We know what you're thinking — the Fourth of July is the perfect excuse to book a weekend getaway and break up the summer. If you're not in the mood for the same old, same old this year (because even backyard barbecues get stale after a while), odds are, there's a fun Independence Day destination a short drive or plane ride away.
You can make this Fourth of July memorable by visiting one of these top fireworks-viewing spots with the family, friends or even as a solo trip. Happy planning!
1. Imperial Beach, San Diego
Who doesn't love the beach during summer? It seriously doesn't get much better then being steps away from the sand, looking off the patio into a picture perfect view of the Pacific Ocean. This July 4, head to San Diego's Imperial Beach where you can reserve a beachfront rental for usually around $300 or so a night — which isn't so shabby if you're splitting the cost with friends. Not only can you have fun at the beach, but with Coronado just 10 minutes away, you can also enjoy the awe-inspiring fireworks display over Glorietta Bay.
Next Up: Lake Powell
Originally published June 2010. Updated May 2017 by Sarah Long.
2. Lake Powell, Utah and Arizona border
The always-gorgeous Lake Powell is a great spot to spend July 4, and a favorite to many locals and tourists alike. With the beautiful scenery and plenty of things to do, you will definitely have a relaxing and carefree vacation. If water sports are your thing, Lake Powell is an absolute must go. This lake is one of the best places for you, your family and friends to go boating, wakeboarding and tubing. Within close proximity to Phoenix and Vegas, this is a perfect budget-friendly getaway for people who love the outdoors.
Next Up: Las Vegas
3. Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas — really? Most definitely! If you want to head to Sin City for the weekend to test your luck, this is your chance to get a sweet deal. Vegas hotels run super affordable specials on July 4 because of the hot temperatures. But who cares about hot weather when you can lounge poolside with a margarita, or bet your luck in an air-conditioned casino. If you want to see some shows and cut loose, Vegas is your place, baby!
Next Up: Lake Tahoe
4. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada border
For a lively lake escape, head to Lake Tahoe for July 4 and celebrate our nation's independence at "Lights on the Lake," also known as the largest pyrotechnics show in the West. Over the weekend, Lake Tahoe has unrivaled firework displays on both sides of the lake. However, all the special events will be taking place on the South side. For a cheap place to stay, camp out at the Meeks Bay Resort. You'll get a great Independence Day vacation with beautiful surroundings and an out of this world fireworks show.
Next Up: Monument Valley
5. Monument Valley, Arizona and Utah border
For a Southwest adventure, travel to Monument Valley. This gorgeous and breathtaking park straddles the Arizona/Utah border and is perfect for a hiking getaway. While there, you can revel in the impressive 400- to 1,000-foot sandstone towers and impressive natural formations. If you need a break from the concrete jungle, head to Monument Valley for some peace and quiet. With several camping options (seven people can camp for $15 a night at Bowl Canyon Recreation Area, for example), this getaway is budget-friendly and ideal for getting back to nature.
Next Up: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
If you want a beach getaway on the East coast, Myrtle Beach is just the place! There will be plenty of beach celebrations over the July 4 weekend, giving you ample opportunities to kick back and enjoy the water, the weather and the food.
Next Up: Black Hills, South Dakota
7. Black Hills, South Dakota
The Black Hills of South Dakota is a fun, family-friendly place to camp this July 4. Not only can you visit the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, you can also enjoy the stunning national park as well. The Palmer Gulch Resort, with its swimming pools, miniature golf and horse rides, is the place to camp if you want to keep your kids busy all day. If you're searching for the ultimate economical camping trip for the family with sights and activities for everyone, then South Dakota is for you.
Next Up: West Palm Beach, Florida
8. West Palm Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach is another primo vacation spot for those looking to head to the beach, complete with many affordable hotels. There will also be plenty of July 4 activities, including two large outdoor stages playing free live music, featuring pop band The Rua for 2017. In addition to the festivities, you can lounge on the beach and soak up rays beside the Atlantic Ocean.
Next up: Bristol, Rhode Island
9. Bristol, Rhode Island
If you're on the hunt for good, old-fashioned July 4 Americana and live in New England or the surrounding areas, Bristol is right up your alley. Billed as "A Unique American Experience," Bristol offers a Fourth of July ball, Drum Corp show, visiting ship and fireworks over Bristol Harbor. Not only that, their famous parade holds the record as the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States.
Next up: Lake Michigan
10. Lake Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois
Lake Michigan sits on the borders of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois — so it's perfect for those living in the Midwest. And since it has over 1,600 miles of beaches, it's also perfect for everyone who can't make it to the East or West coast, but still wants to be on the water for the holiday. This lake offers more than your typical water activities and beach sports all summer long — you can go wine-tasting, rent a fishing boat, head to the farmers market, shop for antiques, walk the boardwalk and more — and on July 4, it's party central all over the lake. The Silver Lake area, for example, is hosting the Freedom Festival Parade & Fireworks and Torch Lake has an amazing display of fireworks that is scheduled for July 3 this year.