Santa Cruz 4th of July Events (2018 Edition)

Santa Cruz 4th of July

4th 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.

It could even mean watching fireworks from an evening boat cruise or kayak on the bay.

4th of July events in Santa Cruz County include family friendly old-fashioned celebrations at Wilder Ranch and Roaring Camp, two official fireworks shows, 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: 12:00 pm
Downtown Watsonville, on Main St.

More Information.

Fire in the Sky: Open House & Fireworks

watsonville fireworks 2017

Watsonville Municipal Airport will host its annual “Fire in the Sky” Open House, complete with flyovers, a skydive exhibition, food trucks, live music, bounce house, and (drumroll)…FIREWORKS!!

Gates open @ 5:00 PM
Watsonville Airport

More Information.

Old-Fashioned Independence Day at Wilder Ranch State Park

Wilder Ranch horses

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.

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

More Information.

Boulder Creek Fourth 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 and medical supplies.

7:00 am – 12: pm
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 @ Junction Park

Follow up the parade with a fun afternoon of BBQ, music, beer and wine, while the kids try their luck panning for gold.

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 – 9:00 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

More Information.

Scotts Valley Fourth of July Celebration (Fireworks!)

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

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Fireworks are illegal in unincorporated Santa Cruz County. Fines for use of illegal fireworks could cost you up to $1,000.  Best to just be smart and respectful this (and every) 4th, don’t you think?

Santa Cruz Firecracker 10k

santa cruz firecracker 10k mapIf 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.

7:00 am – Registration opens
8:00 am – Kid’s 1K run/walk
8:30 am – Firecracker 10K run
8:40 am – Firecracker 5K run
Harvey West Park

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

More Information.

4th of July Cruises

Stagnaro 4th of July Cruise

This three hour cruise on the bay offers a chance to celebrate in style.Location: Near Mariner Park Way & Atlantic Ave (West Santa Cruz Harbor)

Adult approx $50, Child 4-13 approx $35, Infant 3 & Under FREE  

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: $63, Kids: $30.50

Purchase tickets here (click on the calendar and navigate to July 4th).

Additional 4th of July Events

About Ethan Oates

Ethan Oates fell in love with Santa Cruz while visiting as a child. He has lived in Santa Cruz since the mid '90's, and is happiest when spending time with his family.