The big city 4th of July celebrations – like the fireworks on the Hudson River in New York City – often get all the attention, but small town America also has a special way of throwing a great birthday party. Around the country there are plenty of smaller communities that have built a stellar reputation around this big day of festivities. From Colorado to Florida, these celebrations have become a gathering place for the community, but they also draw visitors from near and far, who often visit every year to kick off the summer with a bang. So, instead of fighting for a cherished spot to catch the light display in a big city, check out some of our favorite small town 4th of July celebrations that have big character.
1. Telluride, Colorado
Many people think of Telluride as a winter skiing destination, but it's also a great spot to celebrate our nation’s birthday. In addition to a parade and fireman’s picnic along the main road in downtown Telluride, there is also entertainment provided by fighter planes that perform tricks above the annual party. All of this revelry is set to the gorgeous backdrop of soaring mountains.
2. Bristol, Rhode Island
Between Providence and Newport is the town of Bristol, a charming seaside spot with lots of history and a surprisingly sophisticated side. It’s also home to one of the oldest 4th of July celebrations in the country; this year marks the 228th Independence Day parade through Bristol, an occasion so beloved that each year the streets get a new coat of red white and blue paint right down the middle. There's also an elegant ball that takes place at the local marine museum that features dinner and dancing.
3. Bar Harbor, Maine
If you’re the type of traveler that likes some serious food to accompany your holidays, head to Bar Harbor, Maine for the annual Independence Day Seafood Festival. Here, the 4th is celebrated with lots of lobster and corn on the cob in addition to traditional festivities such as a town parade and live music performances.
4. St. Augustine, Florida
It’s only fitting that one of the oldest towns in the USA has one of the best celebrations. In St. Augustine, visitors can witness one of the biggest and best fireworks displays on the East Coast. The show is launched over the ancient Castillo de San Marcos and the display is spectacular over the Mantanzas Bay. Come early for a free concert at the Beach Pier Pavilion, too!
5. Merrimack, New Hampshire
4th of July in Merrimack is a slice of Americana, from the morning pancake breakfast thrown by the Rotary Club to the afternoon parade that stretches along the main street. This family-friendly town has festivities to suit kids of all ages and offers a refreshing laid-back approach to the celebrations.
What are your plans for 4th of July this year?