Our team’s top picks for the best activities to celebrate Independence Day in New England.
It doesn’t get much better than summer in New England, and the Fourth of July holiday is a great way to enjoy it, whether you’re at the beach, watching fireworks, or grilling with friends and family. In advance of Independence Day, we at massAV wanted to share some of our favorite area celebrations and activities, and wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July.
Celebrate Independence Day
Boston Pops on the Charles
It’s been 90 years since the Boston Pops Orchestra, led by the legendary conductor Arthur Fiedler, performed for the first time on Boston’s Esplanade. For our Director of Sales Peter Gentile, this free concert and firework spectacular is simply the best way to celebrate our Nation’s independence. This year’s performance features R&B artist Queen Latifa, and folk singer Arlo Guthrie performing a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. As always, the Pops will play Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” accompanied by real cannons and ringing church bells.
The concert starts at 8 p.m., but if you want a good spot for the show, get there that morning. For more information, go to bostonpopsjuly4th.org.
Freeport, Maine’s Hometown Celebration
If you want to get out of town, pack up your Bean tote and head to Freeport. The town and outdoor outfitter L.L. Bean team up to host an all-day patriotic celebration, including a road race, parade, live music, and many other activities, closing with an enormous fireworks show. For more information, go to www.visitfreeport.com.
America’s Oldest Independence Day Celebration in Bristol, Rhode Island
This event holds a special place in our President Pat Basteri’s heart as she would often take her daughter there as a child. If you love history, pageantry, and a great parade, head to Bristol, Rhode Island for the country’s oldest Fourth of July celebration, which began in 1785! The parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m., and marches through Bristol’s historic downtown and back toward the Town Commons, but the Bristol celebration starts way before this and will continue into the weekend with concerts, a drum and bugle corps competition, orange crate derby, and even a ball. For more information, go to fourthofjulybristolri.com.
Sun, Meet Sand
Goose Rocks Beach
We love summer days spent on the beach. We asked around the office which beaches in New England are the best, and Bob Tripoli, Assistant Director of Operations, says you can’t beat Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Maine. This is a favorite spot for locals with soft white sand and gentle surf. It’s a great spot to play with the kids or relax with a good book.
If your idea of beach is quiet and less crowded, take a ferry out to Block Island, Rhode Island and catch a ride to Mohegan Bluffs. You have to take a long staircase down to the water, but it’s worth it. The cliffs above make for a unique, rugged beach experience. Don’t forget to pack a lunch.
Early birds should mark Sandy Point Beach in Ipswich on their list of must-see beaches. With only 15 parking spaces, this secluded beach at the southern tip of Plum Island’s Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is quiet and impossible to get to if you like to sleep in. Gorgeous sand dunes take you down to the water. We recommend bringing your binoculars. The area is renowned for its bird-watching.
Embrace Our Nation’s Nature
Nearby Hiking Trails
Enjoying summer is all about getting outdoors. Finding nature, even for those of us in the city, is not as hard or as far as you think. For an easy hike, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield can’t be beat. There is a wealth of wildlife to be found on the sanctuary’s 12 miles of trails through forest, meadows and wetlands. For a moderate hike, Mount Major in Alton, NH gives a big payoff with views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountain Range. Further away and more difficult is the South Ridge Trail on Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island in Maine. At the top, you’ll have amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and if you camp for the night, look up. The mountain is known as a great place to view the Milky Way.
Picnic in the Park
Long Hill Park in Beverly is a beautiful series of gardens perfect for slowing down, laying out a blanket and enjoying a picnic lunch. The gardens are divided into “rooms” which are ornamented with statues, offering plenty to look at and plenty of privacy.
If you seek tranquil waters, head to Walden Pond in Concord, just 19 miles from Boston. Take the wooded path down to the water and enjoy a never-crowded beach perfect for young swimmers. Make sure to get there early. Once the parking lot is full, the park is closed to new visitors.
Whether you love hiking, lounging on the beach, or parades and firework displays, this list should have something that ignites your interest. We’ve had a lot of fun at these spots over the years and we hope they inspire you to get out and have some fun this Fourth of July weekend.