When most people think of traditional 4th of July celebrations many Eastern cities like Bristol Rhode Island, Williamsburg Virginia, Washington DC, New York City, Boston and Philadelphia come to mind. These are very popular for good reason. They are the birthplace of many of the most visited an longest running celebrations in the country. But if you don’t happen to be in one of these cities don’t worry, I put together a list of some of the nations best Independence day celebrations not mentioned above.
This small town has a population of about 15,000 people the rest of the year but for the 4th of July the town to explodes to about 500,000. Addison isn’t exactly a hotbed of tourism but for this one day the Dallas suburb’s celebration known as “Kaboom Town” is one of the nation’s largest events setting off 3500 pounds of fireworks. Get here about 4 pm when the gates open. Their is a carnival for kids of all ages, midway games, live music, face painting an air show at 7:15 and the fireworks kick off at 9:30 pm.
Gatlinburg is known as the nations first 4th of July parade. Now, you’re probably thinking I’ve been struck in the head with a few too many bottle rockets or I must be choking on a Coney Island hot dog but hear me out. There are many celebrations that have been going on for many more years like Bristol’s but Gatlinburg’s parade starts on July 4th at 12:01 am. So there you go, how many other parades do you know that start that early? (or that late?) Gatlinburg is more commonly known to most as a small vacation town nestled in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. It is a great place to visit any time of the year but the 4th of July is the top of my list. National Geographic Traveler Magazine has named the parade as a “Top 10 Parade to see in the US” If you plan on staying a few days (which you should!) check out our wide selection of mountain cabins here. For more information about the parade and other activities in the area, here is a helpful site.
Hapuna Beach, HI
The Big Island of Hawaii has a slightly different kind of Independence day celebration. The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel in Hapuna Beach celebrates “Turtle Independence Day”by releasing the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles that were raised in their ponds once they are big enough to safely be released out into the ocean. The event includes a traditional Hula dance and according to the hotel it “honors the Honu and helps educate the public about the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.” This a is a great family celebration so bring the kids if you are visiting the big island of Hawaii.
San Diego, CA
California’s second largest city is home to one of the nations largest 4th of July celebrations. The city and the surrounding area has several military bases so it goes without saying that the city takes it’s Independence Day activities pretty seriously. If you are looking for big pyrotechnic displays then the Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show should be on your list. Known as the largest fireworks display on the west coast the city places several barges placed strategically around the San Diego Bay for all onlookers can see. The event is choreographed with live music on both AM and FM stations. The San Diego’s county fair celebrates it’s final day with a fantastic fireworks show that includes more than 3600 areal display count including 500 in the grand finale alone.
Local Favorite – Clearwater FL
If you happen to be in Clearwater Florida a local favorite 4th of July event is the annual Clearwater Threshers baseball game. The Threshers are the minor league farm team of the Philadelphia Phillies. The team has a fireworks show every Saturday night which is very impressive in it’s own right but they save their biggest show for the 4th. Tickets for the game are cheap; they range from $6-10 and parking is only $3. We typically sit ion the outfield berm seating (grass lawn) which is great if you have kids and there is a playground as well. After the game sit back and enjoy the fireworks display which in my opinion rivals some of the biggest fireworks displays in the state and usually last about 20-25 minutes. Best bang for your buck (no pun intended) guaranteed!!