No. 1: Bucks County, Penn.
An easy drive from Long Island, Bucks County, Pa., is a landscape of gently rolling hills, stone houses and barns and picturesque towns. For a great excursion, drive the River Road, which parallels the Delaware River.
STAY: Bridgeton Housae B &B is a grest choice, located right on the river, with a choice of rooms overlooking the water. Some have private balconies to go along with the river view. Two-night minimum for the Fourth. ($189-$269 per night; 610-982-5856, bridgetonhouse.com. For more hotel choices, go to: www.visitbuckscounty.com)
EAT: In New Hope, Centre Bridge Inn offers fine dining overlooking the canal. (215-862-9139, centrebridgeinn.com)
SHOP: Hit Main Street, in New Hope for a little bit of everything; to go upscale, cross the bridge into Lambertville, N.J. and check out the stores along Bridge Street.
ON THE WATER: Go out rafting, canoeing or tubing on the Delaware. Bucks County River Country can arrange it all for you, including a "Full Moon Splash" night boating excursion. (215-297-5000, rivercountry.net)
A GRAND OLD FOURTH: Celebration of Freedom. Live entertainment, kids’ activities; fireworks show, 9:15 p.m. (4-10 p.m. Saturday, July 3 at Peddlers Village in Lahaska, Pa.; 215-794-4000, peddlersvillage.com)
No. 2: Atlantic City. NJ.
If you can’t figure out how to party in A.C., there’s something wrong with you.
STAY: A.C. is awash in hotels and casinos, check www.dealbase.com for great weekend deals.
EAT: Have a bite at Teplitzky’s, the retro coffee shop at the chic Chelsea Hotel on the boardwalk. (111 South Chelsea Ave.; 609-428-4550; www.thechelsea-ac.com)
SHOP: Adidas to Yankee Candle Company. Get a deal on everything from home accessories to kids’ stuff at The Walk Outlets, right in the heart of town.
ON THE WATER: Hit the boardwalk and stroll along till you find just the right stretch of pure white sand. Or, if saltwater isn’t your thing, spend some time relaxing at one of the hotel spas. One of the best is at the Borgata, which is a good reason to stay there. (Spa Toccare 609-317-7155, theborgata.com)
A GRAND OLD FOURTH: Borgata and Harrah’s are sponsoring a fireworks show over the Marina; showtime is at 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 4.
No. 3: Mystic, Conn.
Celebrate the sea at Connecticut’s premier whaling town.
STAY: The Whaler’s Inn. Right in the heart of town, the Whaler’s Inn offers several types of rooms, plus a welcoming verandah. ($169-$259, 800-243-2588, whalersinnmystic.com)
EAT: S & P Oyster Co. offers waterside dining and an extensive seafood menu. (860-536-2674, sp-oyster.com)
SHOP: Both West Main Street and Water Street offer fine shopping, with everything from antiques to clothing to kids’ stuff.
ON THE WATER: The Museum’s Boathouse offers several sails, with costs ranging from $5 per person for half an hour to $75 for 90 minutes. (mysticseaport.org)
A GRAND OLD FOURTH: A special 1876 celebration takes place on the Village Green with hambutgrts, hot dogs, lobster rolls and chowder. There will also be a parade and live entertainment. ( 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, July 4)