On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers enacted a holiday of sheer greatness. Today, the holiday has become a celebration of drunken jubilation, fire grilled meat and things that go “boom.” Maybe acting like dumb Americans wasn’t the premier politicians’ plan (although Ben Franklin was supposedly quite the party animal), but hey, it has become tradition. This year, we’re showing you how to spend your Independence Day the right way—on L.A.’s beaches.

Redondo Beach Seaside Lagoon
This seaside soiree becomes an oasis for the whole family on the Fourth. If you’re looking for a tame place that the kids can enjoy, then this is the spot. There is supervised swimming in the lagoon, which is wave-less, so the little tykes can play safely. Food and beverages will be available on site for purchase. Once night falls, a pyro-musical laser show will commence with Jack 93.1 FM showcasing patriotic music in correspondence to the fireworks display.

Manhattan/Hermosa Beach
For the of-age crowd looking to party hardy, these beach towns turn it up for Indepedence Day. In Hermosa, the bedlam of bars on Pier Avenue will loosen the co-eds up before and after the fireworks displays. A few highlights include Waterman’s, American Junkie and Café Boogaloo. Along with the bars, an iconic event of Hermosa on the Fourth is the Iron Man competition. Contestants must run a mile, paddle a surfboard a mile and then chug a six-pack of beer. As for Manhattan, many bars line the pier area on Manhattan Beach Boulevard, including Hennessey’s Tavern, Brewco Manhattan Beach and the Strand House.

Dockweiler Beach Bonfires
Just North of Manhattan Beach lie the fire pits of Dockweiler. One key piece of advice for planning a patriotic celebration here is to arrive early. Spots will fill up quickly, leaving you and your cronies pit-less. Rally the troops for a long day defending your spot—the fire will be worth it come nightfall. Dockweiler provides a scenic getaway from the urban toils of L.A.

Venice/Santa Monica
Without a doubt, the freaks will come out for the Fourth of July in Venice beach. The boardwalk area will surely be a happening display of oddities expressing unique patriotism. And as for Santa Monica, the pier and the beach area are always a bit classier. From the Ferris wheel, to the fried food, the pier is a nice place to tower over the timeless surf and sand. Also, both locations will have a prime view of the fireworks display exploding from the barge off Marina del Rey.

There is nothing more American than grilling. Period. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple either. Everyone is a fan of traditional hot dogs and hamburgers.

With the burgers, there is no need for flashy extravagance. Not everyone may be down with burgers that are blue cheese infused, jalapeño stuffed, or Sriracha drenched (although, let’s be real: Everyone loves Sriracha). Even so, keep it simple—salt and pepper is adequate.

As for drinks, there is no escaping the patriotic emblem of beer – good American brew. And with all the microbreweries out there today, it’s easy to get some exceptional stuff as opposed to frat house lemonades, like Natural Light. After all, this is a celebration. Treat yo’self!

For those non-beer-drinkers, it may be a little difficult to perform expert mixology on the sand but here are a few simple cocktail ideas:

Bloody Mary: A classic. The bright crimson tomato juice will scream “‘merica!”
-2 ½ cups tomato juice
-4 oz vodka
-2 dashes of hot sauce (or more for the chili heads)
-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
-A squeeze of lemon
-Celery spears, crisp bacon (optional) for garnish

Firework: Gin n’ tonics and vodka sodas are boring. Try this fun cocktail:
-4 oz champagne
-1/3 oz gin
-1/2 oz tangerine schnapps

Blue Hawaii: Here’s a nod to our fellow patriots on the Aloha islands.
-3/4 oz light rum
-3/4 oz vodka
-1/2 oz Blue Curacao
-3 oz pineapple juice
-1 oz sweet and sour mix
-Garnish with pineapple slice and festive cocktail umbrella

While on the beach you and your fellow partygoers will benefit from a few fun activities to occupy your time. Here are a few ideas:

Wiffle Ball: It might be impossible to hit that cheese-graded ball “out of the park;” however, it’s appropriate for the crammed beaches of L.A.

Corn Hole: It sounds raunchy, but it’s great fun. Throw your sand bag into your opponent’s hole to win—just play it.

Pigskin: Football is America’s signature sport. Make Uncle Sam proud by tossing the old pigskin around. Simple, easy, classic.

Fireworks: Unfortunately, most of the good stuff is illegal in California. That means no bottle rockets, roman candles, M80s, boomers, shakers or screamers. Still, some of the spark spewing fountains can be fun, especially after a few adult beverages.