Cultural Experience | United States

Best. Day. Ever! How to Celebrate Independence Day around the Country

The Best Places to Celebrate your 4th of July.

Lakeside, Illinois. Mia Kavensky, University of Illinois

Campgrounds are the ideal places to spend fourth of July. What feels more patriotic than a BBQ, lakefront and sleeping in a tent? Not to mention fireworks lighting up the bare sky above.

Bradenton, Florida Whitney Barnes, University of Central Florida

Being from a small town I look forward to the intimate traditions that take place during the holidays. A 4th of July in Bradenton, Fl is spent on boats spread across Anna Maria Island. It feels like one big family everyone laughing, blasting music, enjoying burgers, dogs, and all foods all American. As soon as the sunsets people begin shooting fireworks from their boats and the sound of the National Anthem encompasses the air. It is truly a feeling like no other. There is no place I’d rather be then in the seas on the 4th of July.

(Above) New York Marilyn La Jeunesse, New York University

There’s nothing like watching the Fourth of July fireworks from the sky. That’s right! Taking a night flight across country or upstate garners you a front row seat to clouds bursting with vibrant colors once the time comes. It’s a beautiful (and safe) experience.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts Zoe Radner, Vanderbilt University

Any Northeast native will agree that Cape Cod is the ideal destination for 4th of July activities. Sand, seafood, Stars and Stripes…what more could you need?

Appleton, Wisconsin. Julia Flaherty, University of Wisconsin

I’m looking forward to celebrating it on the East coast this summer for the first time, however, I’ve loved celebrating in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin in the past. You take a group of friends, sit near the water and watch the sky explode with amazing colors. Meanwhile, I advise covering yourself in bug spray. Don’t let the mosquitoes scare you out of celebrating though. You have to celebrate! Eat some grill-cooked veggie burgers and sweet potato fries before going out, then decorate a margarita glass in red, white and blue liquid with a sprinkled or candied rim for the most delicious (and fun) 4th with friends!


St. Augustine Florida. Jamie Coulson, Flagler College

While many are used to watching fireworks from a blanket on a field, switch out your bug bites and picnics on the grass for a water view of fireworks and history! Every year St. Augustine attracts thousands of people from around Florida for one of the largest firework shows on the East Coast. The bridge of lions, the main entrance to downtown St. Augustine, gets closed down for pedestrians to watch the show. There’s nothing like watching the town and the water light up with American spirit!

Evanston, Illinois. Nicole Darian, University of Iowa

I always spend my 4th of July by the lake. Being from Evanston, IL, we are the first suburb north of Chicago right on Lake Michigan. We have a great parade in the afternoon every year that snakes its way through the town. Lots of local organizations from the town make red, white, and blue floats and get a spot at the parade. Then everyone goes home to BBQ for dinner before fireworks start over the lake at 9pm. It’s tradition that everyone gets together with their friends to sit on the beach or in the parks next to the lake to enjoy the show. Evanston is the best place to spend the 4th because it embodies everything about the summer being on the lake.

Malibu, California  Ashley Ulbrich, University of Central Florida

I am currently in Los Angeles and do not have my friends and family with me to celebrate so, I will take a hike through Malibu’s Escondido Canyon Park. At the end of the hike there is a 150 foot water fall. What a perfect way to celebrate America and surrounding yourself with nature. No cell phones, no technology, just me myself and the wild.

Dallas, Texas. Molly O’Connor, Southern Methodist University

There’s no better place to celebrate your patriotic day than in Dallas, TX! Kick off your Fourth of July in the morning with a family friendly parade through the beautiful neighborhood of Highland Park. Up next be sure to head over to Fair Park for food, music and various activities for all ages. End your day there with an amazing view of colorful fireworks lighting up the sky surrounded by thousands of others appreciating the beauty and freedom of our country

Washington DC. Ben Rissler, American University

Spending the 4th of July in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is truly an unforgettable experience! Lounging out on the National Mall with your friends watching red, white, and blue fireworks shoot across the sky overtop of the Washington Monument and memorials should not be missed by the overly patriotic. I love seeing my city lit up at night and filled with proud Americans to celebrate Independence Day!

New York City, New York Angela Serednicki, Ryerson University

There’s no place in America quite like New York City. Celebrate the 4th of July in the big apple with a late lunch and a few cocktails atop one of Brooklyn’s many roof top bars. Head out to Brooklyn Heights Promenade for 5:00pm in order to grab a great spot for Macy’s fireworks show. The views of the statue of Liberty and the sparkling city lights of the Manhattan skyline paired with a dazzling firework display will be a summer night you won’t ever forget.


College Tourist Contributor

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