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The Best Fourth of July Road Trips

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It's nearly Independence Day! Cities across the United States light up over the Fourth of July with dazzling fireworks displays, and many add their own unique touch to the celebrations. Aside from finding a great spot to enjoy the pyrotechnic shows, this is also the perfect time to book a car rental and hit the road. VroomVroomVroom has put together a list of some of the best places to celebrate the 4th of July and go on a quick road trip.

A beach escape from New York

amusement park at steel pier in atlantic city

The Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display makes New York an unforgettable place to celebrate Independence Day. Watch the East River light up as the massive pyrotechnic display kicks off. A great place to watch the biggest fireworks display in the country is from the Brooklyn Bridge Park. If you want to escape the concrete jungle, you can have a quick road trip to New Jersey for some fun in the sun.

Where to stay? For easy access to the beach, stay in one of the numerous beachfront hotels in Cape May and Wildwood Crest. If you want to experience the beach version of Las Vegas, you can stay in any of the casino resorts in Atlantic City.

Great stops along the way:

  • Asbury Park is a great place to check out for some house-made pretzels and beers. It is just around an hour and a half away from Manhattan. You can also play-all-you-can for 30 minutes at Silverball Museum Arcade where you can find a great selection of vintage pinball and arcade games.
  • Famous for its iconic oceanfront boardwalk and casinos, Atlantic City continues to attract tourists especially during 4th of July because of its spectacular 3-D Lightshow on the Boardwalk. Apart from the beautiful beaches in the city, other must-see attractions include the Steel Pier Amusement Park and Abescon Lighthouse.
  • Less than an hour away from Altantic City is Wildwood, which is a seaside wonderland for families with small children. Make sure to take your kids to Morey's Pier which features more than a hundred rides and attractions. The best way to beat the summer heat is by visiting the Splash Zone Waterpark and Raging Waters.

Getting there: The route from New York City to Atlantic City is easy because you only have to drive along Garden State Parkway. You can either rent a car in Manhattan or upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The travel time is approximately three hours, but expect traffic during the holidays.

A historic tour from Atlanta

city hall in athens, georgia

Rated among the best cities to spend the Fourth of July, there is plenty to celebrate in Atlanta. Centennial Olympic Park is a great place to take part in the festivities through the day and watch the fireworks displays. Also take part in the Peachtree Road Race, the largest of its kind in America. You can also go on a quick day trip to Athens and Blue Ridge to learn more about American history.

Where to stay? There are numerous hotels in Midtown, Downtown and Buckhead so it depends on what you want check out in Atlanta.  Midtown is more suitable for business travellers while Downtown is ideal for tourists because most of the major attractions can be found in this area. Buckhead is perfect for shopaholics who want easy access to Lenox Mall, Buckhead Atlanta and Phipps Plaza.

Great stops along the way:

  • Just an hour and a half away from Atlanta is Athens, which is known for being the hub of University of Georgia students. Music lovers can check out the iconic music venues such as the Georgia Theatre and The Foundry where some of the music legends played. Better yet, take the music history walking tour.
  • After a dose of music history in Athens, take time to check out the historical landmarks in Gainesville including Engine 209 Park, Chief White Path's Cabin, Piedmont Hotel and City Hall. Learn more about the history of North Georgia at the Northeast Georgia History Center.
  • Wrap up your road trip adventure at Blue Ridge, which is situated on the foothills of the Appalachians. It is approximately an hour and a half drive from Gainesville. Park your rental car on the Main Street, head to the historic depot and hop on board the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. You can also catch the Independence Day Parade in Downtown Blue Ridge and witness the fabulous fireworks near Lake Blue Ridge Marina.

Getting there: There are several depots in Atlanta where you can pick up a car rental but you can also pick it up from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Take I-75 North to I-575 then continue driving along Georgia Mountain Parkway at the Cherokee County-Pickens County border until you reach Blue Ridge.

A foodie adventure from San Francisco

napa valley sign

For anybody in California, the Fourth of July fireworks display over the Bay Area in San Francisco is a must-see. There will be plenty to keep you entertained the entire day with live music events and various activities at popular spots around the city in areas like Fisherman's Wharf. Named as the number one Best Foodie Cities in the USA by Travel U.S. News, San Francisco is the perfect base to begin your gastronomic adventure.

Where to stay? The most popular areas to book a hotel in San Francisco are the Financial District, Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf so make sure to reserve in advance in time for 4th of July. Napa Valley, on the other hand, has many classic resorts and cozy inns that offer great views of the valley.

Great stops along the way:

  • Apart from San Francisco, there is also a number of excellent restaurants in Oakland - ranging from casual to fine dining.  Jack London Square is a popular area in the city because it is home to some of the city's hottest restaurants and bars. Enjoy food tours and outdoor dining as well as bowling and kayaking.
  • Just a 30-minute drive from Oakland, Vallejo is a lovely city to visit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Get a dose of fun at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom before satisfying your craving in one of its fine culinary establishments. Ferry Taproom boasts of its waterfront location that allows diners to enjoy breathtaking views of Mare Island while indulging on gourmet food.
  • The foodie road trip ends at Napa Valley, which is internationally renowned for its prized Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the ultimate destination for wine and food lovers with more than 400 wineries and over 40 farm to table restaurants to check out. Aside from dining and drinking,  you can also enjoy stunning views of the valley by taking a hot air balloon ride. Join the Napa County Fair & Fireworks and Fourth of July Parade in Downtown Napa.

Getting there: After picking up your rental car in San Francisco or San Francisco International Airport, get on US-101 S/ Central Freeway. After reaching Oakland, take CA-29 N/Sonoma Boulevard to Carolina Street to reach Vallejo.  This route has tolls so you might want to read our guide on USA Toll Roads.

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