From small towns to big cities, people across the United States kick off Independence Day in different ways. While fireworks are a common thread, there are so many other things to do, see and experience that scream Americana.
Here are just a few top places to visit this Fourth of July for a whole lot of celebrating and pyrotechnic activity.
This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star retreat is a mid-mountain resort with prime access to Lake Tahoe’s many outdoor adventures, from hiking and mountain biking to paddle boarding and, new this summer, cruising on a fleet of luxury powerboats. Of course, you’ll also enjoy top-notch service and amenities at this elegant lodge, including events throughout the holiday weekend.
The big July 4 bash is at The Backyard Bar and BBQ, with highlights like face painting, balloon animals, root beer floats and shaved ice. To really do it up, reserve a spot at the resort’s private Lake Club, which will have live music, themed cocktails and more right on the shore.
When the sun goes down, you won’t have to look far for pyrotechnics. The Lake Tahoe area has several different fireworks shows, but we like the dazzling display at Incline Village, where you can head to the beach and lie back in the sand to watch the sparklers overhead.
A stay in this historic but stylish hotel on the main drag in Saratoga Springs is ideal if you seek the small-town feel of the Adirondacks without sacrificing big-city sophistication.
This year’s Fourth of July barbecue illustrates how the property melds simple, nostalgic pleasures with modern tastes — star chef David Burke put together a menu of elevated flame-grilled favorites like local honey and citrus spit-fire-roasted chicken, smoked bratwurst, sticky Thai barbecue ribs, and a watermelon, pistachio and strawberry salad.
Stop by the pit-grilling event from 4 to 8 p.m. to fuel up before catching the town’s big fireworks display.
Whether you’re child-free or traveling with a bunch of kiddos, a visit to this sprawling Laurel Highlands escape over the holiday will save you the trouble of shuttling your family from event to event throughout the weekend.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania resort has it all in one place: parades, fireworks, bounce houses, a fun run, live music and even a Disney character meet-and-greet with Aladdin and princess Jasmine.
There are several lodging options at the 2,000-acre playground, but a stay at its Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Falling Rock hotel means you get access to the Sunset Terrace for amazing evening views and use of its infinity pool, a 200-gallon soaking tub in your room and a team of butlers who will assist you with just about anything.
For a taste of the old-world grandeur the Founding Fathers might have enjoyed, check into the sumptuous Chateau Lafayette. White columns and a cozy Cigar Bar echo times gone by, but two exquisite golf courses and a Five-Star dining room, Lautrec, bring elegance into the 21st century.
The Lodge and Cottages at Primland
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southern Virginia, this idyllic Four-Star resort doesn’t just feel remote, it is remote. In fact, there’s a six-mile drive from the retreat’s main lodge to the property’s entrance gate.
Not that you’ll lack for anything to do over the long weekend at this 12,000-acre hideaway. Primland has a slew of things planned for the nation’s birthday. On the actual holiday, there’s a 5K fun run, a cookout with live music and s’mores on the terrace. The following two days are filled up with cookouts, dedicated pool parties for kids and adults, a movie night and more roasted marshmallows.
To continue the grown-up camp vibe, couples should book the scenic Tree House accommodations built around branches and boasting large private decks with killer views. Families and groups can reserve rustic-chic cottages, some equipped with large stone fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, covered decks and putting greens.
Where better to celebrate America’s birthday than the nation’s capital? This historic Four-Star hotel on Lafayette Square will feel like just the right spot to rest your head: the hotel, named after both Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary and a descendant of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, has views of The White House.
The white-column-clad stay also happens to have one of the best views of the city’s spectacular fireworks show from its wrap-around rooftop terrace Top of the Hay. Book the property’s 4th of July Package to gain access to the ninth-floor venue and watch the D.C. sky light up as you sip butler-passed cocktails and nibble on nostalgic treats (like ice cream and candy) from pastry chef Elenor Apolonio-Frantz.
Just a few blocks from Union Square, this sleek Four-Star hotel is in a convenient spot to explore one of America’s most iconic cities. In fact, the property sits less than two miles from Oracle Park, arguably one of the country’s most picturesque MLB stadiums.
And because there’s nothing more Americana than baseball, consider a trip to the ballpark on the upcoming holiday weekend to watch the San Francisco Giants suit up against the St. Louis Cardinals for three games from July 5 through 7.
While the Giants don’t actually play on July 4, you can still catch a classic spectacle during the city’s fabulous fireworks display. For an up-close view of the lights in the sky, head for Pier 39, where you can also grab a late-night bite and a tipple after the festivities.
If this year is anything like past Julys, you can expect this Four-Star Hershey, Pennsylvania, sweet spot to load up the events calendar — we’re talking picnics, live music, big-time fireworks, a fun run and much more — around Independence Day.
Consider skipping crowds at nearby Hersheypark on the holiday and, instead, head to the 300-acre resort’s picturesque veranda for live jazz from 7 to 10 p.m. and stellar vistas of the city’s fireworks display.
Other resort amenities to take advantage of over the big weekend include the sprawling pool complex (complete with two waterslides), hiking trails, golf and family s’mores roasts.