By Erika Owen
April 25, 2016
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Planning your Fourth of July celebration can be overwhelming—there are so many amazing events to take advantage of (fireworks dinner cruise, anyone?). To add even more choices to your list, we found the most festive Independence Day parades around the country. From the world's shortest parade to blow-outs featuring hundreds of floats, these parades will ensure a very, very festive July 4.

Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Rhode Island

The first Fourth of July parade in Bristol took place in 1785, making this one of the oldest Independence Day celebrations in the country. You won't see many of the same original attractions (soap box racing, something called "firefighters' muster"), but you can expect to see a U.S. Navy ship (they have one present at every celebration), drum and bugle corps, and hundreds of thousands of people.

Breckenridge Independence Day Parade in Colorado

Anyone and everyone is welcome to Breckenridge's Independence Day parade, which kicks off a larger day full of festivities. Visitors get to check off all the July 4 requisites: an arts festival, a bike race, live music, and a performance by the National Repertory Orchestra. It all culminates with a fireworks display, which starts at 9:45 p.m.

Travis Fourth of July Parade in Staten Island

New York City has plenty of festivities for the Fouth, but parades are surprisingly hard to come by. If you're looking for a float fix without traveling too far out of the city, look to Staten Island, where the Travis Fourth of July Parade offers taste of small(ish) town spirit. 

National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C.

D.C.'s National Independence Day Parade is worthy of any bucket list. Bands are hand-picked for the event, meaning the tunes are not to be missed. Plus, after the parade, it's that much easier to take a tour of some of our nation's most important monuments.

World's Shortest Parade in Aptos, California

Just east of Santa Cruz, you'll find the world's shortest Fourth of July parade. It may only last two city blocks—just over half a mile—but the entire thing has been known to last over two hours. Talk about pageantry.

July 4th Celebration of Freedom and Independence Day Parade in Philadelphia

This parade features over 5,000 marchers and dozens of floats winding through Philly's most historic streets and landmarks. Parade attendees and marchers can keep the festivities going post-procession at the city's beloved Party on the Parkway.

Arlington 4th of July Parade inTexas

Arlington hosts one of the largest annual Fourth of July parades, bringing people in from near and far. Pro tip: the parade website has a great timeline breaking down all of the influential parade Grand Marshalls and milestones.

Old World Wisconsin Fourth of July Parade

Old World Wisconsin has long been a family destination for those looking to get a taste of what life was like in America's past. Its Fourth of July festivities do not disappoint—expect an "old-fashioned parade," ice cream making, history lessons, and period-specific sports and games.

Park Hill 4th of July Parade in Denver

If you're looking for a small-town vibe in a big city, head to the Park Hill neighborhood in Denver. The community Fourth of July parade kicks off in the afternoon and winds through one of Denver's oldest (and most historic) neighborhoods. It all ends at a street fair offering the world in food, games, and activities for families.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.