City’s annual Independence Day celebration Fireworks over the Matanzas

The City of St. Augustine is giving Historic City News advance time this year to announce details and recommendations for attending our nation’s Independence Day celebration.  The annual Fireworks over the Matanzas festivities have traditionally been the single largest public event presented in downtown St Augustine.

Planning your evening can make the difference between a spectacular celebration of sound and lights and a trip to the hospital.  The community is encouraged to have fun, cautioned to be safe, and requested to be patient when coming into town for this extremely crowded event.

  • The All Star Orchestra performs in The Plaza de la Constitución from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., serving up Big Band and popular tunes with a patriotic flare.  Since there will be limited parking throughout the downtown area, visitors are encouraged to arrive early and use the Historic Downtown Parking Facility.  With multitudes of pedestrians and increased bicycle traffic, those in vehicles are asked to take extra precaution and to please be patient.
  • The fireworks reach high over Matanzas Bay starting at 9:30 p.m.  The 20-minute display is tightly choreographed to a stirring soundtrack of great popular and patriotic music delivered over an extensive sound system transforming the entire Bayfront between the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the Bridge of Lions into a theatre of sight and sound.

Free Park & Ride Shuttle

The free park and ride shuttle on Anastasia Island, provided by the city with support from Ripley’s Red Train Tours and Old Town Trolley Tours will be available from 6:00 p.m. until midnight from parking locations along Anastasia Boulevard.

  • Anastasia Baptist Church (1650 A1A South)
  • St. Augustine Amphitheatre (1340-C A1A South)
  • R.B. Hunt Elementary School (125 Magnolia Drive)
  • St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park (999 Anastasia Boulevard)

*The Alligator Farm is a parking-only location.  Use the lighted crosswalk to meet your shuttle at the R.B. Hunt Elementary School.

The shuttle will drop passengers at the east end of the Bridge of Lions and pick-up from that location for the return trip following the fireworks. Old Town Trolley Tours and Ripley’s Red Train Tours are providing a dozen vehicles for the shuttle.  Download/print the Park & Ride map at


  • Over the years, the St. Augustine Police Department has refined a traffic plan that moves vehicles safely and as quickly as possible out of the downtown area following the show.  A summary of the parking details can be found at
  • Parking in city-owned lots and in on-street spaces is free on Thursday, July 4, as it is on all federal holidays. Drivers are encouraged to confirm that they are parked in a city-owned lot and not a private lot where towing may be enforced by the lot owner.
  • The Historic Downtown Parking Facility, adjacent to the St. Augustine and St. Johns County Visitor Information Center at 1 Cordova St., offers parking for $15.00 per car, per entry or $3.00 with the ParkNow Card.
  • Parking in the lot at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is not free and is enforced by the National Park Service from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., seven days a week, including federal holidays.  There will be no vehicular access to or from the Castillo’s parking lot on July 4th from 6:00 p.m. until approximately 11:00 p.m.

Street Closures

Rerouting of traffic begins at 8:00 p.m. and continues until 11:00 p.m. and includes prohibiting vehicular traffic on the Bridge of Lions, Avenida Menendez, Cathedral Place, and South Castillo Drive.  Additional street closures include:

  • Picolata Road between US-1 and San Marco Avenue (8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.)
  • San Carlos between US-1 and San Marco Avenue (8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.)
  • King Street will have two westbound lanes, and one eastbound lane, west of MLK (8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.)
  • King Street will have one westbound lane and one eastbound lane, east of MLK up to Avenida Menendez
  • There will be NO eastbound traffic on West Castillo from US-1 to North Cordova (8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.)
  • North Cordova will be closed from Orange Street to the entrance to the Historic Downtown Parking Facility (8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.)

Arriving by Water

  • The Bridge of Lions will not open for marine traffic, starting after the 8:00 p.m. opening, until approximately 11:00 p.m. Vessels will be prohibited in an area north of the Bridge of Lions to a point approximately in line with Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. View the aerial map of the No-Boat Zone. Marine law enforcement will patrol Matanzas Bay and notify vessels in violation of the prohibited area.
  • The St. Augustine Municipal Marina is currently holding a wait-list for overnight reservations and will have limited hourly dockage on the 4th of July, as well as throughout the holiday weekend.  Contact the marina directly on VHF CH 16 or CH 71 for availability and docking instructions.

The best advice is to arrive early, explore the city, enjoy the show, and be patient during departure. Fireworks over the Matanzas is produced by the City of St. Augustine with support funding from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.

For complete information, visit