Fourth of July Outdoor Adventures

Looking for a fun, family-friendly way to celebrate the birth of our nation in the great outdoors? These four outdoor trips offer traditional Fourth fare with a twist of adventure.

Yellowstone National Park

Spanning three states and more than 3,500 square miles of wilderness, our nation’s first national park is a fantastic destination for families and adventurous singletons alike.

Your best bet is to book a site for base camp (Yellowstone’s size makes it a great RV camping choice, too) and then spend each day of the holiday weekend in a different spot of the park. Here’s a sample itinerary:

Friday, July 1: Head in early for a first-come, first-serve spot at Mammoth campsite near the north entrance ($20/night and some RV sites). Head south to Yellowstone Lake and check out the magnificent views from the fishing bridge, then rent a kayak and explore the shoreline.

Saturday, July 2: Head out for some hiking around Devil’s Den and check out Tower Fall before heading over to the Roosevelt Lodge for some American BBQ—try the baby back ribs with a side of Roosevelt Beans.

Sunday, July 3: Get rolling early for the drive south past Dunraven Peak to Canyon Village. Spend the day hiking around the upper and lower Yellowstone Falls, and stop for some Wilcoxson’s ice cream at the Grant General Store on Yellowstone Lake.

Monday, July 4: This holiday is the perfect time to check out the world’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful. Head down early to beat the crowds, then spend the day walking the Continental Divide Trail, stopping by the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center and watching the park’s famous monument erupt on schedule for nature’s version of fireworks. Finish the evening off with a nice meal at the Obsidian Dining Room.

Bend, Oregon

A year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts, Central Oregon offers a slew of Fourth of July activities meant to challenge your body and quench your thirst for outdoor fun. Here are a few weekend ideas:

Friday, July 1: Book a seat on Wanderlust Tour’s popular “Brews and Views” Canoe Tours, which leave daily at 1:30 p.m. You’ll paddle on a pristine Cascade Lake while learning about the area’s richest bounty: beer! Sip on a stout (don’t worry, there is root beer for the kiddos) while you glide along the water—this is Americana at its best.

Saturday, July 2: Head to Shevlin Park for miles of beautiful wooded trails. Run or hike to your heart’s content and finish the day at 10 Barrel Brewing Company for some amazing beer and hand-crafted pizza next to a few dozen of your newest friends.

Sunday, July 3: Drive to Smith Rock State Park for some of the country’s most famous climbing and bouldering routes. Head back into town and grab a spot on the lawn of the Les Schwab Amphitheater for Widespread Panic’s outdoor concert. Just don’t stay out too late—because you’ve got a long day in the saddle tomorrow.

Monday, July 4: Roll out on the annual Firecracker 100 road ride, a metric century that starts in nearby Prineville at Good Bike Co. The picturesque ride heads south along the Crooked River, where you’ll pass breathtakingly beautiful high desert vistas. End this epic trip with an outdoor picnic at Pilot Butte State Park.

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