The 10 Best Places to Spend the 4th of July in the USA According to Travel Bloggers
1. Cape Cod (Falmouth, Massachusetts)
When you think of the 4th of July, you think fireworks and let’s be honest, you can see fireworks anywhere. To me, Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod has the most magical display because they shoot them off a barge over Vineyard Sound (the water between Martha’s Vineyard and the Cape). I distinctly remember the relief I felt as a child knowing the fireworks couldn’t reach me on land!
The fireworks are also synchronized to music which can be heard by tuning in on the radio. The display is completely funded by donations from the community and each year it’s more monumental than the last. Epic fireworks coupled with beachfront seating combined with some of the freshest seafood in the world makes Falmouth an ideal and popular spot to enjoy this summer holiday.
2. Washington D.C.
When my hubby and I decided to go Stateside for 4th July, we knew we had to go for it in a big way. We chose to head to Washington DC, the beating political heart of the USA. Our shirts demonstrated our split commitment to the day, I wore a shirt bedecked in Stars and Stripes, and Karl sported a t-shirt with the British Union Flag on the front. We walked past the White House in awe of how lucky we were to be right in the capital for such an important day.
The whole city descended upon the Mall, the mile long centerpiece of DC. There was a huge parade after and everyone poured onto the grass to eat from the food trucks serving Kenyan and Chinese specialties. There was a huge cultural fair promoting the two nations.
Outside the capital building, families were set up with coolers, picnics, and camping chairs, celebrating in the blazing sunshine. We wandered around, soaking in the atmosphere. We made our way from the Capital Building down to Washington Monument where we staked out a spot. For three hours we chatted with locals and domestic tourists from all over the US. People were so thrilled that we had come to join in the fun. Eventually, the sun faded from the sky and the most intense firework display filled the sky. Glittering explosions of red, white and blue, all set to music full of pomp, it was spectacular!
3. Mount Rushmore
Each year tens of thousands of visitors travel to the Black Hills of South Dakota to celebrate Independence Day at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, America’s shrine to democracy. Over 60 feet tall faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore and inspire hope and freedom among visitors.
Independence Day Celebration at Mount Rushmore is a 2-day event and takes place on 3rd and 4th July every year. Events include Presidential re-enactments, live bands playing patriotic music, various American cultural heritage demonstrations, and ranger-led activities. Unfortunatey, the celebration at Mount Rushmore National Memorial no longer includes fireworks. However, visitors can attend fireworks, parades, rodeos, and fairs in small towns and communities around the Black Hills area.
4. New York City
The best places to watch the fireworks in NYC are from the East Side Highway or Brooklyn Bridge Park! Tens of thousands of Manhattanites flock to these locations for the epic Macy’s Fireworks over the East River that begin after dark and last for around 30 minutes.
If you are feeling rather fancy, book a spot on one of the 4th of July cruises. Then you’ll get front-row seats to the fireworks with the beautiful backdrop of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Be warned, such an experience does not come cheap!
What about the great American tradition of BBQing on Independence Day? Setting up a BBQ grill in the Central Park, under normal circumstances, is not allowed. However, on the 4th there is an exception to the rule! So bring a grill, some patties, and some beers and celebrate the holiday in style.
5. Dahlonega, Georgia
Dahlonega, home of the 1828 Georgia Gold Rush, is a former mining town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain. On the 4th of July, this sleepy small town awakens! Music fills the air, food trucks line the side streets and bounce houses await the kids and families flooding the historic downtown with their chairs for the afternoon parade.
Dahlonega is not so much of a small town as a mountain community with heart. That was evident when the Independence Day parade rolled through the main street. The local bands led the way, followed by the town celebrities, waving from the back seat of their cars. Even a float carrying a huge birthday cake for America wound its way through the parade procession. Everyone seemed to know everyone else- it was that kind of town: where everybody knows your name. High school cheerleaders flirted with the boys, teens hung together and joked, kids played and adults chatted with one another.
Later that evening over Dahlonega’s University of North Georgia campus, fireworks that rivaled Disney’s nightly extravaganza lit up the sky, a perfect end to this Norman Rockwell slice of small town Americana. View a video of the experience here.
6. Key West , FL
If you are looking for a fun-filled 4th of July with a twist, Key West is my pick. You will have a plethora of choices of gorgeous boutique hotels and resorts, and the activities like diving, fishing, and kayaking will fill your days. A night in Key West is always so much fun, with live music everywhere you go. Go to the iconic bars like Captain Tony’s Saloon, The Green Parrot and Hog’s Breath Saloon.
The 1st-4th of July brings the annual Key Lime Festival that includes activities like key lime pie eating contests, key lime rum sampling, and ending with the fireworks picnic on 4th July. This is the perfect time to visit Key West and celebrate everything that makes the Keys so unique!
7. Seattle, WA
Picture a beautiful park right next to a clear blue lake, where traditional wooden boats reflect in the water. You lay in the warm sun while choosing to stare at a snowy mountain top or an iconic urban landscape. This is all the while enjoying a day of pride and freedom with your family. Sounds perfect for July 4th right?
Well, Seattle gives you just that and much more. Seattle Center, Seattle Downtown, Ballard and Fremont have parades and special events like paint hubs for kids and free open music gigs. Lake Union has a traditional wooden boat show on July 4th. This makes Gas Works Park the best place to be on the 4th with almost a 95% guarantee of rain not ruining your day out. Gasworks Park is also the best place to see the fireworks over the Space Needle – which is still the symbol of Seattle!
8. Pensacola, FL
Pensacola, FL is the best place for celebrating the Fourth of July because you can enjoy the beach and air show or an indulgent walk downtown, without missing the fireworks!
It’s easy to catch the 4th of July firework show in Seville Square, downtown. The fireworks are shot from a barge on the water and while in the square you’ll be able to see them. You’ll also be within walking distance to the famous multi-room Seville Quarter. Palafox Street will also put you at the heart of the downtown, restaurants, bars, and sunset views from Palafox Pier!
If the beach is your thing, arrive early and enjoy the day. There are several bars and restaurants along the water that offer frozen drinks and fresh seafood. Try the local favorite, the Bushwhacker. The 4th of July show begins after sunset with music on Casino Beach and the Blue Angels flying overhead. Make sure to snap some photos of the sunset from the pier!
Pensacola, FL is a Navy town full of patriotism. This city has been home to the Blue Angels for 70 years. These flying daredevils tour the USA and perform their acrobatics in the air. You can watch them fly over the beach or at the home Naval base. Afterwards, hang around to enjoy the Naval Air Museum!
9. Las Vegas, NV
Party like it’s 1776 in Las Vegas, NV! If you think it’s wrong to party like an animal on a day of remembrance, I urge you to think again. Fourth of July is a day of victory. The day we gained our independence and were free to be whom we wanted. That is why we party on this day! In my opinion, the harder you party the greater your American pride. Am I right?
With that said, Las Vegas is the perfect destination to show your American “party” pride. Come and be who you want to be. There are a TON of options. First of all, you can watch holiday parades all over town, get wild at a day club drinking and eating everything red, white, and blue or you can attend a concert with spectacular fireworks, or even hike up the mountains and watch the fireworks go off from all around the city. It’s really beautiful.
10. McCall, ID
Contributed by: The Traveling Spud (it’s me!)
In case you didn’t already figure it out, I’m obsessed with my home state of Idaho! After moving away for 6 years it’s made me realize how special it is. One of the best times to be in Idaho is the 4th of July and my favorite place to celebrate the 4th is the mountain lake town of McCall, ID. Also, I’ve already written a post about why it’s the best place in Idaho to celebrate the 4th of July, but it deserves a spot on the list of all of USA because it’s so amazing. Picture small lake town, fireworks, s’mores, great weather and lake life all day! You really can’t beat a small town USA 4th of July!
With that, I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July and get to spend it with family and friends in a great location! Also, I’m sure we’ve missed a few more places to celebrate the 4th of July. What are your favorite places?