Stars, stripes and 10 small-town delights to visit this July 4th

Man riding a bike while holding an American flag with a girl behind him running with an American flag

July 4th is the perfect excuse to get out of town and go on a summer getaway. These hidden gems across the U.S. offer an ideal blend of patriotic spirit and cozy community vibes. Imagine parades down Main Street, picnics in the park and fireworks shows that light up the sky. Grab your red, white and blue, and get ready to explore these quaint destinations for a big 4th of July celebration. 

1. Bar Harbor, Maine

If you want a small, coastal town that celebrates July 4th like a pro, then look no further than Bar Harbor. Known as the gateway to Acadia National Park, this gem offers historic charm and natural beauty. 

Where to stay: Stay at the well-known Bar Harbor Inn, which provides breathtaking views of the waterfront and a front-row seat to the yearly fireworks display over Frenchman Bay. It’s also a short walk to Bar Harbor’s local attractions. 

Where to eat: Grab a bite to eat at Stewman’s Lobster Pound, one of the only authentic oceanfront lobster pounds in Bar Harbor. Enjoy fresh Maine lobster, steamers, mussels, clam chowder and blueberry pie on the water. 

What to do: Check out Acadia National Park, go whale watching at Frenchman Bay or go to the local shops and galleries in downtown Bar Harbor. And on July 4th, don’t miss the annual Independence Day Parade and Seafood Festival that takes place all around town!

Waterfront in Bar Harbor, Maine

2. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is the spot for a rustic July 4th getaway. The town kicks off its Independence Day with a midnight parade, setting the tone for a jam-packed day of festivities. 

Where to stay: Stay at the Greystone Lodge on the River for a central location and scenic views of the surrounding nature. Make sure to bring your bathing suit, as the hotel has an outdoor pool, perfect for those hot Tennessee days. 

Where to eat: Enjoy southern hospitality at The Peddler Steakhouse, known for its fresh salad bar, custom-cut steaks and views of the Little Pigeon River. 

What to do: Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (which is free to enter), take a ride on the no-charge Gatlinburg Trolleys or go white water rafting in one of the regional rivers nearby. On July 4th, at 12:01 am, make your way downtown for the First Independence Day Celebration in the Nation.

People walking over a bridge with mountains in the background in Gatlinburg, TN

3. Breckenridge, Colorado 

Dating back to the gold rush era, it’s no wonder Breckenridge knows a thing or two about celebrating historical moments. Here you’ll find cool summer temperatures and a laid-back vibe, ideal for those who want a relaxing holiday getaway. 

Where to stay: Stay at the Grand Timber Lodge, a serene retreat located close by to the hustle and bustle of Main Street. Indoor/outdoor hot tubs, all-season pools and private movie theaters are just a few amenities you’ll find while staying here. 

Where to eat: Dine at Hearthstone Restaurant, decked out in Victorian décor and serving Colorado-inspired cuisine. This is the place to go for some fresh food and an even fresher view of the surrounding mountains. 

What to do: Go for a hike on one of the hundreds of trails around the town, play a round of golf at The Breckenridge Golf Course or go shopping on Main Street with more than 200 stores to choose from. On July 4th, take part in the different activities around town, like the Independence Day Parade or the NRO Alumni String Quartet show.  

Mountains and a golf course in Breckenridge, Colorado

4. Hannibal, Missouri

Known as the boyhood home of Mark Twain, Hannibal offers a whimsical and unique July 4th celebration with its Annual National Tom Sawyer Days 4th of July Parade. The festival includes activities inspired by Twain’s classic tales, like fence-painting contests and frog-jumping competitions. 

Where to stay: Stay at the charming Garth Woodside Mansion, a historic bed and breakfast dating back to 1871. It’s not just a place to sleep, it’s a step back in time where you’ll experience luxury like never before. 

Where to eat: Of course, you need to stay with the Mark Twain theme while here. That’s why you should grab a table at the Mark Twain Dinette, known for its comfort food and nostalgic ambiance. 

What to do: Go to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River or join in on a ghost tour around town for a spooky twist.

A riverboat cruise in the water in Hannibal, MO

5. Healdsburg, California

Healdsburg, located in the heart of wine country in Sonoma County, offers a charming vibe all year long. The town’s July 4th celebration includes a community parade, picnics in the Healdsburg Plaza and a fireworks show at night. 

Where to stay: Stay at Montage Healdsburg, a refined wine country retreat with adults-only and family pools, private cabanas and a renowned spa. 

Where to eat: Dine at SingleThread, a 3 Michelin-star restaurant offering a farm-to-table dining experience. 

What to do: Experience local wineries, take a bike ride through the vineyards or enjoy a relaxing day by the Russian River. 

A row of vineyards in Healdsburg, CA

6. St. Augustine, Florida

If you’re looking for a destination that’ll make you feel like you’re in a different country, make your way to St. Augustine. This isn’t just any ol’ town in Florida, it’s the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the continental United States. Brick-lined streets, centuries-old buildings, horse-drawn carriages and hidden courtyards are just a few things you’ll see while exploring this historic spot. 

Where to stay: Stay at the Casa Monica Resort and Spa, a beautifully restored 1888 landmark offering luxury accommodations with a Moroccan flair. 

Where to eat: Savor local favorites at The Columbia Restaurant, originally opened in 1903 as The Columbia Saloon. Over 120 years later, the restaurant is still run by the original family serving up Spanish and Cuban-inspired cuisine. 

What to do: Walk around the historic district, go sailing or visit the oldest wooden schoolhouse in America. On July 4th, join in on the Fireworks Over the Matanzas event complete with a free concert and firework display over the water. 

An old building in St. Augustine, FL

7. Bristol, Rhode Island

Bristol is known for hosting the oldest Independence Day celebration in the U.S., dating back to 1785, making it the best place for a mini July 4th getaway. This quintessential New England town features a beautiful harbor, fresh seafood and so much more. 

Where to stay: Stay at the Bristol Harbor Inn for a taste of coastal charm and boutique elegance. All rooms are nautical themed to reflect the area’s maritime history. 

What to eat: Take a seat at Quito’s Restaurant and Bar for fresh and authentic New England seafood on the water. Don’t leave without trying a “lobstah” roll, as the locals call it. 

What to do: Explore Blithewold, walk around the local parks and farms or take the ferry to Prudence Island to spend the day. On July 4th, make your way to Hope and Chestnut Streets for Bristol’s 239th Independence Day event

A yellow house with pink flowers in front of it in Bristol, Rhode Island.

8. Addison, Texas

Famously known for Addison Kaboom Town – one of the most impressive fireworks displays in the country – Addison is a great place to spend July 4th. Along with its fireworks show, this Dallas suburb also holds an annual air show, live music events and a patriotic festival for Independence Day. 

Where to stay: Stay at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel, offering comfortable accommodations, an outdoor pool and easy access to the event.

Where to eat: Enjoy Tex-Mex at Mesero, a local favorite known for its fresh food, tasty drinks and vibrant atmosphere. 

What to do: Visit the Mary Kay Museum, take a walk through Addison Circle Park or take a day trip into the city of Dallas. On July 4th, of course, take a seat and enjoy the famous fireworks display above you. 

Park with a lake in Addison, Texas

9. Stowe, Vermont

Stowe isn’t just a mountain town, it’s a place that lights up with red, white and blue during July 4th. This village’s celebration includes a traditional parade, a village festival and fireworks set against the backdrop of the Green Mountains. 

Where to stay: Stay at the Trapp Family Lodge, an Austrian-inspired hotel that offers 96 rooms and suites in the Main Lodge as well as villas and guest house chalets, for a more private stay. 

Where to eat: For farm-to-table dining, make a reservation at Plate, a California-inspired restaurant in the heart of Stowe Village. The chef uses seasonal ingredients, so the menu is always changing. 

What to do: Take a hike on one of the many trails, drink local craft beers at one of Stowe’s breweries or go dog-sledding (yes, even in the Summer) with Eden Ethical Dog Sledding. On July 4th, enjoy a full day of festivities and food and end the night at the Mayo Fields for one of Vermont’s largest fireworks displays. 

Mountains in Stowe, VT

10. Incline Village, Nevada

Incline Village on Lake Tahoe celebrates July 4th the right way with the Red, White and Tahoe Blue Festival. This three-day event includes several parades, face painting, flag ceremonies, live music, a Tahoe Firecracker Trail Trek and so much more. 

Where to stay: Stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort for waterfront views, luxury suites and high-end amenities. 

Where to eat: You can’t go to Incline Village without eating at Lone Eagle Grille. This lakeside dining destination provides an unforgettable lakeside experience. Indulge in local and seasonal fare like steaks from local ranches and wines from Sonoma and Napa Valley.

What to do: You’re in Lake Tahoe! Kayak, hike, relax on the beach or go shopping in town. From June 30th to July 4th, participate in the Red, White and Tahoe Blue festival for an unforgettable Independence Day. 

Lake Tahoe with boats in it

Red, white and you!

Make this 4th of July spectacular with Faye Travel Insurance

These activities and websites are suggestions and Faye is in no way associated with them. This post is meant to give you ideas and inspiration on small-town Independence Day locations.

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