There is nothing like the Fourth of July on the lake. It is so much fun, and most lakes allow fireworks, unlike the cities and towns. It doesn’t matter what lake you visit. The Fourth is the time for camping, BBQ, beer, and fireworks because we celebrate our freedom. It is also one of the busiest weekends on the lake. Doing your research before your Fourth adventure at the lake is a golden timesaver.
Are you taking your boat?
Find out what boat ramps have the most lanes and biggest parking lots. Boat ramps are crowded on holiday lake weekends. Researching online which authority operates the lake you want to visit and calling them to make sure the online information is correct can give you tons more fun of time at the lake. You might want to find a place to camp or stay near a boat ramp so you are not dealing with boat traffic late at night.
Keep an eye on the weather.
Knowing the forecast helps you decide what supplies you will need. Even though the weather forecast can change without warning, find out as much as you can about it. Wind is a factor that affects boaters, anglers, and campers. Check out windfinder.com for great weather information.
Find out where the fireworks shows are being hosted.
You will want to see them clearly even if you do buy your own fireworks. Whatever lake you are visiting, firework shows around the lakes are usually highly publicized online. Some lakes have designated areas just for watching the fireworks shows. Make sure to read our 4th of July Lake Fireworks 2022 article.
Do you have children?
If you are taking kids to the lake on the Fourth, you will want to make sure you are going to stay at kid friendly campgrounds or lodging. Making a few phone calls beforehand to establishments catering to lake visitors can help you enjoy your family time in the best way possible. Some establishments cater to partiers, so you want to know before you go.
What if you forget supplies?
You want to make sure if there are nearby stores if you forget necessary lake supplies. Some lakes are in extremely rural areas and lack commerce. Make a list and stick to it if you are going to a lake without stores nearby. Even when there are stores nearby the lakes, the prices are a lot higher than what you can usually buy where you live. Shop early to avoid long lines.
What highways or interstates are you going to take?
Are there confusing back roads that twist and turn at the lake on the way to your destination that will not register on GPS? Check for traffic and consult a map beforehand so you know what to expect on the highways and back roads. Expect heavy traffic after fireworks shows in bottleneck areas such as boat ramps and major intersections.
Are you staying at a resort, campground, motel, hotel, RV park, or renting a cabin?
Make sure you have a spot by checking for reservation requirements. These accommodations fill up quickly on holiday weekends at the lake. Book your accommodations in advance to make sure you do not get caught with nowhere to stay.
What to Expect on Fourth of July at the Lake
You can expect that the businesses will be busy, boat traffic will be heavy, campgrounds and parks will be full, and restaurants will be noisy. Stores near the lake are highly likely to run out of products early on the Fourth of July holiday. It’s unfortunately common to experience rude or out-of-control behavior from some visitors due to alcohol and drug use. Most people obey the law and behave well, but there is always the chance of witnessing bad and lewd behavior from boaters and lake visitors.
Holiday Boating Safety Tips
When there is more boat traffic on a lake, there is more risk for boating accidents. There are a few things to be aware of when boating on a holiday weekend.
- Be aware of the laws at the lake you are visiting and the lake’s operating authority’s rules.
- Conduct a thorough inspection of your vessel and trailer to ensure everything is in working order.
- Conduct a pre-departure check to make sure all required safety equipment is secured on board and operational.
- Make sure VHF radios, phones and EPIRB transponders work. Consider carrying a portable cell phone battery charger as a back-up.
- Don’t drink and drive. Boating under the influence is the primary cause of boating-related deaths in the United States.
Best Fourth of July Lakes
This is a smidgeon of some of the best lakes in the U.S. for the Fourth of July holiday because this is a vast land with many ecological zones. These pop up as favorite lakes for a wonderful Fourth of July celebration.
- Flathead Lake in Montana
- Grand Lake in Colorado
- Grand Lake O The Cherokees in Oklahoma
- Lake Blue Ridge in Georgia
- Lake Champlain in New York
- Lake Havasu in Arizona
- Lake Tahoe on the California and Nevada border
- Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma and Texas border
- Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin
- Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas