34 Things to Do on the Fourth of July
Can't think of any plans other than grilling and chilling? Celebrate the stars and stripes with these creative things to do on the Fourth of July.
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What’s the best way to spend the Fourth of July?
From watching fireworks to feasting on your favorite barbecue recipes, Independence Day is the perfect holiday to spend outdoors. This year, take advantage of that time off of work to spend some quality time with the people in your life. Whether you’re having a Fourth of July picnic with the kids, hosting a Fourth of July party with friends or just whipping up some patriotic desserts, here are our favorite things to do on the Fourth of July that will make it an unforgettable holiday.
Bake a Star-Studded Pie
Behold: The best, most patriotic pie you’ve ever seen. (We have the recipe and instructions—this star-studded blueberry pie is easier to make than you might think.) With a dessert like this, you’re guaranteed to be asked for the recipe.
Get Your Grill On
It wouldn’t be the Fourth without some delicious food fresh off the grill. The smoky taste doesn’t have to end at burgers and hot dogs, though. Here are some creative grilling recipes that go beyond the usuals with dishes like grilled bruschetta and grilled angel food cake.
Would Independence Day be the same without fireworks? Whether you plan to watch a local show or even set off a few yourself, fireworks and the Fourth are a match made in heaven.
Make Crispy Star Pops
For a star-spangled snack that’s fun to make with the whole family, try making these star pops. Just cut your favorite cereal treats into patriotic shapes—then cover with melted chocolate and red, white and blue sprinkles.
Host a Family Picnic
The secret to a perfect picnic? You’ll need good company, the right amount of festive activities and, of course, a star-studded menu. It might seem daunting to plan, but we’ve got your back. Check out our guide to how to plan a picnic.
Make a “July Jack-o-Lantern”
Looking for ways to occupy the kids and recycle those tin cans you opened when prepping the cookout’s baked beans? Try making a red, white and blue candle holder from the can! Just poke holes in the sides, then let your kiddos paint on some stripes and put a tea light inside. Once it gets dark, their little luminaries will glow like jack-o’-lanterns in July. Here’s an acrylic paint kit to get you started.
Wage a Water Balloon Fight
If the weather is warm, a fun and refreshing water balloon fight can add some excitement to your holiday. Just invest in some red, white and blue balloons! Bonus: The extra water balloons can double as a drink cooler, using cold balloons like ice.
Go Backyard Camping
We can’t think of a better way to end the day than with a night under the stars—but you don’t need to drive to a campground to pitch a tent and start a campfire. Instead, set up site in your backyard—we’ve even got a guide to backyard camping. Once the tent is set, you can share stories around the campfire, study constellations and snack on your favorite camping recipes.
What’s a summer gathering without yard games? Whether you prefer bocce ball, cornhole or spikeball, playing outdoor games makes enjoying the weather all the better.
Go to a Parade
Start your holiday on the right note by attending a Fourth of July parade. Don’t forget to wear red, white and blue!
Assemble an American Flag from Bandanas
If you don’t have an American flag to hang, make one from bandanas. Grab a wooden rod or dowel, and cut thirteen red and white long stripes from the bandanas, plus a rectangle of blue, and attach them to the rod accordingly. Use a piece of twine to hang the rod, and you’re all set with an especially summery flag. Let it hang through Labor Day!
Cook Over a Campfire
It’s simple, but everybody loves a s’more. (In fact, we love them so much, we came up with plenty of new ways to make s’mores). But if you’ve got the fire set up, there’s no reason to jump right to dessert: We’ve got delicious campfire recipes that will give you something else to roast over the open fire.
On a normal day, good ol’ chocolate chip would work—but not today! Check out these Fourth of July cookie recipes perfect for the holiday if you’re short on inspiration. With such cute ideas, you won’t be able to stop at one batch.
Serve a Fourth of July Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie boards are perfect for any occasion, the Fourth of July included! Fill up your board with red, white and blue foods, such as strawberries, fruit dip and blue M&Ms. Star-shaped crackers and red, white and blue nonpareils make the spread feel especially patriotic. Here are more detailed instructions on how to make our Fourth of July charcuterie board.
Make a Red, White and Blue Wreath
Take scraps (or cut strips) of red, white and blue fabric and tie them onto a wooden ring from the craft store. Hang it with a red and white striped bow, and you’ve got the perfect decoration for your front door.
Dressing up in our country’s colors will make the holiday feel special—whether you simply wear your favorite red, white or blue shirt, or you go all out with on-theme swimsuits, jewelry and shoes.
Visit a National Landmark
If you’re lucky enough to be located near a national landmark, the Fourth of July is the perfect day to visit. Make sure you read up on the history behind each one, whether you visit Mount Rushmore, the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial. If you’re not nearby a national landmark, find a state or local one instead.
Make Festive Drinks
If you’re celebrating with on-theme food, don’t leave out the drinks! This red, white and blue frozen lemonade is easy to make, with layers of each color in each glass. You could also opt for one of these boozy Fourth of July drinks if you’re looking for a little buzz.
While you’re waiting for fireworks to start, break out the sparklers! These are a perfect way to entertain younger kids, especially as it begins to get dark.
Make a Festive Banana Split
Did you know the banana split was invented right here in the USA? That makes enjoying a banana split especially patriotic. Just don’t forget the maraschino cherries on top!
Host a Turtle Race
If you’re looking for a unique activity to entertain kids and adults alike, test out this Southern tradition. Make a batch of chocolate turtles and prepare for an exciting race. Using a wooden cornhole ramp (with the hole covered, of course), place the candies on toy cars or bean bags and ask your guests to place their bets on the winner. You can decide the prize—and who gets to eat the winning turtle!
Hang Out at the Lake
If you live in the Midwest, spending the long weekend at a lake cabin is one of the best ways to spend the Fourth. Boating, tubing, waterskiing and swimming are some of the best ways to soak in the summer sun.
Baseball feels especially patriotic, especially when you pair it with a tailgate and a hot dog. Grab your mitts, a baseball and a friend, and get going!
Create Pinwheel Centerpieces
Pick up patterned, double-sided paper and fold each sheet into pinwheels. Attach each to a wooden skewer, and stand them up in the jar or vase of your choice. If you leave them someplace a little breezy, they’ll spin!
Using fresh berries in your berry desserts makes them 10 times better! If you’ve got a garden at home, or a farm that’s open on the Fourth, consider harvesting fresh berries as a part of your festivities. (Here are the best U-pick farms in every state.) We’ve also got guides to how to pick strawberries, how to pick raspberries and how to pick blueberries to help you make the most of your experience. Finally, make sure you have all of these berry tools to make the most of your harvest.
Set Up the Sprinkler
Most Fourth of July holidays are hot! Break out the water-based activities by setting up the slip ‘n slide or the sprinkler for the kids to run through. One fun combo to consider? Put a sprinkler underneath the spikeball net for a game that keeps you active while cooling you down.
Get out and appreciate America’s nature, whether you live near the mountains, the forest or even the coast. Don’t forget to pack a few high protein snacks to keep yourself fueled.
Can’t find anything patriotic to wear on the Fourth? No problem! You can make your own red-white-and-blue outfit and keep the family busy at the same time. And if you don’t have any extra white clothing lying around, try tie-dying some pillow cases.
Go on a Road Trip
Plan a scenic road trip that allows you to see more of the beautiful land that we love. While you’re in the car, read up on the official foods of each state (plus, iconic foods from every state) as you munch on road trip snacks!
Make Berry-Filled Popsicles
These popsicles are on theme with fresh raspberries and blueberries, and a milk, honey and vanilla-based mixture to freeze them together. Check out our recipe for Berry White Ice Pops to make them, and pick up some popsicles molds while you’re at it. (Or, learn how to make popsicles without a mold.)
Go for a Bike Ride
Get in a little exercise by hitting your nearest bike trail with the fam. Or, take it slow and pedal around in the neighborhood for something to do.
Hit the Beach
If you live on the coast, take advantage of proximity to the ocean and plan a beach picnic. Collect seashells, people watch and don’t forget to apply your sunscreen!