There are plenty of fireworks displays, parades and other hometown Fourth of July celebrations around Arizona, but why not take advantage of the long holiday weekend in a vacation rental to get away and discover something new? There are plenty of options whether you want to head towards the mountains or check out the desert. Here’s our list of the 10 best 4th of July family vacations in Arizona including some traditional celebrations and some outside of the box ones.
Come to Flagstaff early and begin your celebrations with Summer Nights on the Square held Thursday-Saturday every weekend in Heritage Square and downtown Friday Nights which begin in May and continue through October. All events are free and open to the public. Then, get ready for the 21st Annual Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce 4th of July Parade and the Lights on the Lawn fireworks show at the Continental Country Club. Maybe stay the whole week because Flagstaff is also great for hiking, camping and mountain biking during the summer!
This former mining town still pays homage to long-standing traditions. Bisbee’s Fourth of July celebration begins with coaster races at 8 a.m. Similar to a box car derby, coasters are homemade cars driven by kids age 9 to 16 on a twisting track. These cars have been known to reach speeds of up to 45 mph! The parade starts at 11 am making its way through the streets of the historic Warren district. At 1 pm, contestants compete for cash prizes in the Mucking and Hard Rock Drilling competition, a nod to the Bisbee’s mining history. The splendid day finally concludes with fireworks at Vista Park.
3. Grand Canyon
Nothing can make you feel the splendor of our great nation like the Grand Canyon. Fireworks aren’t allowed inside Grand Canyon National Park, but many of the surrounding communities throw their own celebrations. East Rim’s parade starts at 10 am followed by a fair that lasts until 4. Nearby Tusayan, located a mile south of the park’s entrance, has a parade that starts at 2:30 pm.
Oatman is the perfect place to spend Fourth of July if you’re looking for something a little different. This old mining town celebrates Independence Day with a Sidewalk Egg Frying Challenge. Other attractions also include gunfights and their famous wild burros. Oatman’s “wild” burros are the descendants of burros brought here by the miners in the late 1800s. When the miners no longer needed them, they were turned loose and still inhabit the area. Each morning they come into town looking for food. Burro pellets and carrots are even for sale at many of the shops. Shortly before sunset, they wander back to the hills for the night.
Payson is all about adventure and is perfect for your summer hunting, fishing or camping trip. Just minutes away from town are several beautiful lakes, countless trout streams, and miles of mountain biking, hiking and horse trails. Downtown main street is also rich in Western Heritage, and their Fourth of July celebration has plenty of patriotism to match. The day is full of activities including games, live music, flag-raising ceremony, reading of the Declaration of Independence and fireworks.
If you’ve never experienced a rodeo, Prescott is an absolute must for your Fourth of July weekend. This tradition has been taking place since 1888 and calls itself the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Watch traditional events like bareback riding, cattle roping, and barrel racing. Celebrating Independence day with a good, old-fashioned “cowboy tournament” will make you feel more connected to American history than ever before. Of course, they do have a July 4th celebration with rides, live music and fireworks at Mile High Middle School so you can get the best of both worlds.
For another alternative to fireworks, make your way to Sedona for the Laser Light Show at Sedona Red Rock High School. This 25-minute, patriotic laser show begins at the top of each hour in the Performing Arts Center. You can also cool off at the Sedona Community Pool if youre looking for outdoor fun. The pool at water slides will be open along with a DJ, food for sale and a hot-dog eating contest! If all the celebrating has wiped you out, you’ll also find some amazing resorts in this desert oasis.
8. Show Low
Start the day off in Show Low by raising money for the Show Low Historical Society Museum at their Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast. The FreedomFest parade then begins at 9 am followed by kid’s games and activities, live entertainment and food at 3 p.m. Later at 9 pm is the largest fireworks show in the White Mountains. Another great option for the afternoon is the Show Low Main Street Farmers Market & Art Walk from 1-5 pm. It features locally grown produce, artisans and craft vendors so you can find the perfect souvenir for your Independence Day vacation.
9. Sierra Vista
Enjoy your long holiday weekend discovering Sierra Vistas extraordinary skies and uncommon ground. Sierra Vista is the starting gateway community for the Arizona Trail, a National Scenic Trail that runs from the Mexican border to Utah. This 800-mile trail is considered Arizonas backbone. Make the entire trek or go just a few miles so you’ll be back in time for Sierra Vista’s 50th Annual Spectacular 4th of July Fireworks Show starting at 8:05 pm.
If you can’t have a Fourth of July celebration without a chili cook-off, then Williams is the place for you. Downtown festivities include a chili cook-off, team roping competition, antique tractor show and the 4th of July Parade at 10 a.m. Experience some true Americana with a stretch of historical Route 66 with shopping, dining, lodging, and cowboy action. It’s fun for the whole family!
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