4 Patriotic Ideas for Your July Fourth Road Trip

The Fourth of July, Independence Day in the United States, is coming up soon. This iconic American holiday is associated with many traditions, one of them being a great summer road trip. There’s nothing quite like celebrating American independence by traveling up and down the length of the country. If you’re looking forward to hitting the road in the height of summer and you’ve got your RV de-winterized to handle the changing weather, here are some awesome July Fourth road trip ideas to plan out.

Great Destinations for Your July Fourth Road Trip

Tour National Parks

Yellowstone. July Fourth Road Trip
Yellowstone. Flickr: Maarten Otto / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There’s no better way to celebrate a country than to explore its natural landmarks. In the U.S., national parks have a history going back over a century. The first national park in Yellowstone, Wyoming was established by Congress in 1872. Since then, dozens of other national parks have been added by US presidents through the power of the Antiquities Act of 1906.

These national parks are a testament to the country’s natural beauty as well as its political sovereignty. Any number of possible road trip routes can be drawn up to take adventurous travelers through as many national parks as they care to fit. Don’t limit yourself just to national parks, though. There are many national monuments and reserves that, while not holding the most prestigious title, are still well worth the visit.

If you’re looking to stick to one state; Alaska, California, Utah, and Colorado have the highest concentration of national parks within their borders.

Visit Revolutionary War Sites

Lexington & Concord. July Fourth Road Trip
Lexington & Concord, Massachusetts. Flickr: David Brooks / CC BY 2.0

Why not pay homage to the battles that established the United States as a sovereign nation by visiting the sites of these historic conflicts? A road trip centered around this theme is great if you’re looking to stick to the Eastern seaboard. Here are some battle sites that you must check out if this is an interest of yours:

  • Lexington and Concord — The famous “shot heard round the world” was fired in Concord, Massachusetts; the first shot in the Revolutionary War. Although the historical accuracy of this phrase is dubious; it carries great poetic weight and no one can deny the role that the battles at Lexington and Concord played in galvanizing American Patriots.
  • The Battle of Trenton — In spite of their initial hopes; American Patriots were not faring well in the early days of the war. Trenton provided a powerful morale boost to contrast the general sense of gloom among American forces, however, as General Washington led his army in a near bloodless victory over the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey.
  • The Siege of Yorktown — In 1781 American soldiers, with the aid of the French allies, laid siege to the city of Yorktown, then controlled by British forces. After three weeks of protracted fighting, American and French forces seized a decisive victory; capturing much of the British fighting force and effectively ending the Revolutionary War.

If you plan on being on the road for some time, you may be able to catch exciting reenactments of some of these major battles, such as the yearly reenactment hosted at President Washington’s own Mount Vernon.

American History Museums

National Museum of African American History & Culture. July Fourth Road Trip
National Museum of African American History & Culture. Flickr: Craig Fildes / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Much of American history is lost to the tides of time. The parts of it that have been preserved are housed in museums all across the country. This includes well-known destinations like the Smithsonian. But patriotic travelers could make it a project to visit as many American history museums as possible over the July Fourth road trip.

Visiting museums is a great way to pay respect to artifacts of American history; as well as learning things about the USA that you may not have known. Keep in mind that history is always evolving; we learn new things about the past every year, and these new discoveries are front and center in America’s museums.

Fireworks Festivals

Independence Day Fireworks. July Fourth Road Trip
Independence Day Fireworks. Flickr: Prateek Hejmady / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It wouldn’t be America’s Independence Day without fireworks. If you don’t live in an area that puts on a major fireworks show, or you’d just like to see what the next city over has to offer; traveling for a fireworks festival is a great idea. New York City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco all make use of their iconic skylines to host legendary fireworks shows.

If you prefer to set off your own fireworks; there are still plenty of reasons to go on a July Fourth road trip . Hosting an event with friends can be a lot of fun on the Fourth of July, or you can travel to a state where more exotic fireworks are legal. However, in spite of the American tradition of cracking open a beer for Independence Day, be careful to stay sober if you plan on doing any of the lighting.

Independence Day is one of the great American holidays. Its placement in the middle of summer makes it a perfect time to get out of work and plan a major July Fourth road trip. Hopefully some of these ideas will get the patriotic juices flowing and help you have a great time this Fourth of July.

About Nick Cesare

Nick is a writer and violist. After finding a penpal from Latvia he was struck with passion for the country and decided to study abroad there in 2010. You can reach Nick with questions or comments @cesare_nick.

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