Following the Vietnam War, several assassinations, cultural upheaval, and a good decade’s worth of tensions on the home front, Americans in the 1970s were looking for a reason to feel good about being Americans again. In the summer of 1976, they finally got a chance to forget all that malaise, and they did it by throwing a big ol’ birthday party. It just happened to be that the birthday girl in question was the good ole U.S. of A itself, and she was happily celebrating her big 2-0-0. Although we’re a long way away from 2076, that shouldn’t stop you from channelling the Spirit of ’76.

July 4 Cross Country Run
Trophy Lakes
3050 Marlin Dr. Johns Island

What better way to kick off Independence Day than with a good old-fashioned foot race? Johns Island will be hosting a July 4th cross-country 5K at Trophy Lakes. The run hits the dirt trails at 8 a.m. with awards for the fleetest feet. If you register before June 27, the price is $20 with a T-shirt or $15 without.

The Fourth of July Blast
Patriots Point. Mt. Pleasant

What better place to spend the most patriotic day of the year than at Patriots Point? You can either see the night’s firework display for free from the shore or purchase tickets to ooh-and-ahh from the flight deck of the U.S.S. Yorktown. Along with getting to celebrate on an actual American Naval vessel, catered food and drinks will be available for purchase. The Explorers Club Allstars and the East Coast Party Band will also be playing. Tickets for this unique firework-viewing location are $20 per person and $10 for children 11 and under. Be sure to bring your own chair, but you’ve got to leave your coolers behind. Parking is $10.

The Uncle Sam Jam
Mt. Pleasant Pier
71 Harry Hallman Blvd. Mt. Pleasant

The home of Shaggin’ on the Cooper is hosting the Uncle Sam Jam on July 4. Permanent Vacation will provide the beach tunes, and fireworks will be lighting up the sky from all directions. Leave your coolers at home, because drinks and food will be available on-site. Gates open at 7 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. There are 800 spots available, so be sure to snag your $10 tickets ahead of time.

Fourth of July Dinner Cruise
Aquarium Wharf
360 Concord St. Downtown

For a splash of elegance on Independence Day, board the Spirit of Carolina and enjoy an evening of fine dining and oceanic breezes. The three-hour cruise will include a four-course dinner, music, dancing, and view of the fireworks. The cruise departs from Aquarium Wharf at 7 p.m. (boarding begins at 6:30 p.m.), and the tab is $80 a person. Spirit Lines also offers a family-friendly Picnic on the Water package, $65 for adults and $45 for children.

Isle of Palms Fourth of July Fireworks
Front Beach

Bring your beach chairs and blankets to IOP for a firecracker display. The rockets will be fired from the pier at dusk, and it’s completely free.

North Charleston Fourth of July Festival
Riverfront Park
1001 Everglades Dr.

Riverfront Park will be hosting a July 4th party again this year. The Island Trio, the Calvin Taylor Band, Plane Jane, and the Blue Dogs will be supplying the jams, and food vendors will be on site providing the noms. The North Charleston Pops will provide the soundtrack to the firework display. Guests attending the fest can bring lawn chairs and blankets, but no alcohol is allowed inside the park. Kids’ activities include jump castles, games, a playground, and the water fountain. The revelry lasts from 3-10 p.m. and is free.

Fourth of July Celebration
Gahagan Sports Complex
515 W. Boundary St.

If you’re in Summerville on July 4, head to the Gahagan Sports Complex for fireworks and family fun. There will be burgers, live music from the Howie Brothers, and more. You can bring chairs, blankets, and games, but leave behind the alcohol, grills, and pets. The party starts at 5 p.m., and it’s free for all.

S.C. Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf. Downtown
(843) 720-1990,

The S.C. Aquarium is throwing a shindig of its own on July 4th, featuring barbecue from Smoky Oak Taproom, beer from Holy City Brewing, music, a 4-D movie, and of course an amazing view of fireworks over the Charleston Harbor. The fishy fest starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $55 for adults and $30 for kids, and guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets for the firework show.

Celebrate Early
Red, White & Blue on the Green
Sat. June 30
Hutchinson Square. Summerville

If you want to celebrate Independence Day a little early, then head out to Summerville’s Red, White & Blue on the Green on Sun. June 30 from 5-8 p.m. This street festival is hosted by Summerville D.R.E.A.M. (Downtown Restoration Enhancement and Management) and will include live music, vendors, games, a parade, and the Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty costume contests. For the kiddies, there will be face painting and crafts. We all know freedom isn’t free, but this celebration will be. Just another great reason to check it out.