Best local San Diego Fourth of July Ideas, Activities and Fireworks views

Marshmallow fights, fun on the sea, 16 passenger bicycles…

in San Diego the possiblities are endless.

Here are some good unique ideas from a San Diego local:

1) Join the largest Marshmallow fight in the West.

It’s an Ocean Beach tradition that after the Fireworks display on Fourth of July, a huge display of hurtling marshmallows follows by the OB pier. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since 1985 which started with two rival families who hosted 4th of July parties. One year one of the families decided to take the marshmallows they were about to roast over the BBQ and go Rambo on the other family’s party. The next year, the other family got revenge and every year afterwards its become a huger and huger marshmallow fight.

Read more about the origins of the fight…

2) Rent a boat.

The best fireworks show I ever saw was the year my family and I decided to rent a 12 passenger boat for four hours to watch the fireworks. We paid probably around $50 each. You don’t need any special license to drive it, just a drivers license. We picked up the boat from Seaport Village around 4pm and cruised around the bay for awhile and ate the pizza and drinks we brought on board. Around 9pm, the sky lit up around us with a 360 degree view of fireworks since we were simultaneously watching fireworks from the San Diego Harbor to the east, Coronado to the west, Imperial Beach in the South and SeaWorld from the North. It was spectacular! We tuned in our portable radio to FM channel 105.7 to catch the patriotic music synchronized to the Big Bay Boom Fireworks show.

You can also rent boats at Mission Bay, Coronado and La Jolla Shores.


Book now.

Bring food onboard. Driver of boat cannot drink alcohol. It is considered a DUI.

Dress warmly.

Mind the wake zones (we didn’t know what they were and we sped by making large waves and people on the houseboats got really mad at us..)

Park away from Seaport Village and take the trolley in.

Get there early. The area is jammed with people, parking is difficult and public transportation is packed.

3) Take a Cruise / (Booze) Cruise

There are several cruises around town. Some with alcohol and some without.

  • The Hornblower hosts the “Rock the Boat Independence Day Cruise” which is pretty pricey but includes:

– Open Bar
– Complimentary Champagne
– Complimentary snacks
– A gorgeous sunset
– Top 40/House music DJ
– Dance floor
– Impeccable view of Firework show
– Perfect for Couples or friends alike.

  • My favorite is the Bahia Belle Sternwheeler on Mission Bay. It costs $15 and you can get on and off at it’s two ports at either the Bahia Hotel near Mission Beach or the Catamaran near Pacific Beach. From the top deck, you get an amazing view of the Sea World fireworks. There’s a bar and live music on the second deck. All ages welcome except on the second floor…
  • At the Bahia Hotel, there is a more formal cruise aboard the William D Evans sternwheeler kicking off at 8 p.m and ends at midnight. $30 will get you 2 DJs, cash bars, two dance floors, and three decks from which to view the night’s fireworks. 21+ only. Living social has a deal right now for half off.

4) Rent a bike

Social Cycle San Diego  has really cool 16 passenger bikes where you can do a bike tour and drink beer together. Read the next blog entry for a better idea of  what the social cycle is like..

5) Find a great view:

  • Porto Vista Hotel’s rooftop and also their restaurant The Glass Door have great views of the Harbor.
  • Fiesta Island
  • All along Crown Point are great views of Mission Bay fireworks
  • Bird Rock Park
  • All the hotels around Seaport Village and Gaslamp are good bets: Hard Rock, IVY, Stingaree all have rooftop areas. The Hyatt and Marriott Convention Center also have good viewing.
  • Tidelands Park Coronado
  • Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Point Loma, Spanish Landing, Embarcadero Marina Parks North and South,with free shuttles to and from parking lots

Most crowded places:

All the Beaches, Seaport Village, Coronado.

San Diego Fourth of July Fireworks schedule and locations:


Family Friendly activities|62|64|68|70/july-4th-celebration-in-pioneer-park.html

Old Town $5 Family Jazz BBQ

Don’t forget:

No alcohol is permitted on any beaches. Don’t try to hide them in other containers, the police have a scanner that they can use to detect if there is alcohol in the container.

Have a great time with your loved ones celebrating our freedom!!

Where to take your Dad for Father’s Day? How about a Chocolate Bar?

I usually give a couple of recommendations for Father’s Day but I need you to understand how divine this place is so I am only talking about Eclipse Chocolat today.

Tucked away in North Park San Diego, is a cozy little hole in the wall looking place until you open the door to the chocolate bar and see how pretty it is inside. Specializing in chocolate desserts and pastries, drinks, truffles and caramel/vanilla or chocolate infused food, Eclipse Chocolat is a gem. They are a tiny shop with a small dedicated staff that takes chocolate to the level of art. I tried their Lavendar sea salt truffle and the minute that salty sweetness touched my tongue I became a lifelong fan.

On Sat. June 16th, they’ll have a Dad’s Day BBQ where everything is infused with either vanilla, chocolate or caramel. Here’s the menu for $30/person:

BBQ pulled pork nachos with sundried tomato guacamole

Heirloom tomato, basil & strawberry caprese with white chocolate balsamic drizzle

Cinnamon brown sugar braised beef short ribs or black bean eggplant burger served with cheesy twice baked potato and panko-vanilla bean crust

Frozen milk chocolate peanut butter mousse with salted brownie crumb crust.

If you want to go on the actual Father’s Day Sunday, they have a chocolate brunch every Sunday from 9am-2pm for $14 including two plates. Choices include Cocoa-glazed bacon, chocolate bacon waffle, strawberry rhubarb-stuffed french toast, dark chocolate salted croissant, Cheesy tamales with cocoa mole and many more.

This place has a good vegan offerings and also serve pastries, coffee, wine, cupcakes, etc. They have great options for party favors.

Related articles:

Top 5 Outdoor Bachelorette Parties in San Diego

The sun is shining and the smell of summer is in the why not do a non-traditional affair for the bride’s last hurrah?

Here are the top five Bachelorette Party ideas for a bride who likes the outdoors…

1.  A Day on the Waves

Don’t be fooled. The hottest guys are out on the waves.

Pictures by Beach Shoot San Diego

Imagine a day of bonding, laughing and mastering the surfboard. There’s a cool little Women’s Surf School in beautiful La Jolla, CA called Surf Diva that offers a day of surf or paddle board lessons, professional photos on picturesque La Jolla Shores, and a mouth-watering picnic right on the beach after your fun on the waves. All skill levels are welcome and you can request women surf instructors if you like.You can glam it up and also request private cabanas w/private cabana boy serving up delectable chocolates and chilled drinks.

This is a great idea for a co-ed bachelor/bachelorette activity too! Mention BFF and get free party favors for your group…

Afterwards, you can rent a room at the La Jolla Shores hotel right on the beach and jump right into their jacuzzi to rest up before a night on the town. Party bus anyone?

2. Sunset Kayaking

Photo by Beach Shoot San Diego

I would highly recommend the… (Bride’s don’t read this * Spoiler alert* )… ok now that it’s safe.. Message in a Bottle package through Beach Shoot San Diego. They take you out for an unforgettable sunset kayak ride (you don’t need to have experience kayaking.)

They take you through the sea caves (weather permitting) and you get to see amazing wildlife. Then the photographer will strategically toss a message in a bottle onto the waves for the bride to find. The message will be from you and the other bridesmaids, of course, full of tear evoking well wishes. The photographer captures it all on photo and video. It’s a pretty awesome keepsake which can be played at the wedding.

3.  Moonlight Horseback Riding and BBQ Dinner

A day of hiking, camping or moonlight horseback riding may just be up her alley if the bride is stressed out and really wants to get away. Check out Happy Trails San Diego

4. Sports, competitive or teambuilding games

How about a day playing Dodgeball, Sloshball or Kickball or renting tandem bikes? San Diego also has tons of charity events like the San Diego Mud Run or the ROC Race (Ridiculous Obstacle Course-Think WipeOut). Give back to the community while bonding and doing something healthy and fun!

5. Boating, Boating or more Boating

The best part of San Diego is the beautiful ocean. Renting a boat is relatively inexpensive and you don’t need any special license if it’s a small boat. Just a drivers license! We took a boat out on Fourth of July to get a 360 degree view of the fireworks in the San Diego Bay and it was the best fireworks show I have experienced in my life. We each paid about $30 and brought on board some pizza and drinks-the driver of course can’t have any alcohol ;) In Mission Bay you can also rent jet ski’s etc.

It’s a barbecue, a picnic table, and a boat all in one… it’s the BBQ Donut!

If you want to do it a bit more upscale you can rent a small yacht which includes a personal sushi chef from Sushi on a Roll who can cater or even give you a Sushi cooking class while you enjoy sake or wine. Or you can take a traditional dinner cruise.

The best of the boat experiences has to be renting a private Gondola. They can seat up to 16 passengers and a sunset cruise can include wine, cheese, chocolates and even massages :) Wow!

Mention BFFbridesmaid or contact us to see if we can get you any discounts for any of these bachelorette party ideas!

Remember to feel blessed..

Ever have one of those weeks when everything seems to go wrong?

Today was a low point for me, my family and I have been hit pretty hard financially the past few years. Our student loans kicked in and suddenly, ends weren’t meeting anymore.

With the arrival of my son a year ago, I wasn’t able to work full time since daycare costs simply made it impossible. With finances tight, my car breaking down this week and my son accidentally sending the vacuum right through the TV, I had already been about to throw my hands in the air and just give up. Especially since we’re about to lose our home to the bank on the 28th.

Things just couldn’t seem to be any worse.

Then God reminded me that despite all of this, I am blessed.

On my way to work, I drove past the same homeless guy at the freeway off-ramp that I always see every morning. I usually don’t stop but today, he looked really bad. His face was full of ugly bruises and purple scrapes and as he leaned over his cane, he literally looked like he was going to pass out at any moment.

I rolled down my window and asked if I could help take him to a hospital or a rescue center. He said he’d just spent the night at the hospital after being beat up by the police. He didn’t want to be taken anywhere so I gave him whatever I could and told him I’d say a prayer for him.

All that time, he’d been looking down at the ground while we talked but when I said that, he looked up at me and I noticed his blue piercing eyes filled with tears. I told him that God loved him and he said, “I’m not so sure.”

That’s when it hit me. Despite all I’m facing, despite my worries, I am not alone like this man is. No family, no home, not even someone to pray to. The only thing that comforts me is my faith. I can’t imagine ever feeling that utterly alone and uncared for.

Remember when all you have to worry about is going to work, making sure your wedding is perfect, paying your bills, making sure you’re house is clean, etc. there are so many others worrying about whether they’ll survive the cold tonight. Worrying for their safety. Wondering when they’ll be able to have another meal.

We are blessed. Truly.