The Fourth of July is very different in 2021 as more and more of the world is opening up. That means more people getting together to celebrate Independence Day and all the fun that comes with it.
Instead of treating it like a “normal” holiday weekend, why not mix it up a bit? Why not make some new traditions in a post-pandemic world that could last for years or even decades?
Don’t get me wrong, hot dogs, going to the pool, and hanging out with friends is fun, but let’s make this a more memorable celebration. After the chaos of last year, it’s a great way to get things back to normal again.
If that sounds great but you aren’t sure how or what to do, we got you covered. All of these ideas are a great way to take your Fourth of July celebration to the next level.
1. Outside Movie Theater
If you’re opting for a traditional barbecue, one way to make it even better is with an in-home movie theater with a portable screen. These inflatable screens are a great way for a large group to watch a patriotic movie and enjoy the summer weather.
You can buy inflatable projector screens online in different sizes or find local companies that rent them out too. If you choose to add this on to your holiday celebration, always make sure you have enough space and projector too.
Here are some great Fourth of July classic movies that everyone will enjoy:
- Top Gun
- The Sandlot
- National Treasure
- Independence Day
- Captain America Trilogy
2. Host a Backyard Olympics
Since the Olympics were put on hold in 2020, we’re still eagerly anticipating them in 2021. But on the Fourth of July, you can host your own too. If you’re having a family BBQ and need another creative way to make it more exciting, this should do the trick.
Similar to the real Olympics, you will want to host a variety of outdoor games. Partner people up together or in small teams to make it a fun outing with games like:
- Corn hole
- Giant Jenga
- Water bucket relay
And any other family games you enjoy playing. If you really want to take it to the next level, get some team jerseys too!
To make the backyard Olympics even more memorable, have some sort of award for the champion team. While the award is great, they will have bragging rights every Fourth of July.
3. Gather Everyone for a Block Party
Now that people can get together again, if you don’t just want a normal barbecue, host a block party instead! After such a chaotic year of Zoom calls and social distancing in 2020, a block party is a great way to get everyone back together.
When planning such a large party, make sure to think about:
- Food and Drinks: For food, a typical potluck style usually works great with a large gathering. Have someone committed to the main dishes and have everyone else bring sides and drinks.
- Games: Make sure you or your neighbors have games to keep everyone entertained like corn hole, bocce ball, horseshoes, and more. Or, opt for team games like badminton or volleyball.
- Fireworks: Depending on where you live, you might be able to watch the fireworks from the party. If so, make sure everyone brings chairs and blankets to watch the show. Or, if fireworks are allowed to light in your neighborhood, make sure everyone brings some and light in a safe area.
- Contests: If you really want to make it memorable, host your own pie or hot dog eating contest too. I’m sure it'll be a fun way to entertain both children and adults, plus make some hilarious videos in the process.
4. Take a Patriotic Vacation (or Staycation)
If you’re looking to get out of town for the holiday, why not theme your trip with a location that goes all out for Independence Day?
Here are some top destinations that have a ton of events for and your family or friends:
- Philadelphia, PA: This holiday started in Philadelphia with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, making it a great location to celebrate. In 2021, there are tons of events this year too, including free concerts, parades, and more.
- New York, NY: If you’re near NY, Coney Island is a great place to visit on the 4th. You can enjoy the boardwalk, 15-minute firework show, hot dog eating contests, and tons more activities.
- Washington, D.C.: Is there anything more patriotic than watching fireworks at the U.S. Capitol? I don’t think so… Plus, you can check out monuments, memorials, and more while you’re in town.
- Nashville, TN: Music city in downtown Nashville has a free concert called “Let Freedom Sing” and plans to have the largest fireworks show in their history. Plus, there are tons of places to visit with great music and incredible food as well.
- San Diego, CA: If you’re on the West Coast, Southern California is a great destination for the holiday. It has some amazing beaches and is home to thousands of military personnel from the Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and more. Plus, some incredible firework shows to watch from the beach.
Backup Plan: Staycation Near Home
Or, if you aren’t close to any of these destinations but still want to get away, look for last- minute staycation deals. Use travel sites to find last- minute deals for a hotel or resort close by for you and your family. It’s always fun to get out of the house, enjoy their facilities, and spend time with friends or family (even if you’re only 10 miles from home).
5. Camp at a National Park
If you’re not up for a big city visit, take your friends and family to one of America’s national parks. Camping is a great way to get away from everyday life, recharge your batteries, and spend time with your favorite people.
Some of the best national parks to head to for the 4th of July include:
- Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
Don’t forget to make it themed for the holiday by:
- Wearing red, white, and blue.
- Bringing 4th of July decorations for your campsite.
- Buying fireworks (if allowed), themed food items, and custom 4th of July adult beverages
6. Have a Goal-Setting Party With Your Friends
Now, I know this isn’t your average thing you’ll see on a 4th of July list, but my goal was to give you out-of-the-box ideas. A goal- setting party with friends is extremely fun and inspiring, especially this time of the year. The Fourth of July weekend is a great time to make it happen, as half the year is already in our rearview.
As the calendar turns to July, this is a great opportunity to look back on the first six months and plan the next six months. By getting your friends involved, you can keep each other accountable and help each other grow together for the rest of 2021. You can use this time to share goals, create vision boards, celebrate successes, and collaborate with each other.
Having this support system can help you for the back half of the year and achieve as much as possible. Use this Harry S. Truman quote to help you set big goals, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
Have the courage, imagination, and determination to bet on yourself for the rest of 2021.
7. Test Out a New Activity
Finally, why not make the most out of a long weekend by trying a new type of activity or sport. Some great ideas include river rafting, kayaking, waterboarding, yoga, and more. Or, if you can find a local 5K (or 10K if you’re feeling ambitious and have been training) to compete in for an added challenge.
Since most of us didn’t get to fully celebrate the Fourth of July last year, make sure to go big this year. Now that everyone can safely get back together, enjoy it with the people you love. Plus, doing something different might start a new holiday tradition that will happen for years to come.