From some of the best fireworks displays in the country to boat parades, pie-eating contests, barbecue, ice cream and even a midnight parade, the South knows how to ring in America’s birthday.
Alexander City celebrates its 12th annual Fourth of July Celebration at the Lake Martin Amphitheater, featuring bands Nationwide Coverage and Eat a Peach followed by one of the largest fireworks displays in the Southeast. Doors open at 6 p.m. July 4, the concert begins at 7 p.m., and the fireworks start at 9 p.m. More info: 256- 397-1019.
Decatur celebrates with the 46th Annual Spirit of America Festival at Decatur-Point Mallard Park July 3-4, with this year’s theme being “America: We are One.” Families can celebrate with the area’s largest free patriotic festival featuring awards, a children’s bike parade, the Miss Point Mallard Pageant, a children’s activities area, musical entertainment and a large fireworks show at 10 p.m. on July 4. More info: 800-524-6181.
Demopolis’s Freedom on the River July 4 includes a children’s parade, food vendors, music and fireworks, all on the banks of the Tombigbee River at the City Landing, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The children’s parade starts at 7 p.m. More info: 334-289-0270.
Dothan celebrates July 4 at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds. Gates open at 2 p.m., with a car show and free activities for children and a fireworks show after 9 p.m. Shenandoah performs at 7:30 p.m. More info: 334-699-1475.
Fairhope celebrates on July 4 in Henry George Park and at the Fairhope Municipal Pier. The fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. More info: 251-929-1466
Florence’s Shoals Spirit of Freedom Celebration July 4 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. includes nationally known musicians performing all day at McFarland Park, followed by a large fireworks show. More info: 256-740-8817.
Gulf Shores will host Ringo Starr at The Wharf Ampitheater July 4 at 7 p.m. There will also be a Fireworks Extravaganza at 9 p.m. on the Main Beach, but visible from any of Gulf Shores’ beaches. Tune radios to 105.7 to hear patriotic music during the show.
Guntersville’s All-American Fourth of July celebrates with crafts, games, a parade and fireworks over Lake Guntersville July 4 at 9 p.m. More info: 256-571-7560.
Mobile hosts its July 4 celebration with the Baldwin Pops Band, playing patriotic, Americana and popular selections at USS Alabama Battleship Park, beginning at 7 p.m., with fireworks at 9 p.m. Picnic dinners and chairs are welcome. More info: 251-928-3754.
Monroeville’s Independence Day Celebration on July 4 takes place at Veteran’s Memorial Park. The city pool and playground open early, and the day in Alabama’s Literary Capital is capped off with fireworks at 9 p.m. More info: 251-743-2879.
Montevallo‘s American Village has a patriotic daylong celebration July 4 that honors veterans in the style of 1776, with music, dancing, dramatic historical interpretation, food and children’s activities. Fireworks close out the day.
Wedowee’s fourth-annual Fourth of July Boat Parade features boats and personal watercrafts on Lake Wedowee decorated with a patriotic theme, starting at 10 a.m. July 4. More info: 256-276-7959.
Destin’s July Fourth Extravaganza takes place at HarborWalk Village July 3-4 with live entertainment, the third-annual hot dog eating contest, family activities, children’s crafts, face painting, a mini air show and fireworks. More info: 850-424-0600.
Pensacola celebrates its 23rd year of Independence Day events July 4 in old Seville Park from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m., featuring both Crosstown Band and Bad Habits, followed by a fireworks display over Pensacola Bay synchronized with music broadcast on Cat Country FM 98.7 at 9 p.m.
St. Augustine‘s Fireworks Over the Matanzas July 4 is one of the East Coast’s largest fireworks shows. Beginning with a free concert by the All Star Orchestra at 6 p.m., the fireworks above the ancient Castillo de San Marcos Fort and reflected in the waters of Matanzas Bay begin at 9:30 p.m.
Atlanta’s Fourth of July Celebration happens every year at Centennial Olympic Park. Live music and entertainment start at 4:30 p.m. July 4, and the day ends with a Fireworks Display choreographed to music. Fireworks can also be viewed from spots outside the park, as well as in the Buckhead District, where a Pyrotechnic Extravaganza will light up Lenox Square at 9:40 p.m.
Augusta’s events will take place at Augusta Common July 4, with entertainment for the whole family beginning at 4 p.m. Fireworks light up the sky over the Savannah River at dark. More info: 706-821-1754.
Canton celebrates July 4 with a parade at Riverstone beginning at 6 p.m., featuring music by Ray DeLuca and a pie-eating contest. Fireworks will begin at dusk. More info: 770-704-1548.
Lake Rabun‘s 33rd-annual Wooden Boat Regatta kicks off July 1 at 10:30 a.m. at Mathis Dam. A fireworks extravaganza at 8:45 p.m. that night closes out the festivities.
Marietta’s charming square is the place to be July 4 for activities beginning with the Marietta Freedom Parade at 10 a.m., followed by crafts, carnival games and entertainment throughout the day and a fireworks display at dark. More info: 770-794-5601. (Parade photo below by Johnny Walker Photography.)
Peachtree City’s Fourth of July celebration invites thousands of families and businesses to decorate their golf carts and attend the annual parade from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., then drive over to the lake and Flat Creek Golf Course for the evening fireworks show July 4 at dusk.
Savannah’s Fourth of July celebration begins at 5 p.m. July 4 in Rousakis Plaza on the river. Bring a blanket, snack, and a radio to tune into patriotic music provided by 96.5, 102.1 and 103.9.
St. Simons Island celebrates in Downtown Brunswick at at Mary Ross Park. A walking parade will begin at 6:15 p.m. with fireworks over the East River to follow. Games, prizes and free watermelon will also be available.
Stone Mountain celebrates its 45th annual Fourth of July fireworks display. Stone Mountain Park has been chosen as the best place to see the fireworks in Atlanta by readers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and this year’s festivities will be held both July 3 and 4. During the day, visitors can experience the all-new, Geyser Towers, before the nightly Lasershow Spectacular and fireworks begin. Park attractions open at 10 a.m. July 2-4. Vehicle entry to the park is $10 for a one-day permit. More info: 770-498-5690.
Tybee Island‘s Independent Day fireworks take off July 3, with the show around 9:15 p.m. Fireworks are staged on the pier but easily viewed from any of Tybee’s eastern beaches.
Wrightsville’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Festival, observed nearly every year since 1976, features free, family fun including a 5K/10K run, parade, arts and crafts, barbecue lunch, pet show, turtle race, sack race and more July 1-2, with the fireworks display July 3 at 9:15 p.m. More info: 478-864-2327.
Louisville’s Waterfront Independence Festival July 3-4 is an annual tradition at Waterfront Park with nationally known musicians, a beer garden, kids area and fireworks display each evening at 10 p.m. over the Ohio River.
Baton Rouge’s riverfront hosts its annual Star-Spangled Celebration July 4 at noon between the USS Kidd and Red Stick Plaza, with live music and tours of the Kidd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festivities wrap up with a massive fireworks show over the Mississippi River viewed from the deck of the ship.
Eunice presents a 20-year tradition of Fireworks on the Prairie July 4 at 9 p.m. at the Eunice Recreation Complex, when more than 5,000 shots will blast off.
Lafayette’s Red, White & Boom concert performed by the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Grammy-nominee Marcia Ball plays July 4 in downtown’s Parc International. Spread out a blanket or lawn chair starting at 5 p.m., listen to some patriotic tunes and wait for the finale of fireworks at 9 p.m.
Mandeville’s Seafood Festival is the oldest in St. Tammany Parish and includes food booths serving seafood dishes, arts and crafts, a children’s entertainment are and live musical entertainment July 4-8. The annual fireworks show, choreographed to music, starts at 8:45 p.m. July 4 and can be seen from the front of the main stage and boats on Lake Pontchartrain.
Natchitoches’s Celebration on the Cane begins at 6 p.m.with entertainment July 4, followed by fireworks over Cane River Lake at 9 p.m. More info: 866-941-6246.
New Orleans celebrates with its 22nd- annual Go 4th on the River July 4, a festival on the Mississippi River with entertainment and the main attraction – a dueling barges fireworks extravaganza that’s been ranked the fifth “must-see” display in the U.S. by the American Pyrotechnic Association at 9 p.m. Fireworks can be viewed from the Canal Street Ferry or from the levee at Algiers Point.
Bay St. Louis celebrates the Fourth each year with Our Lady of the Gulf Crab Fest, scheduled for June 29-July 1, at Our Lady of the Gulf Church Grounds with loads of arts and crafts booths, and plenty of seafood. More info: 228-467-6509.
Biloxi’s Fourth of July fireworks display in Small Craft Harbor July 4 includes fireworks shot from Deer Island starting at 9 p.m. More info: 228-617-3112.
Gulfport celebrates Independence Day with a huge fireworks display July 4 in the harbor at 8:45 p.m. More info: 228-831-0701.
Pascagoula celebrates our nation’s history with a family event in Beach Park July 4 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a gigantic fireworks display orchestrated to music at 9 p.m. More info: 228-938-2356.
Oxford’s Fourth of July weekend festivities kickoff July 3 with a street dance on Oxford Square from 7-9 p.m. July 4 starts with a 5K run at 8 a.m., followed by a parade at 10 a.m. and fireworks at Oxford-University Stadium that evening. More info: 662-234-4651.
Tupelo’s Family Picnic in the Park July 4 is the biggest Fourth of July celebration in North Mississippi, with entertainment for all ages, a variety of food vendors and activities for the kids at Ballard Park. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. More info: 662-841-6440
Vicksburg’s Fourth of July Celebration will be held at the Old Depot near the waterfront. Activities start July 4 at 7 p.m. with a concert featuring Compozitionz, and fireworks will begin at 9 p.m..
Southport has been celebrating our nation’s independence for over 200 years, and the town’s Fourth of July Festival includes over 100 handmade arts and crafts, entertainment on the Cape Fear River, a parade, veterans recognition, volleyball and shag contests, children’s entertainment and fireworks. Events are happening now through July 4. More info: 910-457-6964.
Charleston’s Fourth of July Blast at Patriots Point has been called “one of the best Fourth of July parties” by The New York Times. The free festival starting at 2 p.m. July 4 features live music, a children’s playland and a spectacular fireworks show from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown at 9:10 p.m.
Murrells Inlet’s 29th annual July Fourth Boat Parade invites spectators to line the Marshwalk July 4 for a view of the line of decorated boats cruising down the creek at 10 a.m. That evening, the fireworks spectacular starts at 10 p.m. off the end of Veterans Pier. More info: 843-357-2007.
Gatlinburg kicks off Independence Day with the nation’s first parade of the year, beginning at midnight on July 4. Hosting an average of 100,000 spectators, now in its 37th year, and featuring a special tribute to military personnel, this event stretches more than a mile in length through the heart of the city and showcases elaborately decorated floats, helium balloons, marching bands, equestrian entries and a large contingent of armed services men and women. Families can make a long weekend out of the parade and partake in additional patriotic activities, including free admission concerts by the Dixieland Band, Brass Quintet, Jazz Ensemble, Rock Band and the entire 100th Army Concert Band, plus a Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta unmanned floatable race and a spectacular fireworks display. More info: 800-568-4748.
Addison’s Fireworks in Kaboom Town began in 1983 and has continued as an annual tradition featuring fireworks from around the world July 3-5. Also rated one of the top places to watch fireworks in the country by Travel + Leisure, Addison’s 30-minute show is set to music and a live radio simulcast on 100.3 JACK FM and also includes the Cavanaugh Flight Museum Warbird Flyover.
Corpus Christi’s Big Bang Celebration includes a Stars & Stripes Parade, “4 for the 4th” fun run, live music, kids zone and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. July 4. More info: 361-774-8708.