From southern Florida’s largest display to a Fourth set in an Americana time warp, here are seven fresh ways to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks this year.
The Largest Fireworks Display in Southern Florida [Cape Coral, FL]
Less than an hour north of Naples, Cape Coral’s Red, White, and Boom shuts down the main bridge for 30,000 spectators. Since the 20-minute sky-illuminating fireworks display is launched from the bridge itself, nearby streets are open to pedestrians only with live music – from country to rock and blues – dancers, and enough food to refuel every runner from the morning’s 5K. Let the little ones run off energy in the kids’ area with obstacle courses, giant slides, a Velcro wall, bungie jumping, and face painting.
Where to Stay Edgewater Beach Hotel
A Miniature Music Festival [West Palm Beach]
Set along the riverfront of West Palm Beach, this all-day outdoor Independence Day extravaganza features classic American bites, craft brews, and a roster of unique games, like human foosball and bowling. But the real festivities begin at 5 p.m., when a variety of entertainment take to the three stages, including The Air National Guard Band of the South and South Florida performers like country music singer, Liddy Clark, and ska band, Brass Knucklehead. It all culminates with the 8:30 p.m. Military Honor Ceremony and, of course, an 18-minute fireworks display.
Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Small-Town Charm [Bar Harbor, ME]
No wonder Bar Harbor was voted as having one of the best small-town Fourth of July celebrations in the country. The day starts with a town-wide pancake breakfast topped with the state’s favorite fruit: blueberries. Midday, turn to Main Street, where more than 80 parade floats cruise by, indulge in some of the freshest catches at downtown’s seafood festival, or stop by the waterfront for a splash of a lobster boat race. And if that isn’t enough, the annual Harborside Concert plays free from 3 p.m. until the evening fireworks.
Barbecue, Beats, and Boom [Lake Placid, NY]
Lake Placid goes whole hog when it comes to celebrating the Fourth. The three-day I Love Barbeque Festival sandwiches the holiday between slow-smoked delicacies slathered with sweet and savory sauces. It’s all served up at the Olympic Oval with a side of live country, folk, and blues music. End the evening along nearby Mirror Lake, where music and fireworks are choreographed for the annual “Set the Night to Music” celebration.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge
A Full Day of Flag Festivities [Delray Beach, FL]
The festivities along Delray Beach’s Route A1A and Atlantic Avenue start bright and early at 8 a.m. with a sandcastle-building contest on the beach that runs until noon. After, expect downtown shopping and dining deals, a raising ceremony for the 60-foot flag at the corner of Atlantic Ave and Gleason Street, non-stop live music on the Main Stage (from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.), and a Kids Corner and mini-golf course. As for the best place to take in the 9 p.m. fireworks display, you don’t have to look much further than Delray Sands Resort, offering prime viewing from the resort’s private beach, to take in the bursts of color over the Atlantic.
On the Water [Lake George, NY]
There’s no better way to watch the fireworks than aboard The Sagamore Resort’s nineteenth-century replica touring vessel, The Morgan, with cocktails in hand. Catching the 7:30 p.m. tour that scoots guests along the southern portion of Lake George guarantees you’ll avoid camping out for hours along Million Dollar Beach and Shepard Park. Plus, this Adirondack Mountain view is unmatched when both the sky and reflecting water illuminate into a rainbow of sparks. Just remember to reserve your seat early.
Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort
Sweet and Sour [Key West, FL]
For three days leading up to the fireworks, Greene Street puts The Keys’ most famous fruit on a pedestal with tasting and talent contests during The Key Lime Festival. The annual celebration is flush with key lime everything: soups, pies, martinis, soap, salts, even rum. Some of the funniest, sweetest, and downright zaniest gals come out to show their talent for the crowning of Miss Key Lime. But for the real crazy, stick around for the Fourth of July Mile-High Key Lime Pie Eatin’ Contest.