4th of July | Beyond the Fireworks

July 4th weekend is typically a highlight of the summer, filled with nostalgic all-American activities like parades, cookouts and, of course, fireworks to top off the night.

Some areas of the country take the festivities to the next level with some truly unique ways to celebrate the occasion.


Public Water Fight in Breckenridge, Colorado

4th of July water fight

This annual event on Main Street in Breckenridge is a hit year after year! Kids can join the Red, White and Blue Fire Department in an old time water fight in the street from 1 – 3 p.m. on July 4th. A traditional parade also takes place.

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Kids Fishing Derby in Keystone, Colorado

4th of July fishing

The little ones get to have some great fun in Keystone for the 4th of July with an annual Fishing Derby from 8 – 9:30 a.m. The entire family can cheer on the little anglers and enjoy a morning at Lakeside Village. The area also hosts a Bike Decoration Party and Children’s Bike Parade at 11 a.m. The adults can get in on the active celebrations with a Standup Paddleboard Race as well.

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Boat Parade and Cupcake Eating Contest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

4th of July food

Myrtle Beach plans a fun day of activities, including the unique Murrells Inlet Boat Parade, where you can decorate your boat to participate. The parade winds from Garden City Point through the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk all the way down to Hot Fish Club. Compete for the best-decorated boat award, or watch from the shore and cheer on your favorites.

Folks with a sweet tooth can enter the Fifth Annual Cupcake Eating Content this year for a shot at taking home the “Cupcake Champion” crown. The event raises funds for the Reggie Sanders Foundation to build awareness for autism.

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Salute from the Shore in South Carolina

4th of July salute

F-16s from the 20th Fighter Wing based at Shaw Air Force Base will begin a flyover at 1 p.m. near Myrtle Beach and cover the entire coast, circling Patriot’s Point in Charleston before concluding their run south of Hilton Head. Vacationers looking to show some patriotism line up on the shores with American flags and signs to personally honor and salute the military.

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A Musical Celebration in Beaver Creek, Colorado

4th of July music

It’s all about the jams in Beaver Creek for the fourth, with a solid lineup of live music. This year’s performers include Redhead Express, Jackson Michelson, and multi-platinum country singer-songwriter Jerrod Niemann.

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Fourth of July Rodeo Celebrations in Utah, Idaho and Colorado

4th of July rodeo

East coast dwellers may not be familiar with rodeo celebrations, but many areas in the Western United States celebrate this way. Steamboat Springs, Colorado hosts a Pro Rodeo Series on July 3-4 featuring bull riding, bronc riding, roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and kids’ events. In Utah, the City of Oakley will be hosting the 81st Annual Oakley Rodeo and 4th of July Celebration this year. In Sun Valley, Idaho, you can find your way to the 68th annual “Days of the Old West Rodeo” for the weekend.

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Annual Sizzling Southern Celebration in Charleston, South Carolina

4th of July Charleston

For a night of sophistication, head to the Wentworth Mansion and Circa 1886 for a posh Independence Day celebration. From 6-7 p.m., you can enjoy live music, lawn games, hors d’oeuvres and libations on the patio and Wentworth Mansion lawn. At 7 p.m., head inside for a divine three-course dinner. The night ends with a glass of champagne in the cupola, where Charleston’s fireworks can be seen in the distance.

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Salute to American Independence in the Gulf Shores of Alabama

4th of July Alabama

Find your way to Fort Morgan from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on July 4th for some old-fashioned small artillery demonstrations, the patriotic raising of the flag, and period-specific shows and dress. You and your family can feel as if you are truly celebrating Independence Day in the early years of the Unites States. The historic fort also offers guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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