The Best US National Parks to Watch 4th of July Firework Celebrations

June 29, 2024
Relevant States: 
Relevant States: 
Relevant States: 
North Carolina
Relevant States: 
Relevant States: 
Relevant States: 
Relevant States: 
South Dakota

The 4th of July is a cherished holiday in the United States, marked by patriotic celebrations, family gatherings, barbecues, and, of course, spectacular firework displays. For those who love the great outdoors, there's no better way to celebrate than by watching fireworks in a stunning natural setting. National parks across the country offer some of the most breathtaking backdrops for these festivities. Here, we explore the best US national parks to experience the magic of 4th of July fireworks.

1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

Why It's Great:

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is perhaps the most iconic location for 4th of July celebrations. The faces of four American presidents carved into the granite mountain provide a majestic setting for fireworks.

Official Website →

What to Expect:

  • Spectacular Fireworks: Fireworks illuminate the carved faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
  • Patriotic Ceremonies: The park hosts a range of activities including a patriotic concert, flag-raising ceremony, and various educational programs.
  • Crowd Considerations: Be prepared for large crowds and arrive early to secure a good spot. Note that fireworks at Mount Rushmore can be subject to cancellation due to fire hazards or other safety concerns.

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina

Why It's Great:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a lush, mountainous backdrop perfect for a 4th of July celebration. The nearby towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge host some of the best firework displays in the region.

What to Expect:

  • Gatlinburg’s Midnight Parade: On July 3rd, Gatlinburg kicks off the celebrations with the nation's first Independence Day parade at midnight, followed by a spectacular fireworks show on the 4th.
  • Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival: Pigeon Forge hosts an annual Patriot Festival with live music, food vendors, and a grand fireworks finale.
  • Camping and Hiking: Enjoy the day exploring the park’s numerous trails, waterfalls, and wildlife before settling in for the evening festivities.

3. Yosemite National Park, California

Why It's Great:

Yosemite National Park, with its towering granite cliffs and majestic waterfalls, offers a serene and awe-inspiring setting for a 4th of July celebration.

What to Expect:

  • El Portal Fireworks: While fireworks are not allowed within Yosemite itself due to fire danger, nearby El Portal hosts a community fireworks display that can be viewed from certain areas of the park.
  • Daytime Activities: Spend the day hiking to iconic spots like Half Dome and El Capitan, or relax by the Merced River.
  • Evening Serenity: After the fireworks, enjoy the peace and quiet of Yosemite’s stunning night skies, perfect for stargazing.

4. Acadia National Park, Maine

Why It's Great:

Acadia National Park offers a unique combination of rugged coastline, forested trails, and the charming town of Bar Harbor, which hosts one of the best 4th of July celebrations in New England.

What to Expect:

  • Bar Harbor Fireworks: The fireworks over Frenchman Bay are a highlight, with the colorful display reflecting off the water.
  • Parade and Festivities: Bar Harbor’s festivities include a parade, seafood festival, and live music throughout the day.
  • Exploration Opportunities: Spend the day exploring Acadia’s scenic drives, like the Park Loop Road, or hike to Cadillac Mountain for stunning views.

5. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Why It's Great:

The Grand Canyon provides an unparalleled backdrop for any event, and the 4th of July is no exception. Though the park itself does not host fireworks due to fire hazards, nearby towns offer celebrations worth attending.

What to Expect:

  • Williams Fireworks: The town of Williams, located near the park, hosts a fantastic fireworks show that can be enjoyed by visitors to the Grand Canyon.
  • Flagstaff Celebrations: Flagstaff’s annual 4th of July celebration includes a parade, live music, and fireworks.
  • Daytime Adventures: Take advantage of the daylight hours to hike along the canyon rim, take a mule ride, or enjoy a scenic helicopter tour.

6. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Why It's Great:

Bryce Canyon’s unique landscape of hoodoos and natural amphitheaters provides a dramatic setting for 4th of July festivities.

What to Expect:

  • Nearby Celebrations: The nearby town of Panguitch hosts a fun-filled Independence Day celebration with fireworks, rodeo events, and a parade.
  • Stargazing: Bryce Canyon is renowned for its dark skies, making it an excellent spot for stargazing after the fireworks.
  • Daytime Exploration: Explore Bryce Canyon’s scenic viewpoints and hiking trails, such as the popular Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail.

7. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Why It's Great:

Rocky Mountain National Park offers a stunning alpine setting with towering peaks and lush valleys, perfect for a memorable 4th of July celebration.

What to Expect:

  • Estes Park Fireworks: The town of Estes Park, located just outside the park, hosts an impressive fireworks display over Lake Estes.
  • Daytime Festivities: Estes Park’s celebration includes a car show, live music, and various family-friendly activities.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Spend the day hiking, wildlife watching, or simply enjoying the breathtaking mountain scenery.

Tips for Enjoying 4th of July in National Parks

Plan Ahead:

  • Reservations: Many national parks require reservations for camping and parking, especially during peak times like the 4th of July.
  • Early Arrival: Arrive early to secure a good spot for viewing fireworks and to avoid heavy traffic.

Safety First:

  • Fire Safety: Be aware of fire restrictions and follow park regulations to ensure safety.
  • Weather Preparedness: Weather can change rapidly in national parks, so bring appropriate clothing and gear.

Respect Nature:

  • Leave No Trace: Follow Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural beauty of the parks.
  • Wildlife Awareness: Maintain a safe distance from wildlife and never feed animals.

Enjoy the Moment:

  • Disconnect: Take the opportunity to disconnect from digital devices and immerse yourself in the natural beauty around you.
  • Capture Memories: While it’s important to be present, don’t forget to capture a few photos to remember the special experience.


Celebrating the 4th of July in a national park combines the best of both worlds: the thrill of fireworks and the tranquility of nature. Whether you choose the historic grandeur of Mount Rushmore, the rugged beauty of Acadia, or the alpine charm of Rocky Mountain National Park, these destinations offer unforgettable experiences. Plan ahead, respect nature, and enjoy the spectacular show that only the combination of fireworks and the great outdoors can provide.

More Great Reads!
Recent Stacks

Help us build a firewood map for everyone

Stay in the loop! Join our mailing list below.

Occasional Updates Only. No Spam, No Ads.
Great! You've been added to the mailing list!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.