There’s an abundance of high expectations when it comes to your Independence Day celebration. This holiday is the highlight of the summer, and you may want it to go out with a bang. Whether you’re planning for wholesome family fun or looking forward to a vivacious party with friends, these lakeside vacation rentals across the United States offer something exciting for everybody. Take a look at the top lakes to visit for the 4th of July.

1. Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake

Escape the mid-summer heat at Big Bear, where temperatures max out in the mid 80s. You can explore the great outdoors, take the scenic sky chair to the top of Snow Summit, play a round of golf, have a home-style barbecue, or stroll the Village shops. Rent a boat or find a cozy spot around the lake to watch Big Bear Lake’s annual fireworks show, which consistently ranks as one of the top five in California. You can also ride the lift up to the top of the mountain to watch the fireworks from an elevation of 8,200 feet. Snow Summit also offers dinner, drinks, live music, and kids activities.

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2. Long Lake, New York

Long Lake New York
Source: Flickr/Ted Sakshaug

Boasting friendly folks, affordable accommodations, family activities, and unsurpassed Adirondack beauty, Long Lake is only two hours north of Albany and south of Montreal. Their family-friendly Fourth of July celebration has fun and games for all ages, with prizes for everyone. The local fire department also serves up barbecue at the Long Lake Town Beach. Grab a sausage or hot dog while you enjoy live music, then watch the fireworks from your boat, the bridge, or the beach.

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3. Lake Union, Washington

Lake Union boat ride
Source: Flickr/TRANIMAGING

Celebrate your Independence Day with a full day of fun at Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park, which provide the best views of the fireworks show over Lake Union. Both events are free, but you can purchase reserved seating to guarantee the absolute best seat for the fireworks show. Get some dinner from one of the food vendors, listen to live entertainment, and have a beer in one of the beer and beverage gardens if you’re over 21. For some more kid-friendly fun, there are also some all-American games, including pie-eating contests and sack races.

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4. Lake Tahoe, California

South Lake Tahoe

The Today Show and the American Pyrotechnics Association have named Tahoe South’s Lights on the Lake has been named on of the best Fourth of July celebrations by the Today Show and the American Pyrotechnics Association. The fireworks can be seen all over town, but if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take a helicopter ride and take the sights in from above. The M.S. Dixie II: South Shore’s Mississippi paddlewheeler and Tahoe Cruises’ luxury 80-foot motor yacht, the Safari Rose, both offer unbeatable views of the fireworks display from the water. The M.S. Dixie features live entertainment, and the Safari Rose offers a delicious catered dinner and unlimited beer, wine, and champagne, along with live music.

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5. Lake Havasu, Arizona

Lake Havasu City
Source: Flickr/dconvertini

There’s no shortage of wild and crazy parties at Lake Havasu. It’s one of the best boating lakes in Arizona. You can spend your day on the lake, or get off the beaten path on ATV and hiking trails through the desert and nearby mountains. Grab a spot early to view the fireworks, or watch from the comfort of your vacation rental or your own boat in Thompson Bay.

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6. Flathead Lake, Montana

Flathead Lake Montana

Flathead Lake is your best bet for sailing, power boating, waterskiing, swimming, fishing, picnicking, and camping. In the summer, you’re in for a real treat when the roadside stands along the east shore offer a variety of locally grown cherries, apples, plums, and other fruits. Celebrate Fourth of July at Flathead by renting a paddleboard or bringing your own to watch the fireworks from the middle of the lake. There’s no better way to see the fireworks than from the water. You can also head to either the Lakeside or the Somers beach and stretch out in the sand.

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7. Lake Champlain, New York

Fort Ticonderoga New York
Source: Flickr/Slabcity Gang

There’s no better location to celebrate America’s independence than where it all began. It was on those waters and shores that great battles, struggles, and sacrifices were made for America’s freedom. Learn a little about our heritage at the Westport Heritage House or Fort Ticonderoga. For a rare opportunity to witness original fireworks, consider Fort Ticonderoga’s Guns by Night VIP tour, which features an entire show created by the firing of historic weapons. There are other traditional celebrations with food, live music, and of course, fireworks.

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8. Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin

Lake Winnebago Wisconsin
Source: Flickr/crockodile

Winnebago is the lake of choice for Wisconsin windsurfers and kite surfers. The largest inland lake in Wisconsin is also one of the best places to fish in the state, with lots of walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, perch, and bluegill. For some Fourth of July fun, get a vacation rental in Oshkosh for their old-fashioned Veteran’s Parade and Festival Foods Fireworks.

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9. Lake Powell, Arizona

Lake Powell Arizona

Page and Lake Powell host the largest fireworks display in northern Arizona every Fourth of July. The show can be viewed by boaters on the southern end of Lake Powell and throughout the entire city of Page. At this massive lake, you’ll also be surrounded by deep blue crystal waters and rose-colored sandy beaches. As the sun rises each morning, the red rock cliffs and sandstone mesas glow, setting the stage for one of the most scenic lakes you’ll ever experience.

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