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Where To Escape the Fourth of July Fireworks This Year

Crowds the size of small towns? No, thank you—not this year.

Mountains at sunset during summertime.
Hi, I'm Jacqueline!

Jacqueline Kehoe is a freelance writer and photographer with work seen in National Geographic, Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, and more. Find her out on the trails or at jacquelinekehoe.com.

Escape the giant public firework displays, the jam-packed lawns and parking lots, and less-than-peaceful Fourth of July festivities and seek out a bit of off-grid serenity to celebrate the holiday. At the seven spots below, you’ll find everything from low-key gatherings to empty naturescapes that have never seen the boom and blast of the rocket’s red glare. Time to celebrate by really, truly getting away.

Channel Islands National Park, California

A sunny day by the coastal cliffs of the Channel Islands in California.
Enjoy a day of ocean activities around this remote island.Fotograf: Bram Reusen / Shutterstock

A peaceful island escape off the coast of California.

You won’t find fireworks shows anywhere in US national parks—especially in the drought-stricken West. But these beloved public lands bust at the seams with visitors in early July, especially around the holiday, and they tend to bring the festivities (and the noise) with them.

However, one spot that sits miles away from all that holiday hubbub is Channel Islands National Park. Floating in the Pacific off the coast of Ventura, California, ferry trips take 1–2 hours each way—depending on which island you choose—and once you arrive, you’ll be almost completely off-grid. Pack your own snacks, water, and sunscreen, spending the day kayaking, hiking, birdwatching, and celebrating with tranquility, before taking the ferry back that day or camping overnight at one of the designated-but-primitive sites.

Drummond Island, Michigan

The forested coastline of Drummond Island in the US.
Visit this lake island for a zen getaway.Fotograf: Brianna Mannion / Shutterstock

Make for (almost) Canada if you want to skip the fireworks this year.

Resting against the Canadian border on the northern edge of Lake Huron, Drummond Island is a world away from pomp and circumstance, defining the northeasternmost edge of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s the seventh-largest lake island in the world, and yet its year-round population comes in at under 1,000 residents—humans, at least!

To get here, take the ferry from DeTour, and you’ll soon find yourself in a land of pristine forests, sheer cliffs peering into Canada, epic fishing spots, and historic shipwrecks. Hopefully you’ve brought your camping gear, too, as plenty of sites and developed campgrounds dot the island, as do deer, birds, and bears. Don’t just stay for the fourth—stay until you’re ready to get back to real life.

Crestone, Colorado

The snowy mountains and hills of Crestone, high up in Colorado.
Experience a spiritual awakening in Crestone.Fotograf: Faina Gurevich / Shutterstock

Go extraterrestrial this fourth of July ... and really leave it all behind.

Home to the UFO Watchtower and known as the “Bermuda Triangle of the West”—as well as the “New Age Religious Capital of the World”—Crestone appeals to a … certain kind of traveler. There are more spiritual centers per square foot here than any other place in North America, but it’s not just the new age—Indigenous groups have considered the whole San Luis Valley sacred for thousands of years, and you just might feel it when you’re here.

So, if you crave hanging out with spiritualists, navigating stone labyrinths, wandering the largest alpine valley on Earth, and experiencing a vortex, Crestone’s your spot.

Insider tip: Skeptical? The town of 44 (that’s right, 44) also has some of the darkest skies on the continent. Bring that camp chair and watch the night sky glow on its own, no fireworks necessary.

Camden, Maine

Yachts moored in the Maine town of Camden.
Witness the beautiful water views of this coastal town.Fotograf: Albert Pego / Shutterstock

Make for the water in New England.

There’s one surefire way to get away from the gigantic Fourth of July displays in the US—get out on the water. In Camden, Maine, hop on a sailing tour and float away from the scenic harbor past the Curtis Island Light, Penobscot Bay, and along the state’s famously rugged coast. This is one of the country’s best cruising ports, and when you’re done on the water, you can hit the trails of nearby Camden Hills State Park or make the 90-minute jaunt to Acadia National Park.

Forks, Washington

The green waters and lichen-clad trees of the rain forest around Forks in Washington in the US.
Escape to one of the largest rain forest towns in the world.Fotograf: Emily Marie Wilson / Shutterstock

You might know it as the Twilight town, but Forks is more about Sasquatch than vampires. Sitting in one of the largest swaths of temperate rain forest left in the world, this town on the Olympic Peninsula shines in its green serenity, all year-round.

Use the town as your home base for exploring the coastal regions of Olympic National Park—definitely visit Kalaloch and Ruby beaches—grabbing dinner in Indigenous-run La Push, and exploring the trails of the lesser-visited Olympic National Forest. And if you want to look for Sasquatch, know that several local Indigenous tribes revere the mysterious creature.

Related: 11 Mythical Creatures From Around the World (and Where To “Find” Them)

Marshall, Arkansas

The waters and forested hills of Marshall in Massachusetts, a great place to go to escape fireworks in summer.
Marshall sits at the foot of the Boston Mountains (pictured above).Fotograf: The Bohemian Lens / Shutterstock

Don't be deceived by this seemingly unassuming destination.

There’s not a lot to do in Marshall, Arkansas—indoors, at least. Outdoors, the town sits at the foot of the Boston Mountains, a subrange of the Ozarks. Beyond all the outdoor recreation opportunities in and around the Ozark National Forest, the town also makes a great basecamp to enjoy Buffalo River, the country’s first National River. At an undammed 153 miles (246 kilometers) long, with massive bluffs and running rapids, as well as hundreds of options for paddling, rafting, hiking, camping, and more, this under-the-radar spot doesn’t need fireworks for epic outdoor celebrations.

West Jefferson, North Carolina

Houses in a forested area of West Jefferson in North Carolina in the USA.
The dense foliage of West Jefferson is perfect for leaf-peeping.Fotograf: Johnnie Laws / Shutterstock

There's plenty to capture your Fourth of July imagination here ... beyond fireworks.

When the festivities are too much, head for the hills. That’s what West Jefferson does best, sitting in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. A bustling hotspot come leaf-peeping season, in summer, the 4-block main drag hits a nice pitch, with everything you need—from boutiques to breweries—for a comfortable weekend getaway. Hike up Mt. Jefferson to catch it all from above, or scoot onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for a scenic drive into the green.

Related: 8 Places You Must Visit on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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