The summer months in mountain towns are ideal for relaxing family gatherings and exciting adventures. While many of these towns are popular ski destinations in the winter, over July 4th weekend, these destinations are home to tons of art fairs, patriotic parades, good eats, vibrant festivals, and glorious fireworks. Book a stay at one of many vacation rentals from Maine to Utah for an unforgettable Independence Day weekend. Take a look at the top small towns for off-the-beaten track summer fun.

1. Crested Butte, Colorado

A town with mountains in the background.

Crested Butte is the Wildflower Capital of Colorado and during the July 4th weekend you can tour the area in a jeep tour, take a guided hike or wander alone through the sweeping beauty and snapping photos. The 4th of July parade kicks off the day, followed by live music, a food court, face-painting fun for the kids and some old-fashioned midway-style games. Climb to the top of Crested Butte for some spectacular Rocky Mountain fireworks and live music.

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2. Ketchum, Idaho

Stream running through the wilderness.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/Frank Kovalchek

Ketchum is a great little town in Sun Valley with a variety of vacation rentals that keep you close to the action. Stop in Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee for some breakfast, then take a stroll through the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens. On the 4th, head a few minutes down the road to Hailey for a fun-filled day at the flag-waving parade, take in the bronco-busting rodeo, shop at the Draper Preserve RiverFest, scope out some antiques, and a relax to musical fireworks display in the evening.

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3. Helen, Georgia

Quaint alpine town.
Source: Flickr/llee_wu

Snuggled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Helen is the picture of German Bavaria and just being in this quaint village makes you smile. The fireworks take place in the Alpine Village Shoppes, but you can view them from anywhere in town, even from poolside at your vacation rental. While you’re in the area, enjoy sampling some local wines or take a scenic drive along the Brasstown Bald Loop.

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4. North Conway, New Hampshire

Body of water surrounded by trees and a mountain.
Source: Flickr/Robbie Shade

Summer in the White Mountains of New Hampshire offers visitors ongoing activities such as the Portland Symphony fireworks concert and Art in the Park. Numerous New England craft shows roll through town, and kids love the Circus Smirkus, a traveling circus that’s designed to inspire youth to engage in circus arts such as clowning and acrobatics. On the 4th, you can enjoy the parade, eat some great food, and sit in Conway Village for colorful and exciting fireworks.

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5. McCall, Idaho

Creek running through the woods.
Source: Flickr/Jason W.

McCall kicks off the summer season beginning in late June and continues past the 4th for 10 days. From singles to groups of friends to family reunions, there’s something for everyone during this time. Naturally, fireworks headline the 4th, but during the kickoff McCall also has a super-fun car show, volleyball tournaments, competitive runs, and happy hours all over the town. The kids love the bounce houses and face painting, and you can tap your feet to live music on the art walks.

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6. Bethel, Maine

Gazebo on a lush lawn.
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Join with friendly locals for the 4th of July celebration at the Bethel Historical Society for the community picnic and concert by the Portland Brass Quartet. If you’re in town for the week, the Bethel Art Fair on the Common on Saturday is the place to gather for local entertainment and a chance to get a head start on holiday gift ideas. Take a drive over the Sunday River covered bridge or walk the trail at Mount Will for some great scenery in this beautiful area.

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7. Roscoe, New York

Historic looking town.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/Kenneth C. Zirkel

Celebrate the 4th of July in the Catskills at Roscoe. You can take in a patriotic parade, sample foods you wouldn’t otherwise eat like fried Oreos, and sit in cool darkness watching fireworks. Known for its pristine rivers, lakes, and ponds, Roscoe is Trout Town USA to avid fishermen, so bring your fly-fishing gear if this is your sport. Roscoe is centrally located and easily reached in just two hours from several states including New Jersey and Connecticut. If you love hiking the trails, head to Overlook Mountain and don’t miss a peek at the ice caves.

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8. Taos, New Mexico

Ariel view of trees and mountains.
Source: Flickr/uiaj k temas

Attend the holiday parade at Arroyo Seco, just north of Taos, then cool off from the summer heat at the Alpine Independence Day at Taos Ski Valley on the Mountain. The air is refreshing, clean and the cool breezes smell of fragrant evergreens. The Bavarian Lodge is the place to be, especially if your kids are along. There are hilarious rubber duck races and a firetruck to climb on. Compete in a game of volleyball, cool down with brats and beer, and dance your heart out to some swing, blues, rock, or soul music before viewing the awesome mountain-top fireworks.

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9. Midway, Utah

Clouds over a mountain.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/An Errant Knight

Start the 4th watching the flag as it’s hoisted in Town Square, then sit back, relax, and listen to some wonderful vocals from local groups honoring the country with patriotic tunes. Plein aire exhibits and main street musicians keep you entertained until the dancing on the square begins. Watch the fireworks from Memorial Hill and be prepared for a cannon shot the following morning that calls you to the sunrise service in town square.

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10. Durango, Colorado

Ariel view of trees surrounding a body of water.
Source: Flickr/Joe Ross

Start your day off with a hearty All-American gourmet breakfast and 5K fun-run at Rotary Park. Readings from the country’s founding documents at Buckley Park are followed by live music, lots of great food and refreshing beverages. Enjoy two free concerts at Rotary Park, then head over to Main Street for the fantastic Stars and Stripes parade. Stick around for the street dancing until the fireworks begin. You’re already downtown, so you have first-rate seats to the show.

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