We celebrate the Fourth of July with backyard BBQ and "Independence Day" reruns. But the holiday's about honoring America's fiercely independent spirit and the patriots who fought for our enduring political freedoms. Nothing symbolizes the spirit of independence better than fireworks, which have been part of Fourth of July festivities since 1777. To find, photograph, or even play with fireworks, check out our picks for the best fireworks-themed apps.
Not sure where to go for the best view of the fireworks? Eventful (iOS) is like Yelp for local activities. Get alerts and search for nearby fireworks shows, or buy tickets to events like night boat tours to celebrate in style. Eventful will update you on all the goings-on in your area.
VSCO Cam, Slow Shutter, Night Camera, and Blink
The best part of any fireworks display is the finale. Grab these camera apps before you head out for some amazing Facebook cover photos. For iOS, VSCO Cam leads the pack with its many customizable options, and Slow Shutter is a close second for its nighttime photography capabilities. users can check out Night Camera, while Windows Phone fans can try Blink for that perfect low-light shot. Check out CNET's guide to capturing fireworks on your mobile device.
NOAA Hi-Def Radar and Intellicast
Don't let the fog obstruct your view or the cold freeze you out. Check up-to-the-minute weather conditions with NOAA Hi-Def Radar, which shows real-time radar images and weather alerts (even on a slow 3G network) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites. Bookmark multiple locations for easier searching. If you're looking for a free alternative with real-time updates, check out Intellicast for iPad or Android.
Delightfully straightforward, Fireworks Arcade for iOS lets you create playfully colorful fireworks displays (with music) right on your or phone. Packed with surprisingly addictive fireworks-themed versions of Fruit Ninja and Whack-a-Mole, the games will keep you entertained while you wait for the real thing. Or preload the app for the kids and keep them busy before and after the show.
Bright lights and loud noises are not man's best friend's best friends. In fact, hundreds of animals run away each year, frightened by the human festivities. Keep an eye out for your best buddies with the ASPCA app for iPhone and Android. The app features a personalized missing-pet recovery kit with step-by-step instructions and access to expert advice. You can store and manage your pet's health record and send digital flyers through social media posts in case Sparky bolts from the sparks.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, we wish you a safe and happy Independence Day.