Eight Fun Fourth of July Festivals Around the United States

If our Globe Aware volunteers are still deciding where in the States to celebrate the Fourth of July, consider these travel destinations. From historic cities that played a role in the American Revolution to some of the nation’s largest festivals, these locations offer fantastic Independence Day celebrations.

8 Fun Fourth of July Festivals Around the United States

By Lacey Pfalz
June 29, 2024

The celebration of our nation’s independence is coming up quickly, and that’s why we’ve chosen to feature some awesome 4th of July celebrations that happen each year around the nation!

From historic cities that played their part in the American Revolution to some of the largest festivals in the nation, these Independence Day celebrations don’t just have your signature parades and fireworks (though, let’s be real, we all love those).

While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, perhaps it’ll spark your interest in learning more about how other cities and places celebrate our nation’s freedom.

Williamsburg, Virginia

If you’re a history lover, you’ve got to visit Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, Virginia for their 4th of July celebrations. These historic places offer readings of the Declaration of Independence in a historic Colonial town, fireworks displays at the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg, opportunities to watch Yorktown’s fireworks from a schooner on the water and so much more.

Those who want to immerse themselves in the revolution, or simply learn more about it, can visit The American Revolution Museum, which offers a July 4 Liberty Celebration with artillery demonstrations, recreations of a Continental Army encampment, and a Revolution-era farm that brings it all to life.

“There’s no doubt about it – Yorktown knows how to celebrate Independence Day,” explained Kristi Olsen-Hayes, Director of York County Economic & Tourism Development. “After all, it was the site of the final battle of the American Revolution. This July 4th, witness the heart of freedom at our annual parade on Historic Main Street. Hear the stirring cadence of the Fifes & Drums of Yorktown and listen to readings of the Declaration of Independence. As the sky ignites with fireworks and glimmers over the York River, join us as we unite in gratitude for the enduring spirit that defines our nation.”

Columbus, Ohio

Each year, over 400,000 travelers visit Columbus, Ohio for its 4th of July celebrations. Why, you ask?

Columbus is home to the Midwest’s largest Independence Day celebration, offering the biggest fireworks show and a large 2.5-mile event space in the heart of downtown. Live entertainment includes a parade and stress festival and live music, all culminating in a spectacular evening fireworks display, called Red, White and Boom!

“As the largest fireworks display in the Midwest and one of the best Fourth of July events in the country, Red, White and Boom! lights up the sky and wows visitors,” said Sarah Townes, Chief Marketing Officer at Experience Columbus. “…With prime viewing locations scattered throughout the city, visitors will find a spot with spectacular views no matter where they choose to watch the display.”

“Columbus really is the perfect place to celebrate Independence Day,” Townes continued. “The city shows its deep respect for our nation’s heroes through its many military memorials, like the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. This museum is the only one in the country that honors all veterans from every branch of service and from all eras of our nation’s military history, encompassing both peacetime and wartime service.”

Bar Harbor, Maine

Consistently rated one of the nation’s top Independence Day celebrations, travelers heading to Bar Harbor, Maine are likely to find the coastal city’s 4th of July events more than memorable.

Travelers will enjoy several awesome events, from a pancake breakfast fundraiser to a craft fair, Independence Day Parade, seafood festival, live music concert series, town band performance and a signature fireworks performance. Onlookers can enjoy the fireworks on the lawn on Agamont Park, or make reservations for a restaurant overlooking Frenchman Bay and enjoy a delicious meal with dazzling views.

“We are thrilled to invite everyone to Bar Harbor’s July 4th Celebration, a tradition recognized by the Today Show and one of the top ten in the U.S. by National Geographic,” said Everal Eaton, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “With a full day of events including our beloved parade, a concert series, and a stunning fireworks display over Frenchman Bay, it’s no wonder people love spending Independence Day here.”

“Summer is also a fantastic time to be in Bar Harbor, with numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures, local dining, and shopping at small businesses,” Eaton continued. “We encourage visitors to plan ahead so they can fully maximize their July 4th Bar Harbor experience!”

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Music lovers will love Atlantic City, New Jersey’s 4th of July celebration. The city, known for its entertainment such as great beaches, historic boardwalk and casinos, will offer a weekend-long event offering a concert series with notable artists like Kesha, Hassan Minhaj, J. Worra, Dom Dolla and BIG GIGANTIC.

Travelers can watch the 4th of July fireworks from the Atlantic City Boardwalk, which was the nation’s first boardwalk in 1870. From there, travelers can watch the hotels and casinos light up magnificent fireworks displays throughout the weekend.

“July 4th weekend in Atlantic City is always an exciting time filled with events across the destination that cater to a diverse group of visitors looking to celebrate any occasion,” said Larry Sieg, President and CEO of Visit Atlantic City. “During the holiday, visitors will laugh, dance, and sing along to incredible performances by Kesha, Hassan Minhaj, Dom Dolla, and BIG GIGANTIC at the many casino resorts throughout the destination.”

“Visitors will be dazzled by vibrant fireworks displays throughout the weekend presented by North Beach and Tropicana Atlantic City overlooking the glistening Atlantic Ocean,” Sieg continued. “We’re thrilled to showcase all that Atlantic City has to experience for one of the best weekends of the summer.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Could the City of Brotherly Love’s Independence Day celebrations be the longest in the nation?

The city, which played an important role during the Revolution and the founding of the United States, offers sixteen days of events from Juneteenth to July 4, ensuring all travelers heading to the city will have plenty of ways to celebrate.

The city will offer several museum programs for the holiday, including an Independence Week Celebration at the National Constitution Center and Fourth of July Week 2024 at the Museum of the American Revolution.

History lovers can watch early fireworks from the historic Battleship New Jersey on Saturday, June 29, or celebrate the Continental Congress’s vote for independence on July 2 in the city’s Historic District with the Red, White & Blue To-Do.

Additionally, the city will offer a parade and plenty of fun picnics ahead of Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America concert and festival featuring NE-YO and Kesha, followed by the city’s fireworks display over its Museum of Art.

“There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than right here in Philadelphia,” said Angela Val, President & CEO of Visit Philadelphia. “From Juneteenth to the Fourth of July, our 16 days of programming will embody freedom and liberty, amplifying different perspectives on what independence means in the birthplace of America.”

“Visitors of all ages can enjoy a wide range of celebrations throughout the city—many of which are free—including our annual Wawa Welcome America festival featuring NE-YO and Kesha, complimentary admission days to 40 museums and attractions and more.”

Galveston Island, Texas

If you’re looking for a change of scenery that includes a gorgeous beach from which to view some beautiful fireworks this Independence Day, consider Galveston Island.

The island offers an Independence Day celebration with that quintessential small-town feel, with an annual parade and, after a beautiful sunset, an evening fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico. It’s only 45 minutes away from the large city of Houston, but the destination’s fresh seafood and scenic coastline might just convince you you’re somewhere else!

The island is the birthplace of Juneteenth and is home to several historic attractions travelers will love to visit during a trip over the Independence Day holiday, including several historic homes and mansions, the Tall Ship ELISSA, the East End Historic District and The Grand 1894 Opera House.

“Heading to Galveston Island for the 4th of July weekend is a perfect family getaway,” said Mart Beth Bassett, CTA, Senior Public Relations Manager for Visit Galveston. “Not only are there fireworks and a parade, but they take place over the beautiful Gulf of Mexico along the beach. And, there’s plenty to do beyond the beach while you’re here – from strolling historic downtown to exploring the seaport and enjoying delicious, fresh seafood. Galveston Island is a quick 45 minutes from Houston and it’s a world away.”

Reno Tahoe, Nevada

Want to combine your next adventure or nature-filled getaway with an Independence Day celebration? Look no further than Reno Tahoe, Nevada!

Reno Tahoe offers plenty for travelers who are there on July 4, including a local minor league baseball game, several fireworks shows, including at Incline Village and Victorian Square in Sparks, several exhibits and performances during a month-long arts festival in Reno called Artown and, for those who really want to enjoy as many fireworks as possible, a July 5 celebration at Silver Legacy Resort.

And this can all be enjoyed in between the incredible natural beauty and outdoor adventure activities to be had along the picturesque Lake Tahoe.

“We look forward to welcoming new and returning travelers to our urban basecamp of Reno Tahoe this July for a time of excitement, unity and celebration on Independence Day,” says Mike Larragueta, President and CEO of Reno Tahoe. “This year marks the return of the breathtaking Fourth of July fireworks at Incline Village and Crystal Bay, once ranked among the nation’s best.”

“After a five-year hiatus to protect our surrounding environment, we’re excited to bring back this cherished tradition and encourage those celebrating to respect their environment by practicing Leave No Trace principles to honor both our nation and the stunning landscape we call home,” Larragueta continued. “Holiday visitors can also enjoy America’s favorite pastime with the Reno Aces and enjoy post-game fireworks, explore Artown, our month-long arts festival, or take part in The Star Spangled Sparks event at Victorian Square with local food, crafts, and fireworks.”

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington is offering a great Fourth of July selection of events from the third to the seventh, with the Mariners playing home games each night, ten cruise shop dockings, Missy Elliott performing at Climate Pledge Arena on July 6 and plenty of other fun sporting events around the city.

Yet the biggest event will be, of course, Independence Day. Seafair Summer Fourth will offer fireworks for people picnicking at Gas Works Park, South Lake Union Park and Lake Union Park.

“The 4th of July is the unofficial start of summer in Seattle, and the city is ready to shine with sunny skies and plenty of ways for visitors and locals to celebrate the holiday weekend,” said Michael Woody, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Visit Seattle. “The annual Seafair 4th of July fireworks show dazzles from viewpoints all around Lake Union, as well as neighborhood parades and a full schedule of home games for our men’s and women’s soccer teams, Seattle Storm women’s basketball and the Seattle Mariners. Come join the party!”


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