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Jun 27

2017 Insider's Guide: Everything You Need to Know for July Fourth!

Posted on June 27, 2017 at 2:08 PM by Jessica Wauhop

Fourth of July Collage

What better place to celebrate the anniversary of our Nation's birth than right here where it all began? We hope you'll spend Fourth of July with us, and we want you to be prepared. That’s why we’re going to outline everything from the main events to the best places to park—even some interesting facts about our fireworks!

Patriotic Visitors_Historic Yorktown (1)

First things first. While the fireworks show is Tuesday night, please remember there's so much more taking place throughout Yorktown during the day. You and your family can enjoy the beach; visit our shops and restaurants; and explore our museums!

4thofJuly Social Media Ad 2017

As you can see, your patriotic fun is from sunup to sundown. That's our lineup at a glance! Keep scrolling for a more detailed account of all there is to do, including educational fun at the American Revolution Museum of Yorktown.


Independence Day 8K & 5K Run/Walk

Peninsula Track ClubIn Independence Day 8k

The Fourth of July may be remembered for the Declaration of Independence, but where would we be without the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown? Register to walk or run where the American and French allies won the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. Options are to run an 8K or walk a 5K. 

The projected course (weather permitting) will be along the tree-lined, tour roads in the shadow of Surrender Field. Preregistration is recommended and
you can do so by clicking here.

Late registration and check-in starts at 6:30 a.m. at York High School.

Star Bullet Awards for top three runners & walkers
Star Bullet Awards for top three runners in each 5-year age group
Star Bullet Finishers’ Medals for all runners who complete the course
Star Bullet Completion Awards for all walkers
Star Bullet Drawings for gift cards, coupons, and prizes

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown Girl

Visit the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. to enjoy music, interpretive programs, military drills, and artillery demonstrations. You'll learn about the challenges our nation's Founders faced—including those who signed the Declaration of Independence. Admission is free for residents of York and James City counties and the City of Williamsburg (including College of William & Mary students). You'll need proof of residency when you check in!

American Revolution Museum Recruit


10 a.m. 
"Dyeing for the Cause" at Revolution-era Farm. Learn how clothing was dyed during the 18th century

11 a.m.
Performance from The Fifes and Drums of York Town

11:30 a.m. 
"Meet John Rollison Program at the Continental Army Encampment’s Artillery Amphitheater. Character Interpreter James Cameron will portray John Rollison, a free black man from York County.

1 p.m
Reading of the Declaration of Independence

12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m 
The Cigar Box String Band will play traditional American tunes as part of a “Great American Sing-along” with visitors
2 p.m. 
Effigy Tax Protest against the British Stamp Tax 


Check their website for more information!

Tour Yorktown Battlefield - the Scene of Surrender
Yorktown Battlefield Kids with Flag

iscover what it took for the United States to be independent as you explore the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.  Here at Yorktown, on October 19, 1781, Gen. Charles Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington and his American and French forces. The Siege at Yorktown effectively ended the war and ensured the independence we as Americans enjoy today.

Morning Patriotic Parade in Historic Yorktown

4th of July 2015 (24)

The big patriotic parade starts at 9 a.m. down Water & Main Streets and will include music by the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Ceremonial Band.

Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony & Live Concert

4th of July 2015 (13)

You should be able to see the fireworks from vantage points up and down the Yorktown Waterfront Tuesday night. They are scheduled to go off around 9:15 p.m. For those of you who want to enjoy a little pre-game entertainment, set up as close as you can to the Riverwalk Landing Stage a couple hours before that. The Sounds of Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony starts at 7 p.m., followed by a live concert at 8 p.m. featuring a performance from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command – Arsenal Brass Band.

Park & Ride Into Town During the Day

The Yorktown Trolley, the only form of public transportation in Yorktown, will run from approximately 10 a.m  (following the parade) until 5 p.m. It is free, air-conditioned, handicap-accessible, and includes several convenient stops: 


Star Bullet  Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center
Star Bullet  York-Poquoson Courts and Office Complex
Star Bullet  York County Administration Building
Star Bullet  Riverwalk Landing

Star Bullet  Watermen’s Museum

Star Bullet  American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Star Bullet  Intersection of Main and Ballard Streets

What You Need to Know About Evening Parking

Fireworks Over York River

The Yorktown Battlefield, located at the corner of Cook Road and Ballard Street, will be the central location for free parking for the evening festivities, including the fireworks. It will open to the public at 4 p.m. and will close once it reaches capacity

Remember, the Trolley stops running at 5 p.m. It is important to note that the walk from the Battlefield to the waterfront is approximately one mile and includes hills and uneven terrain so wear comfy shoes—that includes the kids! 

Those requiring handicapped parking and special assistance are asked to report to
Yorktown Middle School from 4-7 p.m. Special needs transportation will be provided for the handicapped/special needs individual and one escort for each individual. You'll be issued a pass and must hold onto it to return on the shuttle at the end of the evening. 

Drop-off will be at the Yorktown Waterfront, approximately 200 yards from the performance area. Due to limited shuttle capacity, we politely request all other individuals in the party take a separate vehicle to park at the Battlefield. The shuttle will make return runs from the Yorktown Waterfront to Yorktown Middle School between 9:45 – 10:30 p.m.

The fireworks should last anywhere from 15-18 minutes. Some of them will shoot up to 800 feet into the sky. Just to put that in perspective. The Washington Monument in D.C. is 555 feet tall!



Star Bullet  You may bring lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers
Star Bullet  Alcoholic beverages are prohibited
Star Bullet  Please consider leaving your pets at home
Star Bullet  BBQ grills are restricted to the beach picnic areas
Star Bullet  Beach picnic area is closed to vehicular traffic all day



As always, the festivities are contingent upon the weather. We all know how unpredictable summer weather can be. We'll be keeping an eye on the radar and will make the call if we see any approaching storms. Remember, parking is at an historic site – the Yorktown Battlefield. If conditions are too muddy, we can't open it up. We will post all big changes and announcements on our website ( as well as our social media accounts. We highly recommend you click on the below image to follow our Facebook event page. You can also follow us on Instagram or Twitter. Our hashtags are #visityorktown and #york757.