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Fresh Ways to Spend the Fourth

This year, freshen up your Fourth of July by ditching the holiday crowds and noisy bottle rockets for a less stressful celebration with friends and family. Whether it’s setting up camp in your backyard or hitting the road to explore a national park, check out our ideas to make this year’s July Fourth celebration red, white and new.

Plan your own block party. If you’re looking to bring the festivities to your neighborhood, planning a block party doesn’t have a to be a huge endeavor. First, meet with your neighbors to see if they’re into the idea, then check with your local municipality about permits and noise regulations. If you plan far enough ahead, you may even be allowed to block off the street to through traffic. Once everyone’s on board, you get to plan the fun stuff like music, sports, games (water balloon toss, relay race, horseshoes and limbo), a pet parade and the most important part — food. Planning a potluck-style block party is a good way cut down on costs and stress. It’s also a good way get to know new people on your block.

Set up a backyard camp-out. This July 4, there’s no need to book a campsite; you’ve got one in your backyard. If space allows, pitch tents and spend the weekend outside. Fire up the grill and prepare cookout meals, sing songs, tell scary stories and be sure everyone has their own flashlight (most necessary for those late-night trips back to the house).

Declare a kid-friendly craft day. If rain is predicted, declare the July Fourth a craft day. Depending on kids’ ages, you can craft something simple like a Lady Liberty crownpatriotic flag luminariesor you could work on a more complex project, like a Fourth of July wreath. When it comes to crafting, the possibilities are endless. Just be sure to get your project supplies before the big craft day.

Take a weekend road trip. There’s no better way to celebrate our country than to explore it. Sure, traffic and crowds might be a headache this time of year, so instead of hitting the most popular destinations, opt for the least crowded ones. The National Park Service tracked down the least crowded U.S. parks so you can get more nature and less crowds. If you find yourself in the northern Midwest, explore Isle Royale National Park — the fourth least-crowded national park in America — with entrances in Michigan and Minnesota. If you’re in the Northwest, take the family to North Cascades National Park (it’s less than three hours northeast of Seattle). In the west there’s Great Basin National Park in Nevada, and in South Carolina, there’s Congaree National Park. If you want to visit a battle site where colonists fought for independence from Britain, you can also visit one of our country’s many Revolutionary War historic sites.

July 4 is fast approaching, and this year you can show your patriotic pride with a brand new plan for the day. Happy Independence Day and have a not so ho-hum fourth.

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Fresh Ways to Spend the Fourth This year, freshen up your Fourth of July by ditching the holiday crowds and noisy bottle rockets for a less stressful celebration with friends and family. Whether it’s setting up camp in your backyard or hitting the road to explore a national park, check out our ideas to make this year's… http://blog.allstate.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/iStock_000024907460Medium-1024x683.jpg Allstate Fresh Ways to Spend the Fourth