Did you know that the tradition of celebrating the 4th of July goes all the way back to the late 1700s? I know I didn’t! Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 (or our American independence from Great Britain).
When I was little, it meant barbecues, an extra day off school, and hearing fireworks lit off in the street I lived on. Now, I recognize it more as patriotic and realize there are a lot of great ways to celebrate it.
Here are some ideas to celebrate the 4th of July this year:
1. Visit a National Landmark
One year, my parents and I drove 4 hours to see Crater Lake, something I had never seen in pretty much my whole life of living in the area. It surprisingly wasn’t packed and there was even snow, which made it much more memorable considering the 4th of July is in a hot season. I felt patriotic paying a visit to an important landmark in my state and I got to check something off my bucket list. Win, win!
2. Watch Fireworks At The Beach
Another year, a roommate and I drove out to the coast and spent the afternoon being tourists and getting grub to eat down at the harbor. Bring a blanket if your coast is notorious for being cold, dinner for the whole experience, and chairs if you don’t want to sit on the ground!
3. Go To A Baseball Game Or Rodeo
A traditional way to spend the weekend of the 4th is to take in a baseball game. Don’t like baseball? Bring some sunflower seeds and make bets on who’ll win. Loser buys vendor food for dinner! You can also bring a deck of cards to kill time while waiting for fireworks to start. Rodeos are also a good place to see a good fireworks show and sometimes you’ll even get the patriotic music and a mechanical bull to go with!
4. Get Together With Friends
Pool your money and buy a few really good fireworks to carefully set off by yourselves. Or you could get a bunch of the really inexpensive ones, such as sparklers or TNT poppers (the ones you throw at the ground). Just make sure to be safe, clean-up afterwards, and be mindful of certain laws. Don’t want to spend money? Each of you can bring a dish to have a potluck and watch the celebrations on TV.
5. Go Hiking
Watching the fireworks from the top of a beautiful mountain is a beautiful view. One year, I hiked with friends to the top of a butte and we chowed down on munchies while enjoying the lit up sky. Some other hikers even brought a guitar so we had tunes to listen to at the same time.