Brian Kelly is the founder and C.E.O. of The Points Guy, the travel and lifestyle media platform, with a devoted audience that has doubled every year since the miles-focused site launched in 2010. Indeed, Forbes just named the 34-year-old jet-setter to top of its list of influencers in the travel category.
Still looking for 4th of July travel ideas beyond the obvious big-city blowouts? The Points Guy's got you covered with these five perfect pieces of Americana.
1. Bend, Oregon
Bend is ranked No. 1 for town pride, and one reason may be its creative celebration of the Fourth: an all-day party in Drake Park with old-fashioned gunnysack races, hula-hoop contests, and — the pièce de résistance — the July 4th Pet Parade. Dating back to the 1930s, the parade features costumed kids and pets walking or riding in wagons. Bend also ranked highly for family-friendly hotels, such as the River House Hotel, sitting on the Deschutes River.
2. Wilmington, North Carolina
Spectators with lawn chairs and blankets pack the riverfront before 5 p.m. to catch what’s known as the largest fireworks performance in the region.
3. New Hope, Pennsylvania
He may not have slept here, but George Washington reportedly marched through this quirky town on four occasions during the Revolutionary War. Today, New Hope also ranked in the top 10 for its bars and music scene — and makes a lively launching pad for area festivities, from the Revolutionary Run in Washington Crossing, just a few miles south. New Hope also ranked near the top of the survey for antiques shopping and cafés; brunch spot Logan Inn dates back to 1722.
4. Boulder City, Nevada
Boulder City hosts one of the most exciting Fourth of July celebrations. You can enjoy everything from a pancake breakfast to food vendors and fireworks to some fun with lots of water to help you cool off. The Damboree Celebration will be hosted on Monday, July 4. Activities during the celebration include a flyover by the Boulder City Veteran’s Flying Group, a parade, food, drinks, games, ceremonies, fireworks, midway booths, and live entertainment.
5. Flagstaff, Arizona
With its ponderosa pines, frontier spirit, and easy access to the Grand Canyon, this Arizona town won the medal of honor in Travel + Leisure’s Independence Day contest. Flagstaff also made the top 10 for its town squares, and the centerpiece of its ;July 4th celebration is a parade through downtown — along with fireworks, a fun run, a concert by the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, and “Flagstaff Art in the Park,” a juried art and fine crafts show in downtown’s Wheeler Park.
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