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.
Tips for watching holiday boat parades
- Drawbridges rise for hours at a time to allow boats to pass. If you have to cross one, you need a plan.
- Waterfront restaurants and parks are great places to view the parade, so make reservations early.
- Party boats in parades may be open to the public. Money raised is often donated to charity.
- Most boat parades start at dusk, 6-7 pm. Arrive early.
The 2018 Holiday Boat Parade Calendar
Boat parades change dates from year to year. Links go to more information.
DATE TBA Blackwater Pyrates Christmas Lighted Boat Parade, Milton Riverwalk
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.
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
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.
Friday, December 7, 2018
St. Pete Beach/ South Pasadena Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, The parade starts at St Pete Beach City Hall (155 Corey Ave) and heads west down Corey Ave, south on Blind Pass Rd, east on 73rd to Bay Street and back to City Hall. There will be art projects, movie and a special visit from Santa at the end of the parade so be sure to follow Santa to the fun. Best parade viewing areas will be along Corey Ave. Parking available at the Community Center
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.
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
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.
Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade, Bradenton
Schooner Wharf Boat Parade, Key West
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
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.
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
- Cape Coral Holiday Boat Along
- Satellite Beach Boat Parade
- Miami Outboard Club Boat Parade, Bayfront Park
- Palm Coast Christmas Boat Parade
- Indian Rocks Beach Holiday Boat Parade
- Indian River County Holiday Boat Parade
- New Smyrna Beach Boat Parade
- Sanford’s Illuminated Boat Parade, Lake Monroe
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
- Redington Beach and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade, Indian Rocks Beach
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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