Last updated on November 26th, 2020 at 08:51 am

Bradenton Holiday Boat Parades
Bradenton Holiday Boat Parade

Florida’s holiday season will certainly be unique in 2020 with the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, there are a surprisingly large number of events that are going forward.

As you have done all year with everything else, be ready for last-minute changes and cancellations. Just because an event is marked “Scheduled“, doesn’t mean it will happen.

Use links provide in the listings to find the latest information about your favorite 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, you need a plan.
  • Parks and restaurants with outdoor dining are great places to view parades, especially this year. Make reservations early.
  • Expect fewer “party boats” in parades this year.
  • Wear a mask when mixing with other people.
  • Arrive early. Most boat parades start at dusk, 6-7 pm.

2020 Holiday Boat Parades 


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Scheduled 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 pm; Fireworks, 9 pm.


Friday, December 4, 2020


Scheduled Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade. Vessels will proceed down the Anclote River and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats. Your best bet for viewing these holiday decorated vessels is from Craig Park/Spring Bayou. The event is free and boats are expected to enter Spring Bayou around 8 p.m.

Scheduled 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 5, 2020


Scheduled 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.

CANCELLED 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.

Scheduled Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Along the Halifax River. Sponsored by the Halifax River Yacht Club to benefit the Veterans Support Fund. 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.

Scheduled 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. (First Saturday in December) 6-9 p.m.

Scheduled 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.

Scheduled. Lake Weir Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade, Ocklawaha. Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area, 13275 SE 115th Ave, Ocklawaha, Florida 32179. $30 entry fee. Proceeds benefit Ocklawah Food Pantry. 4:30 pm to 9 pm.

Scheduled. 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. Note: Although the parade is scheduled, Light Up Mount Dora has been cancelled.

Scheduled. 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 to Sawfish Bay Park on A1A. Some of the best viewing can be found at Juno Park, Bert Winters Park, Waterway Cafe, Seasons 52, Jupiter Riverwalk, Waterway Park, Harbourside Place, Sawfish Bay Park, U-Tiki,Jetty’s, Square Grouper Tiki Bar and Lighthouse Park. Sponsored by the Marine Industries Association. Benefits Toys for Tots. 6-9 pm.

Scheduled. 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.

Scheduled St. Lucie County Boat Parade, Fort Pierce. 28th anniversary. Parade route begins at Taylor Creek near Harbortown Marina, 6:30 pm, and proceeds past the South Beach Causeway, turning around west at Fort Pierce Inlet, ending at the Fort Pierce City Marina.

Scheduled. Martin County/Stuart Christmas Boat Parade. Will begin on the East side of the Jensen Beach Causeway at 6 pm and proceed to Sandsprit Park and into the Manatee Pocket where we will end at the Twisted Tuna at 7:45 pm and announce the winners. The event is free for spectators and participants. 

Scheduled. 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. 8.

Scheduled. 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. 8.

Scheduled. Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade. Features boats of all kinds making it the biggest lighted boat parade in Tampa Bay.  Boats will depart from The Club at Treasure Island at 6:20 p.m., sail past the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge at 7 p.m. and end at 8:15 p.m. at John’s Pass. 


Sunday, December 6, 2020


Scheduled. 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.

CANCELLED. 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 11, 2020


Nothing Scheduled. 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 pm

Scheduled 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 and the second year the boat parade is being held on a Friday night. 6-9 p.m.


Saturday, December 12,  2020


CANCELLED. Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade. The grand poobah of holiday boat parades in Florida starts on 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. 11, 2021 & Dec. 10, 2022).

Scheduled. 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.

Scheduled. 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.

Scheduled 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. 

CANCELLED. Carabelle Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Along the Carrabelle River, east of Apalachicola on U.S. 98. Followed by a fireworks show. 

Nothing Scheduled. Clearwater Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. Festively decorated boats will parade past Coachman Park around 8:30 p.m. From there, the fleet will cruise under the Memorial Causeway Bridge turning into the Clearwater Marina Channel, then proceed south through the navigable canals to Clearwater Point. Free and family-friendly!

Scheduled. 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.

CANCELLED. Deland-St. John’s River Christmas Boat Parade. Parade starts in Lake Beresford about 6 pm, to the St. Johns River, passing Hontoon State Park about 6:30 pm, then downriver (north) to the Whitehair Bridge (SR 44) and Ed Stone Park (about 7 pm), ending past the St. Johns Marina and the North River Grille, 2999 State Road 44 West, DeLand. 

Scheduled. 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.

Scheduled. Gulfport Holiday Boat Parade. The 35th annual parade presented by the Boca Ciega Yacht Club will kick off at 6:00 pm. Parade-goers can get a good look from Gulfport’s Williams Pier and the beach near the Gulfport Casino. Free and family-friendly!

Nothing Scheduled Key West Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade, 8:00 p.m. The Holidays’ Magical Nautical Display of Lights and Creativity. 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 Schooneer Wharf.

Scheduled. 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.

Nothing Scheduled Labelle Christmas Boat Parade. Along the Caloosahatchee River. 

Postponed to Dec. 11, 2021. Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade, BradentonThe 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.

Scheduled. 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

Nothing Scheduled. New Smyrna Beach Boat Parade. The parade will start at dusk in Edgewater near marker 53 (lighted) and continue north to Riverside Park in NSB. Vessels will then proceed to the north side of Chicken Island along the North Causeway, east to the Grille at Riverview, south towards Bouchelle Island, and then west parallel to Bouchelle Island back toward Riverside Park. Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach are hosting events at their respective parks. 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, & Bouchelle Island Condominiums.

CANCELLED Palm Coast Christmas Boat Parade, Departing at 6 pm from Cimmaron Basin south on Intracoastal Waterway, turning at the Grand Haven gazebo back to Clubhouse Waterway. The Parade will pass the Tidelands, Marina Cove, and the Palm Coast Legacy Vacation Resort. It will then proceed under the Hammock Dunes Bridge along St. Joe’s Walkway and Canopy Walk, pass by Waterfront Park, Grand Haven, Island Estates, the Hammock, and Yacht Harbor Village before disbursing at the Clubhouse Waterway.

Nothing Scheduled. 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 to include the entire Northern tip of island near the fountain. Parade route extended.

CANCELLED 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. 

Nothing Scheduled. Steinhatchee Light Up The River Boat Parade. 6-8 p.m. Begins at Fiddler’s Restaurant and ends at Roy’s Restaurant.

CANCELLED. Vero Beach Holiday Boat Parade. Begins at 6 pm in 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.


Sunday, December 13, 2020


CANCELLED. Boca Raton Boat Parade. 6:30-8 p.m. Parade along the Intracoastal Waterway from Delray/Boca line south to Hillsboro Boulevard Bridge in Deerfield Beach. Free bleacher sitting areas will be set up at Red Reef Park, Silver Palm Park and at Wildflower Property where you can enjoy a variety of food and drinks from local vendors. Also cancelled is the holiday tree lighting in Mizner Park.

Scheduled. 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.


Saturday, December 19,  2020


Scheduled. Lake Osborne Holiday Boat Parade, Lantana. 7:30 pm. Starting at the Lakeside Anchor Inn, 2412 Floral Rd, near Hypoluxo Road at 7:30 pm, 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.

Scheduled. 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.

Scheduled. Punta Gorda Boat Parade, Punta Gorda Isles. 6:30 pm. See parade route map for viewing locations.

Scheduled. 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.

Nothing Scheduled. Welaka Boat Parade. River Bend to Sportsman Harbor. Starts at 6:15 pm. Party starts 3 p.m. at the Welaka Lodge and Resort Boathouse Bar and Grill, 1001 Front Street, Channel Marker 50. 


If you have corrections or additions to this listing, please send them to floridarambler@gmail.com or add them in comments below.

Thanks to Alexa Hogan, Bonnie Gross and others for contributing to this report.




Camping World

6 Comments

  1. What happened to St Pete Beach boat parade? It’s not even showing as cancelled. Thanks.

    • We haven’t heard a word about the St. Pete Beach boat parade in over a year. My guess is that it was folded into either the Treasure Island or John’s Pass parades, but we really have no idea what happened ot it.

  2. INCORRECT DATE! The 35th Treasure Island Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is scheduled for Saturday December 5, 2020 (NOT the 11th, as indicated in this article).

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