Ford Shaw, 4, of Corinth waves an American flag while watching the Fourth of July parade with his family in Bangor, July 4, 2018. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

The Fourth of July is upon us, and with it, summer weather, parades, fireworks, cookouts and, for some, a long weekend. To make the most of your Independence Day festivities, we’ve pulled together some day trips, swimming holes and grilling tips.

Parades, fireworks, races and more: Fourth of July events throughout Maine

Credit: Ashley L. Conti

Parades and fireworks are events du jour for Independence Day. We’ve got you covered for must-see parades and fireworks displays across the state, from Houlton to Jackman, to Eastport, to Bangor, to York. There will also be a 3K race in Brewer and a 5-mile road race in Bath, among others. Check out this list to see all the Independence Day festivities happening near you.

Where to go swimming in Greater Bangor

It’s going to be a hot holiday and weekend. The National Weather Service forecasts that temperatures will climb into mid-80s, with sunny skies throughout the state. Friday will be just as hot, with temperatures climbing into the high 80s. When it comes to staying cool, you don’t need to glue yourself in front of the air conditioner.

We’ve got seven great options for swimming holes, all of which are within 40 miles of Bangor, and all of which are easy to find with easy swimming for all ages. Note that most of these locations don’t have lifeguards on duty, so please swim responsibly.

Everything you need to know to master the art of grilling

Credit: Susan Tusa | Detroit Free Press | MCT

After enjoying the annual Fourth of July parade and cooling off at a local swimming hole, it’s time to fire up the grill with your friends and family. Before firing up the grill, it won’t hurt to pick up some tips and tricks to make the most of your Fourth of July cookout. This guide from The Washington Post and America’s Test Kitchen lays out the basic tools and techniques for success, including some must-have food-preparation tips.

This map will show you where it’s legal to set off fireworks

It has been seven years since Maine legalized fireworks, but that doesn’t mean anyone in Maine can set them off come July 4. About 50 municipalities have outright prohibited the use and sale of fireworks, while nearly 60 have ordinances restricting both. So before celebrating the birth of our nation with your own little pyrotechnic display, check this map to make sure you’re following the letter of the law. Don’t let your celebration become a cause for gloom: about 280 people are injured by fireworks a day from mid-June to mid-July.

6 day trips to take this summer in eastern and central Maine

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Maybe you want to leave behind the crowds and set off for new sites to see the sights, climb the hills, take in the art, drink the beers, eat the foods and just generally devour the beauty of a Maine summer. There are plenty of options within two hours of Bangor for those who want to be tourists in their own state. Check out these destinations from Down East to Mount Desert Island, to the midcoast and beyond. Of course, while you’re there, you can see the local flavor each town and city gives its Independence Day celebration.