Celebration is in the air everywhere you look. The lights cheer up the atmosphere that was so heavy this year. And the boat lovers are not behind the lighting trends! This year, more than ever, everybody needs to enjoy a little bit of happiness. And the classic way of celebrating the holiday season in the U.S. the PARADES are going to impress the boat community and people on shore.
Photo credit: Palm Valley Boat Parade
During Florida’s holiday boat parades be ready to let yourself be carried away by the blinking lights, animated characters and other holiday decorations. Passionate boat owners are busily decking out their vessels with hundreds of colorful lights, trees and characters for the festive floating celebrations that will be held across the state, in cities both large and small. Participating vessels span the gamut from yachts and tugs to motorboats and kayaks.
If you are interested in how to decorate (or not) your boat, you will find here many ideas, so mark your calendars and change your schedule tol be part of the most famous and popular boat parades going forward this year. Thanks to its splendid coastline, bays and rivers, and warm winter weather, Florida is a top spot for these events, so don’t miss them!
|Dec. 5, 2020
|North Matanzas Pass in Fort Myers, Florida||Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade||Ranked fifth in 2019’s USA Today 10Best for holiday parades, Fort Myers Christmas Boat Parade is one of Florida (and
nationwide) favorites. This year marks the 32nd parade for this luminous spectacle and the participating decorated boats will
come in all shapes and sizes. Viewing this floating procession is a cherished holiday tradition for locals and visitors alike.
Expect to see not only amazing lights and classic Christmas decorations, but also illuminated plants and animals and other figures evocative of tropical, water-based surroundings such as sharks, palms and Disney characters.
|Dec. 5, 2020 at 6:20 PM||Intracoastal Waterway in Treasure Island, FL||Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade||One of the largest holiday lighted boat parades in the Tampa area, Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade dazzling event is marking its 35th year in 2020. There’s a pre-parade benefit party, multiple viewing areas along the parade route that begins south of the Treasure Island Bridge and finishes at John’s Pass, and an Awards Party for boats that are the best decorated.|
|Dec. 5, 2020 at 7:00 PM||4th Ave docks in Mount Dora, FL||Mount Dora Lighted Boat Parade||This central Florida boat parade located 30 miles north of Orlando is a holiday standard and fleshes out the town’s other holiday offerings, which include a foot parade and a Christmas Walk.|
|Dec. 5, 2020 at 6:00 PM||Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Valley, FL||Palm Valley Boat Parade||The annual 7-mile Palm Valley Boat Parade in north Florida is a cornerstone of the community’s holiday celebrations, 27 years later after its debut. Lighted boats pass by hundreds of docks, local restaurants and various public viewing areas, creating wonderful memories for participants and spectators. Dock owners along the parade route lend an extra-vibrant land dimension to the event and vie for prizes through the event’s dock competition, judged by parade organizers and participating and non-participating boaters.|
|Dec. 5, 2020 at 6:00 PM||Halifax River, from Seabreeze Bridge to the Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona Beach, FL||Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade||Presented by the Halifax River Yacht Club, sponsorship proceeds of this long-standing annual town tradition benefit the Veterans Support Fund. The Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade is a holiday-season favorite of residents and visitors of Daytona Beach and the surrounding area, and they can enjoy the lights from various riverfront vantage points.|
|Dec. 11, 2020 at 7:00 PM||Intracoastal Waterway in Pompano Beach, FL||Greater Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade||The beloved Greater Pompano boat parade, which goes from Lake Santa Barbara to Sullivan Park, has been a holiday staple for 58 years. The 2020 event will serve as a salute and thank you to first responders and essential workers. The best of the best boats will be acknowledged with awards and it’ll be a tough choice because the captains of the participating family vessels are known for going all out.|
|Dec. 12, 2020 at 6:15 PM||Naples Bay in Naples, FL||Naples Christmas Boat Parade||The Naples
Christmas Boat Parade is a themed boat parade and this year’s focus is “All That Glitters,” so you can only imagine the
shine and shimmer that are to come—and how welcome and uplifting they’ll be this year.
Please note that 100% of the proceeds benefit Ricky King Foundation.
|Dec. 12, 2020 at 6:30 PM||Boca Ciega Bay in Gulfport, FL||Gulfport Christmas Boat Parade||The annual Gulfport Christmas Boat Parade turns 35 this year and locals and visitors alike are all set to celebrate the milestone and amp up the holiday joy. There’s an entry fee for this parade but it’s all for a good cause. Bring either a check or two or more unwrapped presents, which will be donated to Operation Santa, an annual toy drive benefiting area children in need. Local businesses are also sponsoring prizes for every boat.|
|Dec. 12, 2020 at 6:00 PM||TSS Deck in Apollo Beach, FL||Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade||Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade will be as festive and fun as ever! (with few changes this year... you know why).... The boats will still be lit, and there will be prizes in 3 categories for the best decorated boats. However, we won't be gathering for caroling or the chili cookoff at TSS, and the club will be open for members only (who must wear masks and social distance).|
|Dec. 19, 2020 at 6:30 PM||Riverwalk in Tampa, FL||Holiday Lighted Boat Parade||Holiday
Lighted Boat Parade along the Riverwalk will include an extended route with multiple public viewing areas shown on the
map below. The parade can be viewed from both sides of the river as well as by boat.
There are approximately 3.5 miles along the route to safely social distance and observe the parade.
|Dec. 19, 2020 at 7:00 PM||Bimini Basin at Four Freedoms Park and through canals in Cape Coral, FL||Cape Coral Christmas Boat Parade||Cape Coral’s Christmas Boat Parade is the centerpiece of a holiday festival that begins at 5:30 PM in Four Freedoms Park and features food, Christmas music, an outdoor family movie and Santa Claus. The boat procession starts out with paddle boats, followed by vessels of every type and size. You’ll not only love the shimmering decorations but also the holiday soundtracks that some of the boats blast out.|
|Dec. 19, 2020 at 6:00 PM||Punta Gorda, FL||The Saturday Night Before Christmas Eve Boat Parade||Touted as “the most fun anyone can have on the Saturday night before Christmas Eve,” the Saturday Night Before Christmas Eve Boat Parade is the largest annual event in the Punta Gorda Isles and boasts 4 miles of cheering crowds (to the accompaniment of noisemakers and sleigh bells). Viewers can position themselves within 50 feet of the boats anywhere along the route through the isles while also enjoying carolers and performers.|
To learn more about any of these parades, and more, please see the most complete listing available at FloridaByWater.com, where website founder Rusty Gardner maintains a list of events submitted by parade organizers around the state.
Note: Masks and social distancing are required at all the parades.
Enjoy the Holidays spirit and get in the mood for celebration!
Information from Places.Travel 2020 Holiday Boat Parades in Florida: Fun, Festive and Fabulous.