With the 4th of July weekend quickly approaching, some of you might be scrambling to find fun ways to spend the holiday. The extra bonus this year is that Independence Day falls on a Tuesday, so it’s a great excuse for a 4-day vacay, or even a week away, if you can swing it. Carpe diem(s), America!
But that still leaves the question of what to do, especially if you’re a last-minute planner (like me) looking for the perfect thing. Here are a few ideas that can make your 4th of July a total blast without blowing up your bank account (sorry, couldn’t help myself…).
For the dedicated outdoorsy types, camping is the perfect way to spend the 4th of July weekend. But for those of us who like being in nature, but kinda really hate the idea of sleeping bags, bug spray, and using a bush as your bathroom, glamping is a much more appealing idea.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “glamping” you’re not alone. It’s a relatively new travel trend that stands for “glamorous camping.” It’s designed to let nature types embrace the great outdoors (hiking, fishing, campfires), while also enjoying the perks of modern living (electricity, indoor plumbing, a bed you don’t have to inflate).
So, instead of going with your standard pitch-a-tent set up, you could stay in a yurt, airstream, pod, igloo…or even a teepee or a treehouse – the list goes on. Plus, when I say “treehouse” I’m not talking about that sketchy one your brother built for your niece and nephew in their backyard. Some of these glamping digs are pretty darn luxurious. Check out glamping.com to see just how swanky glamping getaways can be.
As another option, you can stay at a hotel, Airbnb or other accommodation near your favorite campsite. Extended Stay America has some great deals on rooms and suites located near many campsites. Plus, they’re doing an amazing Hope the Bear program, teaming up with Build-A-Bear and the American Cancer Society to give bears to children with cancer and donate hotel stays for their families near treatment facilities.
If your idea of the perfect 4th of July weekend involves less s’mores and steep terrain, and more surf, swim and sand, this is a great time to plan a beach getaway. One of my favorite spots is La Jolla in San Diego, California. You can take in amazing ocean views while strolling down long stretches of sand, and never, ever worry about running into a bear. And, because San Diego is known for its large military population and fierce patriotism, you can find plenty of awe-inspiring firework shows around the city.
Surf City, North Carolina is another popular spot for a coastal celebration, particularly if you’re looking to bring the kids. It’s family-friendly beaches offer summertime waves that are always small, perfect for kids (and adults) who may want to try surfing for the first time. On July 4th, Surf City always has a fun family parade and an evening celebration with live music, food, and fireworks, of course.
Travelocity still has some great deals on beach getaways and other popular spots for the 4th. And, to be sure you’re hitting the beach looking your best, Land’s End is offering savings on swim and beachwear right now that you won’t want to miss.
Sometimes the perfect 4th of July getaway is as close as your neighborhood park. In fact, some of my best holiday memories are of family picnics spent snacking on red, white and blue foods while sending frisbees soaring far from their intended targets.
To create the perfect patriotic picnic, you can find plenty of recipes online for some yummy and nutritious red, white and blue dishes. Plus, there’s no limit to the choice of 4th of July themed dessert recipes online. You’ll also want to get a good picnic basket and a sturdy, large picnic blanket. You can find plenty of choices for both at Kohl’s and Williams-Sonoma.
And, while chasing down rogue frisbees and filling up on flag-adorned treats is fun, they’re usually not enough to keep friends and family (especially kids) from getting restless. Luckily, there are plenty of games for kids and adults in keeping with the patriotic theme. Here’s a handy list of 20 popular patriotic games for kids and adults, including a patriotic scavenger hunt and, my personal favorite, water balloon dodgeball.
Another fun way to spend family time on and around the 4th is to make some Independence Day crafts. Whether you’re putting on a party, or just feeling especially patriotic, you and the kids can fill the house with your own DIY red, white and blue decorations. Definitely check out Etsy for some great savings on supplies, kits and more.
If you’re looking to give your little ones the fun of fireworks minus the fire part, there are plenty of firework-themed crafts they can make. Create anything from exploding confetti balloons and paper sparklers, to firecracker noisemakers and candy-filled rockets. Here’s a list of 14 Crafts for Fireworks Fun that’ll give your kids plenty of safe ways to get in on the sparkly fun.
So, whether you’re craving time away, or plan to stick close to home, there are lots of ways to make your 4th of July a star-spangled celebration. After all, Independence Day is about celebrating our freedom. So go, be free, stay safe, and feel grateful to live in our beautiful country…oh, and always remember to bring the sunscreen.