Is there anything better than a summer getaway during the Fourth of July? The whole country comes together to celebrate what makes the United States great. Add in a day off work, excellent cookouts, and fireworks, and you’ve got yourself the highlight of the summer. Whether you’re traveling with a group of friends or your entire family, staying in a vacation rental allows your entire party to stay together under one roof. Plus, you have more flexibility on activities and dining options! Spend an all-American Independence Day at one of these 10 exciting beaches.

1. Bristol, Rhode Island

4th of july road art in bristol
Source: Flickr/Andreas Matern

Bristol has the nation’s oldest Fourth of July celebration, and the town is so proud that they paint the center line on its main street red, white, and blue. The celebration isn’t just on one day. It officially starts with Flag Day on June 14 and continues with free outdoor concerts at Independence Park, Orange Crate Derby races, a firefighters’ muster, Fourth of July Ball, Drum & Bugle Corps Show, and more. The town finally finishes the festivities on July 4th with “The Military, Civic and Firemen’s Parade”, which is viewed by over 200,000 people from Rhode Island and around the world. No wonder Bristol is nicknamed “America’s most patriotic town”.

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2. Huntington Beach, California

independence day parade at huntington beach
Source: Flickr/jcookfisher

Known as “Surf City,” Huntington has made a name for itself as the birthplace of surfing in the United States. It also has a world-famous pier, which juts out into the water for 1,850 feet, plus innumerable surf shops and great waves. For Fourth of July, the pier and the rest of the city is taken over by concerts, fireworks, and a parade through the streets of downtown Huntington. The party is actually a three-day event, and the fireworks last for 23 minutes!

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3. Panama City Beach, Florida

panama city beach florida
Source: Flickr/John Piercy

Panama City Beach boasts the largest 4th of July fireworks celebration on the Gulf Coast. Two of the beach’s piers orchestrate simultaneous nighttime shows every year that viewers gather to see on the beach between City Pier and County Pier or at Pier Park’s outdoor shopping center and beachfront restaurants. In nearby Panama City, the best place to see Fourth of July fireworks is the marina along Beach Drive, but for the absolute best views, choose an oceanfront vacation rental with a balcony.

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4. Southport, North Carolina

southport north carolina
Source: Flickr/Toto

This little harbor town knows how to party. It’s official Fourth of July celebration goes on for eight days and includes two parades, a full day of beach events, a Freedom Run, concerts, a Naturalization Ceremony, golf cart parade, a sailing regatta, and much more.

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5. Edgartown, Massachusetts

independence day parade in edgartown
Source: Flickr/Matthew Simoneau

This tiny town on Martha’s Vineyard throws one huge Fourth of July celebration. Start with the traditional late afternoon parade then head over to the lawn of the Dr. Daniel Fisher house on Main Street for burgers and hot dogs at the MV Preservation Trust’s annual BBQ. Then, claim your seat on Memorial Wharf for the best view of the fireworks. The show starts once the sun goes down!

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6. Hilton Head, South Carolina

sunset at hilton head island
Source: Flickr/albedo20

At Hilton Head you can choose from several Independence Day celebrations. The Fourth of July Celebration at Harbour Town is an annual family tradition with plenty of daytime events, including a patriotic parade. In the evening, the fireworks extravaganza takes place above the area’s famed Lighthouse and rustic Calibogue Sound. In nearby Shelter Cove Harbour, there are festivites and live music. Grab a seat a two area restaurants, La Fontana Waterfront Grill & Pizza and Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill, for prime outdoor seating for the fireworks.

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7. Traverse City, Michigan

traverse city cherry festival
Source: Flickr/zenmasterdod

Traverse City’s Fourth of July celebration is the centerpiece of this town’s National Cherry Festival, which runs a whole week. Start Independence Day with a cherry pancake breakfast, watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels overhead in the afternoon, and finish with epic fireworks over Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay.

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8. Ocean City Beach, Maryland

kites on the beach at ocean city boardwalk
Source: Flickr/Lee Cannon

Ocean City Beach is a top-tier destination for families looking for fun in the sun with its world-class restaurants, shops and Trimper’s boardwalk carousel. The beach offers literally hundreds of free events all summer long, but its Fourth of July celebration is the most spectacular. The party kicks off at 8:30 p.m. with a free concert followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

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9. San Juan Island, Washington

lighthouse at lime kiln point state park
Source: Flickr/Jacob McGinnis

Where else can you attend a historic Pig War Picnic as part of your Independence Day celebrations? Enjoy music, a pie-eating contest, a cakewalk, kid’s games and the best barbecue in town! Fourth of July in San Juan Island is the perfect scenic getaway with some old-fashioned family fun.

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10. Catalina Island, California

catalina island

This beautiful island off the Southern California coast has an incredibly old-fashioned vibe. Residents and tourists travel around the island on gold carts, and on the Fourth of July, said carts are all decked out for the golf cart parade. The USC Marching Band lights up the Casino later on in the day, and the fireworks explode over Avalon Bay, which is one of the prettiest spots on the entire West Coast. Stay on the island itself or choose a vacation rental in Los Angeles and take the ferry over.

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