The 20 Best Getaways for 4th of July Weekend
From the food to the fireworks to the all-American fun, there's nothing not to love about these Independence Day destinations across the U.S.A.
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The perfect time for a trip!
After more than a year at home, life is finally starting to feel like it’s getting back to normal. And as vaccination rates increase and restrictions around the country relax, people are looking for ways to travel safely—and soon. In fact, nearly three-quarters of Americans are planning trips this summer, according to new research from the travel industry. The 4th of July holiday weekend is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to consider getting away, whether that means heading out on a road trip or even taking a flight to one of America’s top spots to celebrate Independence Day.
If you’re trying to decide where to go for the 4th of July, consider what kind of things you want to do, and also what would feel safe for you and your family. Searching for the best fireworks displays in the country and a little 4th of July history? Head to Philadelphia. Would you be happier watching fireworks from the porch, away from any sort of crowds? Colorado Springs has just the event for you! Been longing for an in-real-life concert? Nashville should be on your list. Or are you looking for some fun in the sun and on the sand? Consider a COVID-safe beach spot in California or Florida. We’ve got 20 amazing ideas for every interest and vacation style. And if you’re not quite ready to venture out or you tend to prefer a good staycation, these at-home 4th of July ideas will get your party started right. You can also browse these 4th of July sales that’ll have you seeing stars (and stripes).
Been missing live music during a year of quarantine? Celebrate Independence Day 2021 in Music City with headliner Brad Paisley during the free “Let Freedom Sing!” July 4th event in downtown Nashville. This celebration will not only offer a large outdoor concert—Nashville is also promising the largest fireworks show in the city’s history. Extra bonus: The pyrotechnics will be synchronized to a live performance by the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony.
Where to stay: With a great beach-resort atmosphere in downtown Nashville, there is no better place to feel like you’re enjoying an island paradise in the midst of it all than at Margaritaville Hotel Nashville. Soak up the sun, and take in fantastic views of the Music City skyline, including the fireworks, from the fourth-floor pool deck. Guests are invited to celebrate with the hotel’s “Red, White, and Blue Skies” package that includes 4th of July goodies, drink vouchers for Fins Bar, and late checkout.
Rochester, New York
Every 4th of July, Rochester residents gather downtown to take in the stunning sights and sit on the bridge that crosses the Genesee River to view the fireworks as they burst over the city’s skyline. After being canceled due to the pandemic last year, this year’s show will pull out all the stops—it will even include a choreographed light show involving dozens of drones.
Where to stay: For travelers looking to dip their toes back into travel, the Ellwanger Estate’s Pandemic Pod Package lets you plan a 4th of July weekend getaway with a group of friends. Your “pod” can explore the 150-acre Highland Park and Genesee River Trail just steps away from the property, set up a private movie night, or get cozy around the fire pit with s’mores while you wait for fireworks. If this sounds in line with your comfort level, you’ll want to check out these affordable private travel experiences, too.
For a family-friendly Fourth, head to sunny Florida and the Red, White, and Baytowne celebration, where you’ll find inflatables, crafts, face painting, and live music from Donovan Keith. In the evening, a fireworks display will light up the night sky. Can’t make it to Sandestin for Independence Day? No worries; every Tuesday between mid-May and August, you can catch fireworks over the lagoon here at 9:15 p.m.
Where to stay: For a sea-and-sand getaway, stay at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, the area’s largest full-service resort located directly on the beach. The hotel’s expansive deck boasts two pools (one heated), a kids’ pool, and a whirlpool just steps from a heated indoor pool. There is also a world-class spa and a whole host of resort activities to enjoy, including golf, tennis, sailing, biking, and water sports. There’s also a large array of kids’ programs, child-care services, and other perks for parents. Chances are, you’ll be snapping a lot of pics along the way, so these 4th of July captions will come in handy for your social media posts.
No one does the 4th of July quite like Philly, one of the country’s most patriotic destinations. And where better to celebrate America’s birthday than in its birthplace? The annual Wawa Welcome America event includes several days of virtual happenings, free museum admission, concerts, and more. The event series typically culminates with a stunning fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Where to stay: The best views in Philadelphia? Those would be from the heights atop the city’s tallest tower, at the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. The lofty hotel offers equally high standards when it comes to its plush rooms and gourmet dining. Book a room with views toward the museum and you can watch the fireworks while enjoying a room-service picnic right from your bed if the mood strikes.
July 4th is the biggest holiday of the year in the small northwestern Wyoming town of Cody, located in Yellowstone County. It’s so big, in fact, that it takes five days to pack in all the fun. The highlight here is the Cody Stampede Rodeo, now in its 102nd year. The festivities kick off on June 30 with a special Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association-sanctioned bull rider rodeo event called the Cody/Yellowstone Extreme Bulls. The fun continues over the next four days with four additional Cody Stampede Rodeos, parades, the three-day Wild West Arts Fest, the 40th Annual Runners Stampede, musical performances at outdoor venues throughout town, and a spectacular July 4th fireworks show over the rodeo grounds.
Where to stay: The Comfort Inn at Buffalo Bill Village Resort is an easy walk to restaurants, galleries, and museums on Sheridan Avenue, the town’s Main Street. You can walk right out the door and down the street to watch the parades and participate in the other festivities without having to drive and find parking.
Newport, Rhode Island
Live jazz is back, thanks to the famed Newport Music Festival, which will present 17 concerts between July 4 and 20. All concerts will be held outdoors at historic mansions and venues in Newport, including The Breakers, Bellevue House, Castle Hill Inn, The Chanler at Cliff Walk, King Park, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and Rough Point.
Where to stay: The Wayfinder is a new boutique hotel created by a group of local Newport chefs, bartenders, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs. Their passion project offers the beautiful art, style, and scenery of Rhode Island, along with a taste of its local cuisine. The property also boasts the best of coastal living, with a prime location near the city’s beaches and infamous Newport Cliff Walk, making it a perfect spot to celebrate the 4th of July weekend or any other.
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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Looking for some good, old-fashioned beach fun? You’ll find it here. Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk is lined with all the vintage favorites of vacation and 4th of July fun, including fudge shops and arcades, a family amusement park, and several Ripley’s attractions. You’ll also find the nearly 200-foot-high SkyWheel, one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the country—perfect to catch the flashes in the sky if you get your timing right.
Where to stay: Set across 27 acres on the south end of Ocean Boulevard and next to Myrtle Beach State Park, the Double Tree Resort by Hilton Hotel Myrtle Beach Oceanfront provides a scenic coastal escape. Multiple fireworks shows will be very visible from the resort: the City of Myrtle Beach fireworks at 2nd Avenue North Pier; Surfside Beach, about three miles south of the resort; and the Marsh Walk, Murrells Inlet—a little harder to spot, about eight miles south of the resort.
Less crowded than nearby Phoenix, Scottsdale is a great way to experience nature, wellness, and the 4th of July in the desert. Its annual 4th of July celebration with fireworks will be set against the McDowell Mountains of Scottsdale, making it a picture-perfect place to celebrate America’s big day.
Where to stay: The sprawling Fairmont Scottsdale Princess sure knows how to party. All summer long (including over the 4th of July weekend), the resort will host “Outta This World” space-themed family programs, with activities such as evening laser tag and Galactic Glo Parties on weekend evenings; the two 200-foot waterslides at the Sonoran Splash pools will turn into a late-night party with lasers, fog, colorful strobe lights, LED hula hoops, alien encounters, and techno beats by DJ E.T. Pint-sized partiers will also love these easy 4th of July crafts.
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Celebrate Independence Day in the immersive, historic landscape of Dallas Heritage Village. The Old Fashioned Fourth is an event for the entire family and includes a festive parade, musical performances, crafts for children, carnival activities, and historic games like horseshoes, graces, and checkers. All of the village’s historic buildings will be open for touring during the celebration, and costumed characters will be around to show attendees what life was like in North Texas from 1840 to 1910.
Where to stay: Instead of staying in urban downtown, consider the spacious Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa, which sprawls over 400 acres of shaded greenery with a refreshing outdoor pool and access to an adjacent Tom Fazio–designed golf course. There will also be plenty of 4th of July weekend programming, including sunrise yoga, live music and entertainment, an ice cream cart, a poolside cookout, sporting competitions, and outdoor movies. If you want to take a break from it all for a few hours, pull out your laptop and turn on one of these patriotic 4th of July movies.
According to flight search and booking data from Priceline, Hawaii is one of this year’s most popular summer destinations. Even more timely, this tropical paradise plans to lift restrictions to vaccinated travelers around the 4th of July holiday weekend. That means you can plan a visit to see the 69th Annual Kailua Fireworks, which will kick off with an acrobatic air show by the Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band at Kailua Beach Park.
Where to stay: The Surfjack Hotel is ready to give travelers an unforgettable 4th of July with immersive, cultural activities plus sunny beach vibes. For authentic Hawaii regional cuisine and a farm-to-table experience, try Merriman’s Honolulu. Consistently named one of the best places to eat in the area, it combines the feel of a neighborhood go-to with hints of old Hawaii to make guests feel like locals.
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Charleston, South Carolina
A quick flight from most major U.S. hubs and an exciting road trip for regional travelers, this historic American city is an ideal 4th of July weekend escape full of rich history, quaint cobblestone streets, and a highly regarded culinary scene. Each year, the city hosts a sparkling fireworks show over the Charleston Harbor, and we’re predicting it will be extra special for 2021 after a pause last year.
Where to stay: Avoid the crowds and get a birds-eye view of the celebrations from the newly refreshed Harbourview Inn, which offers 360-degree views from the private rooftop terrace. Not only will you be able to enjoy the incredible fireworks over the church steeple skyline, but you can also truly relax and indulge here with an array of chocolates from local shops, handcrafted cordials served in edible chocolate cups, and freshly baked cookies with milk—a signature of the hotel’s classic Southern service. If this is putting you in the mood for something sweet, check out these picture-perfect desserts for the 4th of July. (There’s no need to actually wait till the 4th to make them, of course!)
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
We love this mix of old-school fireworks fun combined with social distancing safety: Fireworks From Your Porch will have fireworks lighting up the sky across the Pikes Peak Region on July 4th, and you’ll be able to see them from your “porch” or another spot near your home base. You’ll also get to enjoy a patriotic concert by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra that you can listen to on local radio stations.
Where to stay: The Colorado Springs Marriott recently completed a $15 million renovation, including redesigned guest rooms, so that’s one big plus. The other is that the hotel makes a perfect home base for summer outdoor enthusiasts interested in climbing or hiking excursions at area highlights like Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, and Garden of the Gods. After a day of exploration, continue the outdoor appreciation on the hotel restaurant’s stylish outdoor patio, which will feature breathtaking views of the 4th of July weekend fireworks.
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Huntington Beach, California
Surf City U.S.A. has one of the longest-running 4th of July parade traditions in the country, with a neighborhood celebration that’s been taking place for 117 years and is the largest 4th of July celebration west of the Mississippi. There are three days of activities planned for the holiday weekend, including the Surf City 5k Run and the Pier Plaza Festival, complete with vendors, food, and live performances. At night, travelers can watch a massive fireworks display over the ocean from the pier or around a bonfire pit on the shore.
Where to stay: Southern California’s most Fido-friendly destination, Paséa Hotel & Spa, is conveniently located less than two miles from the famed Huntington Dog Beach, where your pup can run leash-free through the waves. There’s also a 1,100-square-foot outdoor play area that’s outfitted with a lifeguard-station dog house and decorated with a local artist-commissioned wall mural. If you love traveling with your fur baby, check out this list of the best pet-friendly hotels in America.
Downtown Orlando is typically known for its cool, under-the-radar rhythm, but “The City Beautiful” comes alive and bursts with an undeniable energy every 4th of July. One of the city’s most notable events, Fireworks at the Fountain, takes place at the iconic Lake Eola Park in the heart of downtown Orlando. Guests from all around Orlando set up picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy this alfresco event (socially distanced this year, of course) and watch America ring in Independence Day. Nearby at World of Beer is the festive Red, White & Brew event, featuring more than 50 craft brews on tap.
Where to stay: For the best views, pyrotechnic lovers might want to make their way to SkyBar at the newly opened AC Hotel Orlando Downtown. With its central location and 18th-floor vantage point, attendees will ring in the 4th in style. The bar offers sweeping views of the area, so guests can take in the Disney and Universal fireworks shows without the massive crowds. Once the fireworks die down, keep the party going with SkyBar’s delicious bites and tapas, smoked cocktails, and live entertainment. Pack your own playlist with these 4th of July songs. ‘Tis the season!
Is it cliché to say that Washington, D.C., is the most patriotic spot in the country to celebrate our nation? Eh, maybe, but we still love watching fireworks explode over the National Mall, lighting up the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building and adding a glow to the Washington Monument. There is truly nothing like it. This year, A Capitol Fourth, the star-studded concert that precedes the show, will be held once again, but there’s no word yet on what attendance procedures will be. If you want to enjoy the simulcast and not deal with crowds, try the newly launched Picnic & Peonies, which can curate custom picnics for your 4th of July celebrations in a prime D.C. location.
Where to stay: The celebration at the elegant, contemporary Conrad Hotel takes place at the newly reopened Summit the Rooftop, which has been dubbed “America’s Backyard Patio” for its stunning views overlooking the White House and the Mall. In addition to a garden-to-glass menu of summer cocktails, there’s also regional “elevated” picnic fare cooked in the rooftop’s solar oven.
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Hamptons, New York
Save the city for another time. For the 4th, head east to the beach communities that line the Long Island Sound, known collectively as the Hamptons. Each small town has its own take on celebrating for the holiday weekend, and you might be able to take in several parades and events in a single day (in between laying on the beach and diving into the Atlantic Ocean, of course). A few favorites: parades in Southampton Village, New Suffolk, and Southold Village; the North Sea Fire Department’s annual carnival; and fireworks in Westhampton, Sag Harbor, and Stars Over Montauk at Umbrella Beach.
Where to stay: Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk is the perfect spot. Guests can stay in one of the 19 cabin-style rooms and enjoy the plethora of outdoor space on the hotel’s property. Located less than a mile from the town of Montauk and the Long Island Railroad station, Ruschmeyer’s is easily accessible for a weekend getaway. The hotel is also close to Montauk’s most popular attractions, including world-renowned surf destination Ditch Plains Beach and the fireworks at Umbrella Beach.
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Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
One of the most stunning lake destinations in the country, Lake Geneva is just 80 miles from Chicago and 40 miles from Milwaukee, but it feels like it’s a million miles from the traffic, parking, and noise of big urban destinations. The area’s natural beauty and small-town charm make it a perfect option for the 4th of July weekend.
Where to stay: Situated on 1,300 acres in the woodlands of Lake Geneva, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is a destination in and of itself, with lake access, a water park, firepits, and pools for you to enjoy. And its annual 4th of July fireworks display is a regional highlight. Guests who stay in a Lake View room can enjoy the show from their private balcony or patio, while all guests can see it from the resort’s hillside. If this sounds right up your alley, fill out your bucket list with these other beautiful lakeside resorts around the world.
For a classic spin on the holiday, head to Springfield’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July Parade and Celebration at Washington Park. Not only can you watch the parade pass by, but you can even participate—there are prizes for everything from “best children’s float” to “best adult marching unit.” In addition, there will be live music from the Norman Jackson Band, free ice cream from local Hiland Dairy, free children’s games, and picnic fare from the DNA BBQ food truck (you could even find some yummy and festive 4th of July appetizers to enjoy).
Where to stay: If a locally-themed hotel is what you’re looking for, the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven comprises eight sandstone units dating back to the 1930s and the heyday of Route 66. Go full kitsch with an overnight in the Elvis Room, the Marilyn Monroe Room, or the Wild Bill Hickok room. Combine it with a Route 66 road trip for a big slice of Americana.
The city that played an integral role in the American Revolution is also the site of the famed Boston Harborfest, a multiday festival that includes live entertainment, special Freedom Trail walks, and a Changing of the Guard that will transport you back to 1775 as watch “colonists” interact with “British soldiers.” At press time, the city was still evaluating how they would celebrate in safe fashion for 2021, but historically there’s been a large parade with marching bands and floats that culminates at the Old State House with a reading of the Declaration of Independence and a concert by the world-famous Boston Pops leading up to a fantastic fireworks display.
Where to stay: Situated along the Charles River, the Royal Sonesta is in an ideal location for experiencing both Cambridge and Boston, not to mention a prime spot for watching the fireworks from the banks of the river while the Boston skyline becomes illuminated. Plus, the hotel is pet-friendly, so you can bring Rover with you to celebrate!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is the perfect summer destination for travelers looking to get outside and explore, with long daylight hours, unbeatable weather, and countless opportunities for outdoor adventures in the majestic mountain town, including fly-fishing, hiking, whitewater rafting, and more. The town of Jackson sits at the crossroads between urban and wild, with easy access to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. In addition to access to pristine natural areas, Jackson Hole offers a full agenda of ways to celebrate the 4th of July weekend, including Concerts on the Common, the Patriotic Pops, and fireworks.
Where to stay: With a fun modern take on authentic Western design, Hotel Jackson redefines the art of Western hospitality with exquisite accommodations in a pristine setting, just steps from the Jackson town square. Each of the unique 55 rooms and suites are authentic to Jackson Hole’s history and landscape with natural stone, reclaimed barn wood, leather, and rawhide; plus, they all have natural gas fireplaces and spa-like bathrooms for a relaxing finish to the holiday.