4ht of july celebrations

America’s Greatest Off The Beaten Path Fourth of July Celebrations

A Fourth of July camping vacation defines all-American summer fun! While the biggies like fireworks at Mount Rushmore leap to mind first, you’ll often find less crowds and more homespun fun at events a bit farther off the beaten path. Here are some great recommendations for family fun.

“Fourth of July City, USA” – Seward, Nebraska

4th of july celebrations

Seward, Nebraska

The Seward, Nebraska, community has made a point of celebrating the Fourth of July since 1868 and it’s still going strong today. Over the decades it has grown to gain national attention. If you’re looking for a great way to spend the Fourth of July this summer, come explore a community that has honored this important holiday for more than 140 years, and proclaimed itself “Fourth of July City, USA.”

What To Do
You can choose to take a walking tour of downtown Seward, listen to great music, enter an apple pie eating contest, see a Wild West shootout, and watch a terrific Grand Parade at 4:00 p.m. on the Fourth.

Where To Camp Nearby
Staying at the Pawnee State Recreation Area will make your Fourth of July even better. This great campground is open year round and allows tent camping as well as campers. It is a beautiful area located only 10 miles from Fourth of July City, USA.

Black Hills Roundup–Belle Fourche, South Dakota

4th of july celebrations

Belle Fourche, South Dakota

In Belle Fourche, South Dakota, the Fourth of July is so big it can’t be contained in a single day! For decades, the Black Hills Roundup has featured outdoor rodeos, parades, Miss South Dakota Rodeo competition, a cattle drive through the streets, and other activities that go on for five wonderful, excitement-filled days surrounding the Fourth of July weekend. It’s a hometown celebration that draws people from around the world.

What To Do
In addition to the internationally famous rodeo, guests can enjoy a week long carnival, homes and businesses decked out in Americana, delicious barbecue, a separate ranch rodeo, and a huge fireworks display on the reservoir northeast of town that will thrill every member of the family.

Where To Camp Nearby
Enjoy a week or more of beautiful scenery and convenient amenities at the Rocky Point Recreation Area. Located only five miles from The Black Hills Roundup, your family can enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery around. This recreation area is located on the 8,000 acre Belle Fourche Reservoir, and they offer many amenities and additional for campers. Best of all, you can watch the fireworks show right from your campsite.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest – Coney Island (Brooklyn), New York

4th of july celebrations

Coney Island (Brooklyn), New York

This is the most publicized of events on the 50 Campfires list, but who knew there was an honest opportunity to camp right in Brooklyn?

Hot dogs are synonymous with Fourth of July cookouts, but the Nathan’s contest isn’t your ordinary hot dog cookout! The championship for Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest happens every year in Coney Island, New York, on the Fourth of July.

What To Do
Throughout the year, qualifying events across the country lead up to the big championship. This is the big leagues of big eating, so you won’t want to miss the fun of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest championship. You’ll also want to explore Coney Island, which is a New York neighborhood featuring an amusement area including more than 50 rides and attractions. Unlike Disneyland or Six Flags, each ride or attraction is an independent business with its own quirky appeal.

Where To Camp Nearby
Did you know there’s real camping available in Brooklyn, New York? Floyd Bennett Field Campground and Camp Gateway on Jamaica Bay are part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation area. The area offers hiking, biking, birding, fishing, historic tours and more—all right inside the iconic Metropolis of New York City. The campsites are just minutes away from Coney Island and all of its attractions, too.

Texas Cowboy Reunion – Stamford, Texas

4th of july celebrations

Stamford, Texas

This year marks the 85th year of the Texas Cowboy Reunion that will run from July 1st through July 4th. Entertainment is plentiful at this fun event located in Stamford, Texas.

What To Do
How about watching some exciting saddle bronc riding, calf roping, or barrel racing? There’s also the wild cow milking for loads of fun! Show up early and take in the 42nd Annual Stamford Art Foundation Exhibit and Sale of western art to benefit the West Texas Rehab Center. It’s held at the John Selmon Memorial Gallery on the evening of June 30th. There are dances every night, gospel singing, a cowboy bbq cookoff, and a cowboy symposium.

Where To Camp Nearby
Fort Griffin is a Texas State Historical Site near Albany, Texas, about 35 miles from Stamford. Campsites at Fort Griffin range from primitive equestrian sites to covered shelters with water, electricity, and sewer hookups. Amenities also include fire rings, outdoor grills, and picnic tables. Historic Fort Griffin is home to the official Texas State Longhorn Herd with opportunities for fishing, hiking, stargazing, tours, and living history.

Red, White and Bluegrass Festival – Morganton, North Carolina

4th of July celebrations

Morganton, North Carolina

Morganton, North Carolina, started with a fireworks display back in the 1980s, but their celebration organically morphed into the huge proportions it enjoys today, covering four days and including one of the finest Bluegrass Festivals in the southeastern United States.

What To Do
There’s plenty to do and enjoy at this great festival including a bluegrass camp for kids where they can learn to play or improve skills on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass, along with singing and playing together. The camp culminates with an onstage show for the kids to show off what they’ve learned. Throughout the festival there are wagon rides, sales tents where people can buy bluegrass instruments, dozens of great bluegrass bands, and tons of delicious food. It all finishes up Fourth of July evening with an awesome fireworks display!

Where To Camp Nearby
You will be amazed by the beauty of Lake James State Park, which is located in the rolling hill country of Linville Gorge. This 6,812-acre property has more than 150 miles of beautiful shoreline for campers to enjoy swimming, a quiet picnic along the shore, boating, water skiing, or fishing. Lake James State Park is less than 20 miles from the Red, White and Bluegrass Festival grounds.

Old Fashioned 4th of July – Aspen, Colorado

4th of july celebrations

Aspen, Colorado

If you’re in Aspen or even close to it, you will want to be at the Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration that starts July 4th at 8:00 am and lasts all day and evening long.

What To Do
Starting in the morning with Boogie’s Buddy Race, this wonderful charity event—on behalf of the Buddy Program—has registration fees of $50 for adults, ($60 on the day of the race) $15 for kids under 16, and $90 if the whole family wants to participate. Registrants choose from a festive, 5-mile race that includes fun cash prizes, or the family and canine 1-mile walk. Other festivities include a parade, U.S. Air Force jet flyby, concerts, kids’ bicycle ride, and spectacular fireworks over Aspen Mountain.

Where To Camp Nearby
Get close to nature when you camp at the Maroon Bells Scenic Area over Fourth of July. This beautiful valley is surrounded by breathtaking, 14,000-foot peaks with fields of wildflowers that look so beautiful you may think it’s not real. Choose from several different campsites, whether you want something more primitive or if you prefer to do some cabin camping. The Maroon Bells Scenic Area is part of the White River National Forest, and is about 15 miles as the crow files from festivities in Aspen.

Nye Beach Clambake, Seafood BBQ – Newport, Oregon

4th of july celebrations

Newport, Oregon

Looking for something wonderful to do on the Fourth of July in the beautiful Pacific Northwest? Pack your gear and your appetite and head to the Nye Beach Clambake and Seafood Barbecue in Newport, Oregon.

What To Do
This family-friendly event has been around since 2003 with a historical theme dating to when Nye Beach wasn’t even a part of Newport. Back in the 1800s, the city organized summertime clambakes, but the last one was in 1918. Those clambakes of old were located along the beach on wooden tables loaded with delicious food. Today’s version sets about duplicating those historic events with thoroughly modern attractions and conveniences. Also featured are the “Geezer Games” for participants 50 and older. Events include tennis, track and field, swimming, Ping Pong, and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Other associated events include a kids’ parade and arts and craft booths.

Where To Camp Nearby
The Fourth of July Celebration may be for just one day, but when you stay at South Beach State Park, you can stay a week and still not have time enough to enjoy everything there is to see and do. This historic park offers campers tons of additional recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, fishing, equestrian trails, guided- and self-tours, and much more. There’s something for every member of the family. And, the campground is less than five miles from the Nye Beach celebration.

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