DC Fireworks, July 4th 2013

So, I found a great spot to see the DC fireworks, that isn’t crowded and is fairly close. At the north end of the spit of land that Reagan National Airport is on is a small park and boat slip called “Gravelly Point.” It’s off the beaten path, and parking is limited so not many drivers can access it, so it gets overlooked by most fireworks watchers. However, the Mount Vernon bike trail goes right to it, and it’s easily accessible on foot from Crystal City, which has loads of parking for free after 4 PM. I scoped out this path on Wednesday night the 3rd, so I could see just how much work it would take, and what kind of view there would be.

Gravelly Point, DC, an hour and a half before showtime!

Gravelly Point, DC, an hour and a half before showtime!


Really not crowded, Gravelly Point has room for lots of people!

Really not crowded, Gravelly Point has room for lots of people!


Great view of the monuments downtown (where all the crowds are)

Great view of the monuments downtown (where all the crowds are)


Families that kayak together, stay together

Families that kayak together, stay together


Almost sunset, a few bikers headed further towards town

Almost sunset, a few bikers headed further towards town

It’s just over a mile from the Crystal City path that intersects with the Mount Vernon trail, and there’s a huge grassy clearing with room for plenty of people! On the Fourth, I went there again (after persuading my buddy John that it wouldn’t be that bad) and sure enough, there were a lot of people, but nowhere near the crowding that you get on the Mall or other prime viewing spots in Virginia. The spot is right on the Potomac, so there was a nice breeze off the water to keep mosquitos away, and took the edge off the notorious DC heat and humidity. Once the fireworks started, there was a mad dash from the water’s edge (where most people were sitting in the partial shade) to the center of the field, where the best viewing was. I would say there wasn’t more than 1 or 2 thousand people total, in a space the size of 3 football fields, so no one blocked anyone elses’ view, and we definitely were not crowding each other!

I got some pretty good shots, and some good video, and really got to practice taking fireworks pictures, which is kind of tricky. Having a tripod was invaluable, but also learning what settings to make was vital.

At any rate, here are some of the best of the photos, you can click on them to see the large version. Enjoy!

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