Boatsetter’s Top 5 United States Holiday Boat Parades

Written by Kristen Rogers
December 10, 2018

Last Updated on June 9, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

Most people are well aware of all the holiday parades that take place down the Main Street of nearly every town in America. However, not everyone may know that there are plenty of holiday parades that take place on the water. In the coastal regions of the country, the holidays will see a long line of boats decked out in colorful light parading for all to enjoy. Every type of vessel from kayaks to huge yachts participate in the events. At Boatsetter, we are all for celebrating the holiday season out on the water which is why we put together this list of our favorite floating holiday parades. Get ready to deck the…decks.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In the city of Fort Lauderdale, otherwise known as the “Venice of America,” you will find the Winterfest Boat Parade. This water bound event is called the “Greatest Show on H2O,” and it is a sight to behold. Some of the boats in the parade will even feature live entertainment, and there have been known to be appearances by celebrities.

Newport Beach, California

What started as a simple 4th of July celebration over 100 years ago has now morphed into one of the biggest boat parades in the country. The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is an event like no other and it attracts millions of merrymakers each year. Over a hundred completely decked out boats cruise through the bay followed by a fireworks celebration.

Charleston, South Carolina

While it hasn’t been around as long as the Newport Beach celebration, Charleston’s Holiday Parade of Boats has been going strong for over thirty years. The party and the best place to view the parade is at the Charleston Maritime Center. Here you will find prime boat viewing real estate plus BBQ, plenty of treats, and Christmas caroling. If you look carefully, you may even catch a glimpse of Santa Claus.

San Francisco, California

For a truly impressive boat parade, you need a good backdrop and what could be better than the soaring Golden Gate Bridge? This Lighted Boat Parade has been taking over Fisherman’s Wharf for many years. The boats cruise merrily through the water, and you can enjoy them while you stroll down Marina Blvd.

Destin, Florida

Running for over thirty years, the Holiday on the Harbor Lighted Boat Parade in Destin, Florida has been a fun Christmas treat. The celebration starts in the afternoon with Santa bursting on the scene and it ends with a spectacular fireworks display. Snag a spot along the docks to witness all the fun. Destin is situated on the Gulf and the weather during the holiday season makes it a wonderful spot to bask in the glow from thousands of twinkling lights adorning the rails of the parading boats.

Want to join in on the fun? Find your perfect parading boat on Boatsetter and then you and your crew can find a spot in one of these coastal celebrations. You better start planning your decorations right away!

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