Waterways across our region come alive during the holiday season as communities hold their annual Christmas lighted boat parades. For many communities, what may have begun as a simple floating parade with some twinkling lights outlining the vessel has turned into a weekend or even month-long festival. Boaters have also expanded their creative skills to transform their vessels into unbelievably beautiful shapes.
Gather your family and friends, grab the hot chocolate and brush up on your favorite holiday song. A lighted boat parade is coming to a town near you. Join in the fun!
Baltimore Parade of Lighted Boats – 6:00 p.m.
Over 50 boats of all sizes parade through Fells Point and the Inner Harbor. Hosted by the Fells Point Yacht Club. fpyc.net/
Solomons Island Boat Light Parade – 6:15 p.m.
The boat parade is just one of the highlights of the 29th Annual Christmas Walk. The parade begins at the Solomons Island Yacht Club and heads up the Patuxent to the bridge, before returning to Back Creek. www.solomonsmaryland.com/solomons-christmas-walk.html
31st Annual Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade – 6:00 p.m.
Spectators line the shores of Annapolis Harbor and Spa Creek to cheer on their favorite boat and crew. Two fleets will rotate several times between the two parade routes on either side of the Spa Creek drawbridge. Listen to WNAV 1430 for live coverage or watch live from the comfort of your home at livestream.com/EYCLightParade
Lighted Boat Parade in Colonial Beach – 5:00 p.m.
The Colonial Beach Yacht Club hosts this annual event that parades along the beachfront before winding back to Monroe Bay.
25th Annual Downtown Hampton Lighted Boat Parade – 7:15 p.m.
More than 20 boats are expected to parade along the Hampton River. To hear the narration of the event, find a spot near the Hampton Maritime Center. www.visithampton.com
Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m.
The Yorktown Waterfront is bedazzled with holiday sights, smells and sounds including a spectacular flotilla of sail and power boats festively decorated with thousands of lights.
30th Annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Wrightsville Beach – 6:00 p.m.
Volleying fireworks will signal the start of this famous parade. The best viewing vantage points include Banks Channel Bridge, the two South Harbor Island mini-parks or the west side of Waynick Blvd. www.ncholidayflotilla.org/boat-parade/
Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla – 5:30 p.m.
Wave to Santa from the shores of Morehead City and Beaufort as he is delivered by boat to the Crystal Coast to kick off the holiday season.
Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla – 6:00 p.m.
Fishing boats and pleasure craft decorated with thousands of lights cruise from Snows Cut to the Carolina Beach Boat Basin and back. www.islandoflights.org/flotilla.html
29th Annual Coastal Christmas Flotilla – 5:30 p.m.
Hosted by the New Bern Parks and Recreation. Bright lights, beautiful boats and an abundance of music. Santa will greet the children in Union Point Park after the parade.
Southport Christmas Flotilla 7:00 p.m.
Boats of all shapes and sizes, power and sail will illuminate the waterway from the North Pole to Southport. Best viewing areas are along the Cape Fear River from the Southport Marina/Old Yacht Basin to Kingsley Street.
Colington Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade – 5:00 p.m.
Join the CYC on the Albemarle Sound for their lighted boat parade in the Harbor. Join them afterwards for hot chocolate and cookies at the main dock.
29th Annual Intracoastal Christmas – 5:00 p.m.
Gather your family and watch the parade as it passes various viewing areas along the waterway from Little River to Dock Holidays Marina. Drop your donation of a new unwrapped toy at any marina along the parade route. christmasregatta.com
Charleston Parade of Boats – 5:00 p.m.
Beginning in Mt. Pleasant, lighted vessels of all makes and models will parade the along the Cooper River, past The Battery and ending in the Ashley River. Fireworks will light up the sky at the pinnacle of the parade (approx. 6:45 p.m.)
Light Up the Night – 5:00 p.m.
The Beaufort Sail and Power Squadron and the Main Street Beaufort showcase Beaufort’s strong connection to the waterway during this annual event at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park along the Beaufort River.
Savannah Harbor Foundation Festival of Lights – 5:00 p.m.
Approximately 50 lighted vessels will parade on both sides of the waterfront in the heart of Savannah. Live music, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks are all a part of the celebration. www.savannahharborfoundation.com
Jacksonville Light Parade – 7:00 p.m.
Over 200,000 spectators kick off the holiday season along the banks of the St. Johns River. The boat parade is followed by fireworks and the signature bridge waterfalls.Parade route and bridge closures can be found at www.makeascenedowntown.com/Events/Jacksonville- Light-Parade.aspx
27th Annual Parade of Boats, Panama City Beach – 5:30
Parade route begins at St. Andrew Bay Yacht Club, passing by Panama City Marina and ending at St. Andrews Marina.This years theme is All American Christmas.
37th Annual Holiday Boat Parade in Boca Raton – 6:30
The parade travels down the ICW for 6 1/2 miles from C-15 canal to the Hillsboro Blvd Bridge just south of the Palm Beach County line. Bleacher viewing at Silver Palm Park and Red Reef Park. www.myboca.us/rec/specialevents/holidays.shtm
25th Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m.
The parade passes all your favorite waterfront venues. With nearly 30 boats last year, this year promises to be even more exciting.
New Smyrna Beach Christmas and Boat Parade – Dusk
A land and sea event beginning at 4:00 p.m. at Flagler Avenue with marching bands and floats. At dusk the parade heads to the sea beginning at Edgewater, traveling North by Riverside/Manatee Park.
Key Colony Beach Holiday Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m
Key Colony Beach, in the Middle Keys, believes the best way to celebrate the season is on the water. The parade is best viewed from either the Sadowski Causeway entering KCB or the dock area behind the Post Office or City Hall.
28th Annual Bonita Springs Christmas Boat Parade – 6:00
This years event returns to its original parade route starting at Big Hickory Fish Nook Restaurant, traveling all the way up the river toHolly Lane and then ending at The Fish House Restaurant on Bonita Beach Road. www.bonita boatparade.com/
17th Annual Boot Key Harbor, Marathon Lighted Christmas Parade – 6:00 p.m.
What began with 14 boats wanting an excuse for a party has turned into one of the most popular events in Marathon. www.bootkeyharbor.com/christmas_parade.htm
16th Annual Bradenton Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade – 6:30
Spectators line the shores of the Manatee River for this annual event. Awards ceremony immediately follow at BYC.
Captiva Lighted Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m.
A part of the Captiva Holiday Village month-long festivities. The route begins at Marker #2 and will follow Roosevelt Channel to Tween Waters Inn and back.
Carrabelle Boat Parade of Lights – 7:00 p.m.
Stroll Marine Street along the River Walk from 5 – 7:00 p.m. sipping cider and visiting with Santa. Fireworks will light up the sky after the parade. www.carrabelle.org
Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m.
The theme of this 42nd Winterfest is Passport to Paradise. The parade travels 12 miles from the New River in Fort Lauderdale to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. This event is nationally televised to millions and streamed live on the internet. Fee. www.winterfestparade.com/index.php
St. Lucie County Boat Parade (Fort Pierce) – 6:00 p.m.
Festivities for this 23rd Annual event begin at the South Causeway at 4:00 p.m. with music, food, and Santa. The parade starts from the Fort Pierce City Marina.
Christmas Rocks at Key Largo – 7:30 p.m.
Blackwater Sound at mile marker 104. Winners party at Sundowners. www.keylargoboatparade.com/
Key West Schooner Wharf Bar & Galley Lighted Boat Parade – 8:00 p.m.
A tropical tribute to the season. This is a huge family affair with festivities beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Schooner Wharf. Vessels range from kayaks to schooners. www.schoonerwharf.com/12boatparade.htm
Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade – 7:00
What began in 1998 with a few dozen boats has blossomed to nearly 100 boats parading around Biscayne Bay. Best viewing location is Bayfront Park
33rd Annual St. Augustine Holiday Regatta of Lights – 6:00
The St. Augustine Yacht Club are your host for this magical evening celebrating the maritime roots of the Oldest City. Sailboats, trawlers, shrimp boats and many other vessels will parade on the bay front just North of the Bridge of Lions. www.sayc2000.com
Cape Coral Holiday Boat-A-Long – 4 – 9:00 p.m.
Approximately 100 boats will gather in the Bimini Basin before parading through the canals of south Cape Coral. Head to Four Freedoms Park to enjoy the parade, food, music and a holiday movie in the park.
27th Annual Holiday on the Harbor Lighted Boat Parade, Destin – 6:00
Spend the afternoon at the Annual Holiday Festival at the Destin History and Fishing Museum followed by a spectacular boat parade and fireworks. Bad weather date is 12/22/13. www.destinhistoryandfishingmuseum.org
24th Annual Peace River Lighted Boat Parade – 6:00
This parade grows larger with each passing year. Charlotte Harbor comes alive with thousands of lights. Use their website to find the best viewing spot. Also check out their floating caroling through the canals on 12/21/13. www.puntagordachamber.com/index.php?subcat=7
Merritt Island Christmas Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m.
Beginning at Sykes Creek traveling through Catalina Isle, Diane Shores, Waterway Manor and Villa de Palmas. Sponsored by the Citizen for Florida Waterways.
Christmas on the Bayou Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m.
Gulf Port comes alive with over 50 lighted boats parading along Bayou Bernard and Gulfport Lake. At the end of the parade the boats will proceed down the Industrial Canal and rendezvous at The Dock Bar & Grill on the north shore of Gulfport Lake.
Light Up the Lake Christmas Celebration – 6:30 p.m.
An entire day of festivities awaits you along Lake Charles. End your evening along the seawall with a spectacular lighted boat parade followed by fireworks. www.cityoflakecharles.com
Delcambre Christmas Boat Parade – Dusk
The beautiful Port of Delcambre will host their 10th annual parade. After the parade enjoy the sounds of the Delcambre High School Band and fireworks. www.delcambre boatparade.com
28th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade – 5:30 p.m.
The parade travels through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach starting at LuLu’s Homeport Marina and ending at Zeke’s Landing Marina. Also take in the month-long Coastal Christmas Holiday events hosted by the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce. www.alagulfcoastchamber.com/
Port Isabel Christmas Lighted Boat Parade – 6:00 p.m.
Hosted by the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce. Kayaks to yachts parade their way across Laguna Madre Bay to South Padre Island. portisabel.org/chamber
Corpus Christi Harbor Lights Festival & Boat Parade – Dusk
A tradition since 1982, the bayfront marina area lights up for the holiday season. Entertainment, rides, food and of course the boat parade. www.harborlightsfestival.org/
Port Aransas Carolers Afloat & Boat Lighting Parade – 6:00 p.m.
Sing your way throughout the parade. Hosted by the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce.
Port OConnor Annual Lighted Boat Parade – Dusk
A toy run and boat parade hosted by the OConnor Chamber of Commerce. portoconnorchamber.org
52nd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade – 6:00 p.m.
Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, on the west side of Galveston Bay, play host to this long time tradition. Hundreds of decorated boats parade from South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center over to the League City side of the lake.