Travel: Sparkling Carolina July Fourth Destinations
But if you want the family to experience something a bit different this year, a number of popular Independence Day events in both of the Carolinas are just a few hour's drive away.
For acclaimed fireworks displays, try the 15th annual Battleship Blast at the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C., or the Patriots Point 4th of July Blast in Mount Pleasant, S.C., in the Charleston area. "Coastal Living" magazine picked both events as places to enjoy the Fourth, along with such locales as the San Francisco waterfront and Honolulu, Hawaii.
In Wilmington, the World War II-era battleship will be the stage for what is billed as one of the state's largest choreographed fireworks show. Most people watch the show from the Wilmington waterfront. If you want to visit the battleship, do so before 6 p.m., when it closes to prepare for the pyrotechnics.
For more information, call 910-251-5797 or visit www.battleshipnc.com;.
In the Charleston area, the fireworks are famously launched from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier. The Yorktown is moored at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in nearby Mount Pleasant.
The fireworks are free, and begin around 9:10 p.m. But visitors can buy discounted admission to the museum complex, where they can tour the Yorktown and view the exhibits until closer to the time of the fireworks display.
For details, call 843-971-5041 or visit www.patriotspoint.org;.
Festival for the Eno is one of North Carolina's most well known Independence Day events. This year, it will span three days, beginning July 2.
The envirofest raises money for Eno River conservation efforts. The main attractions are three stages of music and a number of environmental exhibits and educational displays. Kids (and big kids) spend time tramping the usually shallow waters of the river.
Fireworks are not included.
Advanced admission is $13 per day or $30 for all three days. For information, call 919-620-9099 or visit enoriver.org;.
Fayetteville, home to one of the nation's largest military installations, always has an impressive independence salute. The community has a special reason for doing so this year.
Beginning at 10 a.m., Fayetteville will dedicate the North Carolina Veterans Park at a free, all-day celebration. The park consists of a visitor's center, seven water features, walking paths and public art including the "Oath" wall, where the casted hands of veterans from all 100 counties will be displayed. It honors North Carolina veterans who served in all five branches of the military.
There will be free hot dogs, ice cream, lemonade and cake provided to anyone who attends. The 82nd Airborne ceremonial band will provide music, and the 82nd Airborne All American Chorus will perform in the new park's amphitheatre.
At 3 p.m. at Fort Bragg, the blow-out fireworks celebration begins at the Main Post Parade Field. For details, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com/july4th.php;.
A children's activity area opens at 3 p.m. The event includes performances by the Charlie Daniels Band at 5 p.m. and an 82nd Division Parachute Team demonstration at 6 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled to start at 9:42 pm.
MURRELLS INLET, S.C.
Farther south, the July 4th Boat Parade and Fireworks revs up at 10 a.m. in Murrells Inlet, S.C.
Boaters decorate their craft according to the theme – "Ride the Inlet Wave of Freedom" is the tongue-twisting theme this year – and parade around the inlet starting at high tide, around 1 p.m.
Fireworks are scheduled to start at 10 p.m. In between, visit food and other vendors.
Call 843-357-2007 or visit www.murrellsinletsc.com; for more information.