Destination Small Town America: Unique July 4th Celebrations

Destination Small Town America: Unique July 4th Celebrations

July 4 is the most popular holiday in the nation with one of the biggest celebrations.  Many flocks to over-populated destinations to get a taste of the excitement While many destinations can be reached by commercial aircraft, flying private can get closer to the action. What a great way to use your 10+1 PJS Summer Jet Card! 

Take Telluride, CO, for example. Flying privately into nearby Telluride Regional Airport will save the 90-minute road trip from the commercial airport at Montrose. 

Let’s face it. Travel can be summed up as a series of stop-and-go traffic. But flying privately avoids those hassles so vacation can start earlier and it can be enjoyed longer.  As the July 4th weekend is just around the corner and it is the middle of the summer travel season, PJS put together some of the most memorable places to experience July 4 by private aviation. 

Bar Harbor, ME

America’s best July 4 celebration is unquestionably Bar Harbor, Maine complete with a blueberry pancake breakfast. Plus, where else can you find Lobster Races?  

A luxury destination since the 19th Century, Bar Harbor, like many luxury getaway towns, still has the old hotels where the rich once spent the entire summer strolling the veranda’s in the long, white flowing gowns. 

It is a gateway to Acadia National Park and the easiest way to get there is by private aviation. In addition to being one of the nation’s premier parks, Bar Harbor offers sailing, sea kayaking, shore-bird excursions in search of Puffins. You can also explore off-shore islands including Campobello, where the Franklin Roosevelts found their quiet solitude. 

With dozens of lighthouses in the region, Maine offers hot days and cool, crisp nights a perfect combination for summer. And its July 4 celebration has been named among the top 10 in America by the Today Show and National Geographic. In addition to pancakes, there is the Mount Desert Island Relay, a 100-km race encircling the off-shore island, a craft fair and rummage sale and a not-to-miss seafood festival all to keep you busy while you wait for the oceanfront fireworks. 

Forks, WA

Unless you are a Twilight fan, you may have never heard of Forks. This area is home to some of the most spectacular oceanfront scenery in the world. Rainforests and mountains are also big draws but in order to get there, you can either drive 3+ hours on a two-lane highway (45 mph) from Seattle or arrive closer by private aircraft. 

Forks is located on the westernmost portion of the fabulous and beautiful Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park and is home to world-class fishing and hiking. The famous Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebrations will surely provide informal introductions the people who consider this beautiful place home. Seeking unpopulated bliss? No problem. There is no better destination than the rugged coast of Washington and Rialto Beach, La Push, First Beach, and Second Beach, each offering differing but equally dramatic views of the coast and the Pacific Ocean. 

Napa Valley

While one might think the gateway to Napa Valley is the Charles M. Schultz Airport, you would be mistaken. For private aircraft travelers, it is the Napa County Airport, a short 10-minute drive to the heart of the wine-growing region. There is nothing more American than experiencing small towns during July 4 and Napa is no exception. 

Napa Valley is peppered with nearly 400 wineries producing award-winning wines. But a trip is not complete without sitting at the top of the surrounding hills savoring the dramatic views along with the wines. The numerous luxury spas offer pool-side wine tastings along with luxury restaurants. Take flight with a sunset champagne balloon ride for a 360-degree experience of the storied destination. There is even a Napa Valley Wine Train for a unique experience. 

Telluride, CO

Visiting ski resorts solely during the winter months means there is a lot to miss out on. Resorts like Telluride have completely changed over the last few years to attract summer visitors. Golf, swimming, music, film, and art festivals are all on the summer calendar in the San Juan Mountains where these near-year-round resorts reside. Gondolas remain open for a unique view of the 19th Century village which describes itself as Americana at its finest–not to mention the over-the-top July 4 celebrations.  Events include a footrace, a parade, a firemen’s barbeque, and of course, the sunset-shrouded mountains are a natural backdrop to Fireworks.

Mackinac Island

You could take a ferry to Mackinac Island but why bother when you can land at Mackinac Island Airport, a private-aviation-only destination. Wide verandas on 19th Century hotels offer luxury destinations across the Great Lakes, but Mackinac’s Grand Hotel stands out for its unforgettable sunsets and sunrises. Known as the Jewel of the Great Lakes, Mackinac’s activities include fishing, boating, swimming, all part of the charm, but so too is hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking, or biking around the island. 

Balance all the hustle and bustle at secluded hideaways and spas designed to regenerate the body and soul. What about an old-fashioned English tea or renting a buggy, or just the horse, to tour the island? Or visit one of the few, intimate, independent bookstores left in the nation at the Island Book Store’s two locations.

The island’s Old Fashioned Mackinac Fourth of July Celebration includes a stone-skipping tournament, a 38-gun salute at Fort Mackinac, a giant picnic featuring the Grand Hotel’s famous BBQ ribs, chicken, and other barbeque favorites, a perfect segue into that evening’s fireworks over the lake.