From San Diego to Key West, we highlight the best parades, fireworks displays, parties, and more to shape an upcoming Independence Day vacation around.
Fireworks over North Bay [San Diego, CA]
The annual Big Bay Boom in San Diego is configured for maximum visibility: Some of the most technically advanced fireworks in the world are launched from four barges floating around North San Diego Bay, casting a wide net for people to see the show. Purportedly the largest fireworks show on the West Coast, the event regularly draws up to half a million people (mostly congregating in the Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Liberty Station, South Embarcadero, and the Marina District) and syncs the impressive display to a selection of originally scored music.
Where to Stay Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa // Kona Kai Resort & Spa
Aboard the Glass Bottom Boat [Key West, FL]
Fury Water Adventures offers a handful of Fourth of July experiences, but one of the most unique options has to be Glass Bottom Boat & Fireworks trip. The three-hour tour departs at 6:30 p.m. from the marina at Mallory Square and, in addition to a fantastic fireworks display viewed from the water at dusk, includes a reef tour viewed from the 65-foot catamaran’s unique glass bottom windows – an effect similar to that achieved by a diving mask (except you don’t get wet). The experience comes topped off with dinner (a smorgasbord of shrimp, fish dip, glazed ribs, hot dogs, fried chicken, roasted corn salad, potato salad, watermelon, holiday dessert, and more), as well as beverages.
Where to Stay Ocean Key Resort & Spa
Proud To Be A (New!) American [Seattle, WA]
It’s easy to forget Independence Day’s true meaning in the midst of fireworks, the beach, and fun with friends and family, but if you want to see American patriotism at its best, make plans to attend the July 4th Naturalization Ceremony at the Seattle Center – an inspiring and beloved tradition that has been held here for the last 33 years. Set at the Fisher Pavilion rain or shine, roughly 500 people from 80 countries take the oath to become American citizens, then celebrate their newfound freedom together. Free for the public to attend, the event kicks off at 11 a.m. and includes live music from a handful of performers (think gospel choirs and marching bands) before the formal ceremony at 12 p.m. Plus, with things concluding by early afternoon, you still have plenty of time for those other July 4th activities we love so much.
Where to Stay The Edgewater Hotel
A Patriotic Parade…And More [Jackson Hole, WY]
Horses, clowns, roller skaters, classic cars, and more parade down Snow King Avenue during Jackson Hole’s Fourth of July Parade, which kicks off at 10:30 a.m. But the parade is just the start of the day-long festivities: There’s also live music in Teton Village, a Town Square shootout reenacted by the Jackson Hole Playhouse, a rodeo at the Teton County Fairgrounds, and, of course, fireworks launched from the base of Snow King Mountain as well as the Tetons.
Where to Stay Hotel Terra // Teton Mountain Lodge
Fireworks Cruise [San Francisco, CA]
If looking take in fireworks and one of the best formal dinners in the city, Hornblower’s Premier Fourth of July Dinner Cruise is a four-hour yacht voyage that features a four-course seated gourmet meal of crab cakes, herb-crusted petite filet, corvina sea bass, and more, as well as a plenty of top-shelf champagne. After taking in the breathtaking sights of the San Francisco city skyline to the tunes of a live band on board, you’ll retreat to the outer decks at sunset for an unbeatable view of San Francisco’s fireworks show set off along the waterfront of Fisherman’s Wharf.
Where to Stay Argonaut Hotel // Hotel Zoe