Florida is home to over 45 annual holiday boat parades each year! With waterways throughout the state there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of our favorite best holiday boat parades in Florida, organized by region.
At the heart of this charming historic town is the annual Lake Dora Lighted Boat Parade.
Clermont / Winter Garden
The Johns Lake Holiday Boat Parade takes place along the north shore of the lake. Gather at the public boat ramp for the best view.
Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, Fort Lauderdale
One of the largest and most dazzling in the nation. This parade cruises Ft. Lauderdale’s New River, throughout the Intracoastal Waterway to Pompano Beach.
Greater Pompano Beach Boat Parade
This boat parade is one of the oldest in the nation. Visitors have been enjoying it for over 55 years!
Boynton Beach/Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade
Boynton Beach/Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade. This festive parade cruises the Intracoastal from Delray north to Boynton Beach.
Palm Beach and Jupiter Holiday Boat Parade
This annual event includes a fireworks barge. There’s also a “Toy Fleet” with boats stopping at designated docks to pick-up donations for Toys for Tots.
Naples Christmas Boat Parade
Decorated boats bring sparkle to Naples Bay during this annual event.
Bonita Springs Boat Parade
Enjoy the parade of boats winding through the Imperial River as they make their way to the bay.
Venice Christmas Boat Parade
This annual tradition can be enjoyed from the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade
This event has been delighting audiences for over 30 years. It’s been voted the 5th Best Holiday Parade by USA Today! View from shore or join the fun onboard a charter tour.
East Central (Space Coast) Florida
Cocoa Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Catch the fun of this popular parade from the shore at a number of venues or parks.
Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade
A longtime favorite tradition along the beautiful Halifax River.
New Smyrna Beach Boat Parade
This waterside community has been celebrating the holidays with this annual boat parade for over 30 years. Spectators can enjoy additional entertainment and refreshments at community parks along the route.
Jacksonville Light Boat Parade
The heart of Jacksonville comes alive with this annual boat parade and fireworks show on the St. John’s River.
St. Augustine Holiday Regatta of Lights
This annual tradition brings the historic city’s “Nights of Lights” on to the waters of Matanzas Bay.
Tampa Bay Region
Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade
Enjoy this parade that brings Santa down the Intracoastal to the Dunedin Marina! The festivities cap-off with the lighting of the City’s Christmas Tree.
Madeira Beach Festival of Lights Illuminated Boat Parade
This parade cruises the Intracoastal and ends at John’s Pass. The celebration continues with a tree lighting and live music.
Gulfport Holiday Boat Parade
This free, family-friendly event has been delighting crowds for over 30 years. There is easy access to the waterfront from the town pier and beach near the historic Gulfport Casino.
Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade
Admire the fleet of decorated boats as they cruise down the Anclote River bringing Santa Claus to Spring Bayou.
Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade
Treasure Island hosts one of the largest boat parades in the Tampa Bay Region. For over 35 years this parade and toy drive has been delighting the community.
Tampa Riverwalk Lighted Boat Parade
This annual parade is free for spectators. The 3.5 mile route is viewable from both sides of the River throughout downtown Tampa.
Carabelle Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
This family favorite riverfront celebration is followed by a fireworks display.
Destin Harbor Lights Boat Parade
For over 30 years this parade has been thrilling audiences. The flotilla can be viewed from various docks, businesses, and residences.
Pensacola Beach Lighted Boat Parade
Boats of all sizes set sail from Sabine Marina and light up the night. Viewer from Pensacola Beach Boardwalk will also be dazzled with a finale of fireworks.
Boot Key Harbor Christmas Parade (Unconfirmed for 2021)
For over 20 years generations of Keys residents and visitors have gathered to enjoy this parade in Boot Key Harbor. This three mile-long harbor offers multiple places to view the festivities.
Key West Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade
Spectators gather along the southern most city’s wharf to see how locals have “decked the hulls.” Visitors can also enjoy family fun on land including live music.
Key Largo Boat Parade
Enjoy this flotilla of holiday fun along Blackwater Sound on Key Largo’s bay side at MM 104.
Parade Pro Tips:
No matter where you go to celebrate the season, our pro tips will make yours holiday boat parade watching more enjoyable.
- In areas with drawbridges they will close to car and pedestrian traffic for the duration of the parade. Plan your route and crossings accordingly.
- Outdoor eateries can be great venues to view boat parades from. Make reservations at restaurants as soon as possible.
- Parks and other public spaces may offer viewing areas. Arrive early to score your prime spot. Find out in advance if you can bring your own chairs and other comfort items.
Make the most of your holiday celebrations. Check out our suggestions for the Best Holiday Light Displays in Florida.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.