What’s your favorite way to celebrate Independence Day? From parades to shows to games to fireworks, Iowa is the perfect combination of small town charm and patriotic roots for your Fourth of July festivities. Choose from traditional parades or one of the country’s biggest jazz festivals to celebrate our nation’s birthday. No matter what you choose, there will always be fireworks and lots of family fun, and a memorable family vacation is all we really want anyway. Enjoy all of these by renting a vacation rental in Iowa to make your adventures more worthwhile.

1. Independence

Since we’re looking for places to celebrate Independence Day, what better place to start than Independence? Their three-day celebration includes a “FunZone” for kids, sand volleyball and horseshoe tournaments, a parade and Iowa’s most awesome and awe-inspiring fireworks over the Wapsipinicon River. And you don’t have to feel guilty about spending because all proceeds from the Independence Day Celebration will go into the next year’s activities. Looks like you’ll have to make Independence’s Independence Day your new family tradition!

2. Creston

67 years and going strong, Creston’s 4th of July Celebration boasts the involvement of 10,000 Crestonians and plenty to see and do. This quaint community located in the beautiful rolling hillsides of Southwest Iowa began as a railroad town in 1868. Learn all about the history of Creston at the Historical Depot Area, a turn of the century depot with a working model railroad display. Other event highlights include a half marathon and 5k run/walk fundraiser, talent contest, parade, and fireworks.

3. Brooklyn/Holiday Lake

Brooklyn calls itself the “Community of Flags,” thanks in part to its permanent Avenue of Flags display that features a 760 square foot Old Glory on an 80-foot pole. Flags from all 50 states and each of the armed services flank the gigantic flag, and 35 flags from countries around the world like Brooklyn’s downtown streets. If Brooklyn displays that kind of spirit year-round, you can only imagine the festivities that happen on the 4th of July. You can enjoy paddle boat races, parachutists, a boat parade, and fireworks at dark.

4. Slater

Slater has been celebrating Fourth of July since 1889 and you could say that they’ve got the festivities down pat. Between 10,00 and 20,00 people agree and have flocked to Slater for their celebration that’s been running for over 100 years. Join the fun in the town where everybody knows everybody, and you’ll be welcomed like an old friend too. The town is known for its huge parade, but of course, there’s a spectacular fireworks display.

5. Coralville

Coralville doesn’t just celebrate the Fourth of July, they celebrate starting on the first with their annual 4thFest! The multi-day festival includes a 5K run/walk, live entertainment, food, free concerts, a carnival, and the area’s largest Independence Day parade and fireworks. The annual 4thFest parade takes place on July 4 and features marching bands, floats, and loads of excitement. Seating along the route is first to come, first served, so get their early for the best view. Even better, look for a vacation rental along the parade route!

6. Cedar Rapids

Every year, more than 400,000 Eastern Iowa residents and visitors join together to celebrate our nation’s birthday with the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival which begins in June and culminates with the annual Celebration of Freedom Fireworks on July 4th. Admission is free and all events are family-friendly and fun for all ages. The calendar is jam-packed from June 15 to July 4, and you can see the entire schedule of events at www.freedomfestival.com.

7. Iowa City

Okay, the Iowa City Jazz Festival isn’t specifically a Fourth of July Celebration, but this three-day weekend of live jazz performances and delicious dishes ending with a full blown fireworks display over the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest lawn sounds like the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day. Four stages showcase a variety of well-known jazz musicians and up-and-coming talent with the goal to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages. This relatively new festival started in 1991 and has since brought over a quarter million jazz fans to Iowa City and has been named one of the “Top 10 Festivals in the Nation.” Sounds like this festival is an absolute must!

8. Wellman

One of our favorite things about Wellman’s July 4th celebration is that it has not one, but two parades. The kiddies’ parade kicks off the day at 9:30 am and is followed by the main parade at 10. The day continues with fun events like the community pie throwing contest, bingo, and sports tournaments. Soak in a little history at the downtown Heritage museum, and historic buildings at the Heritage Parke on 7th Avenue, which are open for tours

9. Des Moines

Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa, and you can’t get more patriotic than a concert on the west terrace of the state capitol grounds followed by fireworks. Enter the Yankee Doodle Pops concert, the biggest concert anywhere in the state. The Des Moines symphony starts playing at 6:30 pm, so bring your own snacks or purchase dinner from one of the nearby food vendors.

10. Davenport

Red, White & Boom! is Davenport’s and neighboring city, Rock Island’s annual July 4th celebration. The bi-state fireworks show launches from the Mississippi River bringing over 20,000 people to the Mississippi Riverfront each year. There’s also live music and plenty of fun, family-friendly activities on both sides. One of the best viewing spots on the Iowa side is the Modern Woodmen Park, but keep in mind that outside food and drink aren’t allowed. There will be plenty of vendors at the Park, and the Genesis Healthy Family Viewing Section in LeClaire Park is another great option.


Find a great vacation rental for your family this 4th of July: