As we approach one of the hottest months of the year, we also excitedly await the arrival of a classic American holiday: the Fourth of July! As with any holiday, the Fourth of July can cause stress especially if you haven’t figured out what you’re doing yet. Many people decide to celebrate by participating in innately American activities, attending baseball games, chowing down on hot dogs and hamburgers, and attending Fourth of July parades.
There’s a lot going on. In fact, there’s so much going on, it can be overwhelming! So, we’ve compiled a list of four fun Fourth of July activities that can hopefully help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect plans for this patriotic day.
Fourth of July: Our Nation’s History
Because The Fourth of July commemorates the date that our nation signed the Declaration of Independence, this holiday honors America’s history, government, and traditions. Although the actual, legal separation of the thirteen colonies from the UK was on July 2nd, it took two days of slight revision for Congress to approve it.
The first Fourth of July celebration consisted of thirteen gunshots fired in Rhode Island. From then on, it continued to be commemorated. In 1778, George Washington held an artillery salute and enjoyed rum with his soldiers. In 1783, the Moravian Church in North Carolina held a celebration with a musical program titled The Psalm of Joy. This was the first official Fourth of July celebration. Finally, in 1870, Congress made Independence Day an unpaid federal holiday for federal employees (right after Memorial Day, which is in late May). In 1938, they changed it to a paid holiday, as it continues to be today.
1. Throw A Barbecue
What better way to bring together family and friends than hosting an All-American BBQ? Barbecues are a simple, low-stress, and delicious summer activity that you can host right in your backyard.
Preparing a delicious menu is a must. Some typical integral barbecue menu items include burgers, hot dogs, corn, watermelon, and cherries. If you’d like to go the extra mile for dessert, swing by your local grocery store and pick up a red, white, and blue cake. Once everything is ready, serve the food on a picnic table or outdoor seating set and enjoy!
As with any outdoor party, good seating is a must. Prepare for the number of people you’re expecting; set out extra outdoor chairs if you must, so that people aren’t sharing chairs or standing the entire time.
Once the sun sets and the temperature begins to cool, you can set up a fire pit. Pull the chairs around the pit in a circle, grab some marshmallows to toast, an outdoor speaker, and let the conversation flow easily.
2. Cool Off at the Pool
As we all know, July can be hot, long, and sweaty. What better way to cool off than to dip into the pool? Whether it’s a local pool or your own, lounging by the water is a great way to fight off the heat and relax.
Swimming is also an excellent workout. It builds your cardio, helps your body adapt to use oxygen more efficiently, and exercises multiple muscle groups. Even if you’re just swimming laps in the lanes, swimming can revitalize your body and make you feel your best.
There are also plenty of other things to do at the pool. A great way to wind down is to read a book under the sun. Need a suggestion? Check out a list of books here. You can also sunbathe (don’t forget your sunscreen), take a nap, or order a pizza and call it a day.
3. Watch a Firework Show
What’s Fourth of July without fireworks? Fireworks reflect the excitement of Independence Day, with their vibrant colors, loud crackling pops, and cheering crowd below them. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to be outside during the Fourth of July without hearing fireworks somewhere, even if you can’t see them.
Before setting off fireworks, here are some steps you should make sure to complete:
- Check with your neighbors to make sure that it’s alright with them. Fireworks are loud and disruptive, and if they have small pets or children, or there is somebody in the house who suffers from PTSD, consider attending a firework show instead, or setting them off elsewhere.
- Prime your viewing area with comfortable seating. An adjustable lounge chair will allow you to tilt back to face the sky, and fully experience the incredible light explosion.
- Get your camera ready!
- Set them off! Make sure to use full safety precaution. Fireworks are a dangerous explosive and should be handled as such.
4. Visit a National Park
What better way to celebrate our nation’s history, than by seeing all it has to offer? National parks are a great way to get outdoors, in nature. In order to find a national park near you, here’s a list of them by state.
There is always plenty to do, other than walking around. Many national parks have lakes, where you can fish, canoe, kayak, or simply enjoy a nice picnic by the water. You can also go for a hike, either on a trail or up a mountain, depending on which park you choose to visit.
Wildlife is prevalent in these parks, so grab your binoculars and see what you can discover! And if you’d like to go the extra mile, bring a tent and go camping overnight.