Last updated on December 26th, 2021 at 09:32 am
Florida’s holiday season is on the rebound for 2021 as communities across the state bring back their annual Christmas and Holiday Boat Parades.
Follow the links in the listings below to find the latest information about your favorite lighted boat parade.
Tips for watching holiday boat parades
- Drawbridges close to traffic for hours to allow boats to pass. If you need to cross a bridge along the parade route, you need a plan.
- Parks and restaurants with outdoor dining are great places to view parades. Make reservations early.
- Expect fewer “party boats” in parades this year.
- Wear a mask when mixing with people and maintain distance as best as possible.
- Arrive early. Most boat parades start at dusk, 6-7 pm.
2021 Holiday Boat Parades
Saturday, November 27, 2021
Jacksonville Light Boat Parade and fireworks show can be clearly viewed from the north and south banks of the St. Johns River. The parade route will begin at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel and follow the Northbank Riverwalk to the Fuller Warren Bridge. The parade will then cross to the south bank and follow along the Southbank Riverwalk to the Duval County School Board building. Parade, 6 p.m.
Friday, December 3, 2021
South Pasadena Lighted Boat Parade. Kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on the northeast side of Pasadena Isle just outside Marine Max St. Petersburg, then follows the coastline of South Pasadena, going under the Corey Causeway bridge, then through the inlets near Harbourside Condominiums and Bay Island Condominiums, ending behind Causeway Village and The Fountains. Viewing party at Barbara Gilberg Habitat, 1600 Pasadena Avenue South. Boaters can register here..
Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade. Vessels will proceed down the Anclote River at 6:30 pm and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats in Spring Bayou. Your best bet for viewing these holiday decorated vessels is from Craig Park/Spring Bayou. Boats are scheduled to pass Craig Park for judging at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge to participate, but all vessels must be registered to enter.
Saturday, December 4, 2021
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.
Bradenton Beach Boat Parade, Parade participants will gather near the south end of Jewfish Key. The parade will head northwest along the Longboat Pass Bridge and then north up the Intracoastal Waterway. The parade will pass alongside the Bradenton Beach City Pier and end at the Bradenton Beach Marina. Best viewing from Longboat Pass Bridge (6-6:30 PM), Bradenton Beach City Pier (6:30 PM to 7:00 PM).
Cotee River Christmas Boat Parade, New Port Richie. Along the Pithlachascotee River from Miller’s Bayou in Port Richey to Sims Park. 6 to 8 p.m.
Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Along the Halifax River. Sponsored by the Halifax River Yacht Club to benefit the Veterans Support Fund. Watch the boats travel south along the Halifax River starting at the Seabreeze Bridge and culminate at the Halifax Harbor Marina for a truly spectacular boat show. Prime viewing areas of the parade are the Chart House Restaurant, Daytona Marina and Boat Works, City Island, Manatee Island, Halifax Harbor Marina. Starts at 6 p.m.
Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade, Decorated boats parade through the Dunedin Marina and Edgewater Park. Santa to arrive by boat for the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. Starts at Marker 1 Marina and ends at City of Dunedin Marina. (First Saturday in December) Sponsored by the Dunedin Boat Club. 5-9 p.m.
Everglades City Boat Parade. The boat parade will start at the mouth of the Barron River at 5:30 p.m. and motor towards the School. To watch the parade, find a spot along the Barron River. Please be respectful of the docks and boats and be sure to watch the children.
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. Starts at 6 pm.
Lake Weir Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade, Ocklawaha. Carney Island Recreation Area, 13275 SE 115th Ave, Ocklawaha, Florida 32179. $30 entry fee. 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Proceeds Benefiting The Community Of Gratitude
Post-parade party at Eaton’s Beach!
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. Due to social distancing and safety concerns regarding Covid-19, the pre-celebration for Light Up Mount Dora is cancelled for 2021. The lights will still be ON !
Palm Beach and Jupiter Holiday Boat Parade, North Palm Beach to Jupiter. The parade begins at North Palm Beach Marina on Marina Drive, traveling north along the Intracoastal Waterway to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Sponsored by the Marine Industries Association. Benefits Toys for Tots. The toy drive by land and by sea collects thousands of toys each year. A “toy fleet” of boats from Tow Boat, Sea Tow, and other volunteers traveling along the parade route will make convenient dockside pickups during the parade. Just wave a flashlight when you see a boat with a flashing amber beacon and/or Toys for Tots signage. 6-9 pm.
Palm Valley Boat Parade. Starts one mile south of the Palm Valley Bridge (CR 210) and proceeds north to the last home in Marsh Landing, approximately 7 miles. Viewing near the bridge, or at the end of Canal Street, Mickler’s Wharf, or restaurants along Roscoe Blvd. Begins at 6 pm and reaches the final viewpoint by 9:30 pm.
Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade. The Holiday Celebration begins at 5 p.m. at the Treasure Bay Recreation Facility, 10315 Paradise Boulevard, with the Boat Parade leaving at 6:20 p.m. Viewing areas are the City of Treasure Island Golf Course at Treasure Bay, along the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge, and at John’s Pass. Rain day is Sunday, Dec. 5.
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.
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Leesburg Christmas on the Water. Venetian Gardens Park. Ski Beach. Food served from 5 p.m. Entertainment, 5:30 p.m. Light Up Venetian Gardens, 6 pm. Boat parade 6:15 pm. The 2021 parade is scheduled for Dec. 5, 2021
Friday, December 10, 2021
Boynton Beach/Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade. The parade begins at Boynton Beach Inlet and proceeds south along the Intracoastal Waterway to the C-15 canal. Some of the best spots for viewing at Boynton Harbor Marina (Two George’s Restaurant and Banana Boat), Intracoastal Park, Jaycee Park and in Delray Beach you can see the parade at Veterans Park and Knowles Park. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. 6:30-9 p.m.
Cocoa Village Holiday Boat Parade. 6-7:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Sharing Center of Central Florida. Cocoa Riverfront Park, 401 Riveredge Blvd, Cocoa, FL
Pompano Beach/Lighthouse Point Holiday Boat Parade. From Lake Santa Barbara, the parade goes north under the Atlantic Boulevard and 14th Street Causeway to Hillsboro Boulevard in Deerfield Beach. This is the longest running holiday boat parade in the nation. 6-9 p.m.
Tomoka River Christmas Boat Parade, Ormond Beach. Cozy up riverside and watch the 7th annual Tomoka River Christmas Boat Parade. Best viewing from Ormond Outdoor Adventures, 1385 North US Highway 1, Ormond Beach, or the River Grille on the Tomoka River, 950 N. U.S. 1, Ormond Beach. Bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to Volusia County Toys for Tots. Bring lawn chairs for comfort to Ormond Outdoor Adventures, where a food truck will be on hand for munchies.
Saturday, December 11, 2021
Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade and Chili Cook-Off, 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd. Apollo Beach. Charity event sponsored by the Tampa Sailing Squadron. 6-9 p.m.
Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s Holiday Boat Parade in Gulfport. The 36th annual parade presented by the Boca Ciega Yacht Club will kick off at 6 p.m. starting at Osgood Point. The parade continues to the Municipal Marina, on to Gulfport’s Williams Pier, Casino, and beach before moving on to Town Shores, Kipp’s Colony, Skimmer’s Point, and other communities. Free and family-friendly!
Bonita Springs Boat Parade. Parade begins at 5:30 p.m. at Bay Water Boat Club, 5124 Bonita Beach Rd SW, and travels up the Imperial River and returns to the Fish House Restaurant, 4685 Bonita Beach Rd SW. Best viewing at U.S. 41 Bridge and Riverwalk Park.
Boot Key Harbor Christmas Parade, Marathon. Parade starts at 6 p.m. from the west end of Boot Key Harbor and transits the harbor. Good viewing from Marathon Marina, Lazy Days South, Panchos Fuel Dock, Burdines Waterfront & Sombrero Marina Dockside. Unconfirmed
Carabelle Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Along the Carrabelle River, east of Apalachicola on U.S. 98. Followed by a fireworks show. Enjoy music while holiday shopping with downtown merchants and festival vendors from 11 am-6 pm. Visit your favorite local restaurant or dine with one of our vendors. Lots of fun for the children to see and do, including a visit with Santa! At dark-30, watch the Boat Parade of Lights along the Carrabelle River from your favorite viewing spot with a Fireworks Show Finale.
Christmas on the Braden River Old Florida Holiday Boat Parade. Decorated boats meet at Jiggs Landing, 6106 63rd St E, Bradenton. At 6 pm boats, including motorboats, kayaks and canoes, will begin to line up near the floating dock and start at 7 PM. Prizes will be awarded at 8:00 PM. Spectators can come early and enjoy a visit with Santa and other fun events at Jiggs Landing Preserve.
Clearwater Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. Beginning in Mandalay Channel at 6 p.m., boats travel along the inlets of Island Estates before going under the Memorial Causeway Bridge and finishing at the Clearwater Yacht Club, 830 Bayway Blvd. Parade to pass Coachman Park around 8:30 p.m. Free and family-friendly!
Cocoa Beach Christmas Boat Parade Starting at Marker 101 near Centennial Park on State Road 520 (across from Cape Canaveral Hospital) at 6:30 p.m. 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.
Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade. The grand poobah of holiday boat parades in Florida returns to the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale and moves east to the Intracoastal Waterway, then north on the Intracoastal to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. The prime viewing area is Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. 6:30-9:30 pm (Future Dates: Dec. 10, 2022).
Homosassa River Christmas Boat Parade. Beginning at dusk by Bird Island and ending at the Homosassa Springs Marina, some good viewing locations will be the Shed at MacRae’s, Riverside Resort, The Monkey Bar, Seagrass, Margarita Grill and anywhere in between. For questions, or to register your boat for free entry, call the Marina at 352-628-7334.
Key Largo Boat Parade. Blackwater Sound will shimmer as decorated boats parade along the shoreline in celebration of the holiday season. Best viewing and libations at Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill, Sundowner’s, and the Caribbean Club, MM 103-104 Bayside. Parade starts at 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by Rotary Club of Key Largo Sunset.
30th Annual Key West Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade, 8:00 p.m. Scores of delightfully decorated motor and sailing vessels compete for bragging rights (and prizes!) Don’t forget the conch shells, add a sprinkling of the Grinch, spinning ornaments, dancing gingerbread men, and you have the makings of a Key West maritime holiday tradition. The Judges’ Stand is located at Schooner Wharf. Key West Bight Marina at the Historic Seaport in Key West. Festivities begin at 6 pm at Schooner Wharf.
55th Annual Festival of Lights Illuminated Boat Parade in Madeira Beach. 6:45 pm. 52nd annual Boat Parade will kick off at John’s Pass with a shop local holiday extravaganza, tree lighting, and boat parade kickoff party. Head to ROC park for the best view of the parade and to enjoy holiday music, food, and spirits.
Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade, Bradenton. The boat parade gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Arrive downtown early for Sounds of the Season, the annual Christmas celebration on Old Main Street sponsored by Realize Bradenton. Sounds of the Season continues until 10 p.m., so you can go after the boat parade, too. Special viewing events scheduled at Caddy’s Bradenton and Pier 22.
Martin County Holiday Boat Parade, Stuart. Begins at 6 pm. The public is invited to enjoy viewing the parade boats at restaurants, parks and other locations along the route. The best viewing for the parade will be at the Stuart Causeway. The event is free for spectators and participants.
Naples Christmas Boat Parade . 6:15 pm to 8:30 pm. View parade from Pincher’s Crab Shack, Riverwalk Restaurant, Naples Landing, Kelly’s Fish House, The Boat House Restaurant and Bayview Park. 100% of the proceeds benefit Ricky King Foundation
New Smyrna Beach Boat Parade. The parade will pass Riverside Park in Historic Downtown NSB, then along the North Causeway to the Riverview, then west parallel to Bouchelle Island back to Riverside Park. Spectators can also see the parade along Riverside Drive, Smyrna Yacht Club, Riverside Park, Anglers’ Yacht Club, NSB Boat & Ski Club, Outriggers Tiki Bar & Grille, The Grille at Riverview.
Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. 6:45 pm. The best areas for viewing are Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park. Bayfront Park spectator viewing area has been expanded and the parade route extended.
St. Augustine Holiday Regatta of Lights 6 pm. 39th year held on the bayfront north of the Bridge of Lions. Reflects the maritime heritage of the Oldest City and is in keeping with St. Augustine’s historical seaborne image. Hosted by The St. Augustine Yacht Club. Sailboats, sport-fishermen, trawlers, shrimp boats, and many other vessels take part. For best viewing, sit along the bayfront by the seawall or enjoy the view from the many restaurants that face the bay.
St. Lucie County Boat Parade, Fort Pierce. Parade route begins at Taylor Creek near Harbortown Marina, 6 pm, and proceeds past the South Beach Causeway, turning around at Fort Pierce Inlet, south to the Fort Pierce City Marina and will end at Causeway Cove Marine. The parade can be enjoyed from restaurants, parks and other locations along the water.
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Destin Harbor Lights Boat Parade, Visit with Santa Claus starting at 1 pm at HarborWalk Village’s Main Stage then enjoy a special performance of the Nutcracker from the Ballet Conservatory of the Destin School of Music & Dance at 4:45 pm. The Boat Parade will light up the harbor beginning at 6 pm with fireworks following the parade.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Boca Raton Boat Parade. 6:30-8 p.m. The 47th Annual Holiday Boat Parade lights up the Intracoastal beginning at C-15 Canal, traveling south from Delray Beach with bleacher viewing at Red Reef Park. Previous viewing sites at the Wildflower Property and Silver Palm Park are closed due to construction. Limited parking at Red Reef Park. This year’s parade features boat entry for participants with $10,000 in cash and prizes in many categories. Limited parking available at Red Reef Park.
Cape Coral Holiday Boat Along, 5:30-9:30 PM pm at Four Freedoms Park on Cape Coral Pkwy, the festival has food, Christmas music, a family movie on the big screen, and a visit from Santa Claus along with the parade. You can also watch as the boats line up in Bimini Basin for the parade, which first passes by the park’s beach before heading down various canals in South Cape Coral. Bring lawn chairs.
Indian River County Holiday Boat Parade, Vero Beach. Begins at 6 p.m. on the Intracoastal Waterway between the two bridges and finish at the Vero Beach City Marina. Viewing stations include Royal Palm Point and Vero Beach City Marina. Consider taking lawn chairs and blankets for seating. The event is free for spectators and participants.
Lake Osborne Holiday Boat Parade, Lantana. 7:30 pm. Starting at the The Hive Waterfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar (formerly the Anchor Inn), arriving at the area of Lantana Road and Lake Osborne Drive at 8 pm. The boats will continue north to the Lake Worth Road boat ramp, then loop around the entire lake. Great viewing areas in John Prince Park and the campground area.
Palm Coast Holiday Boat Parade. Departs Cimmaron Basin at 6 pm, passing Tidelands, Marina Cove, the Hammock, Yacht Harbor Village and Palm Coast Legacy Resort. Then under Hammock Dunes Bridge along St. Joe’s Walkway and Canopy Walk, past Island Estates, Waterfront Park and Grand Haven before dispersing at Clubhouse Waterway. Parade will be broadcast live by KOOL-FM, 100.9.
Tampa Riverwalk Lighted Boat Parade. Along the water at the by Davis Island, Harbour Island and the Channelside District. Parking is available at several public parking lots.
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Redington Beach and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade. From the Tom Stuart Causeway to Caddy’s Pub restaurant in Indian Shores. The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. Prizes will be awarded after the parade that evening at Caddy’s Pub, 20025 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores.
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Thanks to Alexa Hogan, Bonnie Gross and others for contributing to this report.
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Bob Rountree is a beach bum, angler and camper who has explored Florida for decades. No adventure is complete without a scenic paddle trail or unpaved road to nowhere. Bob co-founded FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross 12 years ago.