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By Jacqueline Cucco | June 27, 2017 | Lifestyle
The best way to celebrate Independence Day is with barbecues, fireworks, and digging your toes in the sand. Spice up your summer and jet off to one of these seven sizzling island destinations for a Fourth of July you'll definitely remember.
If you’ve never been to Hawaii, now is the time to go—waterfalls, sunsets, and a weekend full of patriotic activities. Stay on the North Shore to get away from the big city and watch the Da Hui Independence Day Paddleboard Race at Turtle Bay Resort. Or get your heart pumping by swimming with sharks and cliff jumping at Waimea Bay Beach Park. You can also attend the Kailua Independence Day parade with an air show and fireworks, a firework display at Ala Moana Center (the largest show on the island), or check out Battleship Missouri Memorial’s Picnic on the Pier with live music and fireworks at the famous battleship that marked the end of WWII.
Enjoy a change of pace by visiting the mellow chain of islands on the outskirts of Seattle, where you can come face-to-face with wildlife such as majestic orcas, bald eagles, and giant octopus. The hot spot for musicians and artists—who flock to the quirky locale for its lively art scene—also features an alpaca ranch, a lavender farm, wineries, and kayaking opportunities. This Fourth of July, take part in a good old fashioned pie-eating contest, music, and barbecue at the 4th of July Pig War Picnic or compete in a log-rolling and doughnut-eating contest at the Roche Harbor Old-Fashioned July Fourth.
With sailing, surfing, and shopping galore, this classic summer destination is ideal for an Independence Day getaway. Make your way down cobblestone roads lined with stunning churches, swanky waterfront restaurants, high-end boutiques, and traditional lighthouses before stopping by Main Street for their Fourth of July festivities. Complete with dunk tanks, face painting, water fights, and pie-eating contests, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Get lost in the Victorian small town charm of this historic island located on Lake Huron near the Canadian border. Once you ferry over, the only modes of transportation are bikes or horse and buggy, making it perfect for romantic long walks as you browse the homemade fudge shops, art galleries, and historic forts. The prestigious Grand Hotel is hosting an Old Fashioned Mackinac Fourth of July Celebration from July 2-5, which will feature a children’s carnival, ice cream social, cookout luncheon in the Tea Garden, and nightly cocktail receptions. For a celebration reminiscent of the 1880s, visit Fort Mackinac’s Star Spangled Fourth of July, complete with 38-gun salutes honoring the states of the period, patriotic music, and Victorian dancing. Before the night is over, head to the locale’s American Picnic where you can nosh on barbecue-style fare, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, baby back ribs, and more while you wait for the fireworks display.
If you’re looking to extend your holiday into a full-on summer vacation, go international to a European hot spot that will have everyone buzzing. Stay in the historic port city of Hvar for a mix of glitz and glamour with rich culture; then, hit the town to experience the dynamic nightlife or take it to the sea with extravagant yacht parties. All the fun will play out among the winding marble streets, hilltop fortresses, and Gothic palaces—with no shortage of secluded beaches and magical coves just a boat ride away. It's worth missing out on your usual fireworks displays at home.
Not far from Rio, this low-key island has no cars or paved roads and can only be reached by boat, making it ideal for those who truly want to unplug. Although you may be out of the country, you can still celebrate Independence Day with a barbecue—just with a Brazilian twist. Spend your days eating freshly caught fish and acai bowls by the emerald water and lush palm trees, or get your sweat on with a rainforest hike to the stunning, secluded beaches. Come sundown, locals and visitors alike can gather in the sandy roads to drink caipirinhas made with fresh fruit while they salsa dance the night away.
If you find yourself with some extra time off this holiday, head to Curaçao, the vibrant Dutch Caribbean island with an international food scene and crystal clear beaches. With volcanic rock and limestone cliffs, the landscape is more dramatic than your typical Caribbean island, but the walkable city is full of the familiar pastel-hued architecture, restaurants, markets, and shops. With many coral reefs, underwater shipwrecks, and diverse marine life to explore, snorkeling and scuba diving are a must on this visit. The best part is, it’s one of the few Caribbean islands that are outside of the hurricane belt, which means you don’t have to worry about any angry storms raining on your parade.
Photography via facebook.com/turtlebayresort (Oahu,HI); facebook.com/fridayharborhouse (San Juan Islands); facebook.com/jaredcoffinhouse (Nantucket); facebook.com/grandhotel (mackinac island); facebook.com/villa.nora.hvar (Croatia); facebook.com/curacaotb