Going to see fireworks and going to the beach are two of our favorite summertime activities. This year we celebrated Independence Day by doing both.
I heard the news that Lewes Beach in Delaware would be hosting their Inaugural Fireworks event. From what I read online there was a lot of excitement about bringing a new tradition to one of our favorite beaches. Not only is Lewes a fun area to explore, but we like Lewes Beach for the kids due to the calmer waters. This definitely topped our list of Fireworks displays for the fourth of July.
If you've never been, Lewes Beach is located at the southern end of the Delaware Bay, with the Cape Henlopen Peninsula curving northward between the bay and the Atlantic. I like waves a lot, but I've been known to enter "unsafe" waters. These days I have to think about the kids' safety so places like Lewes Beach are generally much more attractive to us.
We’ve been to Lewes as a family before, and we've been wanting to explore the Cape Henlopen State Park for a while. Looking at the map it seemed like the area might provide a great view of the fireworks as well as a quiet spot on the bayside where we could let the kids roam a little. We were not disappointed!
We checked the view on the bayside and it was excellent, so we took an opportunity before the fireworks to walk over and dip our toes in the Atlantic. Since it was only a short walk to the Ocean side we left most of our stuff in the car and didn't stay long before heading back to the bayside.
There was plenty to keep us entertained on the bayside. This area was filled with sea creatures including small fish seen breaching the surface, hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, and other yet-to-be-identified creatures. The northernmost tip of Cape Henlopen is off limits as it’s a bird nesting sanctuary, but I was fortunate enough to see some deer grazing the dunes from the overlook next to the parking lot. We love beaches with plenty of wildlife, so this is definitely a park we’ll be getting back to in the future. There are also some observation towers and a disc golf course we want to checkout next time.
With a cloud front over the western sky we didn’t get a very good sunset, although I’m certain this park has plenty of those. Dusk began it's lengthy approach as the skies turned darker and darker shades of blue. The crowd slowly began making their way over from the Ocean and other parts of the park. Brightly colored folding chairs and blankets soon dotted the beach. As everyone awaited the big show many small arial fireworks could be seen for miles along the bay's shoreline. Looking around the anticipation was at it's peak.
This being the first year for the Lewes fireworks display everyone seemed kind of confused about exactly where to look. We knew the fireworks were going to be set off from a barge offshore, but we weren't sure exactly where it was positioned. Every time a small firework went into the air the kids asked "is that it?", then suddenly one shot went much MUCH higher ...
The Big Show ...
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Little bit of lemonade ...
I have to mention one MAJOR downside to this event. Apparently, the fireworks planning commission severely underestimated the traffic this event would cause. If you’ve never been to Lewes Beach there is a canal which essentially makes the area an island, and that forces all traffic over just two bridges. This created the worst traffic jam I’ve ever witnessed personally. The worst part was that coming from Cape Henlopen put us at the tail end of all this traffic. Once we pulled up to the traffic we were at a complete standstill for almost 2 hours (literally a few minutes short of 2 hours, no joke). We’re going to keep this in mind for next year for sure. We'd love to go back, but that traffic jam was painful when we were trying to make it back the Pennsylvania the same night. We wish we had booked a campsite well in advance, but maybe next time.
After an hour and a half of not moving everyone parked and turned off their cars, or at the very least turned off their headlights. The few remaining wisps of clouds broke up and the night sky was twinkling with stars. To make the best of a bad situation I got my camera out and snapped a few shots of the Milky Way overhead ...