Planning a US honeymoon or romantic break this 4th July? Alexandra Gregg and Ginny Nash compile the best, quirkiest spots to celebrate the Stateside holiday
Ooooh, aaahhh... In order to celebrate one of the most important holidays on the American calendar, an array of festivities take place throughout the country on Independence Day, from big-city firework displays to low-key parties. We pick out seven events to keep your romantic fires burning…
If you and your belle or beau are lucky enough to be in the Big Apple on Independence Day, you're in for a real treat. Expect 40,000 fireworks to illuminate the sky above the Hudson River for the world-renowned Macy's 4th July display. The festivities kick off around 9pm and the show lasts for almost half an hour, set to music. With around 3 million spectators flocking to the event though, don't expect any privacy!
For a more intimate affair, head to the nearest park and eat/drink the day away. All you need is a basket, blanket, and a sense of romance. Set up camp in Inwood Hill or Prospect Park - created by the same landscapers who made Central Park - for a bit of alone-time.
Try San Fran's Fourth of July Celebrations at the Pier for live entertainment, food stalls on the waterfront, and a spectacular fireworks display over the bay. The party starts at midday and continues until around 9.30pm. Live music from Tainted Love and the USAF Band of the Golden West awaits, so remember to bring your dancing shoes. Then, as soon as the sun dips below the horizon, you can enjoy a fireworks extravaganza over the water too. For the best views of the display, locals recommend bringing a deck chair or standing along Pier 39. Alternatively, book a romantic meal at one of the Pier's many eateries.
In Virginia, Independence Day offers fireworks, flags and more: think music, theatre and tipples. If you and your spouse feel like rocking out, try the Spirit of America Laser Show. It mixes colourful lights with classic patriotic music and American rock and roll, running hourly from 5-9pm. Entry is $10p/p (£5.90). For a more romantic touch, relax under the stars while catching The Trail of the Lonesome Pine - the state's longest-running outdoor musical drama. It's an epic love story filled with adventure, not to mention being quintessentially American. Showings run every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until the end of August at the June Tolliver Playhouse.
Couples seeking an all-American experience can attend a day-long event at the former home of the USA's first President: George Washington's Mount Vernon. There will be military re-enactments, birthday cake, and even a visit from Mr and Mrs Washington impersonators. And what authentic 4th July experience would be complete without fireworks? Sit on the banks of the Potomac River, snuggled up under a blanket, and watch the falling sparks... Admission is $17 (£10) for adults.
Once the home of wild tea parties, Boston is one of the best - and most traditional - places to experience 4th July in all its glory. Every year, there are more than 200 events to choose from, such as the annual Boston Harborfest, meaning you and your partner will be spoilt for choice. A lot of the festivities are free too, from explosive firework displays to concerts and cruises. Tourists and residents alike usually partake in the fun by sampling some of the best chowder (seafood stew) in the city for 'Chowderfest'. The festival is taking a break for 2014 - but sampling Boston's top chowder is still a must-do activity.
If you envisage yourself on a beach with your loved one, sipping on a cuba libre this Independence Day, try the US Virgin Islands. A trio of American-owned Caribbean isles, St Croix, St Thomas, and St John go all-out for the nation's birthday. First they celebrate Emancipation Day on 3rd July, marking the end of slave trade, before having a 4th July parade on St John the following day. St John is the smallest - and some would argue the most beautiful - of the three isles. Couple your visit with some underwater exploration too; the catacombed reef at Eagle Shoals is particularly pretty and alive with sea life.
And remember: June/July is low season in the US Virgin Islands, so flights will be cheaper than normal.
Grab your matching Stetsons and get on down to Nashville! This Tennessee hub is the beating heart of country music, so where better to celebrate National Country Music Day (which just so happens to be on the same day as Independence Day) than the 'Music City'? Expect an all-star line-up of performers, from Billy Currington to Ashley Monroe: perfect if you love music as much as you love your spouse.
And that's not all. The town offers the usual festivities too: from fireworks spectacles to a parade or three.
Not only is the chilly town of Telluride a great winter sports destination, it's also home to one of the USA's best-kept 4th July secrets… You'll see costumes, floats and live performances - without those big-city crowds - at the Fireman's Parade in Main Street. Then, after dark, lovebirds can watch fireworks etch cross the sky from the comfort of a gondola below - talk about romantic. With the lofty peaks of the San Juan Mountains as your backdrop, this Independence Day celebration is tough to beat.
Join in a water-balloon fight. From Nantucket to Breckenridge, many towns hold an annual Independence Day aqua battle - often much more fun for the adults than the kids. It's a great way to feel young again, and show your belle or beau who's boss!
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