Jul 2, 2023 - Things to Do

Four small towns outside D.C. to celebrate the Fourth of July

Old Town Manassas July 4th pies.

Old Town Manassas July 4th. Photo: Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Want to avoid D.C. crowds this Fourth of July? Head to one of these small towns for fireworks and other festivities.

Shepherdstown, West Virginia: One of the oldest towns in West Virginia, about a 1.5-hour drive from D.C., is among its most charming (and haunted!). On July 4th, locals get in the spirit with an 11am parade followed by a picnic with family activities and live music.

Sperryville, Virginia: Rappahannock County's annual July 4th celebration, held at 1800s Ben Venue Farm, offers a glimpse of history alongside celebrations that include live bluegrass, antique tractor displays, activities for kids, food, and fireworks.

  • Tickets ($30 per vehicle) benefit the volunteer fire department.

Annapolis, Maryland: The capital city about an hour from D.C. isn't tiny, but there's plenty of small-town, historic charm — especially around July 4th with multiple days of festivities planned, including an arts festival, parade, and fireworks over Annapolis Harbor.

Downtown Manassas, Virginia: The historic city center offers one of the best fireworks displays in Northern Virginia, and throws a family-friendly party starting at 3pm with rides and face painting for kids, street vendors, and live music.

  • There's also a ticketed rooftop viewing party nearby ($50 for adults, $25 for kids 10 and under).
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