Santa Cruz 4th of July Events 2016

santa cruz surf statue 4th of july4th of July in Santa Cruz.

For some it means pancake breakfasts, parades and parties in the park.

For others it means backyard barbecue in the afternoon and fireworks at night.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Independence Day in Santa Cruz County.

4th of July events in Santa Cruz County include family friendly old-fashioned celebrations at Wilder Ranch and Roaring Camp, the county’s only official fireworks show in Scotts Valley, and parades spanning from Watsonville to San Lorenzo Valley.



4th of July Family Fun Events at Roaring Camp

Roaring Camp offers a fun family atmosphere on the 4th with games, live music, delicious barbecue, and everyone’s favorite steam powered train rides.

Roaring Camp
5401 Graham Hill Rd. Felton
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

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Spirit of Watsonville Fourth of July Parade

Video by Elise Destout

The Spirit of Watsonville Fourth of July Parade, in downtown Watsonville, features car clubs, fire engines, tractors, antique cars, local non-profit groups, horses, and the Watsonville Band. 

Parade: 2:00 pm
Downtown Watsonville, on Main St.

More Information.

Old-Fashioned Independence Day at Wilder Ranch

Travel back in time to the turn of the century with Wilder Ranch’s Old-Fashioned Independence Day.
There will be a parade at noon, followed by games, crafts, live big-band music, historic demonstrations and a flag raising.  Admission is free, but parking is $10 per car.

11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Wildre Ranch State Park, 1401 Coast Road, Santa Cruz
Cost: Free (Parking is $10/car)

More Information.

wilder ranch 4th of July parade
Wilder Ranch horses
wilder ranch 4th of july kids

Boulder Creek 4th of July Parade

(+Pancake Breakfast & BBQ)

Boulder Creek 4th of July Parade

Photo by Boulder Creek Insider

Pancake Breakfast

The Boulder Creek Volunteer Fire Department hosts their annual pancake breakfast in the morning before the parade. Proceeds go towards new rescue equipment.

Boulder Creek Volunteer Fire Department
13230 Central Ave, Boulder Creek

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Boulder Creek 4th of July Parade

This classic Fourth of July parade, set in downtown Boulder Creek, attracts upwards of 10,000 attendees each year.  It’s also the local parade where you’re most likely to see a motorcycle drive over a car.

Parade: 10:00 am
Downtown Boulder Creek
Hwy 9, between Scarborough Lumber and Railroad Ave.

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BBQ & Gold Mining at Junction Park

Follow up the parade with a fun afternoon of BBQ, music, beer and wine.  Kids will enjoy a bounce house and can mine for gold for only $5.

Junction Park
12:00 – 5:00 pm

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Aptos 4th of July Festivities

(Including the World’s Shortest Parade)

Aptos’ 4th of July parade clocks in at an underwhelming 0.6 miles, but don’t let its brevity fool you.  This is a fun community parade that draws huge crowds each year.  Enjoy a pancake breakfast in the morning before the parade, and stick around for the Party in the Park, starting at noon in the Aptos Village Park.

Pancake Breakfast

7:00 am – 10:00 am burger. parking lot (7941 Soquel Drive)


10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Soquel Drive between State Park Drive and Trout Gulch

Party in the Park

12:00 pm -4:00 pm
Aptos Village Park

Click here for more information about the World's Shortest Parade.


Scotts Valley Fourth of July Celebration (Fireworks!)

scotts valley 4th of july fireworkds

Scotts Valley doesn’t mess around when it comes to the 4th of July.  The festivities start with a parade in the afternoon, followed by food, music and games at Skypark Park at 4:00. The evening concludes with the county’s only official fireworks show, starting at 9:15.

Parade: 3:00 pm, on Scotts Valley Dr.
Food, Music & Games at Skypark start at 4:00 pm
Fireworks Show: 9:15 pm
Cost: $6 in advance, $8 day of event, Kids 4 and under are free

More Information.

Fireworks photo by AngMoKio

Triple Fines

Fines will be tripled from 12:01 am on July 3rd through 11:59 on July 5th.  Fines for use of illegal fireworks, littering, or public consumption of alcohol could cost you up to $1,500.  Best to just be smart and respectful this (and every) 4th, don’t you think?

4th of July Cruises

Stagnaro 4th of July Cruise

This two hour cruise on the bay offers a chance to celebrate in style.  The boat is equipped with complimentary (along with a cash bar).

Location: Near Mariner Park Way & Atlantic Ave (West Santa Cruz Harbor) 

More Information.

Chardonnay II 4th of July Charters

Take to the bay on the Chardonnay II this 4th. Charters run throughout the day with various themes, including a Brunch charter, Pizza charters and a Sunset charter.

Location: Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, 790 Mariner Park Way.Cost: Adults: $60, Kids: $30.50

More Information.

Santa Cruz Firecracker 10K

If you want to celebrate Independence Day by burning some calories then you’ll love the Santa Cruz Firecracker 10k.  There’s a 10k, 5k, and even a itty-bitty 1k for the kiddos.

8:00 am – Kid’s 1K run/walk
8:30 am – Firecracker 10K run
8:40 am – Firecracker 5K run

Cost: $20-$25 for Kids, $40-$50 for adults

More Information.

santa cruz firecracker 10k map

Save Our Shores Star-Spangled Beach Cleanup

4th of July Pollution Prevention

Last 4th of July volunteers handed out over 1,700 trash and recycling bags to help keep our local beaches clean.  Join Save Our Shores this 4th of July to help prevent pollution at the following beaches:

  • Cowell and Main Beach
  • Seabright State Beach
  • Twin Lakes State Beach
  • Seacliff State Beach
  • Del Monte Beach
  • North Coast (a few sites)

July 5 Star-Spangled Beach Cleanup

Last year, on the 5th, 182 volunteers joined Save Our Shores to pick up over 2,000 pounds of pollution from local beaches. Join Save Our Shores from 9-11 a.m. at the following beaches in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties:

  • Davenport Main Beach
  • Cowell and Main Beach
  • Seabright State Beach
  • Twin Lakes State Beach
  • Sunny Cove Beach
  • Moran Lake Beach
  • Seacliff State Beach
  • Hidden Beach
  • Del Monte Beach
save our shores
save our shores 4th of july cleanup

Find out more, and learn how you can get involved at the Save Our Shores website.

Additional 4th of July Events

Below are a few additional 4th of July events in Santa Cruz County.  Did we miss any events?  Drop us a line here and we’ll add your event to this post.  Happy 4th!

Need a Place to Crash?

Coming from out of town? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Santa Cruz hotels to find the perfect place to stay for your 4th of July visit:

The Ultimate Guide to Santa Cruz Hotels
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