Bring on the pancake breakfasts, parades, old-fashioned celebrations, and of course, fireworks.
Celebrate Independence Day Santa Cruz style!
See our picks for the top 4th of July events in Santa Cruz County and enjoy a safe holiday.
Fire in the Sky: Open House & Fireworks
Where: Watsonville Municipal Airport
When: 7/3 Gates open at 6:30 pm
NOTE: This event takes place on Wednesday, July 3. 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!
4th of July Family Fun Events at Roaring Camp
Where: Roaring Camp Railroads
When: Train departures at 11:00 am, 12:30 & 2:00 pm
Cost: $23 – $32
Roaring Camp Railroads offers a fun-filled family atmosphere on the 4th with games, live music, delicious barbecue, and everyone’s favorite steam powered train rides. Be sure to hold on to your valuables as you step back in time to a Wild West train robbery and exciting showdown.
Spirit of Watsonville Fourth of July Parade
Video by Elise Destout
Where: Downtown Watsonville, on Main St. from St. Patrick’s Church to First Street
When: 12:00 pm
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.
Old-Fashioned Independence Day at Wilder Ranch State Park
Where: Wilder Ranch State Park
When: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Cost: Free (Parking is $10/car)
Travel back in time to the turn of the century with Wilder Ranch’s Old-Fashioned Independence Day. There will be a family parade at noon, followed by games, crafts, live big-band music, historic demonstrations and a flag raising.
Boulder Creek Fourth of July Parade (+ pancake breakfast & BBQ)
Photo by Boulder Creek Insider
Fuel up for Boulder Creek’s classic 4th of July Parade with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Boulder Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Follow up the parade with a fun afternoon of BBQ, live music, food trucks, beer and wine, swimming, and arts and crafts booths.
Where: Boulder Creek Volunteer Fire Department
When: 7:00 am – 12:00 pm
Cost: $10 adults, $5 kids 3 – 7, Kids 2 and under are free
Boulder Creek 4th of July Parade
Where: Downtown Boulder Creek – Hwy 9, between Scarborough Lumber and Railroad Ave.
When: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
BBQ @ Junction Park
Where: Junction Park
When: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
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.
Where: burger. parking lot (7941 Soquel Drive)
When: 7:30 am – 10:00 am
Where: Soquel Drive between State Park Drive and Trout Gulch
When: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Party in the Park
Where: Aptos Village Park
When: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Scotts Valley Fourth of July Celebration (Fireworks!)
Where/When: Parade at 3:00 pm, on Scotts Valley Dr.; Festivities at Skypark start at 4:00 pm (Gates open at 3:00 pm); Fireworks Show: 9:15 pm
Cost: $6 in advance, $8 day of event, Kids 4 and under are free
Scotts Valley doesn’t mess around when it comes to the 4th of July. The festivities start with a free parade in the afternoon, followed by food, music and games at Skypark. The evening concludes with the county’s only official 4th of July fireworks show, starting at 9:15.
Santa Cruz Firecracker Run 10K, 5K, Kid’s 1K
Where: Harvey West Park
When: 7/4 Check in & registration starts 6:30 am; Races start at 8:00, 8:30, and 8:40 am
If you want to celebrate Independence Day by burning some calories then you’ll love the Santa Cruz Firecracker 10k. There’s also a 5k, and even an itty-bitty 1k for the kiddos.
Free Community Swim at Simpkins
Where: Simpkins Family Swim Center
When: 7/4 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
This is a super popular, first come, first served community event. Free swim days at Simpkins include the water slide, climbing wall, floating on inner tubes, warm water pool, 50-meter pool, and more. Hopefully the fog burns off by noon for a fun in the sun swim day!
Pleasure Point 4th of July Parade
Where: 1st Peak Park to the Hook
When: 7/4 at 12:00 pm
Celebrate Independence Day and the freedom to do what you want in the “World’s Shortest Surf Parade”. Dress up the kids, pets, bikes, and cars. Bring an instrument or the whole band…anything goes! Meet up with friends, picnic along the sea, and enjoy the Pleasure Point community spirit.
Fourth of Brew-ly
Where: Shanty Shack Brewing
When: 7/4 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Cost: $4 entry fee
Shanty Shack and Brew Cruz are teaming up for a Fourth of Brew-ly parking lot party! Come celebrate Independence Day and Brew Cruz’s 5th anniversary with a backyard BBQ menu, games, photo booth, live music, and refreshing Shanty Shandies. Kid and dog friendly!
Fourth of July Santa Maria Style BBQ
Where: Chaminade Resort & Spa
When: 7/4 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Cost: $30 Adult / $18 6-12 year-olds / $9 3-5 year-olds / Under 3 year-olds FREE (Tax and gratuity additional); Save 20% off the dinner price when you purchase in ADVANCE online by 7/3/19 3pm.
Chaminade kicks off 4th of July weekend with a Santa Maria style BBQ. Enjoy panoramic views overlooking the Monterey Bay, happy hour specials, and more.