AP file
The Mount Rushmore Memorial in the Black Hills area of Keystone, S.D.
updated 6/29/2006 3:17:34 PM ET 2006-06-29T19:17:34

Planning to spend the July Fourth weekend with your usual barbecue in the back yard, followed by the local fireworks? You still have time to mine the Internet for something different to do this year, with possibilities ranging from Western celebrations to patriotic extravaganzas.

Make it a really big weekend and celebrate Independence Day where it started, in Philadelphia which is making this year's observance a weeklong blast of music, eats, fireworks and history. Click on "Something for Everyone" to learn about music for all ears, food fairs, events for the kids and historical observances such as the ceremonial tapping of the Liberty Bell. And check out the events list for more, including something called "Philly @ The Movies featuring 'Rocky.'"

Boston claims to have the nation's biggest July 4 party with its annual concert by the Boston Pops and fireworks show set to music. Click on "Boston 4 Celebrations" and then "Related Links" for the Web site of the weeklong Boston Harborfest festival and for general visitors' guides to the Boston area and Massachusetts.

Elsewhere in the Northeast, there are pie-eating contests at Maine's Bath Heritage Days along with the traditional parades and fireworks.

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If you just want fireworks, enjoy them in a really cool setting, Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota's Black Hills. Click on "Special Events" for details. The Black Hills region is a great place to camp, hike and fish, and in some spots you can even pan for gold.

Prefer your fireworks really big and in an urban setting? Macy's sponsors the nationally televised incendiary display in New York and the municipal tourism Web sitehas details on other things to do in the city. Macy's also sponsors a huge July 4 pyrotechnics show during Taste of Chicago which offers food, music and family activities.

You could always take in something out of the ordinary, such as the annual Stone Skipping Competition on the beach of Mackinac Island, Michigan's venerable resort in Lake Huron. Click on "Historic Mackinac Island" for details on other things to do and a link to some stunning photos of this laid-back preserve where cars are not allowed.

Choose a Wild West weekend for July 4 at the World's Oldest Rodeo established in 1888 at Prescott, Ariz. It's about two hours north of Phoenix, and the mile-high elevation means it's always cooler than that desert city. While you're there, explore Prescott - Arizona's original territorial capital.

They're big on Fourth of July parades all over Texas, and Arlington claims to have one of the biggest with about 150 entries.

Expect to be in Southern California? The Rose Bowlis planning a day of food, music and the "biggest and best fireworks show in Southern California."

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