The celebration: An epic Independence Day destination, Colonial Williamsburg was where such founding fathers as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Mason established and instituted the principles and policies that led to the founding of the nation. On July 4, festivities begin in early morning and don’t cease until the pop of the last fireworks that evening. Have breakfast with Thomas and Martha Jefferson at Shields Tavern before walking to the Capitol for his reading of the Declaration of Independence. Throughout the day are special patriotic programs in the village’s interpretive venues, a militia muster, Colonial games at the market house, firing of muskets and cannons, a salute to the 13 original colonies and music by Williamsburg’s own Fife and Drums. In nearby Yorktown, the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown (200 Water St., historyisfun.org/yorktown-victory-center/liberty-celebration) salutes the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with military exercises, lectures, and an exhibit featuring a rare July 1776 broadside document with the signatures of the founding fathers. Watch the fireworks from the water, aboard the tall ship Alliance (sailyorktown.com). Stay at the Williamsburg Lodge (310 England St., colonialwilliamsburg.com/stay/williamsburg-lodge), which also hosts a special Independence Day family bash including dinner, kids’ games and VIP seating for the fireworks (tickets required).
Getting there: Williamsburg is 198-miles from Baltimore, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive.
More info: colonialwilliamsburg.com/plan/calendar/july-4 (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg / HANDOUT)
We looked around the Land of The Free and found an array of July 4 destinations worthy of a journey. While countless towns host festive parades, those we recommend honor U.S. service members who made it their mission to protect our prized democracy.
Many of our selected spots possess great Fourth of July legacies — Bristol, R.I.’s Independence Day celebration claims to be the oldest in the nation — while others offer traditions like costumed reenactors and naturalization ceremonies. And, of course, we found those that are family-friendly and just plain fun, pie eating contests, dog parades and concerts of American music, old and new.
These festivities will make you wish July 4 came more than once a year.