Everybody knows that hot dogs taste best on the beach, which is just one more reason Cape Cod is a quintessential destination for a seaside Independence Day. Keep your eyes posted on local events listings in the weeks to come for a full-schedule of festivities around the Cape. In the meantime, here's a round-up of just some of the ways to show your stripes.

Forty miles out to shining sea, Fourth of July means one thing: whales. Yes, you can savor all the best of small-town America—from homespun parades in Wellfleet and Provincetown to old-fashioned lemonade at the Eastham Schoolhouse Museum—but then you can celebrate with giants. Dolphin Fleet offers an annual fireworks whale watch cruise, where your prime-spot view of
the humpbacks is also a prime view of the fireworks over Provincetown Harbor.

If you can’t be in two places at once, you will have to make a tough choice between the hometown parades in Chatham and Orleans. Either is sweetly nostalgic, and both towns offer a host of special events around the holiday. In Chatham, the season’s first band concert kicks off on Friday, June 28; in Orleans, fireworks over Rock Harbor begin Saturday, July 6 at dusk. To catch tomorrow’s stars earning their stripes, the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Harwich Mariners take on the Brewster Whitecaps on July 4th at Harwich's Whitehouse Field.

Oh say can you see … more than 30 amazing sand sculptures all around town when the annual Sand Sculpture Trail returns to Yarmouth, reminding you that wherever you are on Cape Cod, you’re never far from the shore. In Barnstable, you’re never far from a Fourth of July parade—you’ll find them in Hyannis, Barnstable Village, Hyannisport, Cotuit and Centerville, not to mention the annual boat parade in Hyannis Harbor, which you can watch from Ocean Street. The annual Hyannis fireworks display over Lewis Bay (July 4) is preceded by live music on the Village Green.

Falmouth is famous for being the hometown of “America the Beautiful” lyricist Katharine Lee Bates, and celebrations across the Upper Cape would make her proud. Start the festivities early in next-door Mashpee, where the annual fireworks display and community picnic will be held Monday, July 1 on the lawn of Mashpee High School. Live music, carnival games, train rides, and local food vendors are all part of the fun. On the big day, Falmouth’s annual flag-raising, cannonball-shooting, bike-and-carriage parade and spectacular fireworks display are as picture-perfect as any amber waves of grain. (Catch the fireworks at dusk from Falmouth Heights Beach or aboard the Island Queen.) Local history buffs will also appreciate the town's Carousel of Light on the grounds of Mullen-Hall School; kids who participate in the parade get a free token to ride on the hand-carved carousel. And over in Sandwich, the annual Town Fair offers its own vintage slice of Americana with an old-fashioned parade, egg toss and band concert. On Shawme Pond, the twinkling nighttime parade of boats, illuminated by paper lanterns, has been around since the 1800s. O beautiful, forever.

For more July 4th happenings on Cape Cod, click here!