The Best Place to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Every State
From awe-inspiring firework displays to quirky small-town traditions, these are the best spots in every state to celebrate the red, white, and blue this Independence Day.
One of the summer’s simplest pleasures is biting into a juicy slice of watermelon. So on a hot July 4th in Alabama, cool off at the Grand Bay Watermelon Festival where you can eat all the delicious watermelon you want—for free! Find out who is crowned Watermelon Queen, then make sure to leave with a giant melon of your own so you can try one of these savory and sweet recipes the next day.
Zoltan Varga Photographer/Shutterstock
The flag isn’t the only thing flying in Alaska on the 4th—you might see some cars soaring through the air, as well. Just outside of Anchorage in the town of Glacier View, residents launch old cars off of a 300-foot cliff while noshing on barbecue and beer. And if you’re worried about pollution, don’t be—everyone cleans up the broken vehicles after the celebration.
What better way to celebrate what this country is about than by welcoming new citizens to the land of the free? At the Arizona Celebration of Freedom in Mesa, you can watch a naturalization ceremony put on by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services followed by live music and fireworks.
Some things are just better on a boat—like watching the Ventris Trail’s End Resort’s fireworks display in Northwest Arkansas. To be fair, you can enjoy the show from shore, but it was designed to be viewed on the water. Apparently, there’s just something about the way the bursts of light and color reflect on the waves of Beaver Lake. Don’t feel like leaving your house that day? Find out the 8 ways to have the best 4th of July at home.
There are a LOT of places you can celebrate July 4th in California, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. But what makes Pacific Palisades stand apart is how they kick off their parade each year: skydivers jumping out of planes overhead. Talk about an entrance! The all-day fun continues with Palisades Rocks the Fourth, 300 minutes of musical performances by local rock artists and bands. Before you leave, check out the patriotic homes that were entered in the home-decorating contest—talk about residents who are proud to be Americans.
Voted one of the top places to spend the 4th of July, Boulder has something for everyone. If you love the outdoors, dive into the cool water of the Boulder Reservoir or soak up some rays on the beach. If you’re a beer enthusiast, order a cold one at one of the dozens of breweries along the Boulder Beer Trail. And if you want some live music in your life, check out 4th on Pearl downtown where you can listen to the sounds of the city’s finest all day.
After spending the day riding the rollercoasters and sipping sweet lemonade at Quassy Amusement Park, stick around for the 3-D fireworks display over the lake. Not only will you get to experience the special effect of bursts coming right at you, you’ll only spend $9 on the glasses, parking and admission—and part of the proceeds go towards preventing blindness with the Healthy Eye Alliance. Don’t miss these 20 things you never knew about the 4th of July.
Netfalls Remy Musser/Shutterstock
All aboard! Take in the fireworks at Rehoboth Beach from the deck of the Cape-May Lewes Ferry which sets sail on a celebratory cruise every July Fourth weekend. You’ll be treated to live music from a local band and can sip on an icy-cool cocktail while you watch. Pro tip: Reserve your spot well in advance as the cruise tends to sell out quickly.
Celebrate Jimmy Buffett-style at the Key Lime Festival in Key West. The fun kicks off with a Key Lime Pie Drop where you can try to drop a pie from the top of a lighthouse… without damaging the dessert. Then, join the Key Lime Pie Hop and stroll from restaurant to restaurant, sampling some of the sweetest bites in town, or sign up for cooking classes to learn how to make your own citrusy pie.
Step onto the streets of Scarlett O’Hara’s hometown in Washington, Georgia for some serious small-town Southern charm. In the Gone With The Wind birthplace—named after George Washington—you can explore some of the 200 elegant antebellum homes, participate in the watermelon eating contest and tour local plantations. And at nightfall, make your way to Historic Downtown Square to see the Freedom Fireworks Extravaganza, of course. Find out the 10 best 4th of July vacations everyone needs to take at least once.