If you’re planning to hit the road during the Fourth of July, you’re in good company. According to AAA, 49 million Americans plan to travel over the July 4 holiday this year, the highest number since the travel and roadside assistance organization began keeping track of holiday travel in 2000.
While many travelers are planning long-distance journeys, others are sticking closer to home. Some travelers want to take in historic charm on their road trips, while others are all about spectacular July 4 fireworks displays. The six destinations listed represent just a sample of the July 4 road trip options available for all types of travelers.
Best Road Trips for Historical Sightseeing
- St. Augustine, Florida: St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the country. Established in 1565, the city features spectacular Spanish-influenced architecture, a reminder of the Spanish adventurers who were among the first non-Native American settlers. Highlights include the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the Plaza de Constitucion.
- Galena, Illinois: This charming gem is located due west of Chicago on the banks of the Mississippi. A boom town of the 1800s, Galena was a political hub during its heyday. Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in Galena, and Ulysses S. Grant once called the city home. The main strip is lined with well-preserved Victorian homes and even has a working blacksmith shop.
Best Road Trips for July 4 Fireworks
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The home of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall does the July 4 holiday up right, with military reenactments, parades, walking tours, and of course, a July 4 concert and fireworks extravaganza. Visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and watching the fireworks display are free of charge. Other attractions, such as the Betsy Ross House, charge a small admission fee.
- Boston, Massachusetts: As the home of the Boston Tea Party, Boston knows how to celebrate the Fourth of July. Held over six days, Harborfest features more than 200 events, including reenactments, walking tours, the historic Park Street Church, and of course, the internationally famous Boston Pops Fireworks spectacular concert, which is televised nationwide.
Celebrating the Fourth on a Budget
- Chicago, Illinois: Watching the July 4 fireworks show from Navy Pier is free, although you should arrive early to claim a prime viewing spot. Chicago also boasts a big July 4 parade and the Grant Park Music Festival Independence Day Salute, with favorites like Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, also free and open to the public. Enjoy the show at either location with one of Chicago’s ketchup-free hot dogs or deep-dish pizza.
- Las Vegas, Nevada: The world famous Strip features a dazzling array of neon displays, and, of course, fireworks shows, all at no charge. The Bellagio Hotel also stages a not-to-be-missed fountain show seven days per week, also free of charge. For nature lovers, Las Vegas is also within driving distance of Hoover Dam and the Red Rock Conservation Area.
Best Tips for Beating Fourth of July Traffic
For 2019, the July 4 holiday period extends from Wednesday, July 3, through Sunday, July 7. Unless you love sitting in traffic, avoiding the worst travel days will minimize your stress levels as you travel to your destination. If possible, try to leave a couple of days beforehand and return either on Saturday, July 6, or on Monday, July 8.
According to AAA, Wednesday, July 3, is predicted to be the worst day for road traffic in New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles, while Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago are predicted to experience their worst traffic jams on Friday, July 5. In Washington, D.C., Sunday, July 7, is predicted to be the worst day for road travel.
Extended Car Warranty Companies Protect Road Trip Budgets
Whatever your plans for a July 4 road trip, breakdowns on the road can ruin the fun, especially if you have to pay repair costs out of pocket. Preparing for unexpected emergencies can help minimize delays when things go wrong on the road. And if your car is no longer under factory warranty, Protect My Car offers the best extended car warranty to protect your road trip budget against unexpected expenses from breakdowns or accidents on the road.