Things to Do on July 4th Weekend in Yorktown!
There are so many reasons to visit Yorktown VA on July 4th! Lots of free family-friendly celebrations featuring a full lineup of events leading up to the big fireworks finale!
- 8 AM: Yorktown Independence Day 8K Run/Walk – York High School
- 9 AM: Parade on Water & Main Streets
- 1 PM: Family Games & Kids’ Activities (sponsored by Riverwalk Landing Business Association) Riverwalk Landing) including the Hotdog Eating Contest!
- 2 PM: Acoustical Guitarist Phil Poteat – Riverwalk Landing Stage
- 3 PM: Patriotic Food Pavilion Opens – Location: Riverwalk Landing
- 4 PM: Event Parking Opens – Corner of Cook Road and Ballard Street
- 7 PM: The Fifes and Drums of York Town Performance
The Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Sounds of Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony – Riverwalk Landing Stage
- 8 PM: Super Jazz Band Concert featuring Conni Ironmonger – Riverwalk Landing Stage
- 9:15: PM FIREWORKS Display over the York River
The public is invited to celebrate Yorktown’s 44th Independence Day Celebration on Tuesday,
July 4. This free family-friendly event includes activities on Historic Main Street and also at the
waterfront at Riverwalk Landing. Visitors can take advantage of special programming at the American
Revolution Museum at Yorktown (additional tickets are required for non-York County, James City
County, and Williamsburg residents).
4th of July in Yorktown Schedule of Events 2023
· 8 a.m. The Yorktown Independence Day 8K Run/Walk – (Virtual & In person)
Location for Walk & Run: Tour Road near York High School Race Day registration/t-shirt distribution begins at 7 a.m. Medals will be distributed at the finish line for first 600 registered runners. Please see additional race info below
· 9 a.m. Patriotic Parade on Water Ballard and Main Streets
Enjoy the annual parade in Historic Yorktown as musicians, performers and local groups pass by and pass out flags. The theme for the parade this year is “The Best of America”. The route starts at the Beach Picnic Area on Water Street (by the fishing pier), and makes its way down Water Street up Ballard Street, and then takes a left onto Main Street, ending at the Victory Monument. Here is a link to the Parade Route
Food Trucks, Games, Hot Dog Eating Contest & Family Fun!
Riverwalk Landing | 1 – 9:45 p.m.
For those of you who want to make a day out of your visit—stick around for fun children’s activities that kick off at 1 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing. Enjoy corn hole, hula hoops, and other outdoor games…even a hot dog eating contest presented by Carrot Tree Kitchens and Toby’s Dog House. They’re still looking for contestants! If you’re interested, call 757.988.1999. You’ll have five minutes to eat as many dogs as you can. Prizes include Carrot Tree gift cards and T-shirts!
The D.A.R.E. tent will be scooping Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and serving freshly squeezed lemonade. They will also have goodies for the pint-sized patriots including glow bracelets, necklaces, and pinwheels. All Pavilion proceeds will go to support the York-Poquoson Sheriff Office’s D.A.R.E. Program.
· 2 p.m Acoustical Guitarist Phil Poteat – Riverwalk Landing Stage -While you’re playing games and visiting food trucks, take in the sounds of acoustical guitarist Phil Poteat starting at 2 p.m. on the Riverwalk Landing Stage.
· 3 p.m. Patriotic Food Pavilion Opens – Location: Riverwalk Landing – Historic Yorktown’s restaurants will be open for business so you can grab lunch or dinner, and there will also be several to-go options at the Patriotic Food Pavilion, open by 3 p.m., until the fireworks are over. This year’s food trucks and vendors include local favorites like Coastal Thirst, Smoke BBQ, Kona Ice, D.A.R.E., Chef Joseph’s, Boyd’s Tasty Dogs, Little Piggy’s Wurst Nightmare, Pop’s Kettle Corn, and Snack Attack.
· 7 p.m. Sounds of Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony, Riverwalk Landing Stage – Every Independence Day, after the reading of the Declaration of Independence, each of the 13 colonies is acknowledged along with the original signers from the Second Continental Congress who together formed the United States of America. The ceremony begins a 7 p.m. at the Riverwalk Landing Stage. The Fifes and Drums of York Town kick off the event at the Riverwalk Landing Performance Stage and each year a different child from the audience is bestowed the very special honor of ringing the bell.
· 8 p.m. Super Jazz Band Concert featuring Conni Ironmonger – Riverwalk Landing Stage – Concert begins directly after the Liberty Bell-Ringing Ceremony.
Fireworks Over the York River
· 9:15 p.m. Spectacular Fireworks Display – Fireworks are set over the York River and they are magnificent! The show starts at 9:15 and lasts about 15-18 minutes. Location: Over York River – Visible from Yorktown Waterfront & Victory Monument. You should be able to see the fireworks anywhere at the waterfront or up on Main Street at the Victory Monument. Some of the fireworks will shoot up to 800 feet into the sky. Just to put that in perspective a little—the Washington Monument in D.C. is 555 feet tall!
Guests are encouraged to arrive early. Plan accordingly, the walk from the Yorktown Battlefield to the waterfront is approximately one mile and includes hills and uneven terrain. At the conclusion of the fireworks, Yorktown will be temporarily closed to incoming traffic, including any pick-up services, so that Sheriff’s Deputies may safely exit all vehicles. Depending on the crowd, the process should take roughly an hour.
It’s important to note that once the shuttle is parked at the waterfront at 7:30 p.m., it will remain there until after the fireworks—with the first trip back to York Middle School beginning at 9:45 p.m. Return trips will take place until 10:30 p.m. Each person must possess his or her pass to board the shuttle.
FYI – While visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers, alcoholic beverages are prohibited. There will be several Yorktown restaurants open for business, and several to-go options at the Patriotic Food Pavilion, which will be open from 4 to 9:15 p.m. The food trucks and vendors will be set up at Riverwalk Landing and include local favorites.
Independence Day 8k Run or Walk (more details)
**The York County Historical Museum is still accepting registrations for its annual Independence Day 8K/5K Run/Walk and offers both in-person and virtual options this year. The 8 a.m. 8K race takes place along the scenic tour roads and trails of the Yorktown Battlefield—the same path American and French allies took to win the last major battle of the Revolutionary War to secure our nation’s independence. The Fifes and Drums of York Town will lead a procession at the beginning of the race on the tour road near York High School. Participants registered by June 27 receive a t-shirt. Those signed up after that date will receive a t-shirt while supplies last, so sign up early to ensure you get one! At the finish line, runners will receive a medal designed by a York High School student artist. The family-friendly 5K Fun Run is not timed, but finishers will receive a challenge coin. Registration is $45 for the 8K and $35 for the 5K. Refreshments will be served at the finish line. Awards and prizes will also be given.
Schooner Alliance Sails
Reserve your seat on Yorktown’s homeported tall ship for a kid centric Pirate Adventure Cruise, daily history sightseeing voyages, or romantic sunset sails. The ship leaves Riverwalk Landing Piers, morning and afternoon departures. Book your tickets here.
Liberty Celebration at American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Interpretive programs, artillery demonstrations and learn about the challenges that faced our nation’s founders, including those who signed the Declaration of Independence, as well as those for whom the new nation’s rights of freedom and liberty did not yet apply. Indoors and out, enjoy these liberty experiences from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m…More info here
Patriot Tours & Provisions
Another fun activity is the Patriot Tours & Provisions they have a guided Segway tour, kayaks, bicycles, and paddle boards to explore the water and go at your own pace, more information here.
Spend the day enjoying the beach, it’s always a lively place with everyone decked out in their 4th of July beach attire!
Important Parking Information
All-day street traffic blockades include Zweybrucken Road, Comte de Grasse Street, a portion of Water Street, Ambler Street, and Main Street (from Zweybrucken to Ballard). The Beach Picnic Area will also be closed to vehicular traffic. Pedestrian traffic only. Church, Nelson, Smith, and Bacon Streets will be restricted to residents only.
Beginning at 4 p.m.,unless you are a Yorktown Village resident, Historic Yorktown Village business owner, or have an official pass—you will not be able to enter Historic Yorktown by car. Visitors attending the evening activities must park on the Yorktown Battlefield at the corner of Cook Road and Ballard Street, which can be accessed by Cook Road or the Colonial Parkway. The Battlefield will remain open to the public until it reaches capacity.
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:
- York County Courts & Office Complex
- Intersection of Main and Ballard Streets (York Hall)
- Riverwalk Landing
- Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center
- Watermen’s Museum
- American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Morning parade closures include Water Street (from Read St. to Mathews St.) from 8:45 to 10 a.m., and Ballard Street (from Water St. to Alexander Hamilton Blvd.) from 8:45 to 10 a.m. Traffic coming into town off George Washington Memorial Highway via Alexander Hamilton Boulevard from 8:45 to 10 a.m. will be directed away from the parade route. The town will re-open to vehicular traffic following the parade.
Other Important Notes: Barbecue grills are limited to the National Park Service Beach Picnic Area with designated areas for the disposal of hot coals. The Beach Picnic Area is open to the public on July 4th, but closed to all vehicles the entire day. It is also recommended that pet owners leave their dogs at home during the fireworks, as the heat, crowds, music, and fireworks can be upsetting for many animals.