What better place to celebrate the birthday of America than in one of our country's national parks? From sea to shining sea, there are loads of events — many of them free — at many of the 400 national parks. And the National Park Foundation has put together a list of its favorite options. Here are some of the best Fourth of July events taking place in national parks this week:
Florida – Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is holding cannon firing demonstrations to highlight the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It's also a good spot to watch the free firework show put on by the city of St. Augustine later that evening.
Massachusetts – Rangers at Minute Man National Historical Park are celebrating July 4th by reading the Declaration of Independence.
New Mexico – Bandelier National Monument is hosting its second annual naturalization ceremony in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
New York – The Statue of Liberty, which has been closed since last fall's Superstorm Sandy, will reopen just in time for the Fourth of July.
Ohio – Ride on a vintage train through Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Pennsylvania - Big time celebrations are underway at Gettysburg National Military Park as they commemorate 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. Special programs include ranger tours, a special 150th Junior Ranger challenge and artillery demonstrations.
Virginia - Rangers at Booker T. Washington National Monument will be decked out in mid-19th century period dress to represent life on a Civil War era tobacco plantation.
Washington – Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is gearing up for its 50th annual fireworks extravaganza featuring fun family games and entertainment all day.
Washington, D.C. – There will be fireworks and music at the National Mall & Memorial Parks. For something a little quieter, try Frederick Douglass National Historic Site where park rangers will read Frederick Douglass' memorable speech “What to the Slave is the 4th of July.”
Wyoming – Fort Laramie National Historic Site is hosting a family fun day complete with sack races and other games, a military flag raising ceremony, cannon firing, a 38-gun salute, performances by the equestrian drill team, and an 1876 parade recreation.
Related on MNN: Explore more of America's best parks