Independence Day on the Back Bay

From fireworks shows and parades to barbecue buffets, cruises and more, find the best Orange County Fourth of July events.

Edited by Laura Okey


4th of July Parade & Pier Festival
July 2-4. Enjoy three days of live entertainment, exhibitors, food vendors and family activities at this year’s festival themed “United We Stand.” Enjoy breakfast at Lake Park, cheer on participants in the Surf City 5K run, visit pier plaza for entertainment and much more. End the day with a spectacular fireworks show over the ocean. See website for full schedule of events and locations. Fireworks on Fourth of July only at 9 p.m. Free. Bleacher and VIP seating available $10-$20. Breakfast $5. Huntington Beach Pier, Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street, 325 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, 714.536.5486.


The Queen Mary

July 4. Celebrate Independence Day aboard the majestic Queen Mary with a full day of entertainment, family activities, delicious food, libations, and of course—a fireworks show. The patriotic festival kicks off at 2 p.m. with the sound of the historical Queen Mary horn. Upon entering The Village, you’ll be greeted with a petting zoo, kids’ activities, inflatables and more. Strolling performers will be roaming the ship throughout the evening before you enjoy a 15-minute grand finale fireworks show. 2-10 p.m. $24-$99. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0738.


Independence Day on The Back Bay
July 4. Come down to the Back Bay for the annual Fourth of July celebration at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina. Enjoy a jam-packed day of live music from some of the nation’s top tribute bands, an expanded aquatic fun park, an all-American holiday buffet and a fireworks display to end the evening. The fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m. Gates open at 8 a.m. Entrance fee is $50 per car, street parking available. Beer and wine garden pass (includes premier firework viewing) $40/pp. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 800.765.7661.


SeaLegs at the Beach: Summer of Music
July 4. Revel in the sounds of live music at SeaLegs at the Beach—the one-acre beach club will feature artist Sir Mix-A-Lot this Fourth of July. Indulge on an array of scratch-made menu items including poke nachos and chopped summer salad, along with an assortment of wines and brews. Doors 6 p.m.; show 9:25 p.m. $10. depending on artist. SeaLegs at the Beach, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach.


4th of July Festival in The Backyard
July 4. Bring the whole family for a celebration in The Backyard at Hotel Irvine this 4th of July. The Backyard will offer everything from delicious eats and a variety of libations to music, contests, games with prizes, a kids’ corner and a petting zoo. Indulge in a down-home picnic with items like beef and cheddar sliders, roasted corn, hot smoked brisket, barbecue ribs, coleslaw, watermelon, strawberry shortcake and more. Quench your thirst with juices, brews, smoothies, craft cocktails, choice wines and sodas. Other fun activities include a pie-eating contest, an hourly raffle, lawn games such as foosball and ping-pong championships, and a three-piece band will perform on the patio. Purchase VIP tickets at an additional cost to include complimentary libations (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), valet parking and a personalized tasting glass at check in. All tickets include entrance, food, self-parking and a giveaway gift. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults $40-$65; children ages 5-12 $15. Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, 888.230.4452.
Aqua Lounge
July 1. Let freedom ring and let the cocktails flow. This Fourth of July, celebrate with a red, white and blue party at Aqua Lounge. Sip on patriotic cocktails and spark some fireworks on the dance floor with the beats of DJ Tirade all night long. Patriotic attire encouraged. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $20 cover charge includes one complimentary drink. Island Hotel Newport Beach, Aqua Lounge, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.759.0808.



Fireworks Cruises with Hornblower feature an all-American buffet.

Fireworks Cruises with Hornblower
July 4. Celebrate Fourth of July on the water in Newport Beach. Choose from the Old Glory Boat Parade brunch with free-flowing champagne, a lavish brunch buffet and live entertainment; or a fireworks dinner cruise aboard Wild Goose complete with live entertainment, libations and an all-American buffet. See website for departure times. Fireworks Dinner Cruise $104.95, Old Glory Boat Parade brunch $68.95. Hornblower Cruises & Events, 2431 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, 949.650.2412.



The Fifth
July 4. Head to Anaheim’s only rooftop restaurant and bar to celebrate the Fourth of July with barbecue, libations, live music and the best view of Disney’s fireworks. 4-11 p.m. $15. Admission excludes food and beverage. The Fifth Rooftop Lounge, Grand Legacy at the Park, 1650 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, 818.566.1111.



All-American BBQ Buffet
July 4. Join Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa for firework viewing, live entertainment and barbecue complete with an ocean view. Enjoy an array of salads, specialty items from the grill, the mac ‘n’ cheese station and delicious desserts. Take in breathtaking views from the lawn or the patio—you will have the best seat in town for the Dana Point Harbor fireworks show. 5-8:30 p.m. Fireworks show 9 p.m. Adults $99, Children 6-12 $40. Price includes tax, gratuity and valet. Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point, 949.487.7516.



Dinner and Fireworks Cruise with Dana Wharf Sportfishing

July 4. Board the Dana Pride dinner cruise for top fireworks viewing and a scrumptious barbecue buffet dinner feast. Choose from items like hand carved smoked tri tip, boneless chicken breast, macaroni and cheese and more. The Curlew Sailboat Fireworks Cruise is a more romantic and adventurous sailing trip on the schooner Curlew. Once anchored off shore, sit back and enjoy the Dana Point fireworks show with complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres. 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.5794.



Fourth of July Yacht Party
July 4. Make the most of your Independence Day by hopping on board a three-hour luxury yacht cruise through Newport Harbor. Indulge on classic American cuisine while sipping summertime cocktails and enjoying the best seat in town for the fireworks show. A live DJ will keep the night going and the dance floor full. Tickets include four cocktails and unlimited finger foods. Daytime cruise available, no fireworks. 21 and over. Boarding 6:30 p.m; cruise 7-10 p.m. $74. Royal Princess Yacht, 2901 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, 714.485.6543.



Life Time Athletic Laguna Niguel
July 4. Ditch the grill and take a dip this Independence Day at Life Time Laguna Niguel’s Fourth of July bash. The poolside party will feature live music, barbecue and family-friendly activities such as a bounce house. Along with hamburgers and hotdogs, a selection of health-conscious appetizers, salads and sandwiches will also be available for purchase from the poolside menu. Members free; non-members $30. Food priced separately. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 25600 Rancho Niguel Road, Laguna Beach, 949.238.2719.


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