Must-Visit 4th of July Travel Destinations

Last updated on June 15th, 2021 at 01:53 pm. Originally published on June 30th, 2017

America has the best birthday party.

I mean, come on: What can beat hot dogs, beer, and fireworks?

Actually, there is one way to make it all even better. (And yes, you can probably guess what we’re going to suggest.)

What about enjoying your Independence Day celebration from the comfort of your RV, while visiting one of the many breathtaking campsites in this beautiful country of ours?

4th of July Holiday Travel

Traveling the U.S. is one of the very best ways to celebrate Independence Day. There’s little more patriotic than actually getting out and exploring the land we call home.

But if you’re thinking of taking on some 4th of July road travel this year, you may be at a loss for where to start. After all, we’ve got 50 states and 59 National Parks, not to mention all the other private and public camping areas across the nation.

Choosing the right spot for your dream vacation is, of course, highly personal. One family’s favorite spot might drive another camper absolutely crazy. Do you want a wooded wonderland, or do you prefer something more urban? Does an oceanside fireworks display sound great to you, or would you rather stay as far away from beaches — with their sand, sweat, heat, and humidity — as possible?

But if festive 4th of July events are what you’re after, there are a few American cities who lead the pack in terms of ideal Independence Day travel destinations.

So we’ve put together this list of some of the very best 4th of July travel ideas for those seeking explosively awesome last-minute getaways, whether you prefer to celebrate in a small town or a big city.

Best 4th of July Travel Destinations

No matter where in the country you call home,  here are the best places to travel over 4th of July weekend.

1. Washington, DC

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Alright, this one might be a bit of a giveaway.

But who can resist celebrating America’s birthday in its capital? Plus, after the last wisp of firework smoke has faded, you’ll still have tons of historical and cultural sites to see and explore.

2. Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California

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Lake Tahoe is a well known skiing destination in the winter.

But come high summer, travelers trade snow slopes for activities involving water of the liquid variety — not to mention a stunning fireworks display known as “Lights on the Lake.”

3. San Antonio, Texas

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What brings a fireworks display together more completely than great music and authentic southern barbecue?

The Austin Symphony Orchestra accompanies the city’s annual display, which is visible from Auditorium Shores. After the fourth, spend a few days getting acquainted with this active and entertaining central Texas oasis, a popular RV camping destination year round.

4. St. Augustine, Florida

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Where better to celebrate America’s birthday than the oldest city in the nation?

Yes, you read that right: the nation’s longest continually-run settlement isn’t Jamestown or Plymouth, but rather this small Spanish colony situated on northeastern Florida’s coast.

The fireworks draw visitors from across the state and region, but St. Augustine’s ample historical tourism offerings and hip cocktail scene keep them an extra day or two. Plus, you can camp amongst the dunes at Anastasia State Park for less than $30 per night.

5. Madeline Island/Bayfield, Wisconsin

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Lake Superior is a superior place to take in a 4th of July spectacle!

Camp on the mainland and take the ferry out to Madeline Island to watch the fireworks reflect and refract on this, the northernmost great lake. You can also make time to enjoy the Madeline Island Historical Museum and hiking trails in Big Bay State Park during your stay.

6. San Diego, California

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If you’re looking for a chill beach fourth that still packs a punch in the way of pyrotechnics, San Diego is your spot. In fact, you’ll get to choose from a whole list of fireworks displays.

The largest of these is the annual “Big Bay Boom,” which can be seen just about anywhere in the city: Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the Embarcadero area, or Seaport Village/Coronado Landing. But if you want something a little bit more laid back, head out to Ocean Beach for their annual pier-side celebration.

7. Gatlinburg, Tennesee

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Celebrating Independence Day from the Smoky Mountains? This scenic gateway town hosts not only an annual fireworks display, but also a midnight parade. In other words there’s no shortage of festivities to help you get in the patriotic spirit!

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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If you think the Liberty Bell is the most American thing in Philly…

… you might be right. But the city’s annual Independence Day bash, the “Wawa Welcome America! Party,” might be a close second. This free event includes fireworks, live music, and more — and is literally hosted on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. I mean, come on.

9. Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah

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This surreal southwestern landscape is already breathtaking — and the annual 4th of July fireworks show only adds to its splendor. Enjoy the display from multiple viewpoints on both sides of the border.

10. Newport, Oregon

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Sure, you’ve heard about the downtown Portland display on the water — but native Oregonians know Yaquina Bay’s the place to be.

South Beach State Park is a great place to set up camp before the show gets started, and at $29 per night including electrical hookups, you’ll have plenty of money left for hot dogs and sparklers.

Where to Travel for 4th of July

We hope this list of some of the best places for your 4th of July vacation helps you find the perfect spot to celebrate the most patriotic day of the year.

But if none of these are in your driving range — or simply don’t strike your fancy — be sure to check out 4th of July vacation packages in your area. Many RV rental dealerships may offer special deals during this popular travel time, which you can take advantage of to create a great mini getaway… or even a fun 4th of July “stay-cation” in your own backyard. It’s still America, after all!

4th of July Fireworks

Finally, one quick word of caution: Although they’re beautiful, fireworks are dangerous — “fire” is right there in the name! So to ensure you and your family enjoy a stress- and injury-free 4th, always be sure to follow firework safety precautions, and keep all flames and heat sources far away from flammable fuels on your rig.

Happy Independence Day!


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