Tips To Plan Your 4th of July Festivities

4th of July ideas, food ideas for 4th of July


Planning your 4th of July festivities? The 4th of July is one of the biggest summer celebrations. If you’re like me, you want to serve great food, plenty of drinks, games for the kids, games for the adults and delicious fruits to refresh everyone after the games. Hosting gatherings can get overwhelming. 

I have learned over the years to plan my summer celebrations and make lists to ensure I don’t forget anything. Here’s a few other tips:

Plan Your Menu

Meats – If you’re serving food that will take longer to cook, you should start cooking those foods on your grill or smoker at least an hour before the guest are scheduled to arrive. Burgers, hot dogs and sausages can be started shortly after guests start arriving, they don’t take as long to cook. You will find these items on my grill/smoker: 

  • Burgers 
  • Hot Dogs
  • BBQ Chicken
  • BBQ Ribs
  • Sausages
  • Buns
  • Condiments – ketchup, mustard, relish
  • Fixing – lettuce, tomatoes, onions 

Side Dishes – I fix as many of the cold dishes as I can the night before and refrigerate. I start anything that I can fix in the crockpots on low the night before. The house smells great in the morning. I love getting everybody excited about the day and their mouth watering for great food.  Here’s a few ideas for side dishes:

  • Potato Salad
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Pasta Salads
  • Baked Beans
  • Corn On The Cob
  • Green Beans & Corn
  • Greens 
  • Grilled squash and zucchini 
  • Salad -(I set out various bottles of salad dressing for guests to choose from)
Veggies/Chips and Dip – I make a dip for veggies and a dip for chips. If I serve a salad, I don’t do a veggie tray and dip.  

Fruits Everybody likes something refreshing on a hot summer day. I love to put a fruit salad together or do fruit skewers. 

Desserts – Be as simple or elaborate as you would like. I’m going to do several trifles this year using fresh strawberries, but I have been known to do a tray of brownies or cupcakes and the little cups of ice cream. 

DrinksMake sure you have plenty of water and drinks.  If you’re serving alcohol, beer and cocktails, please have a designated driver. 

Plan Your Games – I make sure I have plenty of activities for the kids and adults. Here’s a few ideas that I have used: 

  • Patriotic Crafts for the kids
  • Sack Races
  • Turn on the sprinkler
  • Hang water balloons
  • Use printables/coloring pages for the kids
  • Horseshoes
  • Badminton
  • Bingo
  • Cards
  • Charades

Solicit Co-Hosts I have learned that I can’t do everything and do it well, so I ask my family to help with keeping the food flowing, grilling, assisting with children’s crafts, games, music etc. Things go much smoother and it takes some stress off me.  
Decorations – I like to decorate on a budget, so I head to the Dollar Stores to buy items that I didn’t pick up on clearance the prior year. If your crafty make your own center pieces and luminaries to add festive touches. The Dollar Store sells festive plates, napkins, mini flags etc. Head to Michael’s or AC Moore for craft paint and other supplies that you can’t find at the Dollar Stores.  

I hope these ideas will help you remove some of the stress of entertaining and helps you plan a great backyard BBQ with family and friends. What are some of the dishes you prepare or activities you use to entertain guests?  

You may also like: 9 Kid’s Patriotic Craft Ideas



  1. We have some good friends who are hosting a party with the neighbors on each side and renting a huge bouncy house complete with slide and pool! Things sure have changed!

  2. This sounds delicious!! I'm going to spent this years 4th of July in Orlando! We are going there for our vacation and we are going to stay at where we'll also get a nice menu for the holiday! I was thinking about going to the beach on sunday too! 🙂

  3. Great tips here Rhonda. I just shopped for my picnic today. I too am putting together a trifle. They are so easy and feeds many. Wishing you a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!

    • Hi Michelle. I did enjoy the 4th of July. Too much food, but lots of laughter and a great time with family. Hope you enjoyed yours too.