Fireworks have become a staple of New Year’s celebrations around the world. Be it backyard pyrotechnics or lavish municipal shows, the skies are sure to erupt in starbursts and showers of multi-colored sparks on the night of December 31st. These aerial displays are even more dramatic when mirrored in a body of water, as is the case of the Florida Keys. Here are three prime waterfront locations to welcome the New Year with a flash and a bang.
Fireworks on the Beach
In the heart of Islamorada near mile marker 82, the palm-lined beach at Morada Bay has long been a favorite gathering place to watch the sun sink beneath the calm waters of Florida Bay. On December 31, this same vantage point provides unobstructed views of a large-scale midnight fireworks show staged by Pierre’s Restaurant and the Morada Bay Beach Café. An evening of live music leads up to the main event, and those who wish to atone for a long night of revelry can stay up or wake up early for the annual 5k Run, Walk and Crawl at Founders Park.
A Show on the Sound
Homes and resorts on the western shore of Key Largo face the body of water known as Blackwater Sound. This waterway becomes a reflective palette for the largest New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza south of Miami. Sponsored by a consortium of local businesses, the show can be seen from all across central Key Largo, as well as from boats anchored on the sound. Prime waterfront viewing can be enjoyed free of charge at a number of bayside restaurants including Sundowners, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack’s, Gus’ Grille at the Marriott Key Largo Beach Resort and the Caribbean Club, all of which are located around mile markers 103 and 104.
The Big Sky
Though much of Key West’s energy is focused on the huge street party that envelops Duval Street, there are plenty of aerial displays launched from points all across the island. One of the best ways to take it all in, and to take a break from the downtown crowd scene, is from the over water platform at the Edward B. Knight Pier, which is located at the southern end of White Street at Rest Beach Park. From this vantage point some 900 feet offshore of the beach, the entire island’s skyline comes into view, and as midnight approaches, a wide swath of sky lights up in dazzling colors as rockets and mortars are lanced from homes and businesses from the southernmost point to Stock Island and beyond. As an added bonus, viewers who parked in the free lot nearby can avoid the congestion of downtown when the show is over.