For many Americans, the Fourth of July is more than just a patriotic party celebrating our nation’s independence — it’s also a time for family picnics, barbecues, and fireworks displays. While staying close to home may be a tradition, it’s a tradition that is quickly changing. According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, 80 million Americans are planning to vacation over the holiday weekend this year, which is a remarkable trend.
Not that there’s anything wrong with celebrating at home with friends and family, but a lot of Americans are opting to take it easy over the weekend and let someone else do the planning, cooking, and entertaining. If you want to follow suit, we suggest you choose to stay at one of American Express Travel’s patriotic destinations or historic hotels that are part of its Fine Resorts & Hotels Collection and The Hotel Collection.
Planning your travel is easy because you can book everything — from flights to rental cars to accommodations — online, and when you stay at one of the hotels or resorts listed in either collection, you are eligible for resort credits, complimentary Wi-Fi, early check-in, and room upgrades. If you use your American Express card to pay for your trip, you may also be eligible for cardholder benefits with both the Resorts & Hotels Collection and The Hotel Collection.
What are you waiting for? Decide what kind of Fourth of July vacation you want to have and choose the getaway that’s right for you. To help you find the right fit, here are four of the top hotels in the American Express collections, along with a few suggestions of what to see and do during your visit.
If you are looking for the charm and luxury of a bygone era, the legendary Hotel Del Coronado offers a vacation experience you will remember for years to come. Set in sunny Coronado, California (just over the bridge from San Diego), this iconic hotel has been the playground of the rich and powerful in America’s history since it was built in 1888. Members of America’s wealthiest families have stayed here, and many presidents (including John F. Kennedy, Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama) have passed through her doors.
With a distinctive terra cotta-colored roof and white exterior, the Hotel Del Coronado is more than just a beautiful slice of Americana, it’s also a National Historic Landmark. Affectionately nicknamed “The Del,” it is one of the few surviving examples of a bona fide American architectural genre: wooden Victorian beach resorts. Excellent amenities, personal concierge service, and timeless refinement have kept guests returning to the Hotel Del Coronado for 125 years. Whether you choose to stay in one of the elegantly appointed guest rooms, or reserve a cottage or villa at Beach Village, The Del offers a classic California retreat that’s perfect for a beachside Fourth of July vacation.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Gearhiser
For a lot of Americans, the story of the Boston Tea Party is as deep-rooted as any childhood bedtime story, so it’s no surprise Boston is a favorite destination for revolutionary history buffs on July 4th. You can go early and take advantage of all the sites, like the tall ships in the harbor and great museums, and then attend Harborfest. This 35-year-old event celebrates Boston’s harbor and history and is the country’s largest Fourth of July festival. It includes live music, historical reenactments, food and drink diversions, patriotic salutes, and hundreds of other events for adults and children. If you’re a fan of music, camaraderie, and fantastic fireworks, you won’t want to miss the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular (one of our picks for America’s 10 best Fourth of July Fireworks Shows), where you can sit under stars and sing along to familiar songs. We suggest you reserve a front-row seat to all that Boston has to offer and plan to stay at the Omni Parker House in the heart of downtown Boston. It’s a captivating Old World gem set along the Freedom Trail at the foot of Beacon Hill, Boston Common, Quincy Market, and Faneuil Hall marketplace (which was ranked No. 14 in our list of America’s Best Food Halls 2016).
Philadelphia is the birthplace of independence, and, as you might imagine, it throws a July 4th party that is hard to beat. They begin celebrating Independence Day as early as Monday, June 27 with Free Museum Day, and the fun continues with movie premiers, the annual Wawa “Welcome America!” festival (also in our best fireworks list), a Summer Mummer Concert, a starlight performance by the Philadelphia Pops in front of Independence Hall, and the incredible Fireworks Finale over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Each night, sleep in comfort at one of Philly’s most historic hotels, like The Rittenhouse Hotel, which was once an opulently appointed mansion owned by Pennsylvania Railroad and Penn Station railroad tycoons A.J. and Lois Buchanan Cassatt. It’s conveniently located near all of Philly’s most important and historic attractions, and the comfortable beds ensure you will get a good night’s sleep so you can get the most from your itinerary.
The United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division, Carol M. Highsmith
Like bookends on Pennsylvania Avenue, the U.S. Capitol Building and the White House are stately buildings that have awed visitors to D.C. for centuries — and just one block from the White House grounds is the stately Willard InterContinental Hotel, affectionately called the “Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue.” Grand as any Haussmann edifice in Paris, the Willard is a classic example of Second French Empire Beaux-Arts, and it’s listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It’s a great base for a visit to D.C.’s July 4th celebrations, and is walking distance to all of the Independence Day festivities on The National Mall. Since the 1860s, the Willard has been a haven for the world’s power brokers, and it was one of President Grant’s favorite haunts for an afternoon cigar and whiskey. Other famous guests have included Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens — and just like other travelers, they came for the incredible amenities and ageless beauty of the hotel’s dining rooms, guest rooms, and special event spaces. From cocktails in the famed Round Robin bar, to afternoon tea in the Peacock Tea Room, to rejuvenating spa packages, the Willard offers classic service and luxury with modern conveniences.