High Tide

The CapeMay.com blog

Beach Light By Night

When the sun is out, the beaches are always jam-packed. The smell of sunscreen fills the air and Laughing Gulls are hovering at every chair to snag some food the moment that someone turns their back. While the beaches are always filled during the daytime, I look forward to the one time of year where everyone is on the beach at night. The beach at night seems like a strange idea, but when it comes to fireworks on the Fourth of July, there’s no better place to watch them.

As a kid, my family and I would walk down to the beach at Broadway. All of the neighborhood kids would run around with sparklers, glow sticks, shovels, buckets and anything else we could get our hands on, while the parents circled up in their beach chairs. Half of the time we would forget that there were even fireworks because we were so preoccupied with the fact that there were at least ten of us running around causing a ruckus and a handful of new kids we hadn’t met before. Soon enough there would be a ridiculous crowd of us weaving in and out of chairs and towels and our parents would just continue sipping their drinks, pretending they weren’t with us.


Just before the fireworks began we would sit in anticipation, while I tired to conquer my fear of the loud noise that came with the stunning fizzles of color. I would stick my fingers in my ears and gaze in awe as they went off, occasionally flinching if one was too loud. I’m not exactly sure how I overcame my fear, but now I would say that the Fourth of July is easily one of my favorite holidays. It combines the beach with fireworks, barbeques, and friends, which are basically everything I need to be content with life.


As much as I tried to wriggle away from my parents on the holiday when I was young teenager of thirteen or fourteen, they finally set me free to watch the fireworks independently with my friends when I was sixteen years old. Every year has been at a different place, but this year’s watching spot has by far been my favorite. I was extremely lucky and got to go up in the crow’s nest of the Headquarters’ building. From the very top, I had a birds’ eye view of the whole beach all the way down to the convention center. When the first firework rocketed up in to the sky, it lit up the whole beach like I had never seen it before. All of the people sat below me like little groups of ants, changing from shades of red to blue to gold.


I couldn’t believe just how many people had swarmed to the beaches to see the fireworks. To me, it’s a foreign idea that fireworks are watched anywhere but over the water. Would the Fourth of July really be the Fourth of July if there were no beach to compliment the fireworks? I’ve been extremely lucky to call this small beach town home, and will never take for granted the lulling waves as they crash upon the sand or the fireworks that illuminate their white foam. While America is the land of the free, there is no place I would rather be to watch the rocket’s red glare.