10 Fun Fourth of July Family Traditions to Embrace

At Thanksgiving, families eat turkey. At Easter, families hunt eggs. What are the Fourth of July family traditions and why do they matter?

According to Very Well Family, “Traditions can provide families with a sense of identity and belonging. They can inspire positive feelings and memories upon which family members can reminisce. Family traditions also provide a sense of continuity across generations. In other words, they are a way of transferring the family’s values, history, and culture from one generation to the next.”¹ 

The Fourth of July holiday comes with its own set of traditions, but sometimes life gets busy, and traditions are either never created or are forgotten.

Use this list of 10 fun and patriotic Fourth of July family traditions and enjoy new ways to celebrate with your loved ones.

#1 Watch a Fireworks Display

Fourth of July family traditions

During the first Independence Day celebration in 1776, concerts and cannons were fired.  Today, we continue that tradition watching fireworks light up the sky as the Star-Spangled Banner is played in the background.

So grab the kiddos and take them to your city’s display or host your own firework show in the neighborhood.  

#2 Host a Backyard Cookout

Fourth of July family traditions

The Fourth of July menu tends to consist of hot dogs, hamburgers, and the not-so healthy sides. 

In fact, USA Today claims, “On the Fourth of July alone, 150 million dogs get consumed – enough to stretch between L.A. and Washington, D.C., more than five times.”² 

Whether you host family and friends or enjoy a neighborhood backyard cookout, this is one of the quintessential Fourth of July family traditions.

#3 See Who Is the Fastest Eater

Fourth of July family traditions

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has taken place on Coney Island on the Fourth of July since 1972.³ 

Today, this is a sanctioned event by Major League Eating and is televised, so your family can enjoy the event from home.

Or, consider making an eating contest one of your Fourth of July family traditions. Choose a food group you all love (pies, hot wings, etc.) and get to eating!

#4 Head to a Parade

Fourth of July family traditions

Most cities across the United States of America typically host parades on the Fourth of July. However, some cities have canceled their 2021 parades due to the pandemic.

If your community doesn’t have one, there are other ways to enjoy an Independence Day parade.

Head to a nearby city. Watch a parade on TV.

Or make your own fun. Get the whole family involved and host a neighborhood bicycle or golf cart parade complete with decorations.

#5 Play Yard Games

Fourth of July family traditions

A fun Fourth of July family tradition is playing yard games together. This is the perfect day to bring out the cornhole set or play a game of kickball.

If you are hosting a backyard cookout with others, consider playing a variety of field-day-type games, such as having sack races, tug of war, or egg tosses.

#6 Cook and Eat Patriotic Dishes

Fourth of July family traditions

Unlike other American holidays, there aren’t many dishes associated with the Fourth of July.

That’s good news because it means you can make your own Fourth of July family traditions about what you eat.

Get the kids involved and bake a Fourth of July cake, which is a simple white cake decorated with white icing, blueberries, and strawberries to look like an American flag.

Here’s a simple recipe for the cake from All Recipes⁴:


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed and drained 
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced


  1. Prepare cake according to package directions and bake in a 9×13 inch pan. Cool completely.
  2. Frost cake with whipped topping. 
  3. Place blueberries in a square in the corner, and arrange sliced strawberries as stripes to make an American flag. 
  4. Chill until serving.

#7 Wear Red, White, and Blue

Fourth of July family traditions

The Fourth of July is a great opportunity to dress with American pride. An easy tradition for families to embrace is wearing red, white, and blue. 

Plus, coordinating outfits make for great family photos. 

Just remember, the federal flag code says that “The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”⁵  

So, it is more respectful to stick to the colors red, white, and blue rather than adorning yourself in the American flag.

#8 Hang the American Flag

Fourth of July family traditions

It is common to show your pride in our nation by hanging an American flag on the Fourth of July.

If you have children at home, this is a wonderful learning opportunity.

Spend time on the Fourth of July to teach flag etiquette, such as how to handle, fold, and display the American flag. And explain why flag etiquette matters.

In addition, use this time to talk to your kids about the history of Independence Day and the Declaration of Independence.

[Related Read: 10 Unusual Facts about the 4th of July]

#9 Find a Fun Way to Cool Off

Fourth of July family traditions

Since Independence Day comes during the height of the summer, one of the best Fourth of July family traditions is finding ways to stay cool.

Spend the day in the pool, turn on the sprinklers, head to a lake, or visit a splash park.

Have some water fun together as a family on this hot summer holiday.

#10 Support the Troops

Fourth of July family traditions

While the Fourth of July celebrates how the early patriots declared their independence from Great Britain, it is important to remember that there are still men and women who continue to fight for our freedom today.

Make it one of your Fourth of July family traditions to support the troops. 

Consider writing letters or making care packages for troops deployed overseas.

Happy Fourth!

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  1. https://www.verywellfamily.com/family-rituals-meaning-examples-3288187
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/06/17/july-4th-hot-dog-and-hamburger-consumption-by-state/39580323/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan’s_Hot_Dog_Eating_Contest#History
  4. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/22987/red-white-and-blue-strawberry-shortcake
  5. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4/8


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