Looking to enjoy a warm Fourth of July where you can enjoy a host of fun activities under the sun? This year, consider heading to one of these fabulous destinations to celebrate the red, white and blue.
Honolulu, Hawaii (Nearby Hotels)
What better place to enjoy the sun and fireworks than Hawaii? Thousands arrive to watch the fireworks along the shores of Waikiki and Ala Moana Center, where you can also listen to free live Hawaiian music from the afternoon and into the evening. One of the best places to take in the spectacular show, with the dazzling Pacific as the backdrop, is at Ala Moana Beach Park – pack a picnic, sit back, relax and wait for the light display that kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Of course, while you’re on the island, you can enjoy all of the other things that it has to offer too, from the opportunity to learn to surf and snorkeling among tropical fish to luaus and hula shows like the Magic of Polynesia, as well as just relaxing and soaking up the sun and the sand.
San Diego, California (Nearby Hotels)
San Diego is famous for its year-round mild climate and abundance of sunshine. It also puts on an impressive fireworks display, with six port parks to watch it from, including along La Jolla Shores and nearby Kellogg Park, where you can also enjoy a day at the beach. Just be sure to arrive early to stake out your spot – the fireworks are launched at 9 p.m. from four barges in San Diego Bay. Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, Seaport Village and the Coronado Ferry Landing in Coronado are outstanding vantage points for catching the display as well. Of course, San Diego is also a popular vacation destination boasting multiple major tourist attractions like the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, destination spas, wineries and more.
Jekyll Island, Georgia (Nearby Hotels)
One of the most popular Georgia barrier islands, Jekyll is wonderful to visit any time of year, but its Fourth of July festivities attracts thousands, and include a fun old-fashioned parade through the Historic District. Locals and visitors alike are invited to decorate their bikes, golf carts, strollers, pets, and themselves, to join in, and even compete for prizes. The Village Green will host an exciting day filled day with water slides, bounce houses, sidewalk sales and live music too.Just after sundown, a fireworks display will kick off that can be viewed from anywhere around Great Dunes Park or the convention center. Be sure to arrive in time to watch the sea turtle release at 6 p.m.
Wilmington, North Carolina (Nearby Hotels)
Wilmington also hosts a day of fun for Fourth of July. Celebrate all day long with the live music, a wealth of food and drink, and more on Water Street before heading to your blanket or lawn chair along the riverfront to catch what’s considered to be the biggest show in the region. The dazzling display is set off from a barge in the Cape Fear River and can be seen at a number of points around town in addition to the riverfront – one of the best ways to do it without having to worry about crowds is to book a reservation at one of the waterfront restaurants.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts (Nearby Hotels)
With its beautiful beaches and wealth of fireworks displays, Cape Cod is a great place to be to celebrate Independence Day. There are boat parades, street parades, town picnics, and, of course, impressive fireworks displays over the harbors and bays. While you’ll have many options to choose from, one of the best spots to catch Fourth of July fireworks is in Provincetown, located at the tip of the Cape. You can watch from any bayside beach, but for the ultimate view, watch from the harbor. Dolphin Fleet offers whale watch plus fireworks cruises along with a fireworks-only cruise. Book early, as they fill quickly. While you’re here you can enjoy the more than 30 miles of beaches as well as the colorful downtown area lined with seafood shacks, fudge shops, art galleries and more.
Charleston, South Carolina (Nearby Hotels)
Charleston was named one of the “Top 5 Independence Day Celebrations” by the The New York Times, and the city draws a big crowd for its Fourth of July festivities and breathtaking fireworks display. The celebration kicks off in the afternoon with activities and attractions for the entire family. Take a tour of the historic U.S.S. Yorktown and hear the stories of veterans and hop on a horse-drawn carriage to tour the charming cobblestone streets before heading to the shore at Patriots Point at Charleston Harbor to catch the show where the colorful lights dance across the water.
U.S. Virgin Islands (Nearby Hotels)
The U.S. Virgin Islands, made up of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, may be the last place you’d think of for a Fourth of July celebration, but these U.S. territories actually pull out all the tops, celebrating two holidays. The Caribbean isles do it up for both their Emancipation Day on July 3rd, which commemorates the end of the slave trade, and they continue the festivities the next day by celebrating Independence Day. St. John is arguably the best of the three, as a tiny, breathtaking island that also features a parade on the holiday, though all of the islands will have something to offer. Just trade your typical picnic and beer for rum punch and fabulous fresh seafood. Heading here in the summer, the low season also means lower airfares and accommodation rates.
St. Augustine, Florida (Nearby Hotels)
St. Augustine is one of the nation’s oldest cities and the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America, and its annual fireworks display is considered one of its biggest events of the year. Be sure to come early and enjoy the city before the show. Many historic buildings still stand and can be visited today, like the Castillo de San Marcos, built in 1672, the historic city gate and the Plaza de la Constitucion. You can even walk in Aviles’ steps at the place where he came ashore near the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park just north of Castillo de San Marcos. For a good overview of St. Augustine, take the Old Town Trolley historic tour, and when you’ve had your fill of history, catch the All Star Orchestra’s performance at 6 p.m. before enjoying the fireworks that begin at 9:30. They are best viewed along the Bayfront between the Bridge of Lions and the ancient Castillo de San Marcos, where you can see the lights reflect off the waters of Matanzas Bay.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Nearby Hotels)
There’s lots to do in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina too. In this popular summer beach town, thousands gather along the shore with blankets and chairs to watch the fireworks display that begins at dusk. A number of piers launch them, and they can be seen anywhere on the beach. During the day, play at the boardwalk. Opened in 2010, it stretches for over a mile and features a carnival-like atmosphere with souvenir shops, arcades and rides like the 187-foot-tall Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. With its opening came a host of new restaurants too, though the favorite is still overwhelmingly Peaches Corner, an institution in Myrtle Beach since 1937, beloved for its root beer floats and foot-long hot dogs that are first deep-fried, and then grilled. Pick up some of your favorites, grab a blanket, then head to a spot on the sand. Other highlights over the holiday include the boat parade along Murrells Inlet, flyovers by vintage planes and a cupcake-eating contest.