South Florida will boast an embarrassment of holiday-boat-parade riches in December, with yachts decked out in twinkling lights and inflatable Santas, American flags and glowing candy canes.
Here are eight boat parades keeping the Christmas spirit afloat.
What: 1980s pop hitmaker Huey Lewis, sans the News, will serve as grand marshal of the 47th Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat parade, returning 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. Seating will be free and plentiful (including your couch: The parade will be streamed live via Winterfestparade.com/Watch-Us), but the best family-friendly spot remains the Grandstand Area at Birch State Park (3109 E. Sunrise Blvd.) for $20-$25. Call 954-767-0686 or go to WinterfestParade.com.
Routes: Stretching from the Broward Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale north to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach, the 12-mile route will feature by far South Florida’s biggest fleet of yachts and boats decked out with holiday decorations.
Traffic: All bridge closings (and there are many) are listed on the Winterfest Boat Parade website.
What: The 56th annual Greater Pompano Beach/Lighthouse Point Chamber of Commerce Holiday Boat Parade moved its usual Sunday slot this year to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. The parade, presented by the Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce, will feature 50 boats and appearances from Victoria Burgess, who made a 115-mile voyage by paddleboard from Key West to Cuba this summer. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samantha Grady will perform the National Anthem. Call 954-941-2940 or go to PompanoBeachChamber.com.
Routes: While there are viewing spots at Two George's at the Cove, Houston's, the Rusty Hook, Harbors Edge Park and Alsdorf Park, the prime watch party is Sands Harbor Resort and Marina (125 N. Riverside Drive, Pompano Beach). Tickets cost $25-$75 via Eventbrite.com and include food, drink and live music.
Traffic: Bridges on Atlantic Boulevard, 14th Street Causeway and Hillsboro Boulevard will be raised between 6:15 and 9:30 p.m.
North Palm Beach/Jupiter
What: The Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade, presented by Marine Industry Association of Palm Beach County, returns for its 24th edition on Saturday, Dec. 1, with $10,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs for the best-decorated boats. A fireworks display will follow the procession. The parade is collecting toys for Toys for Tots, and passing boats with flashing amber beacons will make dockside pickups for visitors with donations. Call 561-863-0012 or go to PalmBeachBoatParade.com.
Routes: The boat procession will travel between North Palm Beach and Jupiter, with public viewing sites at Lighthouse Park (near Northlake Boulevard and U.S. 1) north to Harbourside Place, Jupiter Riverwalk, Sawfish Bay Park, Lighthouse Park, Inlet Village and Lagoon Bridge.
Traffic: The Donald Ross Bridge will open for boats between 7:15 and 7:30, while the Indiantown Road bridge raises between 8 and 8:15 p.m. and the Jupiter Federal Bridge opens between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m.
What: The 42nd annual Holiday Boat Parade will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, starting on the C-15 canal on the Boca Raton-Delray Beach border and sail south to the Hillsboro Boulevard bridge. Call 561-367-7073 or go to MyBoca.us.
Routes: Since the holiday boat procession will travel south, visitors can view the parade at free staging areas at Red Reef Park, the Wildflower Property and from Silver Palm Park. Food and drinks will be served at the staging areas.
Traffic: During the boat parade, bridges will be closed at Spanish River at 6:50 p.m., Palmetto Park at 7:20 p.m. and Camino Real at 7:30 p.m.
Boynton and Delray Beach
What: The Boynton and Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade, back for its 47th edition, will again light up the Intracoastal with festive vessels at 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Call the city of Boynton Beach at 561-600-9097 and the city of Delray Beach at 561-243-7250, or go to CatchBoynton.com.
Routes: The procession stretches between Intracoastal Park in Boynton Beach south to Knowles Park in Delray Beach. Visitors can view the parade at Boynton Harbor Marina (735 Casa Loma Blvd.), which will feature music, children’s activities and a visit from Santa Claus, with more viewing spots available at Intracoastal Park, Jaycee Park and in Delray Beach at Veterans Park and Knowles Park.
Traffic: Parking is available at an unpaved lot at 198 N. Federal Highway, in Boynton Beach.
What: The fourth annual Lake Osborne Holiday Boat Parade, returning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, will feature a 50-boat procession and complete a full loop around the lake. It’s organized by the Osbourne Yacht Club with donations from Lantana-area residents. Go to the parade’s Facebook page.
Routes: The parade will kick off at Lakeside Anchor Inn (2412 Floral Road, Lantana) and travel north along Lake Osbourne Drive, before turning around and looping south around the lake’s western edge at Lake Worth Road. The best vantage point is along the shore on Lake Osbourne Drive between Lantana and Lake Worth Roads.
Traffic: Parking is plentiful at Lakeside Anchor Inn and along Lake Osbourne Drive.
What: Some 75 holiday boats are expected to blanket Biscayne Bay in Christmas colors during the 20th annual Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade, which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, along Bayfront Park (301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Call 305-668-6176 or go to MocHolidayBoatParade.com.
Routes: The boat procession begins along the Bayfront Park shoreline and continues north, passing under the MacArthur Causeway, weaving around Star, Palm and Hibiscus Islands before looping back to Bayfront.
Traffic: As always, parking is limited in Miami, but metered spaces and parking garages are sprinkled throughout downtown Miami.
What: Some $3,000 in cash and prizes are on the table for best-decorated boat during the Key Largo Boat Parade, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Key Largo’s Blackwater Sound (near Mile Marker 104). The parade is free to enter, and all boat entries are randomly selected for a $500 drawing. This year’s grand marshal is Scott Newberry, CEO of Florida Keys Electric Cooperative. Call 305-394-3736 or visit KeyLargoBoatParade.com.
Routes: The flotilla will start at the mouth of Dusenbury Creek on Blackwater Sound, and hug the shoreline as it travels north to Gilbert’s Resort. Viewing spots are available at Sundowners, Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill, Senor Frijoles, the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort and Caribbean Club.
Traffic: The two-lane Overseas Highway may be clogged with boat-show traffic, but parking should be plentiful at Key Largo restaurants along Blackwater Sound.
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