When fireworks start popping on July 4th, it could be a dazzling announcement that a four-day weekend is well underway.

This year, the holiday falls on a Thursday, tempting even the most devoted workaholics to skip the office on Friday and sleep in after that sparkling, post-dusk show.

July 4th is about a month away — but it’s never too soon to make reservations if you hope to get out of town. Here are a few options.

If you’re looking for the quintessential small-town celebration, complete with bed races, head to Ely, Minn., gateway to the Boundary Waters. Festivities tend to hover around Whiteside Park, where there are games for kids, BBQ stands, and the Ely City Band plays a concert in the band shell at 3 p.m. Highlights of the day include a 1 p.m. parade and fireworks over Miners Lake around 10 p.m. Lodging options are vast, including hotels in town and glamping tents on an island through Riverside Island Campsites. Details and ideas at the Ely Chamber website, ely.org.

Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior is offering a 4th night for free in the main lodge or Poplar River Condos during the long weekend (lutsenresort.com). Think you know your stuff when it comes to the holiday? Test that notion with 4th of July Trivia in the lobby from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Afterward, there’s plenty of time to hit nearby Tofte for fireworks.

With days of events, lots of lakeside mom-and-pops, storied resorts and campgrounds, the Brainerd Lakes Area celebrates the nation’s birthday in style. In Nisswa, turtle races take place July 3. On July 4th, Pequot Lakes will have a pancake breakfast, flea market and craft fair and parade. In Brainerd, a parade, open-air music stages and fireworks mark the day.

In the far north, Warroad launches three days of activities with a street dance July 3. For places to stay on Lake of the Woods, go to visitwarroad.com.


Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.