Best family destinations for the 4th of July

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Independence Day brings families together to eat, play, and watch fireworks. Make the celebration last by getting out of town for a few days to celebrate the 4th in one of these family-friendly destinations.

Celebrate America's birthday and attend "A Capitol Fourth" on the U.S. Capitol's west lawn. The free 90-minute musical event features the National Symphony Orchestra, superstar guest appearances, and an incredible fireworks show. The show ends with live cannon fire during the playing of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. You'll have a flag-waving 4th of July getaway seeing national sites like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. Brush up on your history with a visit to the National Museum of American History. The American Stories exhibit and artifacts includes pop culture icons like Dorothy's red slippers and historic relics like a piece of Plymouth Rock.

Head to the hills for an Independence Day getaway and see the iconic presidential faces carved into the granite at Mount Rushmore. Located near the resort towns Rapid City, Custer and Deadwood, the national monument has interactive exhibits and accessible viewing areas. The paved Presidential Trail is kid-friendly (though with over 400 stairs, not stroller-friendly) and gives you an up-close view of the monument plus a walk through the evergreens that surround the peak. In the evening, get a seat in the amphitheater for a ranger presentation that ends with the nightly monument lighting.

The celebration lasts all day and into the night on North Beach for the Fire on the Fourth festival. Your family can play in the waves, eat at the many food trucks, and hear live music throughout the day. The City of Miami's fireworks show starts at sundown at the North Shore Park Bandshell.

NOLA celebrates July 4th with the Dueling Barges fireworks show called "Go 4th on the River." Get a viewing spot along the Mississippi Riverbank near the French Quarter or reserve tickets early for seats on a steamboat and watch the show from the water.

With the temperatures spiking across the country, a great way to cool off is by heading to the mountains to one of the best family destinations in July. Summer thrills include the alpine slide, alpine coaster, and zip lines. Take it down a notch with hiking and biking, fishing, and horseback riding. Get a spot along Main Street or Park Avenue early for the popular 11 a.m. 4th of July parade featuring over 70 floats. Keep the party going with live music and BBQ all day at City Park and at Park City Mountain Resort. Fireworks at the mountain start at dusk.

Boston Harborfest is the quintessential Independence Day celebration. The festival lasts not one, but five full days, filled with events, historic reenactments, music, food, and fireworks on the 4th with the Boston Pops playing the best 1812 Overture you'll ever hear.

Philadelphia also swells with Independence Day pride and celebrates with its 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Start the day at the 10 a.m. parade that kicks off at 6th and Chestnut Streets. At 2 p.m., the Sons of the Revolution tap the Liberty Bell in a symbolic ceremony called "Let Freedom Ring."

Macy's annual fireworks show is a big one, where more than 80,000 explosions light up the city sky. The best viewing spots include Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights, and Grand Ferry Park in Williamsburg.

Colonial Williamsburg is great for kids with hands-on activities, museums, and interactive exhibits year-round. Spending the 4th in Williamsburg is the perfect way to commemorate the history and learn about the American Revolution with your kids. You'll feel like you've stepped back in time to 1776 when you hear fife and drum performances, cannons firing, soldier drills, and the reading of the Declaration of Independence. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

Theme parks and water parks make Orlando a kid-favorite, and the resorts and surrounding communities will light up the Orlando skies with 4th of July fireworks. LEGOLAND Florida and SeaWorld Orlando each include extended hours and fireworks displays in the price of admission. Universal Orlando Resort puts its own spin on Independence Day with a laser and pyrotechnics event, and Walt Disney World hosts events at three of its parks. Stay late for Disney's Celebrate America! at 9 p.m at the Magic Kingdom, or see IllumiNations at Epcot or late-night fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios at 10 p.m.

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