Tag Archives: Boat Parades

Celebrate the Holiday Season in the Sunshine State

This season, the state of Florida will shine extra bright with holiday spirit as millions of Christmas lights delicately cover the land and water, and the smell of delicious delicacies fill the air. As angels illuminate the bow of magnificently decorated boats and tiny lights decorate palm trees, locals and visitors alike will enjoy Florida’s unique and magical holiday season.

StAugustine-nights-of-lightsHistoric Holidays – While it may not snow in St. Augustine, the Nation’s oldest city turns into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. As the Annual Nights of Lights celebration takes over the city from November 21 to January 31, 2016, the historic district will be lit with more than 3 million white lights from the ground up to the rooftops. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting display reflects the city’s 450-year history and illuminates the beautiful ancient city. Holiday music and the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree add to the splendour of one of the world’s greatest holiday light displays.

There are many ways to enjoy Nights of Lights, including on foot, by bicycle or pedicab, on the Old Town Holly Jolly Trolly, aboard Ripley’s Red Train or by horse and carriage. Local attractions also offer special Nights of Lights tours, in which visitors can appreciate the remarkable display from the water aboard the Schooner Freedom, the Osprey or with Ripple Effects Eco Tours, or by air with St. Augustine Bi-Plane Tours.

Historic Fernandina Beach-Centre Street, Books Plus Bookstore and Palace Saloon
Historic Fernandina Beach-Centre Street, Books Plus Bookstore and Palace Saloon

Santa & Sweets – Further north of St. Augustine, not quite to the North Pole, is another historic district belonging to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island where visitors will go back in time to old Victorian Christmas traditions. With Chestnuts roasting, carolers strolling and Saint Nick arriving, an enchanted Victorian experience awaits visitors on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach. Satisfy holiday cravings and catch the spirit of the season at the Annual Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Holiday Cookie Tour on Saturday, December 12, 2015. During this delicious tour, guests will sample a signature cookie from each Inn, take home a beautifully printed recipe card and gather inspiring decorating ideas just in time for the Holidays. With so much to do and see, visitors can extend their Amelia Island Holiday experience with these great Holiday Stay Packages.

SeaWorld-Polar ExpressSplash, Skate, Celebrate – Spend the Holidays with your favorite sea creatures during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Gather with the family to hear the classic Christmas story, as told through the eyes of animals, followed by a wondrous journey to the North Pole aboard The Polar Express to visit Santa Claus. Guests can sit back and relax as they watch Winter Wonderland on Ice, a show-stopping ice-skating extravaganza of skaters gliding across a stage of ice, jewels and light.

Guests can also take a leisurely stroll through The Christmas Village where artisans, festive entertainment and delicious culinary delights create a bustling market that lines Bayside Pathway. Guests can discover one-of-a-kind gifts, enjoy scrumptious holiday treats, encounter playful elves and holiday characters, sing-a-long with musicians, and marvel at a charming model train village.

Circus Nutcracker-SarasotaTraditions with a Twist – The Nutcracker ballet is already a worldwide Christmas tradition on its own; however, the Sarasota Ballet is adding a new twist to the famous performance in their Circus Nutcracker. Bringing the spirit of the holidays to Sarasota, Matthew Hart’s John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker will enchant audiences at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score by the Sarasota Orchestra, John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker entwines the history of John and Mable Ringling and Sarasota’s connection to the circus with Hoffman’s classical Nutcracker.

Boat parades-Palm beachWinter Waterland – What would a Florida holiday be without water and boat parades? This season, Florida’s waterways will be festively aglow with the holiday spirit as boats twinkle with dazzling Christmas lights and displays. Boat parades can be enjoyed across the entire state, from Naples to the Palm Beaches. Along Florida’s Paradise Coast, guests can enjoy a series of boat parades throughout December on Marco Island, Naples Bay and theVillage on Venetian Bay. Moving up the Gulf Coast and across the state, there will be boat parades in Venice, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Stuart and the Palm Beaches, among many other destinations.  With free admission, guests can view the parades from their favourite spots, whether it be a waterfront restaurant or hotel, a park, a bay walk or a cozy chair on the water’s edge.

Canal Cruise-FloridaPrefer to be on the water? Visitors in Punta Gorda can enjoy nightly Christmas Light Canal Cruises from December 4 – 31, 2015. A tradition for more than 30 years, these popular, family-oriented cruises tour the residential canals to view Christmas lights, displays and decorations on homes, boats, seawalls and docks. Guests can even experience the joy of a private Catamaran Christmas Canal Cruise aboard the 47’Smoke and Roses.

From historic districts and theme parks to boat parades and ballets, Florida’s festivities provide unforgettable Holiday experiences for every type of visitor.

(All images courtesy respective owners)


Parade at Florida this Christmas

Orlando- Christmas Parade at Walt Disney World ResortTrade in the cold, slushy snow for white powdery sand this holiday season! With an abundance of sunshine and more than 800 miles of beautiful beaches, it is no wonder travelers from around the country flock to Florida for a sunny December. With all the activities happening around the state, there is a multitude of ways to experience the holidays like never before.

Pensacola Christmas Parade                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Downtown Pensacola comes alive when more than 50,000 people flock to Palafox Place to enjoy the annual Christmas parade. Come out to this family-friendly parade On December 13 to experience local bands, the famous Blue Angels flight team and area Mardi Gras krewes. Stuff your stockings as floats toss down beads and other goodies to spectators.

Jacksonville Gingerbread House Extravaganza                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the 11th consecutive year, the Jacksonville Historical Society is hosting the Gingerbread House Extravaganza fundraiser to raise money for children’s programs, but this is no ordinary bake sale. From Dec. 3-23, you can witness the artistry and detail of the edible creations, providing enough awe to keep your sweet tooth in check. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can submit your own masterpiece to be part of the fun.

gall600-1322064126St. Augustine St. Augustine Christmas Parade                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kick off the Nights of Lights celebration with the annual Christmas parade!  On Dec. 6, head downtown to the historic streets of St. Augustine to witness one of the biggest parades in North Florida. Enjoy floats, cars, marching bands and horses, and even the arrival of Santa Claus himself. Don’t forget to stick around to pose with him, as picture opportunities will be available following the parade in the Plaza de la Constitucion.

St. Augustine Ballet presents The Nutcracker                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             On Dec. 20 and 21, the St. Augustine Ballet will present one of the most timeless holiday traditions, The Nutcracker. This classic features a multigenerational cast, including local celebrities, professional guest artists, and the best of the area’s ballet dancers. Be transported to a winter wonderland as you join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince through an unforgettable journey..

New Year’s Eve on Main Street Celebration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Ring in 2015 the right way at the biggest bash on Main Street! Be a part of the exciting atmosphere with multiple stages of entertainment, street performers, festival food, attractions for kids, fireworks over the ocean, and even a live ball drop ceremony at midnight. Main Street is the place to be for New Year’s Eve!

The Ocala Christmas Parade                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Experience a parade like never before at the 59th annual Ocala Christmas Parade! On December 13th, more than 60,000 spectators will line up at the two-mile route to witness this Christmas themed extravaganza. Some spectators have been known to line up the night before so they can “mark their spot” on the parade route. Don’t miss out on the largest nighttime parade in the state of Florida!

Universal Orlando Resort’s Holiday Celebration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Beginning Dec. 6 and running daily through Jan. 3, the Holidays at Universal Orlando features one-of-a-kind traditions for guests from one to 92 throughout the destination. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests will smile from ear-to-ear during the heartwarming live show “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” featuring the Grinch and the Whos from Who-ville. At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy’s Holiday Parade will fill the streets every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in Macy’s famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Plus, enjoy incredible live performances by the award-winning Mannheim Steamroller on select nights. This  is a holiday celebration you won’t want to miss!

mcogp_christmas_phototour12ICE! Featuring The Nutcracker                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Experience a truly unique winter experience in Florida with ICE!, the award winning display of millions of pounds of ice, hand-carved into amazing sculptures by artisans from China. Experience The Nutcracker like never before, and join in on the icy experience by soaring down one of the two-story-tall ice slides. With the entire exhibit kept at 9 degrees, it is a true holiday event you won’t want to miss   

A Night Before Christmas                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Although Florida may be a long way from the North Pole, Santa Claus will still be making an appearance. But this time, he’s trading in his sleigh for a helicopter, as he’ll be flying into G.T. Bray Park for the annual “A Night Before Christmas” celebration in Bradenton on Dec. 6. Visitors missing the colder weather and flurries will enjoy the 10 tons of snow brought in for his arrival and all will enjoy the family activities in this winter wonderland.

Kingfisher fleetPunta Gorda Christmas Light Canal Cruises                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   King Fisher Fleet, headquartered at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda, is now accepting reservations for Christmas Light Canal Cruises. These popular, family-oriented cruises tour residential canals to view the town lit up by Christmas lights, displays, and decorations on homes, boats, seawalls and docks. Christmas Light Canal Cruises run every evening from Dec. 4 to Dec. 31, or for those seeking a more intimate Christmas experience, private boat Christmas Light Canal Cruises are available aboard our 35-foot cabin cruiser, which accommodates up to six passengers.

Fort Lauderdale Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade                                                                                                                                                                                                              Experience a one-of-a-kind holiday boat parade at the 43rd Annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade! On Dec. 13, hundreds of beautifully illuminated boats are set to sail 12 miles, starting at the Riverside Hotel and traveling east to the Intracoastal Waterway, and north to Lake Santa Barbara. Continuing the tradition stemmed from the non-profit WINTERFEST, Inc., the festival is entirely dependent on sponsorship from local and national corporate sponsors, who bring Christmas to life through the magical boating display

Key West Schooner Warf Bar & Galley Lighted Boat Parade                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     BigboatThe 24th Annual Schooner Wharf Bar and Galley Lighted Boat Parade is an island tradition that will help you get the holidays started with some tropical festivities that are uniquely Key West. On Dec. 15, this family event combines creativity, beauty, and nautical flair to bring out crowds ready to usher in the Key West Christmas season. Spectators can watch as a wide variety of watercraft, ranging from kayaks to sailboats to Coast Guard cutters pass by in a display of amazing lighting and décor. The parade is not all fun and games, however. There is serious competition among the owners and crews of the many vessels entered in the parade. At stake are more than $20,500 in prizes, and a free raffle valued at over $4,000.

Light Up Key Largo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               What better way to spend the holidays than with eggnog, caroling, and an appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus? Embrace the holiday spirit at Light Up Key Largo! The annual tree lighting is to be held at the Murray E. Nelson Government Center and Key Largo Cultural Center, along with live music, decorations, and seasonal food and drinks. With a celebration like this, virtually everyone is guaranteed to be put in a festive mood