Happy Birthday, America! It's that time of year when we celebrate our freedom and the birth of the country we all know and love. This year, we proudly boast number 244 -- sure there's no real guide for what to give Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam this go-around, but luckily, we have some crowd favorites.

From old faithfuls, like fireworks exploding in the sky, to regional traditions like BBQs and the juiciest watermelon around, let's all bask in the excitement that is Independence Day.



The obvious

First, we start with the obvious fare: grilling, summer dishes, and of course, fireworks. Whether you're a family who drops serious dough to hear the big ka-booms, or prefers to swirl sparklers in your backyard, you're celebrating all the same. Join in with family and friends -- from a safe distance, of course -- to plan your day of American food-loving fun.

Hitting the zoo

Yes, the zoo! Check out your local animals this July 4th for free admission at many locations. Military members and their families can earn free access when visiting the zoos in Cincinnati or Birmingham. Everyone located elsewhere can still earn military discounts and a guaranteed fun day of animal viewing, along with activities themed red, white, and blue.

Water day

As the July heat has hit, spending the day in or near the water come July 4th is a crowd favorite. Certain water parks are offering free military admission this Fourth. (A welcome change as we've all been waiting for water parks to reopen, even at lowered capacities.) Meanwhile, the rest of us can enjoy days of swimming and boating near our duty station of choice.

Parades

District of Columbia National Guard supports Fourth of July mission

Most years, military bases are home to big 4th of July celebrations. They host everything from food trucks, to parades, to massive fireworks shows. However, with the pandemic in play, many of these events have been postponed or canceled outright. As an alternative, some fireworks shows are offering drive-in shows instead. Think of an old fashioned drive-in theater, but where the sky is the screen instead. To see if your area is hosting a drive-in show, check local event pages.

While 2020 is calling for a different form of celebrating this year, it doesn't mean military members and their families can't still party-it-up this 4th.

How will you celebrate Independence Day?