Most Patriotic Adventures Around The U.S. In Honor Of Independence Day

The Fourth of July is the most patriotic holiday in the U.S. Celebrating the country's declaration of independence from Great Britain has traditionally become a day to spend with friends and family; having picnics and barbecues, and watching parades and fireworks. But you can honor America's birthday in other patriotic ways. 

Participate in a parade

Wave the stars and stripes at an Independence Day Parade. Line up with other patriots, veterans, military servicemen and women, and celebrate America's birthday. From passing the capital's most iconic monuments, to watching cars shows, marching bands and floats, parades are one of the best ways to celebrate. Don't overlook small towns to spend the holiday; what they lack in size, they make up in patriotism.

Go on a road trip along Route 66

This is the ultimate American trip – the legendary 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica. It has been featured in just about everything – TV, music, movies. Many places still keep the original two-lane highway. The most popular locations along the trip are in the Southwest, but Illinois has something to offer as well. Stop by Pontiac and visit the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum. Along the way you'll also find stunning panoramas, charming towns, rocky cliffs, and beautiful deserts and parks. If you really want to see what it's like to be "alone" on the road, go west from Kingman past the saguaro cacti and loose boulders. You'll get to Oatman, an old gold-mining town. Don't forget to visit the Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is 50,000 years old.

Go back in time in Colonial Williamsburg

The patriotic festivities in Colonial Williamsburg start on July 2. Be there for the mapping and dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. Participate in a political debate old-fashion style, and play colonial games and epic tug-of-war battles. Don't miss the remarkable fireworks show. Have dinner at a historic tavern that dates back to the 1800's and maybe buy a Colonial Williamsburg piece at an auction.

Take a trip to Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of the best places to be on July 4th.Visiting the "birthplace of America" is certainly a patriotic way to celebrate the holiday. See the Liberty Bell Center and visit  Independence Hall where it all really began. See the original inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence and an original draft of the Constitution. There are multiple shows, concerts, parties, and staged readings organized all over the city.

Fight in a Civil War reenactment in Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg is often referred to as the turning point in the Civil War. The "High Water Mark of the Rebellion" was the war's bloodiest fight with more than 50,000 casualties. The 153rd Gettysburg Anniversary Reenactment is scheduled for July 1-3, coinciding with the actual days of the battle in 1863. Take a last-minute trip to Pennsylvania. 

Hike to Mount Rushmore

You won't see fireworks at Mount Rushmore on Independence Day, but this is the place to be if you're looking for a quieter holiday experience. With the nation's founding fathers in the background, you will witness world champion hoop dancer Jasmine Pickner, teaching hoop dancing and native flutist Sequoia Crosswhite portraying stories and playing the flute, according to NPS. You'll get to "ask" the four presidents questions as they will be portrayed by professional reenactors. The evening programming on July 4 begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Amphitheater.

See Basque Country at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Be a part of the National Mall's Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a massive, multiple-day celebration of international cultures, scheduled for June 29 – July 4 and July 7 – 10. It's free and it features two themes: Basque: Innovation By Culture and Sounds of California. Eat delicious food, see amazing art work, earn and play pilota (which is like handball), and witness iron workers, stone carvers and painters showing off their handiwork.

Go to the Air & Space Museum’s 40th birthday

The National Air and Space Museum will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its flagship building in Washington, D.C. on July 1. The evening ceremony and all-night birthday celebration will mark the occasion and officially open the newly renovated Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. For the first time, the Museum will stay open from 9 p.m. until 10 a.m. on Saturday, with special guests dropping by and ongoing activities including a film festival, music, tours, a scavenger hunt and much more. Museum admission is free.

Go on a river cruise around D.C.

See the national monuments in Washington, D.C. from a unique perspective – away on a boat. Make reservations in advance to secure a spot. The popular Potomac Cruise features highlights such as the Jefferson Memorial, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Washington Monument, Memorial Bridge, and the 14th St. Bridge.

Camp out and barbecue with friends

An Independence Day celebration will not be complete without getting together with family and friends and spending the afternoon together eating grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, pineapples and  American-flag cakes. Get a large group of people and go camping. Spend the night and see the most spectacular dark but clear skies. See: The Most Dangerous Camping Destinations

Visit a national park

This is a special year – it's the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service. Visiting all 59 national parks in the U.S. and its territories in 52 weeks in an airstream sounds like an impossible adventure to many, but a few people are already doing it. Celebrate both America's birthday and its "best idea" with one trip. These are the most and least visited national parks.

Go to the beach

Honor Independence Day in style by kicking off the celebrations with fun on the beach. Escape reality, get some sunshine, and relax. Take up a new water sport and hit the ocean for some action packed fun. From beach festivals to live music, boat parades, picnics and fireworks overlooking the ocean, the beaches on this list are the best places to kick off your long weekend.

Have fun at an amusement park

Amusement parks are a lot of fun both for kids and grown-ups. Millions of people every year go on thrilling rides – the more dangerous the better. Take the kids to Disneyland or other theme parks and make America's birthday a family-fun affair.