Prepare for a California Beach Night of Fireworks
Seabright State beach is located on East Cliff Dr. and Seabright Ave. in the city of Santa Cruz, California. Located between the Boardwalk and Santa Cruz State Harbor, it's a very central location and slow with traffic on July 4th. Parking will likely be a good walk from the beach itself. Returning from the fun will have everyone out late, so those who travel to Santa Cruz will want to reserve a hotel, or at least a friend's couch, ahead of time.
It's best to bring all the items that will be needed up until midnight, since leaving and returning to the beach is impossible after sunset. Packing food and drinks is essential, as a single snack stand serves thousands of people and the lines will be long with high prices for food. Bring sandals because many objects hide in the sand, and do pack a jacket just in case. The Santa Cruz State Parks website describes Seabright's weather as "changeable- from warm and sunny to cool and windy; layered clothing is advised."
The excitement is monitored by an encircling band of law enforcement and National Guard. They strictly forbid beach visitors to bring any alcohol or fireworks on the beach, and randomly search the coolers and backpacks being hauled in. Their stringency and large numbers leave a hint of doubt every year over the success of the night's show.
Get to Seabright Beach Early on July 4th
To get on the sand before the beach entrance is closed, be sure to set up a picnic blanket before dark. As long as the sun shines, swimmers can enjoy the small sets of waves that roll in, tan in the sun, and eat snacks from their cooler while they wait.
When the sun goes down, law enforcement vehicles will scout around the beach, insisting that all fires are put out for safety reasons. This process takes around half an hour to forty five minutes, and the vehicles may need to return if any extinguished fires become re-lit.
The Longest, Most Incredible Fireworks Show
When night falls, the national guard turns on massive, 30 foot tall colosseum lighting that beams bright metal halide light from the beach's entrance. One by one, pyrotechnics of all shapes and sizes magically appear and launch into the sky, and the Independence Day show begins. Beginning at around 9:30 p.m. and sometimes lasting until midnight, this may be the longest firework display that many observers will see in their life!
Since the directors of the show are scattered among thousands of people up and down the beach, and even aboard the boats anchored off shore, the exploding fireworks form a 360 degree shower of color and sound around beach observers. Everywhere a person turns, fireworks continuously explode. Numerous individual displays, like channels of the television, can be tuned in to for good watching, The intensity of explosions waxes and wanes for hours, with beach-wide cheers for the best fireworks, and long creative grand finales.
Toward the night's end, between 11:00 and midnight, the law enforcement trucks drive down the beach again, with lights and horns, and this signals that the party is over.
Visitors are ushered off the beach, tired and happy.