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Hit the road for fireworks fun just outside the 209 region
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So you’re looking for a Fourth of July celebration that’s different than the same one that you’ve been bringing your family to for the last decade.

Maybe it’s just a chance to get away. Maybe it’s a change of pace. Maybe it’s that opportunity to see how they do things over in the big city – fireworks show on top of fireworks show on top of fireworks show.

Regardless of the reason, every place does it a little bit different and offers up something fresh.

Here are a few places to check out if you’re up for a little bit of an adventure:

• BERKELEY – Not unlike Manteca, this world-famous college town wraps its Independence Day celebration into a full-day event geared toward families. Fireworks, naturally, cap off the evening. But what helps set Berkeley apart from other nearby cities is the fact that it launches its fireworks over the San Francisco Bay – meaning that any spot in the nearby hills gives you carte blanche to watch not only this show, but others going on simultaneously. Have you ever watched three fireworks shows going on at the exact same time? Now you can. Just stake out your spot early because the best ones along the narrow and winding mountain roads go quickly.

• SANTA CRUZ – No, unfortunately you aren’t going to be able to watch fireworks from the municipal wharf. But one of the coolest things about the Santa Cruz area is the fact that it extends beyond the normal borders of the city limit, and that only makes the Fourth of July party that much bigger. With breakfasts, parades and festivals stretching from Watsonville to Scotts Valley, this section of California coast does it up right. Not to be missed.

• LAKE TAHOE – It is easily, hands down, one of the most beautiful places in the world. So why wouldn’t Lake Tahoe be the perfect backdrop for a Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza where barges in the middle of the lake light off a display you’re not soon going to forget? Crowds, granted, are to be expected – more than 100,000 people flock to the tourist destination each year for the holiday. But if you have a place to stay, and are willing to brave the sheer number of people that will flooding into the small towns that surround the lake, you more than likely aren’t going to find a more beautiful place to watch a fireworks display on the entire West Coast.


209 staff reporter