What do to on July 4th (or just before)

Here’s what to do on July 4th. Don’t do something boring! Get out there and have a blast at a local festival. Here I list some truly creative ideas, and then a bunch of more usual Independence Day festivities below. I believe this to be the largest list of July 4th activities in Massachusetts and beyond.

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July 4th
Independence Day Celebration – Sturbridge 7/4 Southern Mass
The event of the week is July 4th at Sturbridge Village. It’s my favoirte live action recreation museum, featuring the 1830s. I went last year and the entire day is full of educational fun, plus the fireworks that end the evening are fantastic! Rain date July 5.
Sturbridge, MA.(508) 347-3362.. more
An American Celebration @ Strawbery Banke 7/4 New Hampshire
Also a re-enactment village is Strawbery Banke, focusing on settlers circa 1900. Their events are always classy as well!
Marcy Street, Portsmouth, NH.603-422-7514. more
Declaration of Independence Re-enactment 7/4 South Shore
Also a not-to-be-missed activity is to head to Quincy and participate in a re-enactment of the Constitutional Congress, and see re-enactors portray Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in a play. I’ve seen it and it’s really, really amazing. And it’s free!
Quincy, MA.617-770-1175. more
Sail Gloucester Fourth of July Celebration 7/3 – 7/7 North Shore
This one I’ve also seen — twice! — and highly recommend. Tall Ships and Sailing Vessels July 3-7. July 3rd: 6:00 p.m. Horribles Parade, 9:30 p.m. – fireworks over Gloucester Harbor. Main launch point is to the right of the beach, up, near the huge rock. If they do it like the last two years, they’ll have a water ‘parade’ of lighted boats before the fireworks. It’s something nice to do to get ready for July 4th.
Gloucester Harbor, Gloucester, MA. more
Town Bonfire & Horribles Parade 7/3 – 7/4 Boston Metro
Or, and much closer to the city — a horribles parade, which is…. Some kind of parade?? Involving costumed monsters? And a bonfire!
Winthrop, MA. more
Glocester RI Ancients & Horribles Parade 7/4 Rhode Island
These horribles are everywhere. I sort of don’t get it? I guess I’ll have to see it!
Glocester, RI. more
Marblehead Horribles Parade & Fireworks 7/4 North Shore
More horribles and then Fireworks at 9pm over the harbor.
Marblehead, MA. more
Annual Nudist 4th of July Parade 7/4 Connecticut
Woodstock, CT. more
July 4th Parade & Beach Bonfire @ Rockport, MA 7/4 North Shore
There will also be bonfire in Rockport. Fortunately, it will be preceded by a parade of fireman, who may be needed! Firemen’s parade at 6 p.m., concert at 8:30 p.m., bonfire at 9 p.m.
Back Beach, Rockport, MA. more
Somerville Independence Day Fireworks 7/2 Boston Metro
This celebration in Somerville is noteworthy especially because it’s two days early. 5pm entertainment. Trum Field. Rain date same day one week later.
Somerville, MA. more
Boston 4th of July Fireworks & Concert 7/3 – 7/4 Boston Metro
Obviously, if you’ve never been, it’s fantastic to see the Boston Pops concert and fireworks on the Esplanade. Come early and don’t sit close to the actual orchestra or you’ll get trampled. But did you know that you can beat the crowds by attending the practice concert (no fireworks) on July 3rd, 8pm?
Esplanade, Boston, MA. more
Rent a canoe on the 4th of July 7/4 Boston Metro
Here’s a more creative idea. Reserve ahead for a boat or canoe to see the fireworks from on the Charles River!
Two Places, Boston, MA. more
Salisbury 4th of July Sand Sculpting Spectacular 7/3 – 7/4 North Shore
Two beaches are having a sand sculpturing festival along with their July 4th celebration. Here’s the first.
Salisbury Beach, Salisbury Beach, MA.978-462-7274. more
Old Orchard Beach Parade & Sandcastle Sculpture Competition 7/3 – 7/4 Maine
And the 2nd. Parade, square dancing, sand sculptures. Less than 2 hours from Boston. Fireworks July 4th.
Old Orchard Street at West Grand Avenue, Old Orchard Beach, ME.207-934-9068. more
July 4th Carnival @ Wilmington 7/1 – 7/5 Northern Mass
The traveling festival of Fiesta Shows continues to bring carnival rides to New England.
Town Common, Church St., Wilmington, MA. more
July 4th @ Chatham, MA 7/4 Cape Cod
Huge parade.
Main Street, Chamham, MA.
July 4th @ Falmouth, MA 7/4 Cape Cod
Bike and Carriage Parade, downtown Falmouth, 11am-1pm, from Bank of America to Peg Noonan Park. Fireworks at dusk over the harbor.
Falmouth, MA.508-548-9888.
July 4th @ Barnstable, MA 7/4 Cape Cod
Parade 4 p.m. from Ocean St & Main St, down to Sea Street and to South Street. Fireworks at Dusk.
Hyannis, MA.
Cranberry Coast Pops Concert & Firework 7/4 Cape Cod
Outdoor concert with fireworks.
Bandshell, Onset, MA. more
July 4th @ Orleans, MA 7/3 Cape Cod
Fireworks at Rock Harbor at dusk; rain date July 5.
Orleans, MA.508-240-2484.
July 4th @ Acton, MA 7/4 Metro West
6 p.m. Rolling Stones tribute band, fireworks at 10 p.m. Food, facepainting, free shuttle from Nagog Park Drive from 6 p.m. Rain date July 5.
NARA Park, off Route 27, Acton, MA. more
July 4th @ Concord, MA 7/4 Metro West
Picnic 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Emerson Field on Everett Street. Bicycle and doll carriage parade. Live music, balloon rides, activity booths, food.
Concord, MA.978-369-1890. more
July 4th @ Natick, MA 7/3 Metro West
7 a.m.-noon. Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at Sherrill Hall, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, East Central Street; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Flea Market on the Common. Parade from the 9/27 Plaza down Rt 27 to Rt 135 in Natick Center.
Natick, MA. more
July 4th @ Newton, MA 7/4 Metro West
Market & amusement rides, 11am-10pm, live music, picnic at 6 p.m.; fireworks at 9 p.m.
Newton, MA. more
July 4th @ Pepperell 7/4 Metro West
Pepperell, MA.
July 4th @ Sherborn, MA 7/4 Metro West
Field games at Laurel Field from 9 a.m. Parade at 2 p.m. from Main Street to Jameson Fields. Then fire truck rides at Station One on Main Street fromt 5 p.m.
Sherborn, MA. more
July 4th Celebration & Parade @ Lincoln, NH 7/4 New Hampshire
Lincoln, NH.603-745-6621.
July 4th Fireworks @ Littleton, NH 7/4 New Hampshire
Littleton, NH.603-444-6561.
July 4th @ North Conway, NH 7/4 New Hampshire
North Conway, NH.603-357-5701 x350. more
July 4th @ Waterville Valley, NH 7/4 New Hampshire
Waterville Valley, NH.603-236-8175.
July 4th @ Danvers, MA 7/3 North Shore
Fireworks 9pm. Rain date July 5.
Plains Park, Danvers, MA.
July 4th @ Manchester, MA 7/4 North Shore
9:30 a.m. parade. Then go to Rockport for celebration & fireworks.
Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA.
Salem Celebrates the 4th 7/4 North Shore
4 p.m. kids stuff & food, 5 p.m. entertainment then concert @ 7:15pm, fireworks @ Derby Wharf 9:15pm.
Salem, MA.978-745-9595, ext. 5676. more
Annual Salisbury Carving out the 4th 7/3 – 7/5 North Shore
Center Mall, Salisbury, MA.
July 4th @ Lowell, MA 7/3 Northern Mass
Festival with live music & food 4-9pm, then fireworks.
Sampas Pavilion, Vandenburg Esplanade, Lowell, MA. more
July 4th @ Hingham, MA 7/3 – 7/4 South Shore
July 3 fireworks, around 9 p.m. (rain date July 5). On July 4, Road Race at 7 a.m., parade at 10 a.m.
Hingham, MA.
July 4th @ Plymouth, MA 7/4 South Shore
Fireworks 9 p.m., waterfront. Parade 9:30 a.m.-noon, from Court St to Main St Ext. to Water Street.
Plymouth, MA.
July 4th @ Weymouth, MA 7/3 South Shore
(Wessagusset) George Lane Beach, Weymouth, MA. more
July 4th BBQ @ Edgartown & Fireworks 7/4 Southern Mass
BBQ on the Old Whaling Church lawn. Parade. Then fireworks in the harbor. All on Martha’s Vinyard.
Edgartown, MA. more
July 4th @ Sharon, MA 7/3 Southern Mass
Rain date July 5. From 2pm, potato sack races, tug-o-war, Bicycle & doll carriage parade at 4 p.m., down Beach Street to the bandstand, with DJ music, entertainment, food 4-9:30p.m. Bandstand concert 6:30, fireworks 9:15 p.m.
Memorial Park Beach, Sharon, MA. more
July 4th @ Amherst, MA 7/4 Western Mass
Balloon rides & fireworks.
Fields behind Alumni Stadium at the University of Massachussets, Amherst, MA.413-259-3067.
July 4th @ Pittsfield, MA 7/4 Western Mass
Pittsfield, MA.
July 4th @ Springfield, MA 7/4 Western Mass
Springfield, MA. more
July 4th @ Shrewsbury, MA 7/4 Worcester
Free. Doll carriage & bike parade, food, face painting, inflatable amusements. 12-4pm.
Dean Park, 803 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA.508-841-8503.
July 4th @ Worcester 7/2 Worcester
Fireworks @ 10pm, rain date July 3.
East Park, Worcester, MA.


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