Things to do in Orange County

4th of July Events in Orange County

Visit Orange County to celebrate Independence Day like never before. Fireworks, food trucks, and fun await.

There are plenty of things to do in Orange County on a typical day, but the 4th of July is even better. Grab an American flag, throw some hot dogs on the grill, and get ready to belt out The Star-Spangled Banner. Adults and kids show off their patriotic pride and celebrate with delicious food, fireworks, and parades.

If you’re in town on Independence Day, check out at least one of these Orange County 4th of July events. You’ll never forget the excitement of watching the sky light up while you relax with your favorite people. Here are a few of our favorite places to enjoy extravagant fireworks displays.


Visitors flock to Brea when they’re in the mood for flavorful cuisine, world-class shopping, and outdoor recreation. Before you fire up the grill, head to Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Chino Hills. Its nature trail leads directly to the only grove of redwood trees in Orange County.

Brea is also home to Brea Gallery, Chino Hills State Park, and Brea Museum & Historical Society. If you can’t visit during July, try to schedule a trip during late December or early January. Brea has some of the best Christmas lights in Orange County, making it a popular destination for holiday travelers.

1. Brea Country Fair

The Brea Country Fair is an all-day event, making it ideal for families with young children. If you get to City Hall Park early enough, you can fill up on pancakes before you shop for gifts made by local artisans. The fair also features a car show, amusement rides, and patriotic exhibits, but the real highlight is the annual dog parade.


Disneyland is one of Anaheim’s top attractions but is far from the only reason to visit. During the summer, tourists head to Anaheim Bay for some of the best whale watching in the area. Summer is also the perfect time to visit the nearby Knott’s Berry Farm or enjoy a professional baseball game at Angel Stadium.

Anaheim is the site of one of our favorite fireworks shows in Orange County. If you can visit on July 4, leave plenty of time to get to Disneyland before dark.

Photographer: kaleb tapp

2. Disneyland Park

Disneyland truly has something for everyone—Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway for animation enthusiasts, the Haunted Mansion for those who love spooky fun all year long, and Galaxy’s Edge for Star Wars fans. Disneyland's fireworks shows are among the best Fourth of July events in Orange County, and they feature your favorite Disney characters.

Every year, a military band plays patriotic favorites while spectators ooh and ahh over the colorful explosions in the sky. Before the show begins, indulge in a cupcake at Red Rose Taverne or enjoy a sumptuous meal at Café Orleans.

Source: Disneyland Park

Dana Point

If you love marine life, head straight to Dana Point. Whale-watching cruises depart from the harbor daily during the summer months. Even if you don’t spot a whale, there’s a good chance at least one dolphin will smile at you from the surf.

Dana Point also has 28 parks, sports camps, and other recreational opportunities for residents of all ages.

Photographer: Frames For Your Heart

3. 4th of July Cruises

Imagine how much fun it would be to watch fireworks without having to sit in traffic and jockey for the best vantage point. You can make this dream a reality by taking a Dana Wharf 4th of July cruise. Each year, the whale-watching company hosts a fireworks display cruise. After climbing aboard, simply relax and enjoy the show.

If you plan to observe a fireworks display elsewhere, try the Dana Pride Dinner Cruise instead. It takes place on a 95-ft. boat, giving you plenty of room to take in the sights while docked. The menu includes tri-tip beef, macaroni and cheese, and tasty desserts, so there’s no excuse for leaving hungry.

4. Dana Point 4th of July Fireworks Show

Before the sun sets, make your way to Doheny State Beach for the famed Dana Point 4th of July Fireworks Show put on by Garden State Fireworks. It’s such a big draw because officials boast that Dana Point has more fireworks than Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, and San Clemente combined.

If you don’t feel like fighting traffic, we recommend finding an out-of-the-way parking spot and tuning in to KSBR 88.5. The radio station broadcasts the music used during the fireworks show, so you can enjoy the experience without having to park near the performance.

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach played a prominent role in the development of surf culture in the '50s and '60s. If you can’t hang ten, no worries. There are plenty of other things to do before watching the fireworks, such as hanging out at Huntington Beach Pier or shopping on Main Street.

5. Huntington Beach 4th of July Celebrations

Head to Huntington Beach's 4th of July celebrations for some family-friendly fun. Billed as the “largest Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi,” this event attracts more than 500,000 attendees each year. It consists of the Surf City Run, a lively parade, and a stunning fireworks show to close out the day.

Part of the Surf City Run takes place on the Pacific Coast Highway, giving participants stunning views of the surrounding landscape. If you live in the area, you can join the early-morning race for locals. There’s also an open race for anyone interested in running 3.1 mi., plus a 1-mi. fun run just for kids.

Once you cool down from the Surf City Run, it’s time for a parade of classic cars and town celebrities. The parade route stretches across 2.5 mi. of Huntington Beach’s most scenic area. End the day with a bang by watching fireworks explode over the ocean.

Photographer: Brandon Russell

6. Annual 4th of July Weekend Bicycle Cruise

We love to decorate our bikes and set off for the annual Independence Day 4th of July Weekend Bicycle Cruise. The cruise begins at Lake Park, home to horseshoe pits, picnic facilities, and a children’s play area. It’s common to see precious pooches dressed in their Independence Day finest as you pedal along the route.

If you plan to stay in Huntington Beach for a few days, don’t miss out on the other 4th of July events in Orange County. Multiple parades, a block party, and a cornhole tournament are just a few of the exciting activities planned for the end of June and the first week of July.


Irvine has it all, from interesting museums to protected wetlands. Relive your childhood with a visit to Pretend City Children’s Museum, which is chock-full of hands-on activities to keep kids engaged.

If you’re in the mood for grown-up entertainment, head to the nearby Jack & Shanaz Langson Institute & Museum of California Art. Outdoorsy types may enjoy the San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, where mallards, white pelicans, and great blue herons await.

Irvine Spectrum Center is a great place to cool off if the July temperatures are too much to bear. It has shops, restaurants, and multiple entertainment venues—including an IMAX theater and an improv comedy club.

7. Pretend City 4th of July Celebration

The July 4th Celebration at Pretend City Children’s Museum pulls out all the stops. Special exhibits give kids a chance to explore what makes Independence Day so great, from the chemical reactions behind fireworks to the science of creating a rocket.

Since the museum is closed on July 4, the Independence Day event usually takes place a day or two beforehand.

Laguna Niguel

In Laguna Niguel, nature is the name of the game. The city is home to Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and Crown Valley Park.

If your Fourth of July celebration doesn’t start until late in the day, spend the morning hiking, enjoying a lunchtime picnic with your loved ones, or visiting the Orange County Natural History Museum.

8. Laguna Niguel 4th of July Celebrations

Laguna Niguel residents take Independence Day seriously. That’s why the city has seven 4th of July events to keep locals and visitors entertained. Last year, the day began with a 3.1 mile run at Crown Valley Park, followed by a pancake breakfast hosted by the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce.

Visitors filled up on pancakes and sausage before heading to a pool party at the local aquatics center. As evening approached, acrobatic airplanes did a patriotic flyover above the Crown Valley Parkway before a community concert. Finally, everyone gathered for the big event.

We recommend signing up for the Ultimate Viewing Experience if you want the best views. You get to eat snacks while watching fireworks from the deck of the Crown Valley Community Center.

Our shows are jam-packed with daring feats of bravery and acrobatics. Accompanied by mesmerizing music and sound effects, performers tumble, leap, and twirl their way across the stage, creating memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

9. Annual Run in the Parks

Every year, the YMCA sponsors the annual Run in the Parks race. Hundreds of people gather at Laguna Niguel Regional Parks to participate in a 3.1 mile family race. It also offers a 1 milerace for kids, making this one of the most family-friendly 4th of July events in Orange County. As a bonus, your pet can also participate in the race.

10. Annual Independence Day Pancake Breakfast

Fill up before the big race with pancakes, sausage, and your favorite breakfast beverage. Sponsored by the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce, the Independence Day Pancake Breakfast takes place at Crown Valley Park.

La Palma

La Palma is located near the Orange County border, making it a haven for residents who work in Los Angeles during the week and want to let their hair down on weekends. If you have time to kill before your Independence Day event, head to Central Park. It has playgrounds, basketball courts, picnic tables, and outdoor fitness equipment.

You can even start your celebration early by reserving one of the fixed barbecue grills. Burgers, hot dogs, sweet corn, and potato salad taste even better when you’re surrounded by lush greenery.

11. Annual Fitness Run for Fun

The La Palma Fitness Run for Fun is more than a race. It’s a chance for community members to come together and share what they love about La Palma. Register for the 3.1 mile walk, the 3.1 mile. run, or the 6.2 mile run—whichever one matches your current fitness level. If you have kids, sign them up for the Yankee Doodle Dash.

If you don’t feel like competing, head to the pancake breakfast sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. The event ends with an awards ceremony, giving you even more opportunities to connect with other people.

Mission Viejo

As a suburb of Irvine, Mission Viejo is one of the most laid-back cities in Orange County. It’s a great place to spend the 4th of July if you love mountains, family-friendly recreation areas, and easy access to Laguna Beach. It’s also home to the Shops at Mission Viejo, a collection of more than 150 stores.

12. July 4th Street Faire and Fireworks Spectacular

Mission Viejo’s July 4th events feature a Street Faire and Fireworks Spectacular with live entertainment, amusement rides, food trucks, and more. Dance your heart out, try your luck at one of the game booths, or purchase crafts and other items from local vendors. There’s no entry fee, but you need to purchase tickets for games and rides.

13. Rancho Mission Viejo 4th of July Parade

Residents of Rancho Mission Viejo throw a parade every year, making the community even stronger. If you want to participate, decorate your bike or wagon with patriotic embellishments. Think streamers, wreaths, and flags in bold shades of red and blue. You can even dress up your pet and have them walk in the parade with you.

Newport Beach

Newport Beach has some of the trendiest shops in Orange County. The city is home to Balboa Fun Zone, an amusement park with an old-fashioned boardwalk and plenty of rides. Newport Beach also has some of the best Orange County breweries. Enjoy a pint of beer while watching first-time surfers try to stay upright.

14. Annual Old Glory Boat Parade

Sponsored by the American Legion Yacht Club, the Old Glory Boat Parade is one of the most popular Orange County 4th of July events. It starts at Lido Island and winds through the harbor for 2.5 hours, giving residents plenty of time to enjoy the spectacle.

With enough decoration, participants can win awards, so if you're taking part in the parade, don’t be afraid to go all out with the flags and bunting.

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15. 4th of July Is for Families at Newport Beach

It’s no secret the Newport Peninsula has some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in Orange County. To honor the city’s heritage, the Recreation & Senior Services Department holds the Newport Beach 4th of July Is for Families event every year.

Locals and tourists gather for arts and crafts, music, and lawn games. The festivities begin with a bike parade on Balboa Boulevard.

16. Independence Day on the Back Bay

Get up bright and early to enjoy Independence Day on the Back Bay. The day starts with kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating. Once you work up an appetite, chow down on burgers, kettle corn, Cuban sandwiches, and other treats. The event also features live entertainment and a fireworks show.

Explore Orange County's 4th of July Extravaganzas

Orange County has no shortage of things to do on Independence Day, from fireworks displays to patriotic parades. Keep the fun going with tickets to one of our shows.

Our performers dazzle audience members with gravity-defying acrobatics, captivating costumes, and awe-inspiring scenery. Join us for an unforgettable night of pulse-pounding theatrics.

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