Can’t buy fireworks at home? Hop in the car. (Photo: Thinkstock)
It’s still a week away, but you know you’re already fantasizing about your perfect Fourth of July weekend. For some people that means beach, for others BBQ, and for many of us that means setting off some killer fireworks.
This requires some planning — many of us need to take a little fireworks road trip to get the goods we really want.
Before you hit the road, you should find out whether fireworks are actually legal in your state. For this, the United States government happens to be quite helpful. They have compiled an official list of states that can legally sell fireworks, and it says which types of fireworks are available in your state. Check it out here.
First off, steer clear of those states that believe they’re too civilized for good old American fiery fun—New York, New Jersey, Delaware or Massachusetts. They have a total ban.
Always check state laws before you purchase or use any kind of fireworks. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Most states allow you to buy things like sparklers and smoke bombs. But what if you want something bigger and better than sparklers and smoke bombs (you do, you really, really do)?
Here’s the thing about big fireworks wholesalers. They’re almost always in the most unsavory locations, typically on a dirt road, next to places that sell other desirable undesirables like porn and cartons of cigarettes that have fallen off the backs of trucks.
That said, no Fourth of July BBQ would be complete without the ability to shoot something sparkly into the sky. And so we trod on, through the strip mall parking lot, past the vagrants smoking in the gas station that inevitably shares a property with the highly incendiary devices. We nod to the stripper leaving her late shift and we buy a little piece of America.
Here are the five states worth traveling to to buy fireworks:
1. Indiana - Since Illinois only allows for novelty fireworks, the Hoosiers take on the consumer firework burden. You can hardly throw a chicken bone from a Cracker Barrel without hitting a big old fireworks outlet. Get there quick. Chicagoans are known to cross the state line good and early in advance of their rowdy midwestern festivities.
2. Missouri - The Show Me State might just be the best state to travel to for fireworks. Just about everything is legal and you just need to be 14 years old or accompanied by a parent or guardian to purchase.
3. Pennsylvania - Worth the drive because PA is the most lenient state for fireworks buying near New England. It’s easy to pick up all the sparklers and novelty fireworks your heart desires here. If you have the time to apply for a municipal permit, you can even buy aerial fireworks here (you have to be at least 18). You can also buy fireworks with an out-of-state ID here (big deal). Just make sure you plan to launch them in a state where they are legal.
4. Texas - Everything is bigger in Texas, including the fireworks. Just don’t go looking for rockets. The only thing you can’t buy in Texas are small rockets, which just seems fair. You can buy fireworks in the Lone Star State between June 24 and July 4 and the minimum age to buy is 16.
5. South Carolina - Home to more fireworks outlets than McDonald’s (we think), South Carolina is an excellent destination to stock up on all your Fourth needs like Roman candles, rockets, firecrackers, snakes, airplanes, ground spinners, helicopters, fountains, and party poppers.