Spend a fun-filled Fourth of July in Florida, enjoying the rays and capitalizing on the celebrations planned far and wide. Pick a Florida vacation rental near the coast, and see how locals do Independence Day justice, from hosting barbecues by the waterfront to viewing fireworks on the beach. Nearly every major city in the state has something in store for the fourth, so you’ll have plenty of destinations and event options to choose from. Here are some of the best Independence Day-themed vacations for the fourth of July.
Orlando is already pretty far up at the top of the list of family-friendly vacation destinations, being home to Universal Orlando, Epcot, Walt Disney World and more. But it might just seize the number one spot as a fourth of July destination for the sheer variety of celebrations you won’t find anywhere else. Many of Orlando’s iconic theme parks, including Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando and Legoland are hosting Fourth of July events. The city also has several festivities planned, from concerts to parades to fireworks and more. Orlando has the wow factor that will impress both kids and adults.
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2. Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral, home of the Kennedy Space Center and the best place in Florida for all things space related, is located only about an hour from Orlando. If you’ve got family members who’ll get just as excited for rocket launches and astronauts as they would for fireworks and parades, you’ll want to head to Cape Canaveral this summer. In addition to the premier fireworks show held at the Cove in Port Canaveral each year, the Kennedy Space Center is holding special events throughout the month of July to celebrate its birth month.
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3. Cocoa Beach
If all you want to do with your family is park yourself on the shore and drink in the best of Florida’s beach experience, Cocoa Beach is the destination you seek. Located about an hour from Orlando, Cocoa Beach offers a boardwalk that stretches 800 feet over the ocean, gentle waves for prime surfing for beginners and numerous shops, boutiques and restaurants nearby. In addition, Cocoa Beach has a weekend of Fourth of July event planned, from fireworks over the ocean to a family-friendly celebration at the Riverfront Park in Cocoa Village.
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Tampa is a welcome city for animal lovers in the family. The Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo and Big Cat Rescue are just a few of the animal-themed sites to explore in Tampa. Pair that with a list of family-friendly Independence Day-themed events around town and you’ll almost have too many options to choose from. Consider the Fourth of July Family Funfest at the American Victory Ship Mariners Memorial Museum for history buffs or the July 4th Celebration at the Plant City Stadium for community bonding.
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5. St. Augustine
As the oldest European settlement in the United States, St. Augustine abounds with historical attractions including old fortresses, monuments, and museums created from old jails, hotels, hospitals and more. In celebration of the fourth, the city will host one of the biggest fireworks on the East Coast called “Fireworks Over the Matanzas,” over the historic bayfront at the Castillo de San Marcos. Festivities include a live music concert and show.
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Turn up the heat for a Miami vacation full of wildlife adventures and big city fun. Miami has dozens of attractions to choose from, Fourth of July-related or not. On the fourth, you can choose to watch one of the largest fireworks displays in the city after a day of food, drinks, and activities at Bayfront Park. Or, you can take the family to the Miami Beach Fire on the Fourth Festival, an all-day event with live entertainment, food trucks, fireworks and more.
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7. Fort Lauderdale
Head to the “Venice of America” to see canals and charm reminiscent of one of the most romantic cities in Europe. In addition to the beaches and boating canals, you’ll find numerous shopping venues, museums, historic sites and more. And to celebrate the Fourth, the city has a fantastic patriotic extravaganza planned featuring a kids zone, beach games, family activities topped off with a dazzling fireworks show.
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If you’re looking for a small-town way to celebrate this big holiday head to The Seaside, a quaint town along Florida’s Emerald Coast. You’ll find sherbet-colored cottages, a village green, and even an old-fashioned main street. See what the town how in store for this year’s Independence Day; their annual parade and fireworks show are events you won’t want to miss.
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9. Sanibel Island
It’s your chance to see seashells and wildlife up close. An abundance of nature trails, biking paths, and guided tours will take you on a spectacular journey around this Gulf Coast barrier island. And on the fourth of July, get a feel for the community as you watch the parade, join in on the free pancake breakfast or take in the fireworks by the sea.
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10. St. Petersburg
Picture calm, wide seashores noted for being some of the best family-friendly beaches in Florida for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and waterfront camping. You and your family can explore the action of the beach, the downtown scene and beyond — to the secluded Caldadesi Island State Park. Time your trip so it falls on Independence Day, and you’ll get the added bonus of community picnics, fireworks, baseball games and more.
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Ready to plan a trip? Check out more places to stay in Florida: