Summer is officially here, and we’re about to experience one of the best long weekends for a getaway: Fourth of July. America’s Independence Day is the perfect occasion to book those summer travel plans. Whether you’re interested in visiting places closer to home or heading overseas to take advantage of those additional vacation days, we have something to satisfy every type of traveler. From patriotic celebrations in New England to summertime road trips in the endless daylight hours of Iceland, read on for the best last-minute trips to book this year.
1. Newport, Rhode Island
Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport, Rhode Island (Adobe Stock)
America’s first summertime resort town is the perfect spot to visit for the Fourth of July. Expect fireworks to light up the harbor at 9:15pm on the 4th of July, and the Rhode Island Society Sons of the Revolution to read the Declaration of Independence (alongside a 21-gun salute) at the Colony House in Newport. Plus, the getaway is super easy to get to — either plan your next road trip, or just fly into nearby Providence. Additionally, the oldest Fourth of July parade is held right across the river in Bristol, Rhode Island.
Tower Bridge at Sunset in London, UK (Adobe Stock)
Visit the country from which America seceded on the event of our nation’s independence? Why not! According to Skyscanner, London is among the top five international destinations that American travelers book for Independence Day. In fact, there are events at bars and restaurants all across the British city to celebrate America’s holiday — and whether you’re interested in a swank soiree at The Savoy’s American Bar, or American comfort food at The Diner, there’s something for everyone. Plus, now that Europe has reopened for international travel, there’s no better time to celebrate than this summer.
Downtown Austin, Texas (Adobe Stock)
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the 4th of July celebrations. Never mind that Texas is always trying to secede, it’s still the spot for Independence Day celebrations. Check out the fireworks and concert at Austin’s largest Independence Day party at Auditorium Shores and the Long Center. Additionally, Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic is not to be missed. This annual event was established in 1972 by Willie Nelson and features a star-studded lineup of performing artists at Q2 Stadium. After all, what’s more American than Texas? As long as you don’t tread on them, you’re fine.
4. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon, Iceland (Adobe Stock)
If Iceland has been on your bucket list, why not take the time to visit now? Iceland is not as far away as Europe, making it perfect for a long weekend away. Plus, the Blue Lagoon is always a retreat worth splurging on, but why not combine your restorative getaway with a road trip? July is the perfect month for a road trip in Iceland. The weather is warmer and milder than other times of the year, and the roads are open and conditions are safer. Plus, the days are long and the nights are short, making your trip the perfect way to experience an endless summer. Happy travels!
Friday Harbor, San Juan, Washington (Adobe Stock)
According to Skyscanner, Seattle is one of the most booked destinations for American travelers for Independence Day, and for good reason — July is one of the brief months of the year when the cooler weather in this Pacific Northwest paradise is appreciated. Head to this cosmopolitan city center in Washington and hop on a ferry for the picturesque San Juan Islands. The San Juan Islands are gorgeous to visit any time of year, but the islands come alive over the Fourth of July. Expect live music at San Juan Brewing on the 3rd and the 4th, and celebrations at the Lopez Island Farmers Market and the 4th of July Pig War Picnic, which immediately follows the Fourth of July Parade in Friday Harbor, is not to be missed.
Kayaks at Tofino, BC, Canada (Adobe Stock)
You would be forgiven if you weren’t familiar with the beautiful island of Tofino, located off the coast of British Columbia, in Canada. Renowned as one of the best spots for surfing in North America, Tofino is a picturesque and peaceful hidden gem in our neighboring country to the north. Why not take advantage of the long weekend to sample the local breweries, explore the old-growth forests, and hang ten in the waves of the Pacific? We promise you won’t regret it. But try to keep Tofino a secret when you come home — while the destination is popular amongst Canadians, it has yet to receive an influx of mass tourism from the U.S. So, the time to take advantage of its secluded beauty is now.
Bucks Island, USVI (provided by Visit USVI)
Head to America’s Paradise to celebrate Independence Day on the pristine island of St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. John is the spot in the USVI to celebrate the Fourth of July, as the celebrations begin pre-sunrise at Cruz Bay, with the Carnival street parade, J’ouvert — expect costumes, live music, and dancing. In fact, the 4th of July is the culmination of the St. John Festival, and features a parade and fireworks. Additionally, visitors can book their stay in the recently reopened Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground for the perfect eco-escape on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Plus, thanks to the trade winds, it stays cool all year-long — and the time to visit is now.