As the holiday season approaches, Tampa Bay transforms into a twinkling waterscape with its array of enchanting boat parades. These festive events are a staple of the region's holiday celebrations, offering residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience the unique charm of Florida's winter. Here’s your ultimate guide to the 2023 Holiday Boat Parades in the Tampa Bay area.

1. Alafia Lighted Boat Parade
When: December 2, 2023, 5-7 p.m.
Where: Riverview Park & Civic Center, Riverview.
Join the community at Riverview for an evening of holiday cheer as decorated boats light up the Alafia River. This family-friendly event includes crafts for kids and a chili cookoff, perfect for kick-starting the festive season.

2. Treasure Island Holiday Lighted Boat Parade and Celebration
When: December 16, 2023, 5:00 p.m. (Parade starts at 6:20 p.m.)
Where: South of the Treasure Island Bridge.
Experience the beauty of the Treasure Island waterways adorned with lights. This spectacular parade travels around the Isles of Palms and Capri, culminating at John's Pass. A must-see event for a magical evening.

3. Clearwater Yacht Club Boat Parade
When: December 9, 2023, 6:15pm-9pm
Where: Mandalay Channel to Clearwater Yacht Club.
The Clearwater Yacht Club Boat Parade is a dazzling display of holiday spirit. Watch boats of all types and sizes, adorned in festive decor, navigate through the beautiful Clearwater inlets, making this a memorable holiday experience.

4. Riverwalk Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
When: December 23, 2023, 6:15 p.m.
Where: Davis Islands through to Sparkman Wharf Tampa’s Riverwalk lights up with the largest holiday boat parade in the area. Beginning at Davis Islands and winding through downtown Tampa, this event is perfect for a festive evening stroll along the Riverwalk.

Other Notable Parades:

  • St. Pete Beach Holiday Boat Parade and Tree Lighting: Dec. 1, 6 p.m. at Blind Pass Bridge, St. Pete Beach.
  • Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade: Dec. 1, 8 p.m. at Anclote River, Tarpon Springs.
  • Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade & Tree Lighting: Dec. 2, 6-9 p.m. at Dunedin Marina.
  • South Pasadena Lighted Boat Parade: Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m. starting at MarineMax
  • St. Petersburg. Boca Ciega Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade: Dec. 9, 6 p.m. at Osgood Point, Gulfport. ...and many more!

Each parade offers its own unique flavor of holiday celebration, with decorated boats, joyful music, and a community spirit that is hard to beat. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, these boat parades are a delightful way to celebrate the holiday season in Tampa Bay. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the festive lights reflecting off the water – it’s truly a sight to behold!

Wrap up warm, grab a hot cocoa, and head to one of these magical boat parades. It’s a Tampa Bay holiday tradition that you won’t want to miss!

Posted by Shane Vanderson on


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