There’s no shortage of fun activities to do on July 4th. From neighborhood parades to backyard cookouts with friends and family, Independence Day gives us more fun options than there are hours in the day. For those of us who want to celebrate the holiday with a bang, there’s no bigger bang than a firework show that goes all-out. We’ve rounded up some of the most jaw-dropping displays across the country that will blow you away.
Where to Celebrate the 4th in Pensacola
2019 Pensacola Bay Fireworks Celebration
Thu, Jul 4, 4 – 11 PM CDT
Saltgrass Steak House
905 E Gregory St, Pensacola, FL
From Eventbrite.com: Join us at Saltgrass Steak House – Pensacola for a VIP Fireworks viewing experience with some of the best views in the city! MENU Homemade Beer Bread and choice of soda, iced tea or coffee COURSE…
Sertoma’s Independence Day Celebration
Thu, Jul 4
311 E Government St, Pensacola, FL
From Visitpensacola.com: The Sertoma Clubs, are proud to announce the 29th annual 4th of July Celebration for Pensacola and our visitors. Including the largest Fireworks display on the Gulf Coast over Pensacola Bay on…
Independence Day Fireworks
Thu, Jul 4in 2 days
Casino Beach Bar & Grille
41 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL
From Visitpensacola.com: Celebrate your independence with fireworks on the sound side of the Island.
4th of July Fireworks Cruise
Thu, Jul 4, 8 – 11 PM CDT
Downtown, Pensacola, FL
From Dopensacola.com: Come view the beautiful downtown fireworks from the ferry this 4th of July
Now in its 43rd year, the nation’s largest fireworks display lights up the night over the East River. This year, fireworks will go off from and near the iconic Brooklyn Bridge while paying homage to the theme of “American cinema.” You can expect to see tributes to the Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Superman and E.T. through a very dramatic score. In the area? There’s no better vantage point than on the water via the Circle Line, Seastreak, or Spirit cruises.
Philadelphia lives up to its status as “America’s Birthplace” by starting the celebration days ahead of July 4th! There are two firework shows before the big one on Independence Day itself. On the 4th, the city shuts down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway leading up to the Philadelphia Art Museum (where the fireworks will go off overhead) for the biggest “block party” you’ll enjoy. In the hours before the fireworks, you’ll also get to enjoy a concert featuring Jennifer Hudson and Meghan Trainor.
Our nation’s capital goes big with a fireworks display illuminating the many significant historical monuments and memorials in the area. Viewing areas include the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorials, among others. The best spot may be the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, especially if you arrive early to enjoy the live concert, A Capitol Fourth, put on by PBS. This year includes a salute to the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street and a performance of the 1812 Overture by the National Symphony Orchestra.
The nation’s oldest public Fourth of July celebration scores a 20-minute long fireworks display with music by the Boston Pops (this year, they’ll host special guest Queen Latifah). As with other shows, arriving early for a good spot will reward you with even more entertainment — like a 50th anniversary tribute to Woodstock by Arlo Guthrie.
The Flaming Lips, Keith Sweat and Brett Young lead the entertainment at “America’s Biggest Birthday Party,” which takes place at the famous Arch. The fireworks show takes place nightly from July 4-6. Over the course of those three days, 15,000 pounds of fireworks will certainly let freedom ring.
There’s nothing quite like New Orleans’ annual Fourth of July fireworks display. Where else can you see two displays going off at once from dueling barges on the Mississippi River? You can see this show from really any part of town, but the closer you get to the river, the better! For an extra-special night, make a reservation to watch from the New Orleans riverboats: the Creole Queen and the Steamboat Natchez.
Located just outside of Dallas, Addison’s annual fireworks display routinely tops “best of” lists (including accolades from the American Pyrotechnics Association). While most fireworks shows go for 20 minutes, Addison’s is one of the longest in the nation at 30! If you go, you’re in good company — the town of Addison’s population increases from around 16,000 to 500,000. Just make sure to arrive on the right day: The fireworks go off on the 3rd, not the 4th.
One of Southern California’s largest fireworks display takes place at the Rose Bowl Stadium, where there’s plenty of seating to take in the spectacular scene. If you plan on getting there early — say, 2 pm — you can keep your little ones occupied at the Family Fun Zone held on-site.
9. Las Vegas, Nevada:
Fourth of July Fireworks (multiple shows)
The Strip is a sight to see on Independence Day, and it’s not just because of the neon signs and fanciful casino light shows. From Mandalay Bay to Caesar’s, multiple casinos compete with shows and displays. It’s up to you to decide which you like best!
It’s HERE – the popular trend of setting New Year’s resolutions for yourself that are often short-lived and unachievable. Instead of focusing only on yourself in 2019, set new intentions in your home with practical home management goals. Welcome to our list of top home improvement New Year’s Resolutions.
One of the biggest games of the year is approaching and you’re hosting, but are you completely prepared for “Super Bowl Sunday”?
Whether you’re cheering for The Patriots or The Rams, or you’re just here to watch Maroon 5 rock it out at half-time, these tips will help you get your home ready for all the food, fun, and guests that come along for the party!
Plus, read until the end to find some of our favorite Super Bowl Sunday recipes!
Imagine all the little perks of vacation with the comforts of home included. Enter the staycation. Vacationing in your hometown doesn’t have to be boring or stressful. In fact with the right preparation, you can enjoy your time off without the struggle of being a tourist or spending too much money on a fancy hotel! All you need is a few days of planning to create the staycation of your dreams.
Tackle the Chores
One of the best parts of staying at a hotel is walking into a clean room every day without having to lift a finger. Unfortunately, we don’t have maids at home to help with this, which is why we need to prepare in advance to maximize our relaxation time. Plan to clean all areas of your home several days ahead. Include laundry in this so no there is no need to do anything other than enjoy once you go into staycation mode.
No one wants to worry about dinner while you’re trying to create a vacation experience. Make sure to pick your favorite recipes and prep them in advance. Spoil the family by having their favorite snacks handy. Diversify your staycation menu by planning to order a couple of meals from your favorite restaurant or eatery.
If you’re the type that finds cooking relaxing, consider trying a new recipe as one of your at home activities. Just make sure to pick up the necessary ingredients during your early shopping and you will be able to make cooking during your staycation an experience. Incorporate your favorite wine, music and celebrity chef (on screen) – to create a personal cooking class.
Set the Scene
Consider what you need most to help you feel relaxed, and bring that into your home. You will want to start by picking designated spaces to prepare. If you’re into the outdoors, use your space to create a sanctuary. String up lights, set up a little camping space, and bring your favorite book along. Now you’re enjoying the great outdoors.
If the spa is more your pace, set up your bathroom to feel like a one. This can include candles, air purifiers, and bath pillows. You can make your staycation even better by booking an at-home massage. If you have kiddos, make sure to set up play-stations for them to enjoy in between activities.
The chores are done, the meals are planned and the scene is set. All there is left to do is prepare to get comfortable. Whether your home is the coziest place on earth or it could use a few extra touches, there are always little things you can do to maximize your level of comfort.
Buy new bed sheets to add a touch of hotel luxury to your staycation. Afterward, you will have an additional set to alternate with. Finally, adjust the lighting to match your mood. Consider purchasing a dimmer switch or a lamp with the option built in. This way you can easily dim the lights around your home, and fall into the ultimate relaxation mode.
It is important to know what you will be doing from the beginning. This way you won’t have to spend time wondering how to entertain yourself. A staycation doesn’t have to mean being lazy on the couch or sleeping in. You’re off from responsibilities so you will want to make the most of your time. This is a great time to plan to attend events you’re normally too busy to get to during your regular week. Map out exactly what you want your days to look like and what needs to be done to make that happen. After, delegate a task to the family for quicker preparation. Before you know it, you will be ready for the ultimate stay at home vacation.
Not interested in hosting your staycation at your home? Insert the Rental Staycation. The ability to travel 20 minutes to the coast or an hour away from your hometown allows you to escape enough to stay a local and still relax. Check out some of our newest rentals that went up just in time for your Holiday Staycation!
If you’re anything like us, you have the best intentions when entertaining. Nothing but the finest bath towels in the guest bathroom! Casually arranged trays of Perrier and Yankee Candles everywhere.
In reality, just hours before guests arrive you’re more than likely frantically cleaning and febreezing every corner in sight. Don’t worry- your guests will forgive you if the house isn’t in catalog condition. But you know what they won’t forgive? Some frankly disgusting stuff that you might have overlooked in your haste to pretty things up.
With some expert help, we’ve identified the top things in your house that are grossing out your guests. Some of these problem areas are quick fixes, but others will take a little more planning and effort to resolve.
Start addressing the ick factor now, and you’ll be wowing your guests in no time.
1. Dirty Bathroom
Rings around the tub, grime on the shower floor, and toothpaste scum in the sinks are not just visually unappealing, but they also make your guests wonder how well the house has been maintained. It’s crucial to keep the things people can see, clean.
2. Shower Curtain Liner
Nobody wants to see your discolored or mildewed liner when they step into the shower to, you know, get clean. Before guests arrive, toss your liner into the washer with a cup of vinegar and a few towels; run a short cycle for five minutes, then let everything soak for an hour. Turn the cycle back on, and hang the liner up to dry.
3. Pet hair
Nothing says “welcome to our home” like tufts of dog hair floating across your living room like tumbleweeds. An easy solution: Vacuum regularly (and if you’re strapped for time or just plain lazy, invest in a set-it-and-forget-it robotic vacuum).
4. Dirty hand towels
Would you want to dry your hands on the same damp towel everyone else in the house has been using? Spring for some disposable hand towels, and save your guests the disgust factor—and a possible trip to urgent care.
5. Fuzzy toilet seat cover
We can’t believe this is still a thing. But alas, here we are, and guests will certainly be grossed out for all the same reasons as above. These things are germ magnets, given their proximity to the throne.
6. Used, old pillows
The guest room might seem like a good place to put your old pillows that you just can’t bring yourself to toss. But here’s a hard truth to face: If you wouldn’t sleep on those pillows, your guests shouldn’t have to, either.
7. Old sponges and loofas
Toss them after a week or so of use, and hide them when guests are around.
8. Your slow draining shower
Nobody wants to stand in 3 inches of dirty water. Hire a plumber to investigate the source of any backup, and save your guests this indelicate nightmare.
9. Sticky Counters
Sticky cabinet and counter surfaces—typically the result of grease buildup from months and years of cooking—are a major cringe-inducer for guests.
Ready to Escape the In-Laws this Holiday?
There is plenty to do in Florida and so much of it offers warm, sunny skies during the Winter months! Vacationing has never been cheaper with vacation rentals, hotels, new resorts popping up on almost every corner for most of the Florida Coast. It’s even worth noting that Airlines flights are relatively inexpensive nowadays. Many traveling sites and traveling services offer apps where you can track flight prices and book at the exact time when you see a price you like. Talk about convenient! The holidays are right around the corner and if you’re looking to escape the cold weather and get your family into some sunshine there is no better place to look than Florida. Check out our 7 picks for Christmas or Holiday getaways below.
Florida’s family-entertainment capital goes all out for Christmas with a constant stream of events that starts immediately after Thanksgiving. At Walt Disney World, check out Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, watch Cinderella’s castle twinkle with ice-blue lights, and stand awestruck at the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! nighttime spectacular show. While you’re in town, check out the Hogwarts Christmas decorations at Universal’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, attend the Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art, and meet Santa at Legoland’s Christmas Bricktacular. If you’re missing the snow, head to Gaylord Palms to wander through massive ice sculptures, fly down two-story ice slides, and try snow tubing at the Alpine Village. Source: Flickr/Angela Zhoa
Tampa is home to one of Florida’s most popular holiday traditions: Christmas Town in Busch Gardens. Each December, the theme park comes to life with millions of colorful Christmas lights, creating an experience that is pure magic. Watch holiday shows, meet the reindeer in Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland, and stop in for a photo in Santa’s House. Kids can even try sledding and snowman-building in the enclosed Snow World. Another favorite Tampa event is Snow on 7th, a holiday parade capped off by a real snowfall created by hidden snow machines. Other local holiday events include the Wonderland of Lights in Brandon, the Henry B. Plant Museum’s annual Victorian Christmas Stroll, Santa Fest, and the Rough Riders Holiday Parade. Source: Facebook/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
As one of South Florida’s most popular vacation destinations, Miami pulls out all the stops at Christmas. The undisputed favorite is Santa’s Enchanted Forest, which turns Tropical Park into a twinkling wonderland of lights. You might need multiple days to try more than 100 carnival rides, watch holiday-themed music and dance shows, and indulge in decadent Christmas treats. The rest of Miami also gets into the Christmas spirit, offering you the chance to watch animal-themed parades at Wild Holidays at Jungle Island, experience an old-fashioned holiday at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and watch lighted boats from Bayfront Part during the Miami Outboard Club’s Holiday Boat Parade. For an elegant evening out, listen to traditional tunes at the annual Sounds of the Season concert at The New World Symphony. Source: Facebook/Santa’s Enchanted Forest
Settle into a Panhandle Christmas in Pensacola. Elves dance merrily in falling snow at the Pensacola Winterfest, a massive, month-long festival. Take your little ones on a bright red trolley, climb into Santa’s sleigh, check out the Polar Express train, and don’t miss the hilarious Elf Parade. At the Pensacola Christmas Parade, look up to see an aerial show by the Blue Angels. The Pensacola Children’s Chorus sing traditional Christmas songs at Christmas on the Coast, and at Santa Drop, you can see Santa parachute out of a plane. For an only-in-Florida experience, watch costumed surfers ride the waves at the Surfing Santa Parade. Source: Facebook/Winterfest Pensacola
In Sarasota, you can have the best of both worlds: a sunny vacation and classic snowy Christmas activities. At Lakewood Ranch’s Snow Fest Sarasota, your little ones can play in the snow, tube down huge snow slides, and step into a giant snow globe. When you’ve had your fill of the white stuff, check out the Candy Cane Hula Hoopers, ride ponies, and visit with Santa. Historic Spanish Point hosts Holly Days and Mangrove Lights, where you can walk through twinkling forests, explore festively decorated homestead buildings, and enjoy outdoor caroling. Put bells on your shoes for the Annual Jingle and Jog, attend the Sarasota tree lighting, and head to Main Street to watch for Santa in the annual Holiday Parade. Source: Facebook/Visit Sarasota County
6. St. Augustine
The medieval city of St. Augustine turns up the charm during the holidays. As part of the Nights of Lights festival, the historic buildings glow with millions of tiny lights, turning every evening walk into a dream. Use the free park and ride the shuttle to streamline travel from your local vacation rental. The fun continues with the St. Augustine Christmas Parade, which runs through downtown and ends with a meet-and-greet with Santa in the Plaza de la Constitucion. On Luminary Night, explore the St. Augustine Lighthouse in the glow of thousands of luminaries, and check out the Victorian Christmas decorations. For a beachy holiday event, head to Surf Illumination at St. Augustine Beach, to visit Santa and see the pier light up for Christmas. Source: Facebook/St. Augustine, Florida Image source
7. Captiva Island
Put a tropical spin on your Christmas in Captiva Island. Get into the festive spirit at the Captiva Holiday Village, where you can watch a tree lighting and experience a fireworks show with a view of the ocean. Opera singers serenade the crowd during Sunset Arias, and the South Seas Island Resort Holiday Stroll features Christmas lights and family-friendly activities such as ornament-making stations. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Luminary Festival, the Christmas Carol Sing at the Chapel By the Sea or the lighted boat parade. For the full island experience, watch the charming Captiva Golf Cart Parade, where residents turn tiny carts into over-the-top Christmas masterpieces. Source: Facebook/Captiva Golf Cart Parade
The holidays are right around the corner, which means entertaining is a must. Sometimes a little interior design help may be necessary when hosting your loved ones or any guest that visiting for the holidays! Don’t prep for your holiday gatherings or vacation rental without reading this first. These are what the experts are saying! Plus your guest will love the additional touches ????
Arrange Your Food In A Tasteful Way.
Carry your holiday theme on to the culinary display. Try using color-coordinated serving dishes, decorative figures or dimensional platters. This will be sure to catch the eye of your guests!
Use Noticeable Yet, Elegant, Dining Settings.
An assortment of table decoratives, in different sizes, creates a sense of elegance without interrupting the communication of your guests. By placing smaller table items in between seat settings you allow comfortable-conversation to occur amongst the beauty of your table display. Adding in small flower arrangements or single candle placements will bring warmth back into your setting. Glam up your table with a beautiful silverware selection or matching charger plates.
Dress Up The Kitchen.
Follow through with the design of your home whether traditional or modern and incorporate holiday touches to your kitchen. Make use of your counters, kitchen island or breakfast nook. But keep it simple here, as you’ll likely need the extra space during the holidays.
Set The Mood With Accessories.
For instance, if going for a warm and fuzzy vibe, pay attention to candles, big throws and accent rugs. Use these festive items to layer over your normal everyday decor. Living room and elsewhere.
Provide Enough Seating.
Always ensure the right amount of seating options when entertaining or reorganizing a guest room. A comfortable array of areas to chat, during a cocktail/hors d’oeuvre hour, is crucial when welcoming your guests. The placing of side tables and a large centered coffee table allow for added convenience.
Don’t Forget Those “Behind The Scenes.”
It may be common to miss those special bathroom touches, but chances are, the bathroom will be a happening spot. Make this place just as welcoming to your guests with small gestures. A vanity flower arrangement — seasonal scented hand soap or candle — matching counter containers. The key is to remember the little things here.
The number one cause of vacation rental guest complaints is cleanliness.
When guests have spent thousands or even tens of thousands on a vacation rental, their expectations of the cleanliness of the home is almost understood to be perfection. When this means turning an 8 Bedroom / 8 Bath House in 6 hours, the turn-day logistics have to go off without a hitch.
As the focus of Vacation Rentals continues to shift to a sharper focus on the guest experience, the execution of Vacation Rental Manager’s (VRM’s) housekeeping and maintenance departments becomes key to building trust and loyalty in your brand.
Fortunately, it’s a very simple issue to avoid. All housekeeping and maintenance team members have to understand the power and value of following processes the same way, every…single…time.
1. Consistency is Our Key to Success.
Vacation Rental companies sometimes try to make this part of the business difficult. As we mentioned before, turn days are an impressive feat by themselves; doing so without a road map would be nothing short of a miracle. Although this seems pretty obvious, most rental management companies HAVE the right checklists to be successful, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.
Live the Gulf Coast has a custom checklist, by property, of Housekeeping and Maintenance items to be addressed before, during, and after check-out. There are scheduled monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance work orders for all A/Cs, Grills, Pools, etc. to ensure your week of vacation runs as smooth as possible. Our proactive mindset and consistency keep Guests, Owners, and our Property managers happy…We like being happy and we want you to be happy!
Our Promise to you: “Our professionally trained and certified housekeeping team and inspectors are dedicated to making sure your stay is comfortable and stress-free.”
2. Safe and Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies.
Life is way too short and the beach is way too beautiful to be fretting over the chance that a housekeeper used some toxic cleaning products where your family will be eating, playing, and staying for a whole week. This was a recent discovery after some insightful feedback from a growing number of our past guests. Our team did a deep-dive to find the perfect combination of eco-friendly and still tough on dirt and we came up with some clever substitutes. If we have enough interest, we might share our top tricks in a future blog…Let us know in the comments!
Our pet-friendly renters also need not worry as we have approved all cleaning products and certified they are 100% pet-friendly.
It might seem overly simple to make sure that cleaning products are safe for use in a hospitality-esque environment, but even bleach has been banned from our list of approved products. The combination of its inherent toxicity and potential to harm small children / pets means we had to find alternatives to these common cleaning products. Any clever cleaning tips and tricks are always appreciated as well. ????
3. The Numbers Don’t Lie.
We are always looking to improve in all facets of our business, but our attention to detail with housekeeping stands above the rest. With over 3,000 reservations under our belt, Live the Gulf Coast Vacation Rentals boasts “98 percent of guests rated our properties as “very clean” or “exceptionally clean”.
Our commitment to housekeeping excellence helps us stand apart in a crowded market where the routine has become mundane, details are lost in the noise, and VRMs have lost their passion to serve.
4. Teamwork makes the Dream work.
How do they do it?
Every team member has their own responsibilities and checklists on turn-days, but no team member is done until the whole team is done.
Their title might read “Housekeeping Specialist” or “Maintenance Supervisor”, but they are striving to achieve a mutual goal that the sum of their parts could have never dreamed possible. The difference in our version of teamwork vs. another company is the sharing of that common objective by equally passionate people. Our team members not only love what they do, but they care about YOU!
The team’s most commonly shared tasks are: sanitizing all the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen, washing and changing the linens, hanging fresh towels, emptying the fridge and cleaning the interior, putting away dishes, cleaning underneath and between furniture cushions, looking for damage or missing items, stocking the home with toilet paper, soap, etc. and providing light maintenance (changing smoke detector batteries, light bulbs).
5. We Admit our Mistakes.
Sometimes even the best of processes and quality control measures can’t always prevent a “less than desirable” guest experience. Although 98% of guests have given us rave reviews, there will always be 2% of guests that we can not seem to please. Whether it is the rare slip-up by our turn-team or, often, some higher than normal expectations; We take each and every opportunity as a learning opportunity to be better for your next stay!
We encourage feedback, both instant and post-stay, as a constant barometer of what areas in our business have room to improve.
We are passionate, driven, and focused on creating the best possible stay for you and your family. Please reach out with any suggestions you might have for us to make our Guest Experience the best on the Gulf Coast!
Interested in listing your property with Live the Gulf Coast?
New to the rental market? Looking to switch management companies? Let us assess your beach home and make the most of your investment.