Charles River/July 4th

I was wondering if anyone here has kayaked in the Charles River for the fireworks on the 4th in Boston. I know they allow kayakers and boats to be in the river to watch the fireworks at night. I am willing to do this but would like some views if any of you have gone. Things like parking, launching, best vantage point, how early do you need to get out there to get a spot, etc. Any information would be greatly appreciated.


NSPN & July 4
NSPN ( has in past years organized July 4 fireworks trips. Look at the message board and calendar. Hmmm… doesn’t look like it’s happening this year, but if you go back in the message board archives to prior July 4s, you might find useful info.

I’ve never done it, but the basic idea as I understand it is to launch from Magazine Beach. It gets a lot more complicated after that, however. Also, I recall the advice not to schedule any early morning activities the next day, since there is a marine traffic jam after the show that might keep you from getting back to your car until 11:00 or later. It’s mostly power boats, of course.


Too scary for me…
When you consider how many of those boaters are drunk, kayaking amongst them in the dark is a sobering thought. I used to sail on Boston Harbor and after a couple of close calls during the day on July 4th, we decided to stay off the water that day.


Biggest Problem…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-05 10:33 AM EST –

holding your pee. Avoid drinking too much beer. ;)


PS. Make sure you have visible light on your PFD and perhaps the chemical lights hanging off your bow and stern. Won't help with power boaters, but...

Solutions for biggest problem…

– Last Updated: Jun-28-05 11:00 AM EST –

... are possible with proper gear. ;-))

And of course, if you solve that, then you can drink as much beer as your gear capacity will allow.

Yes, all the crowds, craziness, drunkenness, big boats in small quarters, etc etc have always kept me away. It's really not very cool any more, or as Yogi Berra said, nobody goes there anymore... it's too crowded.



– Last Updated: Jun-28-05 11:23 AM EST –

for me is a chance to get away from the maddening crowds... Not my idea of fun to inch, eh... paddle among the hordes...

I don't think I've been to the 7/4 celebration in well over 25 years. And I live right in the city.


RE: July 4th
The last time I attended the Fourth of July Celebration by water was the Bicentennial celebration. My wife and I did it by canoe.

It was all of the things that other folks have already mentioned - crowded, rowdy at times. and somewhat scary when the hoard of motorboats all headed up the river at full throttle at the conclusion of the display.

It was also a lot of fun and getting to the Shell by boat meant we missed all the traffic and problems of parking.

We put in approx 5 - 7 miles upstream (its been a long time and I’m guessing the distance). We put in at the MDC boat ramp off of Storrow Drive. I believe it is actually in Watertown so at that point it may not even be Storrow Drive anymore. There is a parking lot at the ramp.

You can also put in further downstream. There is a public playground almost across from the WBZ TV studio which might be the better choice (much closer to the Shell).

In order to get a head start on the crowd, we headed back upstream about 10 minutes before the end. About 3 minutes after the end of the concert, I looked back over my shoulder and saw this mass of running lights coming very quickly toward us. We were running pretty close to the shore to it was not much of a problem to hold up while the horde passed us (most at full throttle). We were almost swamped but were able to keep upright.

When we reached the boat ramp there must have been 20 - 30 boats waiting to be taken out. It was great to be able to pull up along the shore and just lift the canoe out and head on home. We read in the paper the next day that some of the boats didn’t get loaded until after 4:00 AM.

This was in 1976 and as some might remember, the Charles River was not all that clean then as it is now. Most of the clothing we wore that night got tossed.