2018 Holiday Boat Parade Calendar

Florida Rambler’s 2018 Holiday Boat Parade Calendar

jacksonville boat paradeFlorida’s waterways come alive at Christmas, the convergence of imaginations gone wild.

Almost every waterfront community in Florida has some form of boat parade during the holidays.

You can see colorful illuminated vessels cruise Florida’s waterways almost any night, but they gather on selected weekends into flotillas of overindulgence.

This calendar offers a comprehensive listing of organized boat parades around the state.

Hot tips for watching holiday boat parades

winterfest boat parade in fort lauderdaleIf you are going to watch a boat parade, be aware that drawbridges rise for hours at a time to allow boats to pass. If you are heading out to a barrier island, you need a plan.

Waterfront restaurants and parks are great places to view the parade, so make reservations early unless you are lucky enough to be invited to a house or yacht party.

Party boats participating in parades are sometimes open to the public. Money raised through these parties is used to help pay for the event or donated to charity. Other party boats may be sponsored by restaurants and other organizations.

Click on the links below for more information about specific parades.

Boat parades start at dusk, anywhere from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m., depending on the parade. See local newspapers for parade-related bridge closings.

The 2018 Calendar

Boat parades change dates from year to year. The links on titles go to web sites or Facebook pages of parade hosts, where you can find more information. Note: Many of the 2018 dates listed here are incomplete or unconfirmed.

DATE TBA Blackwater Pyrates Christmas Lighted Boat Parade, Milton Riverwalk

DATE TBA. Tarpon Springs Boat Parade. Vessels will proceed down the Anclote River and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats to the children at Craig Park/Spring Bayou. 7-9 p.m.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

  • Alafia Lighted Boat Parade, Riverview Park & Civic Center. This year’s parade will start at Williams Park and will conclude at River’s Edge for awards and a special VIP party. (First Saturday in December). 5-8 pm.
  • Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade and Chili Cook-Off, 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd. Apollo Beach. Charity event sponsored by the Tampa Sailing Squadron. 6 p.m.
  • Cotee River Christmas Boat Parade, New Port Richie. Along the Pithlachascotee River from Miller’s Bayou in Port Richey to Sims Park. Starts at 6:30 p.m.
  • Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Along the Halifax River. Sponsored by the Halifax River Yacht Club to benefit Light The Way Foundation.
  • Fort Myers Beach Boat Parade. The parade begins at Salty Sam’s Marina and will pass though Matanzas Harbor and the first two canals of Siesta Isles. The hammerheads at the end of those canals are a great spot to set up a lawn chair to watch the event. Another good viewing location is the fountain next to Nervous Nellies. 6-8 pm
  • Holiday Boat Parade, Dunedin.decorated boats parade through the Dunedin Marina and Edgewater Park. Santa to arrive by boat for the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. (First Saturday in December) 6-9 p.m.
  • DATE TBA. Mount Dora Lighted Boat Parade, Downtown Waterfront and Donnelly Park, beginning at the Lighthouse across from Gilbert Park on Tremain Street and Liberty Street. 7:30 p.m.
  • Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade, North Palm Beach to Jupiter. The parade, led by a Zambelli traveling fireworks display navigates up the Intracoastal Waterway from North Palm Beach to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Sponsored by the Marine Industries Association. 6-9 pm.
  • Pensacola Beach Lighted Boat Parade. From Sabine Marina to the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk. 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Venice Christmas Boat Parade. The parade starts just north of the Albee Road bridge and continues south on the Intracoastal and out to the channel marker in the jetty before doubling back and continuing south on the Intracoastal to the Circus Bridge (near the airport). (First Saturday in December) Begins at 6 pm. Rainout date is Sunday, Dec. 2.
  • Sunday, December 2, 2018

DATE TBA. Leesburg Toys for Tots Christmas on the Water

Friday, December 7, 2018

St. Pete Beach/ South Pasadena Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, Boat Parade Viewing Party includes music, art projects for children, and a special visit from Santa Claus. 6 pm.

I Love Stock Island Lighted Boat Parade, Starts at the Stock Island Marina Village. Guests will delight seeing the bright lights on everything from tri-masted schooners to dinghies to the Shrimp boats that call Stock Island home. 6-8 pm

Saturday, December 8,  2018

Date TBA Martin County Christmas Boat Parade, Stuart. Begins at the Jensen Beach Causeway at 6pm and proceed to Sandsprit Park and into the Manatee Pocket where we will end at the Twisted Tuna.

Date TBA Bonita Springs Boat Parade. Parade route begins at Bay Water Boat Club, travels up the Imperial River and returns to the Fish House Restaurant. Best viewing at U.S. 41 Bridge and Riverwalk Park.

Date TBA. Boot Key Harbor Christmas Parade, Marathon. Boats transit the harbor.

Date TBA. Chain of Lakes Christmas Boat Parade. The parade travels from Lake May to Lake Shipp, back to May, then on to Lake Howard, to Cannon and back to Howard. 6:30 p.m.

Cocoa Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Starting at Marker 101 near Centennial Park on State Road 520 (across from Cape Canaveral Hospital). Best Places to Watch: Sunset Cafe, 520 and Banana River; Wildlife Watersports, 129 Manatee Lane; End of S. Banana River Blvd.; Cove Park, 540 McNabb Pkwy (just west of the end of 3rd St. North) 6:30-10 p.m.

St. John’s River Christmas Boat Parade, Deland. Parade starts in Lake Beresford about 6pm and travels along the shores of the lake to the St. Johns River, past Hontoon State Park (about 6:30pm) up the river northbound to the Whitehair Bridge (SR 44) and Ed Stone Park (about 7 pm) and ENDING past the St. Johns Marina North River Grille.

Christmas Boat Parade on Naples Bay Naples City Docks. Gunther Pass north to Tin City. May be viewed from Pincher’s Crab Shack, Riverwalk Restaurant, Naples Landing, Kelly’s Fish House, The Boat House Restaurant and Bayview Park. 6:15-8:30 pm

Hernando Beach Boat Parade. From Hernano Beach Yacht Club on Snapper Canal, up Marlin Canal and up Cheek’s Creek Canal, down Tarpon Canal to the public boat ramp. Reverse course to the yacht club. Entry fee: Toys for Tots donation. 6 p.m.

Key Largo Holiday Boat Parade, Blackwater Sound. Boats line up at Dusenbury Creek at 6:30 p.m. and head north along the shoreline to Stillwright Point at 7:30. Best viewing at the Marriott Resort, Sundowners, Senor Frijoles, Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill and the Caribbean Club.

Labelle Christmas Boat Parade. Along the Caloosahatchee River. 7 p.m. start.

DATE TBA. 28th Annual Schooner Wharf Lighted Boat Parade, Key West Bight Marina at the Historic Seaport in Key West. 8 p.m.

DATES TBA. Lake Tarpon Christmas Boat Parade.starting at Tarpon Turtle on Lake Tarpon. They will have an around the lake poker run. 6:30-9 pm

Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade, Bradenton

Naples Christmas Boat Parade

Panama City Beach Parade of Lights

Rockledge/Cocoa Boat Parade

Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

St. Augustine Holiday Regatta of Lights

St. Lucie County Boat Parade and Paddleboard/Kayak Parade of Lights

St. Petersburg Illuminated Boat Parade

Schooner Wharf Boat Parade, Key West

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

Boynton Beach/Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade. Can be viewed in Boynton Beach at Boynton Harbor Marina, Intracoastal Park, Jaycee Park and in Delray Beach from Veterans Park and Knowles Park. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. 6:30-9 pm

Pompano Beach/Lighthouse Point Holiday Boat Parade. Lake Santa Barbara north to Hillsboro Blvd. Bridge. This is the longest running holiday boat parade in the nation. This is the first time it’s being held on a Friday night. 6-9 p.m.

Lake Osborne Holiday Boat Parade, Lantana. 7:30 pm.

Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade. From The Club at Treasure Island to the TI Causeway Bridge, then to John’s Pass. Best viewing: 115th Avenue on Isle of Palms; Treasure Island Causeway Bridge; Kingfish Drive at John’s Pass (Gator’s Cafe & Saloon); Blind Pass Bridge (between Treasure Island & St. Pete Beach) 6:20-9 pm

Saturday, December 15,  2018

Wekiva Island Boat Parade (Kayaks, canoes and small boats parade on the Wekiva River), Longwood

Winterfest Boat Parade, Fort Lauderdale. The grand poopah of holiday boat parades starts on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale and travels east to the Intracoastal Waterway, then north on the Intracoastal to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. Prime viewing area is Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. 6:30-9:30 pm (Future Dates are Dec. 14, 2019 and Dec. 12, 2020).

Sunday, December 16,  2018

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Boca Raton Boat Parade. Parade along the Intracoastal Waterway from Delray/Boca line south to Hillsboro Blvd. Bridge. 6:30-8 p.m.

Punta Gorda Boat Parade, Punta Gorda Isles. 6:30 pm

Saturday, December 29, 2018


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