When the Fourth of July arrives, are you planning to just lay on the couch and watch Anderson Cooper blab about how much fun everyone else is having? No, that'd be lame — especially when you live in a fireworks mecca like South Florida. From a raft race, to a fireworks-clad kayak tour, to jammin' with rock legends, here are the ten best ways to spend your Fourth of July in Broward and Palm Beach.
1. Delray Beach. Are you the Michaelangelo of the sandcastle art world? It’s your time to shine. Delray Beach’s July Fourth celebration kicks off at 8 a.m. with a sandcastle contest. Later that day, from 5 to 9:30 p.m., there will be a mini golf course and kids' corner interactive area for the whole family to enjoy. Echosmith, Max & Logan, Solid Brass and U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors will jam and the Zambelli fireworks start buzzin’ at 9 p.m. 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. beachside at Atlantic Ave. and A1A, Delray Beach; julyfourthdelraybeach.com. Free admission.
2. South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. Are a bunch of fireworks blowing up not enough science for you for one day? The South Florida Science Center has you covered. On July Fourth, the aquarium will host live fire jug and liquid nitrogen demos, a number of patriotic hands-on activities, Lego spin art, and more. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach; sfsciencecenter.org. Activities included in regular Science Center admission.
3. Grand Funk Railroad in Sunrise. Sunrise is ready to rock this Fourth of July. In addition to a kids' fun zone and food and drinks galore, the town has quite the entertainment line-up slated for this year. Reggaers Skotch Bonnett Band and classic rockers Mr. Nice Guy will open things up, and then it's Grand Funk Railroad bringing down the house before a 9:15 p.m. fireworks display. A parade will also take place on Sunset Strip at 9 a.m. that day. Concert starts at 4:30 p.m. and Grand Funk Railroad plays at 7:45 p.m. at The BB&T Center, One Panther Pkwy., Sunrise; sunrisefl.gov. Free admission and parking.
4. Lake Worth. Your raft is gathering up some dust and needs some attention. So, bring it to the City of Lake Worth’s Fourth of July shindig and get rafting. The city’s Independence Day celebration includes a raft parade, raft race, car show and a sizeable kids area. High Tolerance, The Spazmatics Florida and more will provide live tunes before a 9 p.m. fireworks show. 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Bryant Park, Lake Ave. and Golfview on the Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Worth; facebook.com. Free admission.
5. Deerfield Beach. Deerfield Beach is always a blast and their peeps know how to party. And yes, their Fourth of July set-up is awesome. A stone’s throw from the main drag and right on the beach, enjoy a string of top-notch arts and craft vendors, grub and tunes from the likes Jahzilla, Smokin’ (Boston tribute band), Shaw Davis & Black Ties, Chris Korzen and Steve Minotti. End the evening with some world-class fireworks near the pier. Noon to 9 p.m. at and near Main Beach Parking Lot, 149 SE 21st Ave., Deerfield Beach; deerfield-beach.com. Free to attend.
6. Coral Springs. The Fourth is always a great day to bounce around town. At Coral Springs’ celebration, you can jump around inside one of a handful of bounce houses. This family friendly affair boasts an awesome fireworks display (at 9 p.m.), tunes, crafts and a number of food vendors serving up delicious grub. 6 p.m. at Mullins Park, 10000 Ben Geiger Drive, Coral Springs; coralsprings.org. Free admission and parking is $3.
7. Gulfstream Park. Horses and giveaways? God bless America. Gulfstream Park’s Freedom Fest Party kicks off at 6 p.m., with patriotic giveaways and a DJ. At 9 p.m., you can watch a fireworks spectacle trackside. And, yes, you’ll be able to gamble, too. Live horse racing starts at 1:15 p.m. and, if you need a break, the Ten Palms trackside restaurant has a special BBQ buffet running all day. 6 to 10 p.m. at Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach; gulfstreampark.com. Free admission.
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8. Boca Raton. What’s that noise you hear, Boca Raton? It’s likely the massive fireworks coming from Contess De Hoernle Park. This one is always a family favorite, with carnival rides galore, games, crafts and food (for sale) for all to enjoy. 6:30 p.m. at Countess De Hoernle Park, 1000 Spanish River Blvd., Boca Raton; myboca.us. Free admission.
9. Atlantic Hotel & Spa. Nothing is more American than stuffing your face with delicious food. Fortunately, the Atlantic Hotel & Spa on Fort Lauderdale Beach has you covered. Enjoy a delicious clambake, Maine lobster, a carving station and a gazillion other drool-worthy things on the Atlantic’s 5th floor pool terrace. And, immediately after, enjoy a great view of the fireworks. 7 to 9 p.m. at The Atlantic Hotel & Spa, 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale Beach; eventbrite.com. $59 for adults and $29 for children 12-and-under.
10. Fort Lauderdale Kayak Tour. Fort Lauderdale is “the Venice of America.” So, what’s the best way to watch the Las Olas fireworks? On the water, of course. So, you don’t have a yacht? Rent a kayak, join some other fun peeps and hit the canals. If you have your own kayak, you’re welcome to join at a discounted rate, too. 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at George English Park, 1101 Bayview Drive, Fort Lauderdale; eventbrite.com. Admission starts at $25 per person. Kayak rentals (including admission) start at $50.