From Coast to Coast, Celebrate America with these Fourth of July Parades

by | May 26, 2024 | Day Trips From Los Angeles, Destinations, East Coast, Family Adventures, Traveling with Teens, USA, West Coast

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Break out your red, white, and blue ensembles, fire up the BBQ, and practice your best star-spangled singing, Fourth of July isn’t just another holiday–it’s America’s birthday, and everyone’s invited. From small-town festivities to big-city productions, parades are as all-American as it gets when it comes to celebrating our nation’s birthday. So, whether you’re looking for a quaint tradition or an all-out display of independence, these parades pack a powerful patriotic punch.

 

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Huntington Beach, California

Famous for its great surf and glorious sunshine, Huntington Beach is also home to one of the best Independence Day parades the West Coast has ever seen! Pack up your lawn chairs or beach chairs and head to this Fourth of July celebration. This parade attracts an average of 500,000 attendees and is a 5-day affair in Surf City, U.S.A. The Huntington Beach parade is only part of this American party, which kicks off with a neighborhood block party. 

Deck out your beach cruiser with American spirit and roll along in the bike parade, a fun event for everyone, including your furry friends, who can show off their paw-triotic spirit at the pet parade. The fun doesn’t stop there; there’s a cornhole tournament with cash prizes, a 5k fun run, a pancake breakfast, a live band, and a variety of activities happening on the beach. There’s also an after-party and a spectacular firework show sparkling over the ocean. 

The parade route stretches down 2.5 miles of Pacific Coast Highway and past the Huntington Beach Pier, entertaining on-lookers with more than 200 participating groups, from floats to marching bands and plenty of nostalgia. Speaking of the pier—it’s a great place to spend time on the 4th of July. There’s a seaside festival with a kids zone that includes balloon art, face painting, hot dogs, and festival activities. It’s free admission, making it just as good, if not better, than any of the theme parks in California for the Fourth of July. 

 

Where to Stay in Huntington Beach

Why not stay near the pier? Book a room at Pasea Hotel and Spa, and you’ll be close to the parade route and fireworks. You’ll also be able to enjoy plenty of food vendors, live musical performances, and carnival rides on the pier, not to mention being steps from the sand.

 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

If you’re crazy about cowboy culture, channel your inner John Wayne and cowboy up at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming 4th of July parade. Independence Day in Wyoming is jam-packed with a full day of activities, starting with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast in Jackson Hole Town Hall Square before the parade begins. From a parade packed with horses, clowns, and antique fire engines, all with a Western flair, to a shootout reenactment and an old-school rodeo, you’ll experience Wild West Americana like never before. The night ends with a festive fireworks show. And you’ll also have the chance to witness nature’s true light show, with the sun setting behind the Grand Tetons’ white-capped peaks.

 

4th of July in Jackson

No one sports a star-spangled top hat and red bow tie quite like the towering Uncle Sam in Jackson’s parade.

 

Where to Stay in Jackson Hole

Rustic and upscale go hand in hand in Jackson. Don’t take my word for it. Book a room at the Rustic Inn Creekside Resort and Spa and see for yourself. You’ll be close to town for Independence Day activities, and as a bonus, this upscale resort is 1 mile from the National Elk Refuge and 13 miles from Grand Teton National Park, which is one of our favorite national forests of them all. And, if you’re “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” The Caldera House is the Kardashian hotel of choice. This luxury boutique hotel is located in Teton Village, Wyoming.

 

Philadelphia Pennsylvania

As you can imagine, America’s birthplace goes big to celebrate its birthday. The Salute to America Independence Day Parade is regarded as the best star-spangled salute in the entire country! Philadelphia pulls out all the stops. Visitors enjoy great food vendors—ahem, Philly cheesesteaks—plus over-the-top floats, dance performances, and historical reenactments as the parade travels down Market Street to Broad Street. 

Philadelphia’s celebrations start with Juneteenth and run through the Fourth of July weekend –yes, that’s right, the city of brotherly love is host to 16 days of partying in the U.S.A. 

 

Colonial band marches in Philadelphia.

Philly’s 4th of July parade celebrates the birthplace of independence with patriotic floats and historic characters.

 

Where To Stay In Philadelphia

Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing offers rooms that have wonderful views of Penn’s Landing, the Ben Franklin Bridge, and the Delaware River (or all three if you book a top-floor, corner room). It’s the perfect location to lounge comfortably while you watch the 4th fireworks display and listen to live entertainment in the form of the Philadelphia Orchestra concert with a cocktail. 

 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If you’re a night owl looking for a patriotic party with a touch of Southern hospitality, get yourself to Gatlinburg’s Fourth of July parade. For over 45 years, this Tennessee parade celebration starts poppin’ off at 12:01 AM and continues on all morning long.  Elaborate floats, massive balloons, and marching bands roll through the lamp-lit streets of downtown Gatlinburg and follow the Parkway through central Gatlinburg (which starts to fill up with over 80,000 spectators the evening before).

 

 

Where to Stay in Gatlinburg

The Margaritaville Resort brings a tropical vibe to the Great Smoky Mountain town of Gatlinburg. With high-end accommodations, inviting amenities, and island-inspired bars, this laid-back retreat is perfect if you want to be in downtown Gatlinburg. It’s on the parade route, plus it’s right across from Anakeesta and next to the Ripley’s Aquarium. But let’s be honest—you had me at Margarita!

 

Arlington, Texas

We all know that everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes parades! Red, white, and blue cover the streets of Downtown Arlington, and the Independence Day celebration is chock-full with a schedule of events that lasts for two days! The Arlington Independence Day Parade has been a time-honored annual tradition since 1965. This parade is one of the largest 4th of July parades in the United States, the largest in Texas, and one of the longest-running annual events in Arlington

Arlington hands out awards to parade participants with the most outstanding displays, so be on the lookout for your favorite show of patriotic spirit – it could very well be one of the parade winners. With awards like the Spirit Award, the Mayor’s Award, Best-Decorated Vehicle, Best Professionally Built Float, and Best Marching Band, you better believe there’s going to be some big red, white, and blue competition and flair!

 

One of the biggest parades happens in Arlington, Texas

The Arlington Parade is one of the largest 4th of July parades in the United States.

 

Where to Stay in Arlington

Go big and book a room at Live! By Loews in Arlington. This hotel is situated in downtown Arlington in the heart of the Entertainment District with quick access to all your favorite sports arenas like Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field, and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. It’s also a great spot to see the fireworks. 

 

Boston, Massachusetts

History buffs will love the Independence Day festivities in Boston. The Boston Harbor is the location for our nation’s biggest tea party, and Boston is rich in Revolutionary War-era landmarks, Bunker Hil, and Paul Revere’s final resting place. It’s only right that Beantown should host a grand parade and the Boston Haborfest. Parade to the Granary Burial Ground, where wreaths are laid on the graves of patriots. Spectators then follow the parade through Downtown Crossing to the Old State House, where a reading of the Declaration of Independence takes place in the same spot where it was first read in 1776. 

The live performances and reenactments from historic colonial characters, complete with special effects, are a big draw for parade-goers in Boston, too. And yes, there are fireworks! The July 4th Fireworks take place on the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge and can’t be seen from the harbor, so choose your spectating spot depending on if you want to be close to the fireworks or close to the festivities and parade.

 

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Boston's Harborfest includes historical reenactments, parades and fireworks.

Now’s your chance to don your colonial garb and be a part of Harborfest’s 4th of July reenactments.

 

Where to Stay in Boston

The Lennox Hotel puts you front and center to the fireworks on the Charles River! This hotel is in the upscale Back Bay neighborhood and boasts elegant 19th-century architecture. It’s also close to the amazing Newbury Street shops and Copley Square landmarks. And, if you’re up for it, Fenway Park is a 20-minute walk.

 

Washington, DC

Where else would you expect to have a grand Fourth of July parade than in the heart of the country itself? Washington, D.C.’s annual parade takes place on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street and tries to represent the entire country. Across its fife and drum corps, military and specialty units, drill teams, and VIP guests, it aims to have at least one band or unit from each state—now that is impressive. 

There is a primary fireworks display in DC that is simply breathtaking and stands as the epitome of America, IMO. Fireworks erupt and illuminate all the best memorials and monuments, from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, Constitution Gardens, WWII Memorial, and even the Vietnam Memorial.  

 

Enjoy 4th of July in Washington, DC

4th of July at our nation’s capital includes a parade, Lincoln Memorial flyovers by military aircraft, and a fireworks display.

 

Where to Stay in D.C.

A hop, skip, and a jump from the Independence Day parade route and fanfare, the Grand Hyatt in Washington D.C. is also centrally located near the Metro system and the Smithsonian. Book a room and be close to all things American, from the parade to the Pentagon and the Washington Zoo.

 

Don’t Miss: 4th of July Fun with Kids in Washington DC

 

Seward, Alaska

Don’t forget about Alaska! Independence Day of grand portions happens in Seward. The population swells from 3,000 to 30,000 every year. Vendors, games, the Mount Marathon Race (dubbed the world’s most challenging 5k), a boat parade, a Mini Mount Marathon Race, a float parade, and fireworks are all part of the celebrations in Alaska!

Pick a good seaside spot to watch the Seward Boat Parade, a colorful display of boats decorated in patriotic themes, on July 3rd! The Independence Day parade starts its route in the Seward Harbor and concludes at the Seward Waterfront Park, where visitors can enjoy the spectacular Seward Fourth of July Fireworks show. Thanks in part to Alaska’s midnight sun, fireworks don’t erupt until 12:01 am, but in this tiny port town, the main event is the Mount Marathon race. Whether you run it or watch it, you’ll want to be a part of the adrenaline-packed fun.

 

4th of July in Seward, Alaska.

Celebration the spirit of Independence Day against the stunning backdrop of Alaska.

 

Where to Stay In Seward

Where else can you stay and partake in Fourth of July festivities, whale-watch, and explore glaciers all on the same day other than Hotel Edgewater? This hotel is located in downtown Seward within walking distance to restaurants, shops, and the shoreline.

 

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I grew up with a red Webster’s Dictionary on the kitchen counter, which is where my love of words and crafty writing was born. My constant word doodling and storytelling was also a pretty good sign I was destined for the writer’s life too. I am a master brand storyteller, creative ringleader and kick-a content creator, based in Park City, Utah, where I live with my three incredible kiddos, my guy, and three of the goofiest doodle doggies you’ll ever meet. My specialties include copywriting, content creation, word smithing, editing, proofreading, SEO marketing, brainstorming, and picking brains. I’m also very good at multitasking, single-tasking, and “I’ll just do it myself” tasking. Last, but certainly not least, I specialize in spontaneous bursts of sheer brilliance. I traded life near the Pacific Ocean for mountain town living in Park City, which actually feels like a chill beach town…so, it’s a pretty even trade, except for the snow – obvi!