Families have dozens of options for 4th of July vacations in California; from laid-back to adrenaline-filled. Why not head into the heart of the state to enjoy a relaxed vacation with just family? Or at the other end of the scale, join the crowds at one of the large city fireworks displays.
The Los Angeles suburb of Anaheim is where you'll find Disneyland, and what better time to take the kids than on the 4th of July? Spend the day on rides, meet Mickey and the gang, then after dark see the fireworks over the fairytale castle.
Combine traditional 4th of July fun with a day at the beach in Santa Monica. The Main Street parade features musicians, civic groups and many performers. Don't forget to wear red, white and blue to fit in with the crowd! Once the parade is over, spend the rest of the day splashing in the waves or having fun building sandcastles.
A relaxing day at the lake is the order of the day on July 4th in Fresno. Millerton Lake sees thousands of people arrive for a day of swimming, relaxed family fun, and barbecue food. Fireworks aren't allowed in the park area, guaranteeing a tranquil and peaceful July 4th, perfect for kids who aren't a fan of loud noises.
It wouldn't be July 4th without rounding off the celebrations at a fireworks display, and displays in California are among the nation's best. Many are free to attend so pack a picnic, get your spot early and enjoy a spectacular display in the night skies.
San Diego's "Big Bay Boom" fireworks display bills itself as the largest event in the Western U.S. and is not to be missed. Watch from anywhere along the shore, but get there early to secure your spot.
Rated one of the top five displays in the whole of the U.S., you can experience the Tahoe fireworks from anywhere in town. The best view is from the water, so book yourself onto a dinner cruise for a night to remember.
The Rotary Club in San Jose put on a spectacular display every July 4th, which is free to view from Discovery Meadows in the center of the city. If you feel like splashing out, there are also VIP tickets available which include a dinner buffet and special seating area with a prime view of the pyrotechnics.
California's major cities all offer something a bit different when it comes to 4th July celebrations. Los Angeles is all about glitz, glamor and a beach lifestyle, whereas San Francisco's celebrations are more family-focused, with an emphasis on superb local food and drink.
Permanent mooring site of the iconic Queen Mary cruise ship, Long Beach offers a July 4th with a difference. The cruise ship hosts an annual extravaganza with guided tours and access to special exhibitions, along with live music, entertainment, and kids' activities. Then when the sun sets, watch the firework display from shore.
The Rose Bowl's annual "Americafest" is one of the nation's longest-established fireworks displays, and uses over a ton of explosives for ultimate effect. Before the fireworks finale, visitors can enjoy family-focused entertainment throughout the day, with food vendors and inflatable rides to keep the kids happy too.
Enjoy the ultimate American day out in Bakersfield, first by watching the Bakersfield Train Robbers take on another local side in a hotly-contested baseball match before enjoying the post-match fireworks from your seat in the stadium.