Five Ways to Celebrate July 4th in the Bay Area

“Pomp, parade, games, sports, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” were just some of the features John Adams imagined would be used to celebrate American independence. It’s amazing that we still celebrate with fireworks and festivities almost 246 years later. But with higher temperatures and drought posing a risk for wildfires in California, how can we celebrate July 4th without putting our beautiful state at risk?

Featured Photo: Mick Haupt

Find the perfect picnic spot in the city

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Photo: Courtesy of Keith Gregg

A picnic with friends or family is a great way to celebrate the 4th of July, and luckily, you don’t need to go too far. The Bay Area is filled with beautiful parks to picnic with loved ones, so you won’t run out of options. Popular picnic spots include the Golden Gate Park (reserve your spot here), Mission Dolores Park, Crissy Field, Lands End, and Lake Merced. For an easier celebration, make it a potluck, and don’t forget some lawn games (we love volleyball).

Connect with family and friends with an ocean view

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Photo: Courtesy of Cosmin Serban

There’s nothing that screams summer more than a beach day. Host your gathering at some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Some popular coastal destinations include Baker Beach, Ocean Beach, Crissy Beach, Fort Funston, and Rodeo Beach. While not all of these beaches are safe for swimming, you can always expect a beautiful view. Grab a beach towel and sunscreen, and bring your tastiest cold treats to celebrate (bonus points if the dog can tag along).

Soak in some culture or science

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Photo: de Young Museum

Take a break from the outdoors and explore some of the many museums in the Bay Area. Get your art and history fix from in San Francisco SFMOMA, Asian Art Museum, de Young Museum, or Legion of Honor. If you want to learn something new, try the Exploratorium or California Academy of Science. These museums often have seasonal events going on that can fill your day with culture, learning, and fun. When you’re done perusing the museums, grab a sweet treat or delicious meal at a local restaurant.

Escape the city with local hiking areas

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Photo: Muir Woods courtesy of Billy Huynh

If you need a break from the city, try a local hike on Independence Day. Escape into some beautiful scenery and get a breath of fresh air. Some great escapes include the Marin Headlands, Glen Canyon, McLaren Park, San Bruno Mountain State and County Park, Muir Woods, Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, and Point Reyes National Park. Pack a lunch and find the perfect picnic spot with a view. Pro-tip: some of these parks even allow your furry friends (make sure to check beforehand).

Try a local weekend getaway

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Photo: Lake Tahoe courtesy of Samantha Shepard

This last tip may require more planning, but a weekend getaway can be a very fun way to explore new parts of the Bay Area and reset. Many of these small cities are also near great parks, beaches, and museums. Some cute and cozy escapes include Bolinas, Inverness, Tahoe, Half Moon Bay, Monterey, and Carmel.

Whichever your preferred way to celebrate, there’s no doubt the Bay Area offers many different options. So keep fireworks out of the equation and plan one of the many ways to celebrate this coming Independence Day safely.

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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