Prepare to have a patriotic Fourth of July celebration through an encounter with history or an adventure with nature at N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) attractions this year.
If you're looking for a special way to celebrate the July 4th holiday, numerous sites across the state have events planned around Independence Day. Whether you're looking for a commemoration of this day in history, or just looking to celebrate summer, there's something in this list for you. The N.C. Aquariums, N.C. Zoo, state historic sites and state parks will be open. Most programs are free, but some facility-use fees may apply.
Independence Day Events
July 1, Historic Bath, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Visitors can sign their own copy of the Declaration of Independence with a quill pen and ink.
July 1, N.C. Transportation Museum, Spencer, all day — Moving the Military and Fireworks Over Historic Spencer Shops: Join us for our Moving the Military Guided Tour that highlights military vehicles and equipment in the museum’s collection. Tour times are 10:30 a.m., 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. This walking tour lasts approximately 60 minutes and is included in general admission. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., enjoy an evening of family fun with our Fireworks Over Historic Spencer Shops with activities including food vendors, a balloon twister artist, bubble show, DJ music, inflatables, as well as corn hole and other lawn games. A fireworks show will begin at 9:15 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. For more information about the event, go to www.nctransportationmuseum.org/fireworks-over-spencer-shops or call the N.C. Transportation Museum at 704-636-2889.
July 2, 3, N.C. Maritime Museum Southport — The museum, which is traditionally closed on Sundays and Mondays, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 2 and 3 and will open after the after the July 4 parade until 5 p.m.
July 4, Tryon Palace, New Bern, 9 a.m.-noon — Glorious Fourth at Tryon Palace: Come celebrate Independence Day with Tryon Palace. Reading of the Declaration of Independence on Palace South Steps by interpreter in costume followed by the 1st North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Line musket firing exhibition. The Fife and Drum Corps will perform again after the reading. Admittance to the Gardens is free all day.
July 4, Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington — The ship will be open during regular hours for ticketed tours. Tours will end early with the last ticket sold at 4 p.m. Please note that only main deck and below deck areas are open because of a scheduled maintenance project on the ship’s upper levels. The city of Wilmington will have a fireworks display that night.
July 4, Historic Edenton State Historic Site, Edenton, 10 a.m. — A "Reading on the Green" of the Declaration of Independence by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, along with an essay on the life of Joseph Hewes and wreath layings by the American Legion and the Unanimity Masonic Lodge. The event is free and takes place at the Joseph Hewes Monument on the Courthouse Green. Bring a lawn chair. Fireworks (weather permitting) by the Edenton Optimist Club will be at the Edenton waterfront at 9 p.m.
July 4, Historic Stagville, Durham, 10 a.m. — Commemorate Independence Day with the annual reading of Frederick Douglass' Fourth of July address, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July," on the grounds at Horton Grove. During this participatory community reading, 60 volunteers will read aloud Douglass' powerful abolitionist speech. After the reading, learn about local history projects from community partners, or tour the original slave dwellings at Horton Grove.
July 4, Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach 10 a.m. — Cannon Day: Meet at the fort to learn about some of the different cannons used in Fort Macon and how they function. Programs will conclude with a blank firing demonstration at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Fort tours will occur at 11 a.m., noon, 2 and 3 p.m. Meet in the fort entrance for a guided tour that lasts approximately 45 minutes.
July 4, N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh — The museum will be open during regular hours. Free.
July 4, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh — The museum will be open during regular hours. Free.
July 4, State Capitol grounds, Raleigh, 11:30 a.m. — The Raleigh Concert Band will perform, followed by a reading from the Declaration of Independence, a ceremony for naturalization of new citizens and a wreath laying at the George Washington monument by the Sons of the American Revolution. Please note that the Capitol is undergoing renovations and is currently closed to the public.
July 4, Historic Halifax, 1-4 p.m. — Independence Day at Historic Halifax will include musket firing, living-history demonstrations, and a special reading of the Declaration of Independence. Continue the fun with the Town of Halifax’s celebration that afternoon and enjoy the annual fireworks display, at dark on the courthouse lawn. Free.
July 4, Mountain Gateway Museum, Old Fort, 1-4 p.m. — The Mountain Gateway Museum and the Old Fort Ruritan Club will co-host an “Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social” on the museum’s grounds. The museum will provide free scoops of ice cream (with a variety of toppings) and watermelon slices until 4 p.m., when the Town of Old Fort’s annual 4th of July parade begins — or until supplies run out. The Ruritan Club will conduct a “Fire-Quaker 150” Ducky Derby contest in Mill Creek at 3 p.m.
July 4, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo, 5:45 p.m. — Free concert with Appalachian Road Show and Whiskey Rebellion followed by the town of Manteo’s fireworks.
July 4, N.C. Symphony, Independence Day Concert at Koka Booth Amphitheater, Cary, 7:30 p.m. — Join us for a salute to the red, white, and blue as we honor the U.S.A. on its birthday with patriotic favorites, high-spirited classics, and a fireworks display over Symphony Lake. Free.
July 6, N.C. Maritime Museum, Beaufort, 9 a.m. — The Friends of the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort will host the Great 4th Race. Traditionally rigged sailing craft rally to celebrate the historic voyages that carried news of the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the Outer Banks. Boat registration is required for participation in the free event. Boats will gather in Taylors Creek in Beaufort between 9 and 10 a.m. The race is organized by the Traditional Small Craft Association, Friends of the Museum Chapter. For information, call (252) 728-1638 or visit maritimefriends.org.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the North Carolina Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.