best places on the water to celebrate new years

6 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve on a Boat

Written by Diane Byrne
November 17, 2023

Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

When it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations, lots of people head to hotels and restaurants for big parties. While those events can be a lot of fun, we respectfully disagree with those who say they’re the best. 

In fact, we boaters have some of the greatest vantage points from which to enjoy fireworks and more: the bays, oceans, and rivers across the nation. Not only are the colorful displays often right on the water, but also the waters are less crowded than the streets. Whether you take your own boat or rent one, these are some of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve on a boat. 

  1. Houston, Texas 
  2. Jacksonville, Florida 
  3. Orange Beach, Alabama
  4. Savannah, Georgia 
  5. San Diego, California 
  6. Seattle, Washington 

Party like it’s 2023 as you ring in 2024 with fantastic fireworks and much more at these on-water destinations.

Explore available boat rentals for New Year’s Eve 

1. Houston, Texas

kemah boardwalk texas

Family-friendly celebrations await at the Kemah Boardwalk on Galveston Bay. Indeed, the party includes a special kids’ countdown, plus fireworks. Conveniently, you can book a slip at the Kemah Marina, mere steps from the Boardwalk’s dozens of restaurants and shops, plus its amusement park.

Explore available boat rentals in Houston, TX for New Year’s Eve 


2. Jacksonville, Florida

jacksonville fireworks new years

Miami gets the lion’s share of attention in Florida for its epic nightlife. Nevertheless, you can have a terrific New Year’s Eve on a boat in Jacksonville. Fireworks go off over the St. Johns River, lighting up the water and the city skyline at the stroke of midnight. 

During the early evening, check out the coastal-themed lights and decorations adorning more than 40 American Red Cross lifeguard chairs in Jacksonville Beach. They’re part of the annual Deck the Chairs event, celebrating its 10th anniversary. 

Explore available boat rentals in Jacksonville, FL for New Year’s Eve


3. Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach Alabama

The Alabama Gulf Coast isn’t as high-profile as Florida’s Gulf Coast, but it’s no less fantastic for boating. Orange Beach is a perennially popular summer destination, especially for fishing. It’s certainly worth visiting to spend New Year’s Eve on a boat because of the annual Reelin’ in the New Year Street Party. 

The Wharf Marina, halfway between Mobile Bay and Pensacola Bay, hosts this family-friendly event. Some activities start at 5 p.m., with fireworks and the famous Marlin Drop at midnight. Stick around the following day for the famous Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip in the Gulf of Mexico, too. It’s called “Flora-Bama” because it’s in nearby Perdido Key, Florida, just across the state border. 


Explore available boat rentals in Orange Beach, Alabama for New Year’s Eve


4. Savannah, Georgia

savannah georgia new years

Nearby Tybee Island is where you’ll find the southeastern United States’ biggest fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. They start at 11:59 p.m. Conveniently, a marina (namely Tybee Island Marina) is on the barrier island, just a few minutes from the Intracoastal Waterway and mouth of the Savannah River. 

Even better, you can see the bright lights in the sky from anywhere around the island. Furthermore, and similar to other cities, Tybee Island hosts a Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day, though it kicks off with the Gang of Goofs costume contest and parade.

Explore available boat rentals in Savannah, GA for New Year’s Eve


5. San Diego, California

san diego fireworks

Embarcadero Marina Park South is arguably the best place to catch the fireworks that go off over downtown San Diego as the clock strikes midnight. If you’d rather be untethered, go for a cruise on San Diego Bay, a popular option.

Explore available boat rentals in San Diego, CA for New Year’s Eve


6. Seattle, Washington

seattle fireworks

An amazing fireworks display goes off from the city’s renown Space Needle, and Elliott Bay is one of the prime viewing places. It offers some of the closest, most unobstructed views. Just make sure you dress warmly for what’s typically a chilly night out on deck. However, those same chilly temperatures usually mean fewer boaters are on the bay in comparison to the prime summer cruising season

Explore available boat rentals in Seattle, WA for New Year’s Eve


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