the sun goes down (in addition to their regular daytime schedules).

A boat ride is a great way to get out on the water and enjoy some sun during the day. It’s also the ideal way to get as close to the fireworks as possible at night.

Some of our favorite Charleston boat rides include:

 

  • Fort Sumter Tours
  • Charleston Harbor Tours
  • SpiritLine Cruises
  • Schooner Pride
  • Charleston Water Taxi

 

Cruise lines that offer fireworks tours include the Charleston Water Taxi, Charleston Harbor Tours, Ahoy Charleston and SpiritLine Cruises.

Charleston Fourth of July Special Events

While a day at the beach or an evening sipping cocktails at a rooftop bar is definitely something to write home about — you can do that any day of the week here in Charleston. Luckily, we’ve got tons of events that are slated to happen one day — and one day only — this year.

Fireworks Blast Patriots Point

Possibly one of the largest Independence Day festivals in Charleston is the Patriots Point Fourth of July Blast. Take the water taxi over to Patriots Point, or bicycle across the Ravenel Bridge.

During the day, they offer activities for both adults and kids. Tour a historic warship and discover Charleston’s patriotic history.

After night falls, head to the deck of the USS Yorktown to enjoy the fireworks. VIP tickets include a fully catered bar and meal. There will also be live music.

Don’t want to watch the fireworks aboard the ship? You can head to the grass nearby to watch the show for free.

Fabulous Fourth in the Creek

Want all the Fourth of July fun without all the crowds? Head 30 minutes north of Charleston’s Historic City Center to Goose Creek, where the municipal center throws a Fourth of July bash.

The festivities start at 6:30 p.m. and go until 9:30 p.m.

Here, you’ll find plenty of food, music and activities for the kids. After sunset, the evening ends with a fireworks show.

Summerville’s Red, White & Blue on the Green

Another way to escape the crowds in the city is to head to Summerville for their Red, White & Blue on the Green festival.

This free event is held at the Jerry Blackwell Sports Complex and starts at 7:30 p.m. There will be food trucks and live music. Fireworks will begin at dusk.

Uncle Sam Jam Music Festival

If you’re more into music than fireworks, head to the Uncle Sam Jam. (Well, technically there will be fireworks, too, but the emphasis is on the music!) This party takes place just underneath the Ravenel Bridge in Mount Pleasant. Just head to the pier to enjoy music by the Dave Landeo & The Sol Beats band.

Tickets are only $10 at the gate and $8 in advance (though they recommend buying in advance because they anticipate selling out).

You’ll also have the option to purchase beer, wine and soda once you’re inside (though, outside beverages and food are prohibited).

I’On Club Firecracker 5K

Want to do something amazing for your body (and for charity) before heading to your Fourth of July festivities? Each year, the I’On Club hosts a 5K run to benefit the I Got Legs Foundation.

Runners are divided into two categories: 18 and over and 17 and under. Participants are encouraged to run or walk. The route follows along both open road and trails.

The top three male and female finishers even get awards!

The foundation supports the advancement of technology for disabled individuals.