Fireworks, barbecues and that good old fashioned red, white and blue make up the perfect vision of the Fourth of July holiday. The long weekend affords the chance to get away from the office in the middle of summer and celebrate America’s Independence Day in the process.
All across the country, big cities light up with fancy pants firework shows and events but lurking on Main Street U.S.A. are a wealth of small towns that could give the city slickers a run for their money for the holiday weekend. If you are still considering getting away for this Fourth of July, head to these noteworthy small town hideaways to spend the long holiday weekend.
Bristol, Rhode Island
With a history spanning three centuries, Bristol, Rhode Island presents the perfect patriotic spot to spend the Fourth of July holiday. Founded in 1680, the entire town center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Situated just 12 miles southeast of Providence and 12 miles north of Newport, Bristol certainly has bragging rights when it comes its Fourth of July celebrations. The town claims the oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration in America with the first held in 1785.
Bristol’s Fourth of July Celebration covers three weeks on the calendar with the main event occurring on July 4th for the 2.5 mile Military Civic and Firemen’s Parade. The parade begins on Chestnut and Hope Street and ends up on High Street, bringing in people by the droves. Other events for the Bristol Fourth of July Celebration include a concert series, fireworks and even a Fourth of July ball.
What To Do
Adorning with homes from the 1700s and 1800s, Bristol oozes charm down its tree-lined streets. Travelers can occupy their time at the Bristol Train of Artillery, a museum with rare specimens of military weapons, the Linden Place Museum, a historic estate in the waterfront district and the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, one of New England’s finest garden estates. In addition, the area crawls with vineyards like Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, a premier winery in Rhode Island for four decades. The vineyard and others sit just 30 minutes from Bristol. Bristol also occupies long weekend trips with its miles of accessible coastline, perfect for kayaking and windsurfing.
Located right smack in the middle of one of the world’s finest grape growing regions, Sonoma sits just an hour from San Francisco. With a small town atmosphere, Sonoma makes for an ideal Fourth of July escape. Founded in 1835, the town boasts two dozen tasting rooms within steps of the Sonoma Plaza.
Aside from wine tasting, locals and travelers flock to Sonoma for the town’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade and Celebration. Put on for more than half a century by the Sonoma Community Center, the event features plenty of food, drinks and games. Held on Sonoma Plaza, you can expect marching bands, a carnival, and fireworks for Sonoma’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade and Celebration.
What To Do
While you are in town, Sonoma enchants with its history. You’ll most likely want to spend some time on Sonoma Plaza. Dating back to the Mission era, the plaza surrounds in 19th-century adobes, charming shops, and restaurants. In addition, you’ll want to explore the Mission San Francisco Solano, part of the Sonoma State Historic Park and the northernmost Franciscan Mission in California.
Where To Stay
For a rustic yet contemporary escape in Sonoma, you can rest up at Dawn Ranch. Located in the middle of a redwood forest, the resort features cabins, cottages, and chalets that sleep two to four people. Close to world-class vineyards, the accommodations provide privacy and intimacy while still being close to the action of Sonoma.
Located along Maine’s scenic Southern Coast, Kennebunkport began as a shipbuilding center. By the late 1800s, the affluent from Boston began flocking to this corner of Maine for the perfect summer getaway. Today, Kennebunkport and its neighboring town of Kennebunk are still popular summertime escapes, especially around the Fourth of July. Celebrations largely focus on a fireworks show at dusk on Kennebunk Beach. You can view the show from both Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. In addition, several festivals occur around the summer holiday including Old Home Week with a parade, barbecue and craft fairs.
What To Do
While you’re in town for the Fourth of July, you can also find Kennebunkport is flush with beaches, high-end dining, art galleries and quaint shops. In particularly, Goose Rocks Beach lends three miles of wide, smooth sands in town, ideal for a Fourth of July escape. From Kennebunkport, you can also take advantage of a variety of tours including the Scenic Lobster Tour. Tour goers head down the Kennebunk River to see how the world famous Maine lobster is harvested. And of course, you can also head to Walker’s Point to snap a photo of the Bush family summer home.
Where To Stay
For your Fourth of July escape, Hidden Pond provides an intimate and private accommodation option in town. With an emphasis on nature, relaxation, luxury and privacy, Hidden Pond outfits with individual cottages for your summer escape. In addition to the privacy, Hidden Pond also boasts two heated pools and plenty of nature trails to explore.
Acting as one of the oldest towns in Texas, Seguin puts on quite the show for the Fourth of July. Located around an hour from Austin and just over 30 minutes from San Antonio, Seguin boasts that small town vibe with tree-lined streets, Queen Anne mansions, the state’s oldest licensed bar and a downtown district on the National Register of Historic Places.
For the Fourth of July, Seguin pulls out the stops with its Biggest Small Town Fourth of July Parade. The parade gets bigger and bigger each year with a crowd exceeding 10,000 people. Heading down Austin Street in town, the parade boasts more than 100 entries. Leading up to the parade, Seguin also puts on the Freedom Fiesta, a celebration of the long weekend with live music, a kids parade and food and the Fireworks Fiesta, a fireworks show held on July 3rd.
What To Do
In addition to the Fourth of July activities in Seguin, the town leaves several reasons to linger beyond the 4th. Visitors can roam Pape’s Pecan House and Nutcracker Museum, home to one of the world’s largest nutcracker collections. A stop at Heritage Village showcases some of the first buildings in Seguin and the Sebastopol House Historic Site displays an 1856 Greek Revival Mansion.
Acting as a world shrimp capital, Brunswick, Georgia often gets forgotten to Savannah. However, the Georgia town packs in the charm throughout its Old Town where Victorian homes line up and old town squares make for fine spaces to idle the day away. If you arrive for the Fourth of July, Brunswick doesn’t disappoint with its Brunswick’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration. Occupying the Mary Ross Waterfront Park in downtown, the event features free watermelon slices for all along with music and old-fashioned games like sack races. Fireworks over the East River close out the night.
What To Do
While you’re in town for the 4th, you can also explore Brunswick’s attractions. Throughout town, you’ll find a wealth of antique shops, 14 signature squares that have been restored and much of the city’s original Victorian architecture. For a more offbeat attraction, you can hop aboard the Lady Jane and go shrimpin’ as the locals do.
Settled in Southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Telluride tucks away with all its Old West spirit and charm. Surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks and boasting over a century of rich history, it is no wonder many flock to this Colorado mountain town for the Fourth of July. Telluride’s 4th of July Celebration brings on the events. The activities start with a Rundola, a recreational footrace to benefit charity. Next up is the parade down historic Main Street. You can spot homemade floats, listen to music and even appreciate an airplane flyover. For the hungry, Telluride’s firemen host the Firemen’s BBQ to round out the day. Fireworks close out the celebration above Town Park.
What To Do
In the summer, Telluride fills up the calendar with events from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to the Telluride Film Festival. If you can swing by for its events, the mountain town enchants with its natural makeup. You can fly fish on the Gunnison River or go horseback riding in the San Juan Mountains.
Where To Stay
If you are in southwest Colorado, you can hole up at Dunton Hot Springs, an hour from town. Set up in the San Juan Mountains, the exclusive resort boasts that Old West charm. You can stay in one of the 12 private cabins, originally made using hand sawed logs.
Do you have a favorite small town in the U.S.A to spend the Fourth of July? Share your find with us in the comments below.