Best Fourth of July Fishing Destinations for 2021 for 2024

Jan 11, 2024 | 7 minute read
Reading Time: 7 minutes

What better way to celebrate the nation’s birthday than with a little fishing? Like many presidents before you, you’ll get to enjoy a peaceful getaway in nature or practice a little sport and recreation. What’s more, many states schedule their annual free fishing days for the Fourth of July, giving you even more of a reason to get out on the water. If you’re here in 2022, check out our latest picks for the best Independence Day fishing destinations.

An American flag on the back of a boat.

There are countless incredible places where you can cast a line in the US. To make choosing easier, we built this list of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations around both exciting angling and great seasonal activities. If you’re heading out with a crew with varied interests, it’s perfect for you. There’s something for everyone – from fishing to music, food, nature, and relaxation. 

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Fourth of July celebration without fireworks. There’s a lot to get through so let’s dive in!

Corpus Christi, Texas

An aerial view of Corpus Christi, one of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations.

Let’s kick things off in Texas. Everything is bigger here, right? That includes both fishing and Fourth of July celebrations! They call Corpus Christi the Gulf Coast Capital – and there’s a good reason for that. It’s home to excellent hotels and resorts, beaches, and kid-friendly attractions including the Texas State Aquarium. In terms of fishing, it’s something of an inshore haven.

You can target Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder in the grass flats and the sheltered waters of Corpus Christi Bay. Or, you may also want to take advantage of Red Snapper season by hopping on an offshore charter. Once you’re back, clean up and head to the bayfront, downtown seawall, or North Beach for “The Mayor’s Big Bang Fireworks Show”!

Destin, Florida

An aerial view of Destin, Florida, one of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations.

Next on our list of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations is a place better known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” Destin, Florida is home to sugar-white sand beaches, vibrant emerald-green waters, and one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the United States. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something here for anglers of all skill levels.

From inshore Gulf fishing in state waters and offshore fishing in federal waters to the sleepy bayous, beautiful lakes and pristine waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin has earned its reputation. After the sun sets, the Fourth of July celebrations begin! Enjoy spectacular firework displays over the Destin Harbor and the Santa Rosa Sound or head to the 10th Annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival for a tasty meal.

Nelson County, Virginia

A summer fog rolling down the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

There’s more to fishing in Virginia than the Chesapeake Bay. Nelson County offers many angling opportunities that allow you to escape the crowds – without missing out on the action. Bass anglers can head to the Tye and Little Piney Rivers, where they’ll have their shot at both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. There’s also Catfish, Bluegill, and Rock Bass on the cards to round out the freshwater offer.

Once you’ve had your fill of fishing, check out Crabtree Falls (the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi!) You can also hike sections of the Appalachian trail, or cycle down one of Virginia’s scenic byways. This is a real nature lover’s paradise. July means excellent weather for camping or, if you’re looking for a little R&R, hit the spa at Wintergreen Resort.

Lake Texoma, Oklahoma

Lake Texoma, one of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations, pictured at sunset.

There’s nothing better than a summer fishing trip in Oklahoma. The state is known for its sweeping vistas and numerous lakes offering excellent fishing – particularly Lake Texoma. It’s effectively split in two, with half belonging to Oklahoma and the other half to Texas. You’ll be primed for excellent Striped Bass action, alongside other freshwater favorites including Crappie and Catfish.

If you’re checking out the Oklahoma side of the lake, a visit to Lake Texoma State Park, located in Chickasaw Country, is more than worth it. With 93,000 surface acres of water, you can enjoy a range of water activities from boating, kayaking, and canoeing to swimming, fishing, and more. It’s also an excellent camping spot with two designated RV areas – perfect for your Fourth of July trip!

Crystal Coast, North Carolina

A long pier extending into the Bogue Sound on North Carolina's Crystal Coast.

Featuring 85 miles of gleaming Atlantic beaches and countless destinations to get the best catch of the day, North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is the perfect vacation destination for any angler. Fish here and you’ll have access to incredible species, both inshore and offshore. Anything from Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, and Striped Bass to Marlin, Tuna, and Sailfish is up for grabs. 

What’s more, the Fourth of July is a free fishing day in North Carolina! And there’s fun to be had off the water, too. This family-friendly destination offers activities for all ages and interests. From swimming and sandcastle building, sea animal exploration at the NC Aquarium, history tours at Fort Macon State Park, and family game competitions at Mac Daddy’s – it’s the epicenter of Fourth of July fun.

Missouri River, South Dakota

The shorelines of the river in South Dakota, one of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations.

If you’re seeking beautiful wildlife, there’s no better place to visit than South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore State has plenty to offer, but we’ll focus our attention on the central region, where the Missouri River flows. Also known as Mighty Mo’, it boasts 440 miles of waterway. Its five massive reservoirs are prime grounds for trophy Walleye, Bass, Catfish, Trout, Salmon, and Northern Pike.

If you’re looking to take a break from fishing, you can also retrace history on the Lewis & Clark Trail in the Lewis & Clark Recreation Area, experience Native American heritage along the Native American Scenic Byway, or take on seven miles of hiking and biking trails in the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve.

Huntington Beach, California

Crowds of tourists and sunbathers having fun in Huntington Beach, California.

Draw up a mental image of Southern California and it probably looks a lot like Huntington Beach. Known as “Surf City,” this laidback beach town boasts 10 miles of shoreline and, of course, excellent fishing. You can cast a line from the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, head out on an offshore charter to Catalina Island, or kayak in the sheltered waters of Huntington Bay.

Huntington delivers on Fourth of July celebrations, too. Enjoy the annual Independence Day Parade in the morning, before heading to the beach for a spectacular fireworks display by the pier. In the hours in between, check out one of the town’s excellent restaurants (pancakes are the signature dish here!), visit a local brewery, or watch the surfers do their thing at “The Wedge.”

Mackinaw City, Michigan

The mighty Mackinac Bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac, taken from the beach in Mackinaw City in late summer.

Located on the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Mackinaw City boasts easy access to the prolific waters of Lake Michigan. And summer on the lake is peak fishing season. Head into deeper waters and you could go home with Chinook Salmon. Stay closer to shore and there’s Trout and Bass for the taking. There are quite a few Fourth of July activities nearby, too!

Once you’re ready to start celebrating, hop on the ferry and head to Mackinac Island. It takes 15–25 minutes to get there and once you do, you’ll be transported right back to the 1880s. There’s a 38-gun salute, patriotic games, and performances, all taking place within the walls of historic Fort Mackinac. The fact that the main form of transport on the island is horse-drawn buggies only adds to the historic vibe.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston's "Rainbow Row," displaying the city's unique architecture.

Everybody loves Charleston. And how could you not?! With a historic downtown area, a great food and music scene, as well as incredible fishing, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations. The city is surrounded by Redfish-filled salt marshes and tidal creeks. Further out, wrecks fill the seafloor and funnel in everything from Black Seabass to Snapper and Grouper.

Celebrate the Fourth of July here and alongside excellent fishing, you’ll get a taste of that famed Southern hospitality. Enjoy the largest fireworks display in the Lowcountry in North Charleston, music and all-day events at Riverfront Park, or get a taste of the local cuisine from dozens of food trucks that’ll be parked nearby. What’s not to love?

Happy Birthday, America!

Fireworks over the water in the night sky.

We’ve covered some incredible US fisheries in this list of the best Fourth of July fishing destinations. And that’s just scratching the surface of what’s out there. Wherever you choose to cast a line, you won’t go wrong. 

The month of July brings with it excellent weather and peak fishing conditions across most of the United States. Add the fun, music, food, and fireworks of America’s birthday party to the mix and there’s hardly a better weekend to fish! Interested in seeing our picks from 2019? Check out the article here!

These are our picks for the best Fourth of July fishing destinations, but what are yours? Let us know in the comments below – we love to hear from you!

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Iva’s been traveling for as long as she can remember. The places that she gravitates to most are always by the water, so writing about fishing comes naturally to her. Come summertime, catch her on the shores of Lake Ontario in her hometown of Toronto.

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