The 4th of July Holiday Guide
From fireworks to fairs: 10 amazing ways to celebrate in Orange County.
There’s so many local options to choose from this 4th of July, which to do? While some families might opt for the backyard BBQ rather than jostle with crowds, everyone agrees that there is just something about coming together with the community that stirs the Patriotic soul.
So whether you’re looking for an all day epic fest, an ocean-themed event, a parade, water fight or simply a place in the evening to unfold the beach chair and watch the explosive awesomeness in the sky– there’s truly something for everyone on this list.
1. Dana Point July 4th Extravaganza
It’s called Extravaganza for a reason. This is one of South Orange County’s finest fireworks display, synchronized to music for full frontal patriotic glory! Since this is one of the most popular days at Doheny, crank up the rooster and get an early start to spend the day at the beach as space fills up quickly. Park hours are 6 AM – 10 PM and the fireworks show starts at 8:45 PM. While locals are encouraged to bike or walk to avoid the Traffic Extravaganza, you can still avoid traffic jams via the free shuttle service from 10 AM – 11:30 PM originating at Dana Hills High School. Fireworks: Dana Point Harbor, 24650 Dana Point Harbor Drive. 8:45 PM (949) 248-3530
2. Dana Point’s Fireworks off Capt. Dave’s Catamarans
July 4th Fireworks Show
If you believe a spectacular show can and should be viewed from a spectacular setting, reserve a seat on Captain Dave’s comfy catamarans off Dana Point Harbor to get a glorious view of Dana Point’s Firework display. Admission includes Mrs. Capt. Dave’s yummy Triple Fudge Brownies, and passengers are encouraged to dress warm, bring blankets and a thermos of hot cocoa to ensure a cozy ride. Keep in mind Dana Point Harbor closes to all personal vehicles at 7:30 PM and the catamarans depart promptly at 8:00 PM. Book online Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, $65 for 2-hour 4th of July excursion. (949) 488-2828.
July 4th Water Battle Pirate Trip
Epic Water fight! Join Dana Point’s Annual Water Wars via an upscale zodiac for an afternoon of wet and wondrous fun, aboard Captain’s Dave Fast Cat Zodiac. They provide the water blasters, passengers can arm themselves with goggles or glasses and water cannons if so desired. Book online Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, $25 for one hour, 3:45 PM. Limited seats so potential pirates should book quickly. (949) 488-2828.
3. 112th Huntington Beach 4th of July
Huntington Beach kicks off it’s dazzling day of Independence Splendor with a SURF CITY RUN 5K (registration 6 AM) followed by a parade along Main Street at 10 AM (A Star Spangled Salute) with a fly-over of military craft and skydivers landing at the launch of the parade route on Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street.
From July 1st-4th the Pier Plaza Festival will feature live entertainment from 2 PM to 9 PM. Pancake enthusiasts can get their syrup on at the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast in Lake Park, 6 AM – 10 AM for $5.
And after a day of running, pancakes, parades and festival entertainment, kick back and stay for the over-the-ocean fireworks display at 9 PM. If you want to snag a free bonfire ring, like most things in life, first come first serve.
4. San Clemente 4th of July Fireworks Show
Enjoy a sizzling fireworks show from San Clemente Pier at 9 PM after a fabulous day on the beach. There will also be game booths and live shows and a truly patriotic touch when four AT-5 World War II trainer planes piloted by the Condor Squadron will be flying down the coast from Huntington Beach and arriving over San Clemente at 6:25 PM. Free admission and the infamous San Clemente trolley will be available all day on the 4th. Independence day Fireworks, 9 PM, San Clemente Pier, 622 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente.
5. Anaheim Hills 4th of July Celebration
A fun family celebration in Anaheim Hills begins with the Anaheim Hills Firecracker 5K/10K Run/Walk at & 7 AM at Canyon High. If you’d rather eat than run, cheer your running pals on at the Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM at the same location. And every dog gets its day at the Yankee Doodle Dog Show at 9:30 AM. The 4th of July Patriotic Parade begins at 1 PM, delicious Independence Day food served from 3 PM. Get entertained from 5 PM – 8:45 PM followed by the granddaddy of entertainment that graces the skies – a fabulous firework display at 9 PM, Peralta Park. For maps and more information, visit Anaheim Hills 4th of July.
6. Newport Beach Independence Day on the Back Bay
Celebrate the 4th on the Back Bay with live music, local gourmet food trucks, full bars and a Fabulous Fireworks Party at the beautiful Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina. Bring the beach chairs and sunblock and get ready for the newly expanded Inflatable Waterpark, kayaks, pedal boats, sailboats, hydro bikes, electric boats, stand up paddleboards and Surrey bikes. If chilling is more your speed, reserve a private beach-side cabana. Live music begins at 2 PM with line dancing.
The Fireworks Extravaganza, hosted by the City of Newport Beach is at 9 PM. Join the Barn Dance after party with extended bar service following the fireworks. Newport Dunes Waterfront, 1131 Back Bay Drive, 8 AM – 11 PM. FREE General Admission includes beach access. VIP tickets are $60 and includes upfront table seating near the stage, waiter service and exclusive VIP bar
7. San Juan Capistrano Community Fair, Music & Fireworks
Hankering for that small town festival feel? With a few thrills thrown in? Try the carnival at San Juan Capistrano Sports Park. Gates open at noon for a celebration of thrill rides, food, vendors and even a beer and wine garden for mom and dad. Free family games for everyone throughout the day, and there will be a Bounce House near the main stage for the kids. Dancing at 6:30 continues until the Spectacular Fireworks light up the sky at 9 PM. Free on-site parking and shuttles. Call (949) 493-5911 for shuttle info. The carnival will also take place Friday July 6 & Saturday, July 7th. San Juan Capistrano Sports Park, 25925 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano, CA
8. Fullerton’s 29th Annual Fourth of July Festival & Fireworks
For families ready for a late afternoon festival, live music and a stunning fireworks display, head over to Fullerton’s Community Festival & Fireworks show held at the Fullerton Union High School Softball Field. The festival runs from 5 PM – 9 PM, followed by fireworks. Free admission, kids rides, face painting, big Kahuna slide, bounce houses, vendors and live music by Deke Dickerson & The Ecofonics. Bring picnic chairs and blankets. Fullerton’s Fourth of July Festival, (on Lemon between Berkeley and Chapman, Fullerton) (714) 738-6545
9. Mission Viejo Annual July 4th Street Faire & Fireworks Spectacular
Good old fashioned festivities begin with the Annual Street Faire and live entertainment at Noon. The Freedom stage will host professional and youth bands crooning patriotic tunes and there will be plenty of rides for the kiddies to enjoy. Food and game booths will entertain families of all ages and admission is FREE, with nominal rates for the games. Shuttle stops are all around Lake Mission Viejo, and operate from 1 PM to 8 PM. Fireworks, 9 PM. Mission Viejo, on Olympiad between Marguerite and Melinda.
10. Irvine 34th Concert on the Green and Fireworks
Enjoy an afternoon of family fun and splendid fireworks hosted by the Irvine Police Association, featuring live music, games, gourmet food trucks and entertainment before the Pyros Spectacular Fireworks show. Live music performance by the Derek Bordeaux Group. Stadium seating available or bring low-backed chairs and blankets for seating on the football field. Irvine High School Stadium, 4321 Walnut Avenue in Irvine. Gates open at 3 PM, Fireworks, 9 PM. $15 for adults, $10 for children and seniors. Family discounted passes available only through July 3rd. (949) 724-0488