6 Best Places to Spend New Year’s Eve on a Boat
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.
- Houston, Texas
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Orange Beach, Alabama
- Savannah, Georgia
- San Diego, California
- Seattle, Washington
Party like it’s 2023 as you ring in 2024 with fantastic fireworks and much more at these on-water destinations.
1. Houston, 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
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.
3. 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.
4. Savannah, Georgia
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.
5. San Diego, California
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.
6. Seattle, Washington
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.
Boatsetter is the go-to app for boat rentals and on-water experiences. Whatever the adventure, we’ve got a boat for that—Set sail, start the party, go yachting, make your trophy catch, and hone your watersports skills! Download the Boatsetter app (App Store | Google Play). Make sure to follow @boatsetter on Instagram, and tag us in all your boat day pictures for the chance to be featured.
A journalist with more than 30 years’ experience, Diane M. Byrne is the owner
of MegayachtNews.com, a daily website educating American superyacht owners, buyers, and
their circles of influence about the leading builders, designers, cruising destinations, and more.
She founded the website in 2007 as the first, and still the only, American-focused online media
outlet exclusively covering this market. It features all-original content, for real stories of real
Diane is additionally one of the most-sought-after journalists for expert editorial coverage and
commentary about not only superyachts, but also general boating and yachting. Her byline
appears in Boatsetter.com, DiscoverBoating.com, and the magazines Luxury Guide, Ocean,
Yachting, and Yachts International.
Additionally, Diane is the Chair of the U.S. Superyacht Association, having been on the Board of
Directors since 2015. Outside of yachting, she’s a trustee of Sempre Avanti, a non-profit
resource supporting Italian and Italian-American individuals, businesses, and organizations in the
United States and Italy.