As the nation's first state, cities and towns in Delaware are more than experienced at planning fun, family-friendly Independence Day activities.

Independence Day: The federal holiday in the United States that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when a budding nation of 13 colonies declared its independence from Great Britain. Now celebrated and associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, beach trips, concerts, family reunions and concerts.

Delaware, one of the original revolters, celebrates up and down the state with activities the whole family can appreciate and participate in.

And, as the state’s capitol city, Dover plans a day with plenty of patriotism for the whole family.

A few highlights:

1 Beat the heat with a film

The Old State House Museum will offer the feature film, “Thunder and Rain,” based on Caesar Rodney’s historical 80-mile horse ride from Delaware to Philadelphia to break the tie in Congress. The film can be viewed at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

2 Parade of Patriotism

The Walter L. Fox American Legion will once again lead the parade that begins at the corner of State Street and Hazel Road and ends just past The Green. Like last year, the parade will start at 6 p.m., leading people in for the evening’s fireworks and events on Legislative Mall.

3 History-free fun, too

For the kiddos, stop by Legislative Mall and let your little munchkins tromp through moonbounces, an inflatable obstacle course, pony rides and train rides. There will be food and craft vendors, too, for a cool drink, a quick nibble or a handmade souvenir.

4 Patriotic tunes courtesy of some real patriots

At 8 p.m., following the 287th Army Band from the Delaware National Guard will treat spectators to a live concert at Legislative Mall. Expect to hear a lot of easily recognizable tunes, from the patriotic to the downright melodic.

4 Some active patriots get involved

At 7:45 p.m., opening ceremonies begin for the night’s festivities. The Air Force will do a flyover, followed by the presentation of colors and the national anthem. Then, at 8 p.m., the Army Band from the Delaware National Guard will treat spectators to a live concert of Tchaikovsky’s “Overture 1812” with cannons at Legislative Mall.

5 The dramatic conclusion

Finally, at 9:20, everyone’s favorite part takes place above Legislative Hall: the fireworks display. The skyline of downtown Dover lights up under the pop and crackle of exploding firecrackers in a display that can be seen all over town.

Heading out of town for the holiday?

As a state on the eastern seaboard with 28-miles of coastline, it’s no small wonder that Delaware beaches have honed their celebratory skills with some major July 4 festivities.

Lewes — The city of Lewes will once again host a day of old-fashioned children's games on Second Street. Following the games, at approximately 2 p.m., the Lewes Independence Day Boat Parade will begin winding its way down the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. Participating vessels must be registered by 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 4. Registration forms are available at the Lewes Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in the Fisher Martin House in Zwaaendael Park at Pilottown Marina and the Lewes Harbour Marina Bait and Tackle Shop. 

Late, unregistered entries are will still be able to participate. However, prizes are only available to registered boats.

For more information about parade registration and holiday events, visit

Rehoboth Beach —The shores and boardwalk of Rehoboth regularly draws in crowds of more than 50,000 people for a fireworks display visible up and down the coast. The pop and crackle of explosive firecrackers will start about 9:15 p.m.

Rehoboth Beach Main Street recommends making a day of it and getting down there early to avoid as much of the traffic congestion as possible.

Plenty of parking will be available as well as transportation services. For more information, visit

Bethany Beach — Festivities actually begin on Sunday, July 1 with the fourth annual Firecrackers 5K Run, which actually supports the town’s parade.

On Wednesday, July 4, the parade will kick off at noon with the “Star Spangled Banner” at the reviewing stand. The day is chock full of old-fashioned family fun with a horseshoe throwing contest for both professionals and amateurs as well as a blueberry pie-eating contest for all ages.

Awards will be given out at 7:15 p.m. followed by a concert by the Milford Community Band, which will entertain the crowds until dusk, when the fireworks start. For more information, visit