America’s 50th state has no shortage of unique and exciting ways to celebrate July 4th with aloha. Run a 5-k that benefits veterans on the Big Island, or check out a family-friendly Fourth of July festival on Kauai. Of course, there’s always the traditional Independence Day pursuits of viewing a spectacular display of fireworks, available no matter which of the major islands you’re on. Book a cocktail or dinner cruise to experience the fireworks by boat on Maui, or hit up the biggest fireworks show in the state at Ala Moana Beach on Oahu. Still not sure what to do? We’ve rounded up the 10 best ways to spend this patriotic holiday in Hawaii.
The east side of Oahu has been celebrating Fourth of July with a fireworks show in Kailua for over 65 years, all thanks to sponsorship from the town’s businesses and residents. Local skydivers put on a stunning skydiving show over the bay before the fireworks begin, and the event offers complimentary shuttles from different spots throughout Kailua to help get you to the event location at Kailua Beach.
When it comes to the 4th, Oahu is the place to be for the widest variety of fireworks. The display at Ala Moana Beach is the most popular on the island—it’s the largest fireworks show in the entire state. Not only that, but it is frequently rated as one of the best Fourth of July shows in the country. Honolulu radio station KSSK-FM broadcasts a synchronized soundtrack to accompany the show as well. Throughout the holiday weekend, Ala Moana Center provides live entertainment inside the mall from local musicians and performers to celebrate.
On the opposite side of Oahu, the famous Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku will be having a celebration of its own. There will be food booths and live music at the family-friendly event, along with an evening performance later on at the on-site Surfer, The Bar for those who are 21 and older followed by a fireworks show at 9 p.m.
Starting on the morning of the 4th, downtown Lahaina hosts a block party complete with performers, vendors, family-friendly activities and live music. Head to Front Street to take advantage of restaurants like Kimo’s and Lahaina Fish Co for front-row seats to the 8 p.m. fireworks show set off from an offshore barge (and the only public fireworks display on Maui). To get a truly special experience, book a spot on one of the cruises setting sail from the harbor to view the fireworks from the sea.
If you want a place to celebrate the holiday all day long on Kauai, head to Kekaha. Fourth of July festivities on the island’s west side start at 10 a.m. with activities, crafts, and games for the family and well as cultural demonstrations and exhibits. The fireworks show is synced with live music honoring Hawaii’s military men and women.
Lihue Fireworks (Kauai)
Put on by Kauai Hospice, this display is the largest fireworks show on the island. The afternoon will begin at 4 p.m. with games, music, and food at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue, and end with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. The best part? All of the purchases go toward a good cause!
Independence Day Parade & Fireworks Extravaganza (Big Island)
The annual parade begins at 6 p.m. on Kuakini Highway and proceeds down Ali’ Drive to Walua Road. Organized by the Rotary Club of Kona and completely run off volunteers, the parade will feature music, colorful floats and participating members of the armed services. At 8 p.m., the fireworks will display over Kailua Bay.
On the Hilo side of Hawaii’s Big Island, Fourth of July presents an opportunity to get your morning workout in while contributing to a good cause. Proceeds from the "Salute to Our Veterans" Hilo Bay 5k goes towards helping military veterans on the Big Island. The race starts at 7 a.m. at the Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo, and a registration fee of $25 includes a T-shirt, bag and a chance to win prizes during the event.
Festivities in Waikoloa Village begin at 10:30 a.m. with an opening chant and hula kahiko at Kings’ Shops (make sure to check out the Rubber Duckie Race at 3 p.m.) and activities like face painting, balloon sculpting, games, and live entertainment just across the street at Queen’s Marketplace. The day tops off with an 8 p.m. fireworks show at the neighboring sports complex, Waikoloa Bowl.
Turtle Independence Day Celebration (Big Island)
It’s no secret that Hawaii is crazy about our honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles). Before the Big Island even begins to break out the fireworks, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel celebrates its annual Fourth of July tradition of releasing the adult honu from their protected saltwater ponds into the sea. Watch the release, enjoy good food and experience educational displays from 10:30 a.m. to noon.