No Fireworks, All Fun: Eight Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Skip the crowds and opt for an activity that you can enjoy with your entire family.

Although the Fourth of July is traditionally synonymous with fireworks, we understand that you and your family may not be ready to face large crowds just yet. If you're not ready to attend a busy firework show, or if your local community is still pressing pausing on these large-scale events, you can still commemorate the Fourth of July with some other traditions, including digging into a plate of barbecue, hosting a pool party, or planning a few family-friendly activities. To help you celebrate Independence Day, we've rounded up several ways to enjoy the holiday sans fireworks or overwhelming crowds.

Go to a classic car show.

It's an easy way to get the whole family involved in this Fourth of July activity. Wear your comfiest sneakers, pack up some water bottles (and kid-friendly snacks), and head to your local classic car show. There are car shows all over the country, including the Truck Fest in the Valley 2k21 in New York, the 12th Annual Essex Auto Club Car Show in Connecticut, and Galesville's Fourth of July Car Show in Wisconsin. You'll see some incredible vintage cars that you won't be able to see anywhere else: a '57 Chevrolet, Porsche Carrera GT, or even the all-American Ford Model T. Dad can take a stroll down memory lane and it's something everyone in your family will enjoy.

Drive In Movie Theatre
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Watch a drive-in movie.

Instead of an indoor movie night at home, load everyone into the car and head out to a local drive-in theater for your July Fourth holiday. Pack some delicious snacks (like popcorn balls, chocolate chip cookies, and soft drinks) and blankets to truly enjoy your experience. No drive-in movie nearby? Create one at home in your own backyard with a projector and white sheet.

Learn history at a museum.

What better way to learn about our country's history than by visiting a living testament to it? Whether you go to a kids, art, or history exhibit, this activity is perfect for any family. For younger kids, opt for a more child-friendly museum as it'll have tons of activities to keep them occupied; an art or history museum are better choices for older kids or adults. And even if you can't visit in person, many institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston or the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., offer online experiences throughout the weekend.

Stroll through a garden.

Head to an outdoor garden this July Fourth. You'll enjoy the scenery and appreciate what your community or local city has to offer. To make the most of the experience, head to a park or nearby botanical garden with fields upon fields of flowers. And don't forget to take photographs.

Host a pool party.

A small pool party at home will keep both adults and kids entertained. Throw in some of your favorite pool floats, grab a summer margarita (or fresh lemonade for the kids), and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. We promise, nobody will complain about a refreshing dip the pool.

Fire up the grill.

Let's be honest: It isn't a Fourth of July celebration without a barbecue. Host one that's truly worth remembering by serving Barbecue Chicken, Chicago-Style Hot Dogs, Bistro Burgers, and Easy Barbecued Spare Ribs (if you're feeling fancy). The best part? You'll get to spend time outdoors together and enjoy delicious barbecue food.

Make your own light show.

Another fun things to do on Fourth of July? Sparklers! They're affordable, can be bought in your local store, and will pack plenty of entertainment for kids and adults of all ages. No matter your age, it'll give you an experience similar to fireworks without the crowds or danger posed by fireworks.

Plan an outdoor picnic.

Grab your favorite picnic foods, blankets, and your red-white-blue plates and cutlery, and head to your local park for a celebratory picnic. It's a great outdoor activity that'll help you avoid large crowds while still taking advantage of the beautiful weather.

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