Independence Day Travel: 9 Last-Minute Trips to Book for the Fourth of July

 
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Summer is officially here, and we’re about to experience one of the best long weekends for a getaway: the 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 festivities in New England to getaways capitalizing on the endless daylight of Iceland and Alaska, read on for the best last-minute trips to book this year.

1. Santiago, Chile

A courtyard in front of a catherdral in Santiago

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South America may seem like a far way to go for a long weekend, but Santiago is much closer than it would appear to the unfamiliar traveler. Thanks to direct flights from JFK and LAX, and the fact that it shares the same time zone as New York, it’s actually quite easy to do a trip to Santiago over a four-day weekend, and July is a great time to visit. The month of July is peak winter in Santiago — though temperatures still reach a high of 60 F — and is perfect for a skiing and sightseeing getaway. Santiago is located within two hours of ski resorts such as Valle Nevado and La Parva, and you can spend part of your trip hitting the slopes and the other part exploring the galleries, restaurants, and nightlife of the Chilean capital. You will want to stay in the Las Condes neighborhood of Santiago — we recommend booking a luxury abode at The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago, or a scenic (and scene-y) stay at W Santiago.

2. Anchorage, Alaska

Overview of Anchorage at sunset

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Celebrate Independence Day in the Last Frontier with a trip to the largest city in Alaska. Anchorage is located on the Cook Inlet – on a clear day, you can see Denali — and is the perfect destination for both cultural activities and outdoor adventure. There’s no better time to go into the wild in the Alaskan wilderness than the month of July, when temperatures reach the high 70s, and the days are packed with 18 hours of sunlight. Over the course of the long holiday weekend, be sure to check out the Fourth of July fireworks in Anchorage — while festivities begin at 6 pm, the fireworks display doesn’t happen until midnight. Why? Because the sun doesn’t set until 11 pm. Trust us, it’s worth the wait. 

3. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

A bay full of boats in St. John

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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 — 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. 

4. Tofino, Canada

Tofino, Canada

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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.

5. San Juan Islands, Washington

Friday Harbor, San Juan, Washington

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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, are not to be missed.

6. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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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!

7. Austin, Texas

Austin Texas

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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. 

8. London, England

London Tower Bridge

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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.

9. Newport, Rhode Island

Lighthouse Rhode Island

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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 9:15 pm 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 for last-minute travel — 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.

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