Hit the beach this Fourth

Winston-Salem Journal
By Zenda Douglas
Online Article Here

Sand, surf, music, a cooler with your favorite beverages and fireworks to light up the sky — these are the ingredients for a perfect Fourth of July celebration. Join friends and family on the beach to celebrate America’s birthday. If you’re looking for a new favorite beach location, check out these hot spots along the Eastern seaboard.

St. Augustine, Fla.
There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than in the nation’s oldest city and no better way than fireworks over The Matanzas. The concert and fireworks start at 6 p.m. with the All Star Orchestra performing big band and swing music in the Plaza de la Constitución. Then spectacular aerial display of pyrotechnics high over Matanzas Bay begins at 9:30 p.m. This is one of the largest fireworks displays on the East Coast, featuring fireworks bursting above the ancient Castillo de San Marcos and reflecting in the waters of Matanzas Bay. Admission is free with the best vantage points along the bayfront between the Castillo and the Bridge of Lions. For more information visit www.FireworksOverTheMatanzas.com.

Jekyll Island, Ga.
Jekyll Island will hold a weekend of family-friendly celebrations for Independence Day. Events, including Movie on the Green and the Longest Drive Challenge, begin July 1, and run through July 4. Combined with the natural beauty of the island and Independence Day fireworks, there’s no better place to celebrate the holiday, whether you’re a resident, guest or just visiting for the day. Celebrate America’s birthday with an old-fashioned patriotic parade through the Historic District. Locals, residents and island guests are invited to decorate their bikes, golf carts, strollers, pets, and themselves and join in the fun. Prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the parade. Witness the most spectacular fireworks in the Golden Isles. Arrive early to get your spot in the sand. Fireworks are best viewed from the beach between the Holiday Inn Resort and south to the Days Inn on the island’s oceanfront side. The display will begin around 9 p.m. For more information visit www.jekyllisland.com.

Hilton Head, S.C.
On Hilton Head Island, start your day with the Firecracker Run and Family Fun Walk (8 a.m., Shelter Cove Community Park) and join more than 1,700 runners in the 31st annual event. Then, get your red, white and blue on and check out the 4th of July Parade at Harbour Town in the Sea Pines Resort. Begin your evening at a special Super Summer Jams (5 to 9 p.m., Shelter Cove Community Park) with entertainment for families. Or check out entertainer Gregg Russell, celebrating his 40th year of concerts, under the iconic Liberty Oak (8 p.m., Harbour Town). Fireworks go off between 9 and 9:30 p.m. and can be seen from Shelter Cove Towne Centre/Shelter Cove Harbour, Harbour Town in the Sea Pines Resort and Skull Creek (from Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks or the Skull Creek Boathouse). For more information visit www. hiltonheadisland.org.

Murrells Inlet, S.C.
Each Independence Day, Myrtle Beach locals and guests celebrate in style with the July 4th Boat Parade in Murrells Inlet. Decorated boats sail down the parade route with people watching from the equally decorated docks of the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk and picturesque restaurants. The day concludes with a spectacular firework display in the inlet, and awards for the best boat and dock decorations. This is a free event. For more information, call (843) 651-5675 or visit www. murrellsinletsc.com.

Virginia Beach, Va.
Multiple live performances on oceanfront stages attract thousands of visitors and residents of Hampton Roads to a “star-spangled” at Stars & Stripes Explosion! Musical acts offer something for everyone with tribute bands saluting some of the biggest names in music. From 8 to 9:30 p.m., a stage on the beach at 20th Street becomes the focal point for performances by Symphonicity (the symphony orchestra of Virginia Beach) together with the Virginia Beach Chorale. This musical program encompasses patriotic songs, Broadway standards, movie themes, and folk music. The show segues into a spectacular fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. that explodes over the ocean in a burst of colors and patterns. For more information visit www.visitvirginiabeach.com.