Go With a Purpose.
A blog about connecting through places that matter.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

10 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate America on the 4th of July

We all have our traditional ways of celebrating the 4th of July — parades along Main Street, backyard barbecues, patriotic festivals and, to cap off the day, all-important fireworks. These are all wonderful ways to celebrate our nation’s independence and all that is great about America. But there are many other ways to celebrate what is truly great and meaningful about living in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Why not break from the old traditions this Independence Day and start some new ones?

Here are 10 heritage-rich and meaningful alternatives to consider:

Drive along a historic trail — There are many historic trails in the United States, each telling a tale of a different period in American history. Whether you spend just one day or the entire 4th of July weekend driving along one of these trails, it will be an immersive, historically rich experience you won’t soon forget. Read more about some of the nation’s best historic trails...

Visit a battlefield — Visiting a battlefield is a poignant way to remember those who fought for our country on American soil. There are many battlefields from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Texas Revolution, and other American wars peppered throughout the country. See a list of American battlefields across the nation...

Visit an historic cemetery — Learn more about our country’s history and honor those who fell in battle by visiting an historic cemetery. There are a vast number of historic cemeteries in the United States that offer tours. You can check with your local or state government to find cemeteries near you.

Go on a walking tour of a city’s history — Walking tours are an excellent and interactive way to experience the history of a particular city, town, or neighborhood. Check with the local convention and visitors’ bureau or tourism organization to find out about historic walking tours for a particular location.

Go on a picnic at a national heritage area — Move the 4th of July picnic from your backyard or city park to a more scenic and heritage-rich locale. Check out a list and map from the Alliance of National Heritage Areas.

Learn more about great Americans — Visit local historic sites and museums dedicated to the lives and works of the people who made America what it is today. Many of these places have special 4th of July programs and events.

Become a “voluntourist” — Voluntourism combines travel with volunteer service and has been gaining popularity recently. What better way to celebrate America than by giving back to the country through volunteerism. Try looking for volunteer opportunities with festivals, events held by nonprofit organizations, or other area programs. The VolunTourism.org Web site is a great place to start finding voluntourism opportunities.

Spend the day at the shore — While many people will be heading to the nearest public beach, you could enjoy the serene beauty of one of America’s national seashores or lakeshores. Bring a picnic lunch, visit nearby lighthouses, stroll through nearby towns. Make a weekend of it! Find a national seashore or lakeshore near you!

Enjoy the scenery ... from a hot-air balloon
Many towns and cities hold hot-air balloon festivals on Independence Day. If you enjoy spectacular views (and aren’t afraid of heights or flying), a hot-air balloon ride is an ideal way to experience America’s majestic beauty. You can browse the state-by-state directory at HotAirBallooning.com.

Go out to a ball game — Whether it’s Major League, Minor League, or even Little League, there is nothing more American than America’s Pastime. Baseball has a rich and storied history that can bring out the best (and worst) in its fans. There’s no denying that the sport holds a special, beloved place in the hearts of Americans. Take yourself out to a ball game and "root, root, root for the home team!"

What is your favorite way to celebrate the 4th of July? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Enjoy your holiday!


Kari Rippetoe is the Marketing Manager at Heritage Travel, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

photo credits:
Flickr, "St. Louis 4th of July Fireworks," by Creativity+ Timothy Hamilton
Flickr, "Old Route 66, " by Swiv
Flickr, "Canon at Parkers Crossroads Battlefield," by J. Stephen Conn
Flickr, "St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery, Gallion, Alabama," by jimmywayne
Monticello, by Cole Stryker
Flickr, "Rosedale Walking Tour," by victoriabernal
Flickr, "
Picnic area at Mashamoquet Brook, State Park, Connecticut
," by J. Stephen Conn
Flickr, "Construction Site Voluntourism Project," by thomaswanhoff
National Park Service, "Assateague Island"
Flickr, "Hot Air Balloons Idaho," by Gerry Slabaugh
Flickr, "Baseball at Wrigley Field," by kberberi

No comments:

Post a Comment


Invite Friends

Send an invitation to friends who share a love of learning, traveling and connecting with others. Invite them to join you in growing this new online community!
Your name
Your email address
Your friends' email addresses (use commas between email addresses)