America is 238 years old this year.

But from the youthful squeals of glee that fill Boston ahead of July 4, you wouldn't know it.

"People in Boston are very proud of their city," a young marine biologist tells, as she wildly waves an American flag.

Certainly, there is a sense of togetherness here building up to the most patriotic day in the American calendar.

July 4, or Independence Day, is America's annual celebration of the Declaration of Independence, which marked the end of British reign. Over by the Old State House, crowds stop for photographs by the balcony where the act was first read out to the state of Massachusetts.

I join a big crowd heading in the direction of the Charles River Esplanade, where the 40th Boston Pops firework display will be held.

Gangs of teenage girls fashion US flags into shawls, to cover their shoulders from the blistering heat, while grown men tip their felt Uncle Sam-style hats at people passing by.

In pubs such as The Seven Ale House on Charles Street, locals discuss their plans for the four-day weekend and raise glasses of malty Samuel Adams beer.

After my fun in Boston, I head to the island of Nantucket, a mere three hours away from the city, for some relaxation.

Long overlooked in favour of better-known beach destinations Martha's Vineyard and John F Kennedy's old bayside bolthole Hyannis Point, Nantucket has recently become more accessible thanks to the CapeFLYER train service which launched last year.

The double decker train, which runs from May-September, leisurely rolls through Massachusetts and past the Cape Cod Canal. Costing just $35 for a return, it's also very reasonably priced.

After reaching Hyannis, we take a one-hour boat trip to Nantucket. Even though the 14-mile island, which historically made its money from whaling, swells from a population of 10,000 to 70,000 people during the summer, there is still enough room here to find solitude.

Families splash around in the children's beach, while hungry crowds gather outside The Juice Bar for cones of ice-cream. Yet the Brant Point Lighthouse, a short stroll from my hotel The White Elephant, is a peaceful spot to admire the views.

With few cars on the roads, Nantucket can easily be explored by bike. A number of famous celebs and politicians are fans of Nantucket, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, meaning a stay can be fairly pricey. But with plentiful beaches, gorgeous architecture and energetic bike rides, it makes for a pleasant weekend getaway.