How to Spend July 4th (According to the SFM Team)
KAYLA // On Crested Butte, Jax Beach, and patriotic debauchery.
If you’re looking for an ultra-chill yet adventurous 4th, look no further than the rolling hills and streams of Crested Butte, CO. Like all spots in Colorado, campgrounds fill up fast, but if you’re lucky, and don’t mind waking up early, you can sometimes grab a walk up spot at the grounds that accept them. We were lucky enough to grab a stream-side spot at the Oh Be Joyful Campground last year and it was the exact low-key vibe we were looking for.
What You’ll Do:
Hike to Bridal Veil Falls
Go into town and grab a coffee and sandwich from Camp 4 Coffee if you get sick of making your own at the grounds
Take your pup to cool off and play in the numerous surrounding lakes and streams
Lay in a hammock and read a good book
Make hotdogs on an open flame
What You’ll Need:
General car camping gear: tent, hammock, cooler, etc
Mountain bike (CB is known for its trails)
Waterproof hiking boots or sandals (we recommend these from our client, Teva)
Your four-legged best friend (the campground is pup-friendly!)
Layers of clothing.
Jax Beach may be one of the most magical places to be on America’s birthday. That is, if you define magical as absolute star-spangled debauchery. If you’re looking to party, it is *the* place to be.
What’ll You’ll Do:
You can’t get the day started early enough. Plan to be on your bike hitting the streets no later than 10am.
Cruise First Street looking for who has the biggest inflatable water slide and/or front yard pool and make friends with them
Yell “MERICA!” at all passing bikes
Pro tip: You’ll eventually definitely lose one of your friends, so make sure you’ve all shared your locations with each before hand
If you’ve made it this far, find a balcony or rooftop to post up at to watch fireworks
What You’ll Need:
Portable cooler full of beverages (we suggest this backpack cooler from our client, ICEMULE)
Most tacky red, white, and blue outfit you can throw together
WHITNEY // TAHOE, ENCHANTED VALLEY, AND ESCAPING THE CROWDS
Growing up, my family always did the same thing for the Fourth of July: camping by the river with aunts, uncles, and cousins. The weekend was full of pancakes, boating, and swimming in water so cold it’ll take your breath away. This was something we did each year less out of tradition and more for the simplicity of not having to plan anything else. But since college, there hasn’t been much tradition behind this holiday besides spending it with important people in a place I love, whether that’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city or high up in the mountains, escaping the crowds.
The summer after my freshman year of college, my friends and I decided it would be a good idea to road trip down to Lake Tahoe for the 4th. We had a friend in Seattle who grew up there and was going to host us in his parent’s house on the lake. At the height of the weekend, there were 25 people in this house. We spent most of our days on the lake, hammocking on old dock pilings and playing volleyball. And our evenings were filled with Tomato Baseball, bonfires, and pizzas in a wood-fired oven. We woke up on the morning of the Fourth to rain, but it cleared just in time for the fireworks over the lake with the Sierra Nevadas in the background.
Wanting to stick closer to home for the Fourth, we opted to avoid the crowds of Seattle and head into the backcountry. We loaded up 16 people into cars and drove for Olympic National Park. Our goal was to hike to Enchanted Valley, 26 miles roundtrip. After setting out from the trailhead, we hiked all 13 miles to the Valley in the first day (don’t recommend), stopping for swims and snacks along the way. Once we got to camp, we set up tents, built a fire and started preparing dinner. We crawled into bed that night just as the rain began to fall (Olympic National Park is a rainforest, after all). We woke up the next morning and decided to take it slow and soak up the sun by the river. We spent the next couple days making our way back towards the cars and our extra set of dry clothes and shoes.
MARA // LAKE MICHIGAN, A SAILBOAT, AND A GOOD OL’ SHRIMP BOIL
Up North in Michigan where I grew up, every summer is spent as if you literally won’t see the sun again for eight months (lol). I spent every summer day I could on a beach, on a trail, or – best of all – racing a sailboat. The 4th of July was no exception. Each year for the holiday, my friends and family would prep our hulls and coolers for a three-day regatta of sailboat racing. Lathering up sunscreen, yelling “starboard!”, and winning a race are still my favorite Independence Day activities, and they’re only made better by the good company and Shrimp Boil dinner waiting for us on the dock.