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Best 4th of July Destinations

Fireworks, grilling out, and patriotic imagery are all synonymous with Independence Day. Most municipalities in the United States have some form of 4th of July celebration, but if you are looking to get away this year for a truly memorable celebration, here are some great American cities to visit for the holiday:

Washington, DC

The Nation’s Capital is a no-brainer if you’re looking for an ultra-patriotic destination for Independence Day. This year showcases the 50th Annual free Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall from June 29-July 4 and July 6-9, featuring concerts, food, dance, and more. On the Fourth, find a spot on the Capitol’s West Lawn for a free concert at 8 p.m. presented by the National Symphony Orchestra and a fireworks finale. There are also several great places throughout the city to view the amazing fireworks display. For history buffs, people can go to the steps of Constitution Avenue at 10 a.m. for the Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony, a dramatic reading of the document by reenactors portraying historical characters, like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abigail Adams, John Hancock, among others.

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Myrtle Beach, North Carolina

The popular beach destination of Myrtle Beach is a great place for a vacation throughout the year, but this coastline city truly lights up for the 4th of July. You’ll find a variety show at the Surfside Beach pier with inflatable rides, fireworks, and a cupcake eating contest. If you travel just a few miles south to Murrell’s Inlet, you can find the 34th Annual Boat Parade from 4-6 p.m. on the Fourth with colorful boats competing for the best decorated prize. You can also check out the local minor league baseball team, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and enjoy America’s past time with fireworks and craft beer. What’s more American than that? Here is a great place to stay if you’re visiting Myrtle Beach for the holiday.

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Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach not only has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast, but also features the largest fireworks display on the Gulf Coast. In addition to the one-of-a-kind light show, you’ll find free live music, contests, and other special events at Pier Park. Additionally, the Panama City Marina also has live music, food vendors, and more. Here is a great place to stay if you’re planning on going to Panama City Beach for the 4th.

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Boston, Massachusetts

Year in and year out, visitors from all over the world flock to Boston for its Independence Day celebrations. Since the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday this year, many top locations are hosting their large events the weekend prior to the actual holiday. Boston’s 37th Annual Harborfest takes place this year June 28-July 5, but Harborfest’s display is on Saturday, June 30. As the country’s largest 4th of July festival, activities include the annual opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail walks, boat tours, live entertainment and much more. A full schedule of events can be found here. If you miss out on the first fireworks show on Saturday, June 30, don’t fret because the city still does a big July 4th fireworks show that lasts for an astounding 23 minutes and can be seen over the Charles River.

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Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The gateway to the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg proudly hosts the first 4th of July parade in the entire country. Beginning at 12:01 am on Thursday, July 4th, the parade honors veterans, American history, and stretches more than a mile through Gatlinburg’s main stretch of downtown. The celebrations continue until 10 pm and culminate with a spectacular 20-minute fireworks display in the heart of downtown. In addition to the Fourth of July events, the streets of Gatlinburg are filled with Appalachian music from Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales, which also continues throughout the summer. Finally, Gatlinburg has no shortage of amazing entertainment options for adults and children. Here is a great place to stay if visiting Gatlinburg.

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Philadelphia, PA

The cultural significance of the City of Philadelphia does not go unnoticed on the 4th of July. As the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia celebrates its important place in American history with six days of festivities. From June 29 to July 4, visitors can enjoy free concerts, dazzling fireworks shows, outdoor movies, Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party, free museum entry, parades, patriotic ceremonies, kids’ activities, and much more. The dazzling fireworks display takes place on July 4th and can be seen over the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art. A comprehensive list of activities and events can be found here.

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New York City, New York

As arguably the most iconic city in the United States and perhaps the world, New York City is a great place to visit for the most iconic American holiday. The always spectacular Macy’s 4th of July Firework show launches along the East River in Midtown Manhattan and is seemingly outdone every year. With synchronized pyrotechnics and music, cutting-edge effects, and a 25+ minute display, it’s arguably one of the best 4th of July displays in the country. In addition to the fireworks display, you can take in a history lesson and visit some of New York City’s Revolutionary War locations and world-class museums.