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The 4th of July Holiday Guide

Fireworks in front of American Flag

From fireworks to fairs: 10 amazing ways to experience Independence Day fun for everyone on July 4th in Orange County, CA. (Updated for 2022)

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 State Beach, 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 July 4th fireworks show starts at 9:00 PM. The fireworks are launched from a barge on the water, located off the beach. While locals are encouraged to bike or walk to avoid the Traffic Extravaganza, you can still avoid traffic jams via the free Dana Point Trolley which operates from 10 AM – 8:30 PM on July fourth. 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629. (949) 248-2536

2. Watch Dana Point’s July 4th Fireworks on the Water

If you believe a spectacular show can and should be viewed from a spectacular setting, reserve a seat on Captain Dave’s comfy, uncrowded vessels to get a glorious view of Dana Point’s July 4th fireworks display off Dana Point Harbor. Admission includes one of Mrs. Capt. Dave’s yummy Triple Fudge Brownies.

Private boat charters to view the fireworks are also available.

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 boats depart promptly at 8:00 PM.

Book your tickets to watch Dana Point’s July 4th fireworks now! 2 hours, 8 PM – 10 PM.  24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA, 92629. (949) 488-2828.

3. 118th Huntington Beach 4th of July

Huntington Beach kicks off it’s dazzling day of Independence Splendor with a Surf City Run 5K at 7 AM for residents, followed by a 2-hour parade along Main Street at 10 AM featuring floats, marching bands, and celebrities. The best views of the parade are on Pacific Coast Hwy.

From July 1st through 4th the Pier Plaza Festival will feature live entertainment, food, and fun for the whole family from 10 AM to 9 PM.

And after a day of running, parades, and festival entertainment, kick back and stay for the over-the-ocean fireworks display from the Huntington Beach Pier at 9 PM. If you want to snag a free bonfire ring, like most things in life, first come first serve. Tickets for reserved pier seating can also be purchased.

July 4th Fireworks over Huntington Beach Pier

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. Free admission and the free San Clemente trolley will be available from 11 AM to 11 PM on the 4th. Independence day Fireworks, 9 PM, San Clemente Pier, 622 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente.

Watch July 4th Fireworks at the San Clemente Pier

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 Santa Ana Canyon Road.

If you’d rather eat than run, cheer your running pals on at the Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 AM at Canyon High School Field. Tickets are $10 each and get you delicious pancakes, sausage and orange juice.

And every dog gets its day at the Yankee Doodle Dog Show at 9 AM.

The 4th of July Patriotic Parade begins at 1 PM, delicious Independence Day food served from 3 PM.

Get entertained with music from 3 PM – 8:45 PM at Peralta Park, followed by the granddaddy of entertainment that graces the skies – a fabulous firework display at 9 PM, at the same location. For maps and more information, visit Anaheim Hills 4th of July.

6. Newport Beach Independence Day on the Back Bay

Celebrate the 4th of July on the Back Bay with food and drinks, activities, watersports, movies on the beach and more. Bring the beach chairs and sunblock and get ready for the Inflatable Waterpark with kayaks, pedal boats, stand-up paddleboards and more. If chilling is more your speed, reserve a private beach-side cabana.

The Fireworks Extravaganza, hosted by the City of Newport Beach, is at 9 PM. Newport Dunes Waterfront, 1131 Back Bay Drive. FREE general admission includes beach access.

7. San Juan Capistrano Community Fair, Music & Fireworks

Hankering for that small town festival feel? With a few thrills thrown in? Try the Independence Day celebration and carnival at San Juan Capistrano Sports Park. 2022 details are still pending. Gates usually open at noon for a celebration of thrill rides, food, vendors and more. Free family games for everyone throughout the day. 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 Saturday, July 2nd and Sunday, July 3rd. San Juan Capistrano Sports Park, 25925 Camino Del Avion, San Juan Capistrano, CA.

8. Fullerton’s Annual Fourth of July Festival & Fireworks

According to the City of Fullerton, the 2022 4th of July fireworks show is canceled. Hopefully in 2023 families ready for a late afternoon festival, live music and a stunning fireworks display will be able to head over to Fullerton’s Community Festival & Fireworks show held at the Fullerton Union High School Softball Field.

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. Fireworks start at 9 PM. Shuttle stops are all around Lake Mission Viejo, and operate from 1 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by the Mission Viejo Activities Committee, Mission Viejo, on Olympiad between Marguerite and Melinda.

10. Irvine Annual Concert on the Green and Fireworks

This event is canceled in 2022 and hopes to return in 2023. Details to be determined. 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. 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.

Gift an unforgettable dolphin and whale watching experience! With year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and more, any time is a great time for your recipient to enjoy their gift.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods…” – Dr. Thomas Gilovich