Before the fireworks take off, celebrate with the biggest patriotic parades
1 of 6Courtesy of the City of Huntington Beach 4th of July Parade
Huntington Beach, CA
The town's 113-year-old parade draws 300,000 people to its 2.5-mile long route full of miniature horses, marching bands, stallions, local celebrities, and classic cars. The parade starts along the Pacific Coast Highway and snakes through the neighborhood into downtown. Get there early to get a good spot close to the starting point so you can pack up and quickly depart for the all-day beach parties and cookouts along the coast.
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Don’t be fooled by Telluride's size: The population of 2,000 celebrates big. The Fourth of July celebration kicks off with a cannon shot at 6 a.m. Later in the morning, thousands of people line the streets for the parade, which starts with a flyover before the rest of the procession pours down Main Street.
3 of 6Anchorage Daily News / Getty Images
With 19 hours of sunlight, there’s plenty of time to celebrate America’s independence in Anchorage. The parade runs along Delaney Park and transforms into a festive party with food, music, and games once the last float rolls through.
4 of 6Creative Commons photo by alh1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Horses, clowns, classic cars, and roller skaters all join together to create a lively line past the Town Square. Take in the sights from the famous antler arch before following the action to the square for the longest running shootout show in the country. For more Western fun, head to the Jackson Hole Rodeo in the evening.
5 of 6Flagstaff Visitors Bureau
In Flagstaff, the epic procession takes hours to pass through and typically includes more than 100 entries, including tractors, historic fire trucks, and Native Americans in ceremonial garb. Post-parade, wander over to the Art in the Park festival or one of several craft breweries in walking distance, such as Hops on Birch.
6 of 6Photograph courtesy of Breckenridge Tourism Office
Long before the floats line up, the parade kicks off with the Firecracker 50, a grueling 50-mile mountain bike race. It starts along the crowded parade route and ushers in the day’s festivities. After the riders pass, up to 100 floats grace Breck's historic Main Street. Post-parade, The Street Arts Festival and a free concert keep the celebrations rolling.