A Road Trip Guide to 4th of July Fireworks

A quick guide to road tripping for star-spangled excitement.

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While nothing says “Happy Birthday, America” like hot dogs and streamers, no 4th of July would be complete without the glow of fireworks. And if you want to take your patriotic declarations to the next level, why not make it a road trip? Nothing would be more emblematic than watching colorful explosions over mountain peaks, historic battlefields, or serene lakes – as we collectively toast the land of the free. So pack your bags, gather up the crew, and get ready for a star-spangled journey.

Estes Park, CO

Estes Park is home to one of the most unique places to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. The fireworks go up over Lake Estes surrounded on every side by mountains. Just over an hour’s drive from Denver, you’ll find yourself transported to a quaint town with sights for days. 

Start your day with a hike up Lumpy Ridge to Gem Lake. It’s one of the best short hikes you’ll find. At 11 am, check out the car show featuring over 100 cars of every variety at the Estes Park Events Complex. Then be sure to head over to Stanley Park to snag a spot to catch the fireworks that evening. In between all the fun, check out the Stanley Hotel, hit the main strip to enjoy the great variety of food and shops, or catch a movie at the 111-year-old Historic Park Theatre!

South Lake Tahoe, CA

Lights on the Lake is one of the top five displays in the country and is sure to be a memorable time! Each year, over 75,000 people gather at Lake Tahoe for a mesmerizing fireworks display, with over 3,500 shells being fired. 

Fun Fact: In order to keep Lake Tahoe pristine, days are spent doing clean-up with specially outfitted boats and divers.

Not So Fun Fact: Most of the debris isn’t from the fireworks, it’s from the spectators and boats that came to celebrate. So be sure to do your part and clean up before you leave!

For a unique experience, you can take in the show from a boat or rent/bring your kayak to get up close and be immersed by the magical lights. Fantastic viewpoints include Lakeview Commons/El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe and Nevada Beach between Stateline and Zephyr Cove. Be sure to tune the radio to 93.9 FM or 1490 AM KRLT radio as the show is set to music!

Before you leave the area, head over to Placerville an iconic gold rush town, hometown of Thomas Kinkade, and Apple Hill. It’s stone fruit and berry season! Catch live music every Saturday, grab a mouth-watering apple cider donut, and taste some of the best cider! Oh, and nearby, check out Gold Bug Park & Mine. The kids will love it: you can pan for gold! 


Nashville, TN

Let Freedom Sing! is one of the biggest events in Downtown Nashville.  The streets are filled with music, food, shops, and people from all over. There’s a concert lineup with headliner Chris Young along with YOLA, Girl Named Tom, Blessing Offor, and more! Nashville serves up one of the largest fireworks shows in the country, with the pyrotechnics synchronized to a live performance by the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony. Best of all, it’s all family-friendly, and even better, it’s free! 


Charleston, SC

Historic Charleston has proven to be an amazing spot to take in the festivities. Imagine this, you’re on a boat on the water and explosion after explosion of color fills the night sky over the bay. Oh, did I mention that the boat is the USS Yorktown, a WWII aircraft carrier? That’s right, if you luck out and get tickets, you can have a historic experience like no other.

That’s not the only fun in Charleston! You can also head to North Charleston to Riverfront Park for the “Lowcountry’s largest 4th of July fireworks show” complete with a DJ and over 25 food trucks. They do ask that you leave the fireworks to the professionals and if you can, rideshare to the event. 

Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Colonial Williamsburg is an ideal spot for celebrating the 4th of July. You will be stepping back in time as Thomas Jefferson reads the Declaration of Independence aloud. Engage in a military drill with Colonel Washington and witness a cannon salute to the original 13 states. As evening falls, you’ll find yourself in the company of some of the greatest presidents from history, making this an experience like no other. To top off your day, enjoy a spectacular fireworks display over the historic capital, creating a perfect end to an unforgettable celebration.

Hang around a little longer to enjoy all that Colonial Williamsburg has to offer. You can participate in historical reenactments, and engage in interactive exhibits. Experience colonial crafts, games, and traditional cooking demonstrations. Don’t miss the themed dinners at colonial taverns and consider extending your visit to nearby Jamestown and Yorktown for a complete journey through America’s early history.


Seward, AK

Seward boasts not only the best 4th of July celebration in Alaska but one of the best in the country! You can watch the 95th Annual Mount Marathon Race billed as the “oldest and zaniest marathon in North America” with slopes and challenges like you’ve never seen. The best spot to watch the action is from the base of the mountain at the end of Lowell Canyon Road. 

For all of you parade fanatics, there’s not only your traditional parade through town there’s also a boat parade and this year’s theme is “Pirates of Ressurection Bay”. Seward wastes no time celebrating our nation’s birth. Their fireworks display starts just after midnight on July 4th.

Clear Lake, IA

The Heartland sure shows up to celebrate the 4th of July! Clear Lake actually makes it an entire week-long event, turning its premier summer festival into the ultimate summer bash you don’t want to miss. With amusement rides, lively bingo games, and a massive lakeside vendor market, there’s something for everyone. Each evening features live music at the bandshell, and on the 4th, don’t miss the traditional Independence Day parade down Main Avenue. The festivities culminate with the area’s biggest and best fireworks display over the lake. Plus, there’s the Freedom 5K, the Kid’s Fun Run, and tons of family-friendly entertainment. This festival is all about making memories and having a blast!

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