View the Fourth of July Fireworks
Independence Day in Butte County is a blast, and there’s nothing quite like celebrating the Fourth of July by watching the rockets’ red glare over the rolling hills. While this year features fewer shows across the region, Oroville is not holding back for its physically- distanced display. This year, the display is going to be bigger than ever as the fireworks are set off at the Oroville Airport, so people are invited to enjoy a drive-in theater-like experience by parking within view of the grounds or in higher locations throughout the city. Just make sure you respect private property.
Of course, patriotic fervor isn’t limited to Oroville in Butte County. A couple of other options for celebrating the Fourth of July in the area:
- Biggs is presenting its annual 4th of July fireworks extravaganza with pyrotechnics set off from the high school football field. This year, everyone will be able to watch the main program and live music being live-streamed from two locations in town.
- Paradise will have their 1,100 flags out from 6am to 6pm along Skyway and Elliot Road for a beautiful and patriotic drive up the ridge.
Go for a Dip
Explore Bidwell Park’s swimming holes. Once upon a time, the tucked-away spot on Big Chico Creek in Upper Bidwell Park known as Bear Hole was sort of a locals-only secret. Those days are long gone, but all that means is that it’s turned into a sort of natural public pool on its busiest days. The water’s always fresh and cold, and thus the perfect cure for those 100-degree days. And that’s only the most popular one!
Other quality swimming holes in the park include Alligator Hole (great if you have little ones with you, since it’s quite shallow and close to the easily accessible parking lot and trailheads), Salmon Hole—further up the trail than Bear Hole and a bit more secluded—and Brown’s Hole, which is farthest from the park entrance but worth the journey if you value the exercise and the opportunity for some solitude.
Relax at Riverbend Park. Check the flows first, but typically the Feather River moseys by the park, which itself is a clean, well-maintained place to play for families. Shallower spots near the park will allow you to wade in and cool off from a grassy shore; there are also several spots locals use for diving where the river is deeper. It’s a great spot for a swim if you’re also planning a picnic or a game of fetch with a furry friend.
If you’ve got a boat, the deep, cool waters of Lake Oroville--the city's top recreational site--are tough to beat for local watersports. But it would be a mistake to discount it as a great swimming spot, too. Hundreds of coves, especially on the deeper north branch, make a day in the water just a short watercraft ride away—and many others still are within short hiking distance.
Get a Frozen Treat
Butte County has no shortage of ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt establishments where you can find a creamy dessert any time. And with National Ice Cream Day landing on July 21, what better way to celebrate than by giving one of these locations a visit?
- Sweet Chico. The downtown Chico confectioner has a gelato selection perfect for warm summer evenings, with a good variety of flavors ranging from fruity to truly indulgent.
- La Flor de Michoacán. A massive selection of Mexican-inspired flavors, as well as more familiar classic ones. Whether it’s tamarind, almond or a classic strawberry or chocolate, “La Flor” will definitely have something you’ll like—and there are multiple Chico locations, too.
- Foster’s Freeze in Oroville: If old-fashioned Americana is what you’re craving, this Oro Dam eatery has options to satisfy any sweet tooth with dipped cones, shakes, sundaes, and splits.
Enjoy a Slice of Chico
One of downtown Chico’s more popular summertime traditions, Slice of Chico offers family-friendly fun designed to put downtown’s eateries in the spotlight, with one summery twist: Watermelon! On July 10 and 11, multiple watermelon stations offer cold slices of the refreshing fruit, and select restaurants offer watermelon-themed menu items. Look for more details for this year’s physically distanced sidewalk sale and online options.
So, whether you’re on the lookout for sensory overload this summer, or just looking for entertaining ways to relax and stay cool, Butte County has plenty of options to make sure you’ll always have something to do!