It’s one of the best moments of the summer: The Fourth of July. Fireworks, ice cold beer, hot dogs and burgers, cotton candy and joy. Where should you spend it if you want to have a truly luxurious Independence Day? We think you have three options for this holiday: the seashore, the mountains, or a smaller American city where you can get around easily on foot. We’re steering away from places that are iconic and lovely but way too hot at this time of year (we’re looking at you, Savannah).
Here are 10 excellent US destinations, all guaranteed to make you feel pampered, deeply American . . . and truly liberated.
1. Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Take a tour of Harvard’s campus, walk the Freedom Trail, stop by Faneuil Hall for a bite to eat, take a wacky Duck Tour and see the Old North Church, the USS Constitution, and other historic sites from the Revolutionary War era. Listen to the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade and see the dazzling show over the Charles River. The celebration ends with the playing of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Stay at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, or the Four Seasons Hotel Boston.
2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Experience the majesty and beauty of the American West at this stunning and serene mountain town. Visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Ride horses, take in a rodeo, take a hot-air balloon ride at dawn, or a trip down the Snake River on a raft. View bison herds, eat barbeque, take in a spectacular fireworks show from the top of a mountain and revel in the wide-open sky. Stay at: Amangani or the Four Seasons Jackson Hole.
3. Blackberry Farm, Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountains are an iconic American landscape, and this family-run farm and luxury boutique hotel set on 4,200 private acres of forest and creeks will allow you to experience it in style. Enjoy hand-crafted whisky, a private fireworks display, a July 4th BBQ battle, and organic farm-to-table meals all weekend long.
4. The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. Drive the iconic Pacific Coast Highway from either Los Angeles or San Francisco. If you’re interested, the Hearst Castle will provide an inside view of one man’s journey through America’s gilded history. Or if you’re more interested in nature, stop in Monterrey Bay to see the fantastic aquarium, then visit the redwood forest and the boardwalk in Santa Cruz. The John and Jackie Kennedy took their honeymoon at the Post Ranch Inn — all the more reason to consider it an authentic slice of America.
5. The Berkshires, Massachusetts. In summer, the Berkshires are the epicenter of art, culture, and great food. Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, and summer theater theater performances will be happening throughout Independence Day week. There’s also a terrific vintage railway upon which to take a ride. Another highlight? The Mount – Edith Wharton’s home — which is open for public tours. Stay at the luxurious Blantyre or the equally luxurious Cranwell, both in Lenox.
6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The unofficial start of the summer rendezvous on the island is July 4th. The serenity of early summer gives way to the raucous and joyful arrival of the longtime summer residents and visitors. Edgartown is hosting a barbeque prior to the fireworks show on the 4th, which begins after dusk. It’s a happy party – stay for a few days after the holiday to experience the island at a slightly more sedate pace. Stay at the lovely Charlotte Inn in Edgartown for a refined home base that’s walking distance to the lively harbor.
7. The Hamptons, New York. Gorgeous beaches, shopping, fine dining, art galleries, bookstores, wineries, farm stands, and vintage convertibles whizzing by. What’s not to love about a weekend – or more- in the Hamptons? Book your table now at EMP Summer House, the rustic luxury outpost of the team from Eleven Madison Park. Stay at the Topping Rose House or the Maidstone Inn in East Hampton to experience the height of the Hamptons lux experience.
8. Newport, Rhode Island. For a refined preppy New England vibe, head to Watch Hill and play croquet, sail, walk along the shore of Block Island Sound, each fresh oysters and lobster, and see the fireworks. The Ocean House Hotel is a great choice for lodging – there you’ll find the Independence Day Beach Ball, and a secret Veuve Cliquot Champagne Garden.
9. Aspen, Colorado. It’s not just about a chic winter ski trip – Aspen in the summer is equally glorious. Hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, white water rafting are all on the menu. Plus luxury shopping, excellent restaurants, lovely cafes and a great bookstore. We highly recommend staying at either the Little Nell or the St. Regis Aspen. Either way, don’t miss the spectacular fireworks over the Rockies.
10. Portland, Oregon. One of the largest blues festivals in the country takes place over the July 4th holiday every year here – the Waterfront Blues Fest. That sets the tone for a friendly and celebratory vibe throughout the city. There’s an annual fireworks show downtown – the rooftop bar of the Nines Hotel is a fantastic spot from which to view them. (But please note: news reports say that the fireworks show may be in jeopardy, unless last-minute funding comes through). There’s wonderful outdoor fun to be had, fireworks or no: you can spend a day at the coast, then visit the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and Crater Lake. It’s the perfect place to behold some of the nation’s most magnificent natural splendor.
There you have it! Ten fantastic ways to celebrate America’s freedom — and to revel in some of your own. Happy 4th!
Join our community
For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.