Last updated on October 19th, 2021 at 02:10 pm
Florida’s holiday season is on the rebound for 2021 as communities across the state prepare for their annual Christmas and Holiday Boat Parades.
Use links provide in the listings to find the latest information about your favorite lighted boat parade.
All but a handful of parades have been scheduled and the dates confirmed. This calendar will be updated frequently between now and the December holidays.
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.
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
+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.
+ 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.
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.
+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. Unconfirmed.
+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.
+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 & Conservation Area, 13275 SE 115th Ave, Ocklawaha, Florida 32179. $30 entry fee. Proceeds benefit Ocklawaha Food Pantry. 4:30 pm to 9 pm. Unconfirmed
+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.
+ 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.
+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.
+Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade. Features boats of all kinds making it the biggest lighted boat parade in Tampa Bay. The parade will begin at Marker 14 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. 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. Details will be posted by the Treasure Island parks department.
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.
+ 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. 6-9 p.m. Note: This is the third year the parade has been moved to a Friday night.
+ 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
+ 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. 11, 2021 & Dec. 10, 2022).
+ 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.
+ 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.
+ 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! Unconfirmed
+ 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. Unconfirmed.
+ 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.
+ 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!
+ 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. Unconfirmed
+ 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.
+ Labelle Christmas Boat Parade. Along the Caloosahatchee River. Unconfirmed
+ 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.
+ 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 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. Unconfirmed
+ 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. Unconfirmed
+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.
+ Steinhatchee Light Up The River Boat Parade. 6-8 p.m. Begins at Fiddler’s Restaurant and ends at Roy’s Restaurant. Unconfirmed
+Vero Beach Holiday Boat Parade. Begins at 6 p.m. i.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.
+Welaka Boat Parade. Land festivities start at noon; boat parade at 6 p.m. Details to come.
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 waterways of the Intracoastal beginning at C-15 Canal, traveling south, with bleacher viewing 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.
+ 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. Unconfirmed
+ 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.
+ 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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