Leave your basting and grilling skills behind this Independence Day. Put your softball glove back in the closet. Forget about cleaning up those half-eaten Hot Dog buns. Get ready to pick the city of your choice to take advantage of last-minute travel deals all over the U S of A.

Some special Internet-only weekend fares for the holiday can be found at American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; For you Canadians looking to hit the Big Apple for the always majestic fireworks display, round-trip airfare from Toronto to New York LaGuardia will only run you $96 plus security fees and departure taxes. A July 4th in Texas is always fun for some down home BBQ and some real country music. Round-trip into Dallas/Ft. Worth from Indianapolis costs $139; from Kansas City, $99; and $169 from Philadelphia. Hurry up for these fares. You have to purchase your tickets by 11:59pm on Friday, June 23. Departures are for after 7:00pm on Friday, July 1, 2005 or anytime on Saturday July 2 with your return trip on the following Monday or Tuesday, July 4 or 5, 2005.

For pre-packaged deals, Travelocity (tel. 888/872-8356; always puts together some tightly knit air/land vacation specials. With deals starting at $199 per person with airfare based on double occupancy from certain cities including New York, Chicago and Atlanta, a Fourth of July weekend might cost you less than it would if you stayed home. A trip from New York City to Washington, D.C. leaving Friday July 1 and returning Monday July 4, 2005 starts at $238. Accommodations range from chic Capital Hill boutique hotels to centrally located Holiday Inns. Expect rates to increase based on the quality and price of the hotel. From Atlanta, a quick trip to the beautiful coastal town of Savannah, Georgia departing on Thursday, June 30 and returning July 4, 2005 will run you $370 per person. Savannah has a great Fourth of July celebration complete with pre-Civil War motifs, real Southern charm and great Southern BBQ. If you're feeling like a beach vacation, an air/land Chicago to Miami Wednesday to Monday "Last Minute Deal" will run you $297 per person. Hotel choices are spread around the city in Coral Gables and downtown. Expect to pay a little more for South Beach locations.

Orbitz (tel. 888/656-4546; is running a Fourth of July rental car special. Some sample daily rates include $20 per day out of Atlanta, $30 per day out of Miami, $27 out of Los Angeles, and $25 out of Salt Lake City for a spin around the Great West. These rates are for compact cars for rental from July 1 to July 4, 2005 and are subject to availability.

Another great deal, the Clift Hotel (tel. 800/652-5438; in San Francisco, from boutique hotel scion Ian Schrager, is offering a special July 4th rate of $165 per night. Normal rates for this ultra-chic hotel redesigned in 2001 by world-famous interior designer Phillipe Starck start near $300. This offer expires June 29, 2005, so act fast. The hotel is located in the Union Square area of the city, and has a reputation of housing visiting celebrities and being one of the more "hipper" hotels in the San Francisco area. The ethereal and open feel of the lobby draws anyone looking for a cool place for a drink or an easy place to meet.