We generally don’t need an excuse to dip out of work, hang out with friends, crack a beer, and blow up some stuff, but we’ll take one when we get it. The Fourth of July is America’s birthday, and as such, someone has to throw the party. Today, we have technology that our founding fathers could have never imagined, and we think they’d be ashamed if we didn’t utilize the products of American ingenuity to celebrate their hard work. So grab your smartphone or tablet and get ready to celebrate with the best Fourth of July apps around (all of which are listed below).
Of course, these apps aren’t necessarily made just for the Fourth of July. You can use most of them throughout the year, much like those on our roundup of the best Android apps and best iPhone apps. For other, Independence Day-specific articles, check out our guide on how to photography fireworks and the best music for the Fourth of July.
Find a camp spot and fireworks
The first step in the planning of any successful Fourth of July party is finding the perfect camp spot or the nearest fireworks display. Here are some apps that will help you find the best place for your patriotic celebration.
The Fourth falls on a Tuesday this year, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to take an extended weekend. And four days off right in the middle of summer can only mean one thing — it’s time to go camping. Grab your tent and fill your backpack with all the essentials before launching Camp Finder. With more than 19,000 camping sites in its database, it’s the perfect tool for finding where to stake out for the weekend. You can also filter results based on proximity, price, amenities, policies, and activities, so you make sure to land on one that allows you to enjoy the weekend the way you want.
It isn’t always easy to figure out where the closest fireworks display will be held, and sometimes you want to see fireworks go off more than once. If you’re looking to find out where the Fourth of July celebrations are being held this year, all you have to do is search for fireworks in Foursquare, and you’ll see all the events in your area.
The Fourth of July is a holiday best spent with good company, after all, what’s a birthday without the party? Thankfully, you can see what events are going on around you or put together your own using Eventbrite. It’s a hyper-local app, one that focuses on what’s happening in a small radius surrounding your location. Check out the parties and gatherings planned for the Fourth, see where your friends will be spending the day, then send out invitations to your own shindig. Everything from neighborhood block parties to massive city parades will show up in Eventbrite’s listings.
Traveling for the weekend? The Fourth of July falls on a Monday this year, which makes it the perfect time to travel. Unfortunately, traveling can be a real pain. Liligo is here to help, providing you with the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to get to your destination, whether that involves taking a plane, train, or automobile. You can even let the app suggest destinations for you based on metrics such as temperature, price, and so on.
Find the perfect recipes and drinks
Once you’ve figured out where you’ll be celebrating, it’s time to check out the best recipes and drinks for the Fourth. Here are some of the best grilling and drinking apps to help you plan.
Nothing tastes as good as a slab of meat cooked over an open flame. If you’re looking to make your tastebuds water this Fourth of July, check out some of the recipes in Grill-It! There are a ton of recipes housed within the app, and they’re not solely related to meat. Here, you’ll also find great recipes for grilling vegetables, fish, and a host of other types of food. You can even browse recipes, or try something new by checking out the list of newly-added recipes.
It can be a real pain to run out of beer on the Fourth of July. There could be any number of reasons you can’t go get some yourself — you’ve already had a few and can’t drive, you need to entertain guests, whatever. In any case, there’s an app that’s designed to fix all that on your behalf. It’s called Drizly, and you guessed it, it’s an alcohol delivery service. The service touts itself as the fastest and most convenient way to get wine, beer, and liquor to your door, and claims that everything costs the same that it would at the liquor store. With Drizly, you’ll never run out of beer!
If you’re looking for grill-related recipes and a timer to make sure you don’t burn your steaks, Weber’s On the Grill has you covered. The app comes with 280 Weber recipes, along with 40 dedicated recipes for making great rubs, marinades, and sauces that are sure to take your meal to the next level. You can tag your favorite recipes, or create and share a grocery list, so you’ll never forget the ingredients. There’s a timer within the app, too, so your steak doesn’t become a charred mess.
Sam Adams, Coors, and Budweiser may be fine for some red-blooded Americans, but if you’re looking to get more adventurous with your brews, Untappd will help you find some great ones. The apps shows you what your neighbors and friends are drinking, but you can also search for beers based on your individual preferences. All the beers come with ratings, which helps you avoid the ones that are little more than water.
Maybe you’re not into big parties, and you want to hang out at a bar for the Fourth instead. In that case, TapHunter has you covered. The app guides you to great bars near your location and even makes sure they have your favorite drinks. If you’re feeling more adventurous, TapHunter will make some recommendations on what to drink, based on your preferences. The app covers everything from spirits and liquors to beers and wine, so you’re sure to find something appealing.
Take perfect patriotic photos
What would a Fourth of July celebration be without photos to document the event? Just in case you’re the kind of person who Instagrams every meal and tries to take pictures of fireworks every year, here are some great photo apps to use on the Fourth.
Every Fourth of July brings a bang, with fireworks being shot off at every opportunity. This usually prompts people to attempt to capture fireworks in the sky. Stop watching the light show through your smartphone screen and trying to time when to snap the photo. Instead, fire up the iLightning Cam and let it do the work. All you have to do is point the camera at the sky and the app will snap photos for you, using your iPhone’s speedy processor to make the split decisions.
Treat your inner history buff
Now that you’ve got your camping spot, your grill fired up, your beer chilling in the cooler, and you’re all set to take some nice photos, it’s time to brush up on your American history. After all, you don’t want your friends to find out that you don’t know who Paul Revere was.
There’s no holiday more steeped in history for Americans than the Fourth of July. While our nation is still young compared to much of the world, we have plenty of history all around us. Tap into the roots of the country and check out the historical action all around you with History Here. The app is a must-have if you’re located in any of the original 13 colonies, or simply craving a bit of background regarding your surroundings. History Here functions as an interactive guide to landmarks scattered across the United States, one that will fill you with facts and, on occasion, pride.
Looking to do some reading over the long weekend? Why not take a little refresher course on the events that we celebrate on the Fourth of July? The American Revolution app from the American Revolution Center is an interactive timeline that will walk your through what took place all the way back in the 1700s. With this app, you can check out digital recreations of important artifacts and documents from the days of the Revolutionary War, and find out amazing facts about the people involved in the earliest days of the United States. It’s the best way to remember exactly what the holiday is all about.
Not everything you’ll need this July 4 will be immediately obvious — but we’ve still got you covered for the apps that aren’t. Check out the apps below to ensure you’re getting the most you possibly can out of your July 4 celebrations.
Spending the holiday outside? If you’re fair-skinned, you know the pain that often accompanies a sunburn. That’s where UV Lens comes in. Simply open the app, and using your location, it will tell you the temperature and exactly how long it will take for you to get burned. The app will even tell you to apply sunscreen, then remind you when it thinks you should reapply.
If you’re driving long distance for your celebrations, it can help to know the best places to stop and refuel, especially when gas prices are rising around the country. Thankfully, Gas Buddy will tell you where to find the cheapest gas along your route. You can use the app to filter through different types of gas, and sort nearby gas stations based on distance and price, meaning you can get the best bang for your buck no matter where you go.
Update: Added Grill-It, UV Lens, and Gas Buddy.