Fourth of July 2014 in Miami: The Ten Best Things to Do on Independence Day

Another high-pressure holiday is almost upon us: the Fourth of July. As with Memorial Day, Labor Day, and St. Paddy's Day, you'd better have some seriously awesome plans, or your Instagram feed will feel sadly bereft of likes come Monday morning.

So if you're still scrambling for something amazing to do that'll impress your friends in far-flung, less-cool cities, have no fear. Here's our list of the top ten ways to spend Uncle Sam's big day.

See also: Fourth of July 2014 Weekend Events in Miami

10. Check out fireworks from the sand on Miami Beach.

Nothing screams South Florida like toes in the sand, drink in hand, and rainbow-hued explosives bursting above. Miami Beach is the quintessential spot for the Fourth of July, and this year is no exception. Don a patriotic bikini or banana hammock and pop up a picnic for the one day a year when Miami feels like America.

The fireworks take place at the North Beach Bandshellat 73rd Street and Collins Avenue at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

9. Watch the hot-dog-eating contest in Coconut Grove.

Unrecognizable pig parts are as American as it gets, and every year enthusiastic eaters go mouth-to-mouth to put away as many frankfurters as humanly possible. Going on year six, the competition gives each contestant ten minutes to down dogs. Last year's winner ate 11. That's 1.1 hot dogs per minute. Impressive. And afterward, you can walk over to Peacock Park for the fireworks show.

The contest takes place at 5 p.m. in CocoWalk. The picnic and fireworks happen at Peacock Park from 5 to 9 p.m. Both are free.

8. Check out the speedway at Race to the Fourth in Homestead.

If you're looking for a vibe that's a little less Miami and a little more 'Murica, Homestead is your spot. This annual event will feature tunes by Mojo Scoundrels and Main Highway, mechanical rides for the kids, food, drinks, games, and a dazzling fireworks display.

The event takes place at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It runs from 6 to 10 p.m., and admission is free.

7. Listen to country tunes at Jungle Island.

Miami's animal paradise is hosting its first 99.9 Kiss Country Music Festival. Listen to country crooners Craig Campbell and Casey James, do some line dancing, ride a mechanical bull, eat barbecue, and watch some patriotic pyrotechnics. Plus monkeys and reptiles and other critters.

The event takes place at Jungle Island. It runs from 2 to 9 p.m. Admission costs $34.95 for adults and $26.95 for kids. Military personnel get in free.

6. Root for your team at the World Soccer Fest Watch Party.

If your World Cup mania is stronger than your Independence Day pride, you're not alone. But you don't have to choose; you can combine the two at the Seminole Hard Rock. There will be World Cup games on an outdoor screen, along with food trucks, a DJ, and a halftime parade featuring samba dancers, drummers, capoeira performers, bikini flag models, and sexy soccer players. And if that's not incentive enough, it's followed by live tunes, rock climbing, sexy stilt walkers, face painters, henna tattoo artists, patriotic roller-skating dancers, a cigar lounge, swimsuit models, and more. Plus fireworks.

The event takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. It runs from 4 to 9 p.m., and it's free.

5. See a patriotic parade on Key Biscayne.

Nothing says Norman Rockwell like an old-fashioned parade for the Fourth. The 55th annual installment of this cavalcade will feature patriotically themed professional floats, marching groups, and even a homemade float contest. Expect lots of Uncle Sam-style top hats and a gazillion waving flags.

The parade heads south on Crandon Boulevard from Harbor Drive to West Enid and begins at 11 a.m. It's free.

4. Party in Bayfront Park.

Dubbed "America's Birthday Bash," this is a Miami-style soiree -- big, raucous, and anything but subtle. Bayfront Park will be transformed into a patriotic party pit featuring a Sam Adams beer garden, lawn games, a kids' zone, live tunes, photo ops, and all kinds of other stuff to entertain you till the fireworks blast off.

The event takes place at Bayfront Park. The park is open all day, but events run from 2 to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

3. Drink from a red Solo cup at 'Que 'N' Cups at the Federal.

The Fourth of July isn't complete without meat (or meat substitutes) sizzling on the grill. And the Federal Food Drink & Provisions is celebrating our nation's 238th b-day with PBR, red Solo cups, and Southern-style eats. For $20, attendees can drink their fill from a self-serve bar featuring batch cocktails such as the Red, White, and Blueberry Sangria. Plus, there will be eats ($8 to $18) like barbecue deviled eggs, Southwest mac 'n' cheese, and smoked short ribs.

The event takes place at the Federal. It runs from 6 p.m. until close.

2. Hear live music in Miami Lakes.

If you reside farther north and don't want to fight horrific holiday traffic, make your way to the Miami Lakes concert and fireworks show. Spend some QT with the fam and settle in for live tunes and an impressive air show. Take along blankets, chairs, and red, white, and blue snacks to share.

The event takes place at Miami Lakes Picnic Park West at 15151 NW 82nd Ave. It starts at 5 p.m., and it's free.

1. Cruise to Bimini.

If you want to avoid Miami madness altogether, hop on the Bimini SuperFast. You'll get to drink, dance, and gamble (like a good American) all the way to the Bahamas. Then party on the beach before heading back to the Magic City.

The cruise leaves from PortMiami's Terminal H at 9 a.m. and returns at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $64.50 per person.

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