Celebrate the 4th of July in Hawaii


Summer in Hawaii is a wonderful time to visit the islands, which makes it a popular destination for families, newlyweds, and individuals looking to soak up the sun in the 50th state. If you plan to visit around the 4th of July holiday, you’ll find many popular traditions here in the islands, such as beach BBQs, fireworks displays, and even a rodeo or two!

4th of July Fireworks and Events on Oahu

If you’re looking for the largest number of 4th of July events, Oahu is definitely your best choice. Fireworks displays take place all over Oahu for days leading up to the holiday. Fireworks shows on the evening of July 4th include those at Ala Moana Beach Park (South Shore/Waikiki), Maili Beach (West Oahu), Maunalua Bay (East Oahu), Kailua (Windward), Turtle Bay (North Shore), and more. On Sunday, July 3rd, there will also be a large display at Aloha Tower. Listings of Fireworks and events on Oahu for 2011 can be found here and here.

If you’re in Waikiki, you can enjoy the Walter J. MacFarlane canoe regatta. This event, mid-way through the annual regatta season, is popular with canoe clubs from all over the island. Grab a drink at Dukes at the Outrigger Waikiki (or any beachfront spot) for a great view of the action.

An unofficial flotilla also takes place out in the water – just about anyone with a boat, surfboard, or miscellaneous flotation device will gather to watch the regatta, listen to live music (yes, they float out a generator for the bands!), and take place in the general revelry. It has a bit of a spring break feel, so it’s not the most family-friendly way to enjoy the holiday, but definitely a unique tradition!

Parades will be held Sunday, July 3rd at 6pm in Waikiki (on Kalakaua Avenue from Fort De Russy to Kapiolani Park) and in Kailua town on the windward side on Monday, July 4th, beginning at 10am. Click here for a clip of the Royal Hawaiian Band marching in the 2011 Independence Day Parade in Waikiki.

>> If you’re planning to head to Ala Moana to watch the fireworks on the 4th, be sure to note that HPD will be enforcing park rules.

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4th of July Fireworks and Events on Maui

Lahaina is the place to go for 4th of July fireworks on Maui. A holiday atmosphere prevails as businesses and restaurants offer holiday specials. A free live concert will be held starting at 5:30pm and you can catch the big fireworks show at 8pm. Boat cruises are another popular option for viewing the fireworks. Lahaina was recently listed as one of the top spots to celebrate the 4th of July in the nation!

Makawao 4th of July Parade & Rodeo —Although you are more likely to think of Wyoming than Hawaii when you hear the world “rodeo,” Hawaii actually has a strong tie to cowboys and ranching culture. This is evident when over 4th of July weekend the largest rodeo in the islands takes place at the Oskie Rice Rodeo Arena on Maui, where more than 350 cowboys from all over the world come to take place in the Hawaiian style rodeo, complete with rough stock and roping events and rodeo clowns. Before and after the rodeo, enjoy live entertainment and country western dancing. Rodeo events take place from Thursday through Sunday. On Saturday, July 2nd, enjoy the 46th Annual Rodeo Parade up Baldwin Avenue to Eddie Tam from 9am to noon. Details here and schedule here.

>> If you’re looking to do it yourself, here is information on fireworks regulations in Maui County.

4th of July Fireworks and Events on the Big Island

Fireworks displays this year will take place in Waiakoloa, Kailua-Kona, and Hilo. Waiakoloa festivities includes a live concert at Waiakoloa Beach Resort starting at 6pm, with fireworks at 8pm. There will also be family-friendly events in Waiakoloa throughout the day, including the annual Rubber Duckie Race. Kailua-Kona will host an Independence Day parade at 5:30pm, with fireworks to begin at 8:15pm. In Hilo, you will find fireworks at 8pm, as well a a BBQ cookoff during the day. You can also catch 4th of July Parades in the villages of Kau and Volcano.

Parker Ranch Rodeo and Horse Races– A popular annual event in Waimea, the Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena hosts Independence Day festivities, including a parade, keiki games and pony rides, food booths, and entertainment. Rodeo events include horse races, ribbon mugging, ranch mugging, dally team roping, the unique-to-Hawai‘i Po‘o Wai U and more. Details here.

Mauna Lani Turtle Independence Day Celebration – Each year, matured Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (called “honu” in Hawaiian) are released at this family-friendly celebration at the Mauna Lani. At 10:30am the honu are gathered from the hotel’s turtle pond and released into the ocean. Food, entertainment, and a BBQ to follow. Details here.

4th of July Fireworks and Events on Kauai

Kauai Hospice is again hosting their annual fundraiser, the 22nd Annual Concert in the Sky, in Lihue. There will be entertainment (including the popular local trio Na Leo Pilimehana), silent auction, food booths, prize giveaways and a fireworks display. Ticket sales benefit Kauai Hospice. Event runs from 4:00 – 9:30pm at the Vidinha Soccer Field in Lihue. Details here.

There is also a July 4th celebration held annually in Kekaha, on the western side of the island. This event is an all-day affair, starting with a fun run at 6am and a day full of food, entertainment, and keiki games starting at 10am. It is held at H.P Faye Park, across the Kekaha Neighborhood Center. (Update: according to a post on the event’s Facebook page, it seems that this may have been canceled. Will update this post when I hear confirmation one way or the other.)

Further Reading:
>> Check out other things to do in July in Hawaii.
>> Search for cheap flights to Hawaii.
>> Browse current travel deals for Hawaii.
>> Wondering what to pack? Here’s information about Weather in Hawaii.

photo by jdnx