If you love fireworks, the best way to enjoy them in Florida is at professional shows. Fortunately, there is no shortage of nearby Independence Day shows if you live in Fort Myers and Estero. You can even view the action while enjoying a night-time cruise near Sanibel Island.
Fireworks are also plentiful and available for sale in stores and roadside booths throughout the Fort Myers metro area. But here's the catch: Unless you limit yourself to the kind of fireworks that don't shoot into the air, such as sparklers and snakes, you could get slapped with a $1,000 fine.
Legal Problems with Fireworks
Recreational use of most fireworks is illegal in Florida. However, due to an unusual state law passed about 60 years ago (Florida Statute 791.02), vendors sell a wide range to anybody who wants them .
The law limits most fireworks to professional shows and either for signal purposes -- such as along a dark railroad line -- or in agriculture for shooing away birds from farms and fish hatcheries.
When purchasing fireworks from vendors, they ask you to sign a waiver indicating you use will use them for agricultural purposes. These forms protect sellers but not buyers. If police respond when someone reports you for recreational use, you may be fined and, possibly, jailed.
So, if you purchase fireworks for fun, remember that you are taking a risk.
4th of July Fireworks Displays
Another reason for attending a professional show and avoiding recreational use of fireworks is their threat of injury. For example, in 2015, football player C.J. Wilson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost two fingers in a fireworks accident.
Fort Myers Freedom Fest 4 - 10 p.m. River District, Downtown Fort Meyers on the waterfront, First and Hendry streets (855) 732-3836 The River District is old downtown Fort Myers, which covers 540 acres and stretches along the Caloosahatchee River. Free live music, children's activities, a patriotic motor show and food vendors are among the attractions. Fireworks is at 9:30 p.m.
Fort Myers Beach 4th of July Fireworks 8:45 - 10 p.m. Fishing Pier (239) 765-4222 Don't arrive late. Estero Island's Matanzas Pass Bridge is the chief route to the beach and will be closed to incoming traffic at 9:30 p.m.
Cape Coral Red, White & Boom 5 - 10:30 p.m. Cape Coral Parkway at foot of Cape Coral Bridge (239) 573-3128 It might be most fun to stay at a local hotel for this event, because the City of Cape Coral will close Cape Coral Bridge at 3 a.m. on the Fourth. Ask about the family-friendly VIP Boom Pass, which includes children's ride tickets, food, drinks and preferred seating near the events stage.
San Carlos Bay 4th of July Cruise 7:30 - 9:30 pm. G Dock, Port Sanibel Marina, 14341 Port Comfort Road, Fort Myers (239) 472-8443 Adventures in Paradise runs this quick cruise, which gives you a bay view of Sanibel Island's fireworks show.
Viewing Fireworks from Home
Barbecues and picnics at home are also fine ways to enjoy Independence Day. Come nightfall, it's fun to scan the sky in search of distant blossoms of light.
Community clubhouses and resort-style swimming pools are among the many amenities just right for summer celebrations at our Springs apartment communities in Estero and Fort Myers. Our leash-free, fenced pet playgrounds are great places to celebrate freedom with your dog every day of the year.