Independence Day kicks off in fine fashion throughout the country’s 50 states. Barbeques, beach days, parades, fireworks and family and friend get togethers are the most popular ways of celebrating, and many people have their annual routine for 4th of July that they look forward to for the whole year. But July also happens to be a popular month for vacationing, since the kids are out of school and it’s a perfect time to take off those two weeks you’ve been saving up.
If you plan to vacation in Hawaii during this red, white and blue festive holiday, rest assured you will have plenty of options for celebrating! Hawaii does 4th of July just as well as any other state, and it’s even better in these tropical islands because of the temperate weather all night long! Whether you’re seeking evening fireworks for the fam, a quiet day on the beach with a partner, or a crazy night on the town with friends, Hawaii has it all.
Here’s a list of some of the top 4th of July celebrations taking place on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Big Island.
Turtle Bay, the North Shore’s fabled resort, is hosting a free event that is open to the public on 4th of July. Starting at 3:30pm, guests can take part in the family-friendly activities, entertainment, food booths, prize giveaways and live music throughout the day. The fireworks show begins at 8:30pm and then adults can mosey their way to Surfer (the bar) for an Independence Day after-party beginning at 9:00pm and featuring Darren Benitez. The Surfer party has a $15 cover and is 21 and over.
Over on the east side of the island, Kailua is having their annual 4th of July parade down one of the main thoroughfares. The event will have 200 marchers, 40 vehicles, 40 floats and 4 bands marching down the street, and spectators are encouraged to bring lounge chairs and cameras. The parade starts at Kainalu Dr./Omao St. and ends at Kailua Intermediate School. This 2-hour community parade begins at 10:00am but be sure to arrive early to get a good spot!
Back in town, it just so happens that 4th of July falls on Honolulu’s First Friday event. While this street party rages every first Friday of the month, it’s going to REALLY go off on 4th of July! Expect a very lively crowd and plenty traffic, as the event is expected to have 1,000+ participants. If you’re staying in the Honolulu or Waikiki area, I recommend walking or talking a cab, as Hotel St. will be closed from Nuuanu Ave. to Smith St. the whole evening. Event goers will be partying from 8:00pm till 2:00am, checking out restaurant specials, bars, lounges and clubs, and enjoying the street booths and live music.
In Waikiki, there is the annual Ala Moana fireworks show that happens off Magic Island’s Ala Moana Beach Park. This extravaganza is extremely popular and produces a crowd, so get there early! Fireworks begin at 8:30pm and last for 20 minutes. And since the stars align this year, the Hilton Hawaiian Village will also be having their weekly Friday Fireworks show, which begins at 7:45pm and lasts (in perfect timing) till the Ala Moana show begins!
Vidinha Stadium in Lihue hosts the largest aerial fireworks event on Kauai, and is known as The Kauai Hospice 24th Annual Concert in the Sky. On July 4th at 6:00pm, the doors open and guests are welcome to enjoy the live entertainment and music, food booths and fireworks for $15 per person. The festivities rage on till 1:00am and you can guarantee you’ll find an after party at Rob’s Good Time Grill or The Tavern, both bars located in Lihue. Or, for a less ‘local’ experience, try wandering the Marriot property at Kalapaki Beach- you’re sure to find a resort bar that’s open and ready to serve up a cocktail!
For a mellower experience, join residents and visitors at the Kauai Museum for old-style music, local food, fun and mingling at their First Friday Paina. July 4th happens to coincide with their monthly party, so kick off Independence Day with a local Kauai experience from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Tickets are $20 per person.
On the Garden Isle’s west side, you can find Kauai’s biggest little town, known as Hanapepe, hosting their weekly Friday Art Night from 5:00pm till 9:00pm. On July 4th, you can expect this spot to be the funnest, liveliest and best place to celebrate, plus it’s free! Multiple bands will be set up in the streets, tasty food booths will be offering samples and souvenirs, the art galleries and shops will be providing free wine and pupus, plus honoring specials and much more. Kauai’s best and most consistent block party, be sure to make your 4th of July memories last and head to Bad Hats in Hanapepe for hat and apparel custom printing. It’s a great way to remember your vacation in Hawaii and is the best hat shop in the 50th state!
While there is nothing officially planned for 4th of July in Hanalei, Kauai’s north shore, you can usually find locals blasting off fireworks at Hanalei beach. This sleepy town usually closes down around 9:00 or 10:00pm, but I’m sure a few of the bars will be hosting 4th of July specials! Check out the St. Regis resort bar, Tahiti Nui restaurant and bar, Kalypso Island Bar & Grill or Bar Acuda for something fun and festive.
Back in Lihue, Kukui Grove, the main mall of Kauai, is hosting the Kaua’i Kau Wela Summer Festival 2014. This 4th of July event takes place on Saturday and Sunday and features solo hula and Tahitian dance competition, live Tahitian drummers, entertainment, Polynesian crafts, displays and more. The dance competition will be held at the Kukui Grove Shopping Mall Center stage on Saturday from 10:30am till 4:00pm, and is free for all. On Sunday, the festival moves to Kamokila Hawaiian Village in Wailua from 10:00am till 3:00pm and will feature a ‘ukulele competition, entertainment, Polynesian crafts, Hawaiian food, ancient chants, hula, Tahitian dancing, activities, games and canoe rides. The price is $10 adults and $5 for children 5 years old and younger.
By far THE place to be on Maui for 4th of July is Lahaina. Notorious for being an all night, non-stop party, the fireworks celebration takes place on a barge offshore of Front Street in Lahaina, scheduled to kick off at 8:00pm. After that, you can bet bars like Moose McGillycuddy’s, Fleetwoods and Longhi’s will be lively with music, locals and celebratory drinking!
Another 4th of July party is taking place in Maui on top of the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Whale Foundation Fireworks Cruise is a double-decker catamaran that sails the calm Lahaina waters and offers guests the best fireworks seats possible. Tickets are available for purchase online at pacificwhale.org. Adult prices are $69.95 and kids are $49.95 but if you book them now online you’ll receive 10% off! The ticket price includes heavy pupus and three cocktails of your choice plus all you can drink juices, sodas and filtered water.
You can also enjoy this Pacific Whale Foundation Fireworks Cruise in Maalaea, Maui. At this location, an alcoholic and non-alcoholic cruise is offered.
Head to Hilo for the annual Hilo Bay Blast at Bayfront, a day of fun, family-friendly, patriotic and exciting activities centered at Hilo’s Bayfront beach park. The event takes places on one of the longest beaches on the Big Island all day long, from 9:00am till 9:00pm. Be sure to stick around for the fireworks, which begin at 8:00pm.
Kailua-Kona will be hosting their annual 4th of July parade, which begins at 5:30pm and includes around 60 entries. From floats and live bands to kids groups and patriotic marchers, the parade goes from Kona’s Kekuaokalani Gym (Kaiwi Street and Kuakini Highway) south on Kuakini, down Palani, and along Ali’i Drive to Coconut Grove Marketplace. The fireworks start at 8:00pm, and will be shot off from a barge in Kailua Bay.
On the Big Island’s sunny Kohala Coast, Waikoloa Beach Resort will host its annual Fourth of July fireworks show along with other entertainment and activities for the entire family. Festivities will begin at 10:00am and will continue on past the 8:00pm fireworks show until 9:30 p.m. Beach chairs and blankets are welcome, but coolers are not allowed.