America’s summertime birthday celebrations rate among the favorites for boaters. Warm sunshine, cool waters, BBQs, music and outdoor activities, rounded out by patriotic firework shows, are the ultimate 4th of July recipe. From the East Coast to the Great Lakes, the following events present Independence Day fun.
Boston, MA, June 30 – July 4
As one of the nation’s largest Independence Day celebrations, this festival hosts live entertainment, craft markets, fashion shows, parades, historical readings, tours and ceremonies.
Bristol, RI, July 3
Since 1785, this small town has upheld a traditional holiday parade that’s grown into a grand celebration. View fireworks across the harbor at 9:30 p.m.
Camden, NJ, July 4
Enjoy live music, vendors and a beer garden at Wiggins Park. The event kicks off with the Tri-County Symphonic Band’s salute to America and ends with fireworks over the Delaware River.
Deep Creek, MD, July 4
View the holiday magic from the Wisp Resort, Lawn at Garrett College, scenic overlook along Rt. 219, or by boat on Deep Creek Lake near McHenry Cove.
Ocean City, MD, July 4
Join the annual music and fireworks along the Atlantic Ocean. Celebrations take place both downtown at N. Division Street along the boardwalk or uptown at Northside Park.
Virginia Beach, VA, July 4
Catch concerts at 17th Street, 24th Street and Neptune Parks from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. and lounge on the beach to watch the 9:30 p.m. fireworks. Or head over to Mount Trashmore to enjoy the show with food trucks and live music.
Myrtle Beach, SC, July 4
Witness vintage military aircraft and F-16s fly over the shore followed by a holiday boat parade at Murrells Inlet. Then watch fireworks from vantage points such as 2nd Avenue Pier, Cherry Grove Pier, Broadway at the Beach, Barefoot Landing and the inlet’s MarshWalk.
Austin, TX, July 4
Catch a true southern celebration at Auditorium Shores and the Long Center to see the Austin Symphony play patriotic music with a firework finale over Lady Bird Lake.
St. Augustine, FL, July 4
Enjoy “Fireworks Over the Matanzas” bayfront festivities at the Castillo de San Marcos and view a show from Vilano Beach or the Bridge of Lions. Free concerts take place at the Plaza de la Constitucion featuring a local orchestra and big band swing show.
Panama City Beach, FL, July 4
Lounge on the beach and gaze upon one of the largest fireworks displays on the Gulf Coast. View from the M.B. Miller Pier or Russell-Fields Pier.
Miami, FL, July 4
Spend the holiday at Bayfront Park for food trucks, live local music and bounce houses for kids, and watch the sky illuminate over Biscayne Bay at 9:00 p.m.
Key West, FL, July 4
The Rotary Club of Key West holds an annual Independence Day 5K at the Edward B. Knight Pier, followed by a patriotic party and fireworks. Best views include Smathers Beach or Higgs Beach.
Mackinac Island, MI, July 4
Festivities begin with the W.T. Rabe Stone Skipping Competition at Windermere Point where professional stone skippers compete. Two simultaneous firework displays will dazzle across the water at dusk.
Traverse City, MI, July 1 – July 8
This popular festival honors the region’s abundant cherry crop with eight days of festivities and a holiday celebration. View fireworks over West Grand Traverse Bay from Open Space Park, Bryant Park, Clinch Park Marina and West End Beach.
Bay City, MI, June 30 – July 1
A variety of live music, vendors and events are held in Veteran’s and Wenonah Parks. Check out the family carnival, pageants and a 4th of July fireworks display on the river.
South Haven, MI, July 3
Head to Riverfront Park and tune your radios to COSY 103.7 FM for musically synced fireworks above the water.
Chicago, IL, July 4
Navy Pier hosts “Live on the Lake” summer concert series, plus an Independence Day celebration through the holiday weekend. Book a cruise to see fireworks over Lake Michigan or visit the South Side at Hyde Park for a parade and festival from 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Green Bay, WI, July 4
This festival takes place across downtown Green Bay at Leicht Memorial Park, the Neville Museum parking lot, Main Street Bridge and City Deck. Enjoy live music at multiple stages and watch fireworks at dusk.
La Crosse, WI, June 30 – July 4
Celebrating its 40th year, this annual festival hosts five days of events ranging from comedy and car shows to tournaments and Independence Day ceremonies. Opening events kick off on Friday and close out on the 4th with the Kwik Trip & Chad Erickson Memorial Fireworks Extravaganza at the River Stage.