Few things go together as well as Independence Day and fishing. There’s no better way of celebrating the day America won its freedom than getting out in the open and doing what you love. As we look forward to celebrating the nation’s birthday, we invite you to explore some of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations.
To build this list, we looked across the country from San Diego to Myrtle Beach and beyond. Every spot had to offer awesome angling as well as great seasonal celebrations. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump in!
Ocean City, Maryland
Without question, Ocean City is one of America’s favorite summer getaways. It also happens to be one of the nation’s finest fishing destinations. During summertime, and especially on Independence Day weekend, the population of this ocean-side resort town balloons from 7,000 to an astounding 300,000 people!
And while any other town probably couldn’t handle such an influx of people, Ocean City seems to have been built for these sorts of occasions. With over 200 restaurants and countless family-friendly establishments, there’s plenty to do and see in this town.
Being a strip of land out on the ocean can do a lot for a town’s fishing prospects. Facing the mainland and the Isle of Wight Bay, you’ll find an abundance of Summer Flounder and Redfish. These waters are calm and protected, making them a great option if you’re fishing with kids.
Turn toward the ocean, however, and you’ll find an adventure just waiting to happen. Beyond the 10-mile mark, you’ll be able to wrestle some good-sized Tautog, Seabass, and Bluefish. Venture a little further out and you’ll find a bonafide Shark highway. Hammerheads, Tigers, and Bulls are often hooked in these parts.
Still not doing it for you? Get yourself a big game fishing guide, and head out toward the Baltimore Canyon. This is big boy territory, and we’re talking fish and angler alike. Cutting deep into the continental shelf, the canyon attracts monsters like Blue and White Marlin as well as Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna, all of which are great catches in early July.
A testament to Ocean City’s Tuna fishing quality, The Ocean City Tuna Tournament is one of the biggest fishing contests of its kind. Scheduled for a few days after Independence Day (July 12–14), the competition is expected to feature around $1 million in prizes!
Things to Do
If there was an award for how many times a town makes a top 10 list, Ocean City would probably win it in a landslide. The town’s stunning 10-mile beach is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful in the country. Offering countless sports activities and family-friendly opportunities, this place will keep you coming back year after year.
And if there’s one signature venue that sets Ocean City apart, it’s got to be The Boardwalk. With nods from The Travel Channel, National Geographic, and USA Today, this scenic 3-mile walkway is a must-see. This Independence Day, one of Ocean City’s key celebrations will take place right here. A live concert is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. at the Boardwalk Archway, opposite North Division Street. Once the music stops, the skies explode with all the colors of the rainbow in a spectacular fireworks display.
Ocean City loves Independence Day. So much so, that they couldn’t have just one Fourth of July celebration. Uptown, at Northside Park on 125th Street, you’ll find another stage with a DJ performance and another astonishing fireworks show.
Huntington Beach, California
Widely known as America’s Surf City, Huntington Beach isn’t just great for wave riding. This place boasts 10 miles of uninterrupted shoreline as well as two freshwater lakes, making it one of California’s premier fisheries.
There are plenty of ways for you to wet a line in Huntington Beach. If you’re into saltwater fishing, start by hopping on the iconic Huntington Beach Pier. If you want to spice things up, hire a local fishing charter, and experience this wonder in all its glory.
Early summer brings a lot of excitement to the local fishing scene. You can expect great numbers of California Sheephead, White Seabass, Calico, and Barracuda on the flats. If you’re in for a real adventure, venture a little further out, and test your skills against Yellowfin Tuna, Yellowtail Amberjack, or the feisty Mako Shark.
A more serene angling experience will take you to Huntington Beach Central Park. Here, you’ll find two quaint lakes with good-sized Bluegills and Largemouth Bass. There’s plenty of shade around, making the park a perfect getaway from the town’s Independence Day bustle.
Things to Do
Independence Day in Surf City is a treat for all the senses. You’ll need plenty of energy on the Fourth, so make sure to get those calories in. The town’s signature dish is the local pancakes, which you’ll find in joints like Stacked and The Original Pancake House.
At 10:00 a.m., the traditional Independence Day parade kicks off, with marching bands and celebrities highlighting the two-hour event. You can enjoy the parade right on Main Street, or get a more panoramic view of the festivities from the Bolsa Chica Reserve.
Saving the best for last, the spectacular 1,300-round fireworks show will go down at the pier. Make sure to pick a good spot on the beach to get the best view of the spectacle.
You can’t plan a visit to Huntington Beach without visiting some of the nation’s very best breweries. If you can, try to get in a few days earlier. Each Tuesday, Huntington Beach hosts Surf City Nights, Orange County’s largest street fair and farmer’s market.
Morehead City, North Carolina
Fishing in Morehead City is something every self-respecting angler should try, especially around the Fourth of July. As you approach the city, you’ll be greeted by a large welcome sign, letting you know that you’ve come to “Fishermen’s Paradise.” It won’t take you long to realize how apt the statement is.
Just north of the city, the Newport Marshes offer some of the best Redfish bites on the East Coast. In July, there are a host of inshore critters for you to hook. The area around Radio Island is teeming with Spotted Seatrout, Black Drum, and Sheepshead.
Out in the open water, just off Fort Macon State Park, you’ll have a blast fishing for Spanish Mackerel, Jacks, and Cobia. Further out, the bite is on for Hammerheads and Makos. If you’re into Bluewater fishing, take a 10-hour trip and battle some monster Bluefins, Yellowfins, or White Marlin.
Things to Do
If you want to celebrate, do it right. And if you don’t know how, just ask Morehead City – these guys seem to know how to mark America’s birthday better than anyone else. Here, the Fourth of July celebration doesn’t just happen on the fourth. Morehead City has made a week-long celebration filled with original shows and festivals, live concerts, and family-friendly events.
Starting a series of open-air events, the Morehead City Curb Market starts on Saturday, June 30, at 8:00 a.m. On Sunday, Big Rock Landing on the Morehead City waterfront hosts The Crystal Coast Summer Festival. During this day-long event, you’ll enjoy live music, fresh seafood and beverages, as well as locally produced arts and crafts.
All proceeds from The Crystal Coast Summer Festival will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Fast forward to July 4, 7:00 p.m. – the main event will feature a live concert by Main Street Band at Jaycee Park. Stick around after the music stops, because right across Harbor Channel, the organizers will launch a series of spectacular fireworks from Sugarloaf Island.
Finishing things off, Jaycee Park will host another concert on July 4. This one is a little more family-friendly, and is set to start at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Of course, Morehead City has a lot more to offer than festivals. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for a dive and discover the wreck of the historic German WWII submarine, U-352. If you like the sea, but would prefer to stay dry, check out the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. And if all that leaves you hungry, hop on a cycling culinary tour of the area.
South Puget Sound is renowned for its year-round Salmon fishing. In fact, the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge are the only place where it’s legal to catch Salmon all year. July marks the start of Chinook Salmon season in the Puget Sound, so your Independence Day visit is a perfect time to catch the King.
Salmon may be the most iconic fish in these parts, but it’s not the only fish you can catch in Olympia. These waters are actually an amazing fishing ground for Flounder and native Cutthroat Trout.
In terms of diversity, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to fishing out of Olympia. There are countless creeks, rivers, ponds, and estuaries to explore, as well as a number of fishing techniques to try out.
Things to Do
Olympia is the capital of Washington State, but that hasn’t stopped it from keeping its small-town charm. Surrounded by incredible natural beauty, the town is an ideal starting point for outdoor adventures, too.
Starting from the local airport, the Olympic Flight Museum is a place kids will adore. Displaying vintage fighter planes, helicopters, and a number of other aircraft used in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, this museum is a perfect place to learn America’s military history.
If you’d like to experience the town from outside, Percival Landing Park is the place to be. This waterfront park offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and a scenic postcard-worthy boardwalk.
One of the most enjoyable places to see around Independence Day will be Olympia’s most iconic feature – the Washington State Capitol Building and its surrounding park. The architecture of North America’s tallest masonry dome and the beauty of the grounds are awe-inspiring to say the least. There are a number of guided tours in the building itself as well as around the grounds.
The biggest Fourth of July fireworks celebration in the county will be in the nearby town of Tumwater. The festivities are set to start at 6:00 p.m., with a number of arts and crafts, music and family-friendly activities to enjoy. The fireworks show will launch at 10:15 p.m.
South Padre Island, Texas
What do you get when you combine a bustling resort community with some of the best fishing the Gulf of Mexico has to offer? You get the perfect angler’s getaway, also known as South Padre Island.
Coming in for Fourth of July will put you right in the thick of Red Snapper season. Red Snapper is a big deal in these parts, and for good reason. This is one of the premier Gulf fisheries for Snapper. There are a number of charters in South Padre to take you out for this prized fish, but make sure to book one in advance. High season means that charters can go in a hurry.
Of course, South Padre Island is not just a one-trick pony. The island is perfectly located for both inshore and offshore outings, both of which are great prospects around Fourth of July.
Redfish and Trout are always good in these parts, but if you’re up for a challenge, give Tarpon fishing a try. If offshore fishing is more to your liking, you’re in luck. There’s a plethora of species to wrestle around the Fourth. These include Kingfish, Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, and Yellowfin Tuna. There’s even Blue Marlin and Sailfish if you’re willing to go far enough!
To make the experience even more memorable, bring your catch to one of the local restaurants. South Padre has a whole range of eateries that will cook your fish in a number of ways. Just make sure to call in advance to let them know.
Things to Do
South Padre Island has been dubbed the “Fireworks Capital of Texas” because of its weekly summer fireworks displays. For Fourth of July, the town cranks it up a notch and delivers a spectacular pyrotechnic show over Laguna Madre Bay.
As you’d expect from a resort town, South Padre offers a wealth of water-centered activities. Start your day with zip-lining and a swim in South Padre Adventure Park. Then, take your kids to Sea Turtle Inc. to learn about these amazing creatures.
The local culinary scene is amazing, serving fresh seafood from the Gulf, as well as a variety of other foods. Visit one of the beachside restaurants for a winning combination of exquisite food and an unforgettable Gulf sunset.
If you’re passionate about fishing, you know that location and timing are two key ingredients you’ve got to have. An opportunity to fish the very best location at the very best time doesn’t come often, but when it does, you don’t want to miss it. Luckily for you, that opportunity is just around the corner. Its name? Independence Day fishing in Pensacola.
Florida’s entire Emerald Coast is renowned for its legendary fishing, and Pensacola is its crown jewel. Prized for its abundance and variety, the local angling scene features some of the best inshore and offshore action in the country.
Inshore, Pensacola Bay is home to massive Bull Redfish and Gator Trout. Look for them around bridges, docks, and rock piles. Out on the reefs, the bite is on for Spanish Mackerel, Sharks, and Cobia.
And then, there’s the offshore angling, the type of action that bound the word “legendary” to Pensacola forever. This place is known as the “Red Snapper Capital of the World,” and that’s saying a lot. This Fourth of July is the best time to catch them, and there’s no better place to do it than Pensacola.
Further out in the Gulf, the oil rigs attract monster pelagics. The stars of the show? Yellowfin Tuna, Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi, and Wahoo. These big boys are swimming 60 miles offshore, so you’ll need at least a 10-hour trip to have a chance to catch them.
And for those of you looking for a bucket list fishing experience, give deep drop fishing a try for a chance to catch tasty Tilefish, or perhaps even a Swordfish.
Things to Do
One of the first things you’ll notice in Pensacola is how laid back the town is. Everybody’s friendly and welcoming in the land of “y’all,” so it won’t take you long to feel right at home. Combine that with a proud historical heritage and diverse culture, and you’ve got a place with a charm unique to itself.
Pensacolans love Independence Day. The festivities span through the entire day, starting at 11:00 a.m. on Seville Square. The fun continues throughout downtown Pensacola with music, family-friendly activities, vendors, and contests. There’s a free children’s area with inflatables, pony rides, and rock climbing. To finish things off, there will be a dazzling fireworks show right on the Bay. Around 8:00 p.m., dozens of boats take to the water to enjoy the best views of the spectacle.
Did you know that Pensacola is one of the first permanent European settlements in America? There’s a ton of history to explore here, and plenty of forts, museums, and tours to show you around. If you’re pressed for time, we’d recommend visiting The National Naval Aviation Museum.
And if you have time, be sure to check the town’s galleries, the Palafox shopping street, and the historic Saenger Theatre.
Bristol, Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but you’d never know it by its angling prowess. And Bristol, its charming historic town, is right in the thick of it. Probing into Narragansett Bay, Bristol lets you fish as soon as you set out.
The highlight in these parts is, of course, Striped Bass. Stripers are biting hard around this time, so you’ll want to get your coolers ready. Keep in mind that your Striper will need to be at least 28 inches if you want to keep it.
Around the Bay, you’ll have a great time fishing for Bluefish, Weakfish, and Cod. Flounder fishing is also good, but be sure to check the local fishing regulations before you snatch one. Out on the Atlantic, Point Judith is a good spot for Atlantic Mackerel. If you’re up for a challenge, Block Island is known to attract large pelagics like Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna.
Things to Do
Bristol’s Independence Day celebration is the longest-running in the United States. Keeping the tradition alive since 1785, Bristol has earned the moniker of “America’s most patriotic town.” The celebration starts to warm up as early as Flag Day, on June 14, starting a series of celebratory events.
From concerts and balls to soapbox races, marathons, and entertainment shows, Bristol is buzzing day and night. As the Fourth approaches, the excitement builds up, culminating in a wonderful fireworks barrage in Bristol Harbor on July 3.
As dawn comes on the Fourth, all the churches in the area come together in celebration, sounding the traditional Ringing of the Bells. The central event begins at 10:30 a.m., with the Military, Civic, and Firemen’s Parade. As many as 200,000 people from the US and around the world tune in to watch the jubilee.
You can check the complete calendar of Bristol’s Fourth of July celebrations here.
It’s hard to believe that Nashville flew under the angler’s radar for so long. It might not have access to the ocean like some of the other locales on our list, but boy can you catch your fill in these waters.
Flowing right through Nashville, the mighty Cumberland River is an amazing trophy Striped Bass fishery. There are also great numbers of Sauger and Walleye, as well as a few hybrid species. What the river is best known for is its incredible variety of Catfish.
The nearby lake of Percy Priest is another fantastic spot for Stripers, Catfish, and Crappie.
Things to Do
Hands down, Music City is one of the best places to celebrate the Fourth of July. And if by the fifth you say it’s the best, we wouldn’t blame you. No matter who you are, Nashville’s concoction of music, cuisine, and down-right charm and will win you over in a heartbeat.
As you’d expect, you can find live music pretty much everywhere you look. Whether it’s honky tonk bars or open air concerts, Nashville will make you sing. The food scene is nothing short of amazing, and it won’t take you long to find your next guilty pleasure.
Nashville owes a good part of its charm to its rich history. There are countless historical sites for you to check out. You’ll definitely want to see the beautiful Greek Revival style Tennessee State Capitol building, one of the oldest working capitol buildings in the country. Speaking of Greece, the Nashville Parthenon is a 19th-century full-scale replica of ancient Greece’s famed monument.
And then there’s the Fourth of July celebration. The “Let Freedom Sing” celebration is a free, day-long celebration featuring live performances, vendors of all things imaginable, and child-friendly areas. The fun will start on 5th and Broadway, right next to Bridgestone Arena.
To finish things off, you’ll be able to marvel at a huge fireworks show, as the GRAMMY-award-winning Nashville Symphony plays in sync with the spectacle above.
Montauk, New York
Located at the tip of Long Island’s South Fork, Montauk is the quintessential Atlantic fishery. This place claims to own more world saltwater fishing records than any other port in the world. Who knew that you could have the best fishing adventure of your life just a hundred miles from Manhattan?
Home to the largest recreational fishing fleet in New York State, Montauk has no shortage of expert big game fishing guides. And when we say big game, we mean it. You won’t have to venture too far out to reach the best spots.
There’s a lot on the menu in these waters, but if there’s something that sets Montauk apart from other Atlantic fisheries, it’s got to be the Sharks. Massive Makos, Blues, and Threshers swim here, feeding on passing Tuna and Mackerel. They’re especially abundant in July, so you better be ready – these are some of the hardest-fighting fish in the ocean.
If 15′ monsters aren’t your thing, there will be plenty of other species to test your skills against. Bluefish, Weakfish, and Stripers are all biting at this time, so you won’t be short on options.
Things to Do
Montauk has come a long way in recent years. What was once a quaint fishing town at “the end of the world” has quickly become a favorite summertime hotspot. And we’re not just talking New Yorkers, either. People from all over come to Montauk to experience its captivating shores. The best thing about it is, Montauk has kept its laid-back atmosphere and unspoiled beauty.
Coming into town, you might think this is a summer getaway for New York’s rich and famous. And you wouldn’t be totally wrong. But Montauk is so much more. Surfers seeking the ultimate wave are regulars in Montauk. So are young couples seeking a romantic getaway. Families, nature lovers, foodies, whoever you are – once you’ve been to Montauk, you’ll want to come back.
For a relatively small place, there’s really no shortage of things to do and see in Montauk. The incredible white sand beaches give way to some of the best ocean views you’ll ever see. Most beaches in the area have playgrounds, picnic tables, showers, and restrooms.
On the Fourth, Montauk hosts the Stars Over Montauk fireworks show. The skies are scheduled to light up at 9:00 p.m., with the best views at Umbrella Beach. If you want a more indulgent experience, you can book a Montauk Fireworks Dinner Cruise, and watch the show from the water.
Freedom All Around
All of the locales we mentioned are incredible fishing destinations, and you won’t go wrong choosing any of them for your Fourth of July visit. There are, of course, countless more destinations around the nation, each with unique celebrations and fishing opportunities of their own.
But that’s the great thing about America. No matter where you go, you’ll always have freedom, and you’ll always have great fishing near you.
So there you have it. What do you think of our Fourth of July fishing destinations? Where will you be fishing on Independence Day? Let us know in the comments below.