FLORIDA KEYS — Lighted and decorated boats of all shapes and sizes are to illuminate the sparkling waters of the Florida Keys in December, drawing visitors to local hubs and hotspots to watch five boat parades and revel in the Keys’ holiday spirit.
From Key Largo to Key West, visitors can view the parades from the shore or excursion boats, or even become part of the festivities by decking out their own boat in dazzling lights and eye-catching seasonal decorations.
Friday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
Stock Island Lighted Boat Parade (Stock Island)
Decorated vessels ranging from dinghies and three-masted schooners to shrimp boats from the fleet based on Stock Island stage a festive cruise through community marinas. The free-to-watch boat parade is presented by Sunset Watersports and headquartered at Stock Island Marina Village, 7005 Shrimp Road. Festivities before the parade and an official after party at the Hogfish Bar & Grill, 6810 Front St., round out the evening. Visit ilovestockisland.org.
Saturday, Dec. 8, 6 p.m.
Boot Key Harbor Christmas Boat Parade (Marathon)
At this Middle Keys holiday event, dinghies, mega-yachts and vessels in between are to cruise the harbor in a sparkling procession. The best viewing sites include Lazy Days South, Marathon Marina, Dockside Tropical Café and Burdines Waterfront around MMs 47-50. For more information, visit facebook.com/marathonmarinaresort.
Saturday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Key Largo Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (Key Largo)
Boats ranging from single-person kayaks to elegant yachts are to show off festive decorations in a lively holiday procession of vessels on Key Largo’s Blackwater Sound. Great viewing spots can be found at Sundowners, Cactus Jack’s, Señor Frijoles, the Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort and Caribbean Club, all around mile markers (MMs) 103-104. For more information, visit keylargoboatparade.com.
Sunday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m.
Key Colony Beach Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (Marathon Area)
Spectators can applaud vividly lit boats in the Middle Keys at the Key Colony Beach Lighted Boat Parade. Open to all boats, the parade is set to start at the 7th Street canal and wind its way through canals and cuts. The best viewing spots include the Sadowski Causeway at MM 53.5 and the dock area behind city hall and the post office. For more information, visit kcbca.org/boatparade.
Saturday, Dec. 15, 8 p.m.
Schooner Wharf Bar/Absolute Vodka Lighted Boat Parade (Key West)
Festively decorated kayaks, fishing craft and classic schooners are to light up the Key West Historic Seaport and harbor areas during the annual Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade. Spectators can view the dozens of creatively bedecked vessels from resorts, bars andrestaurants in and around the Historic Seaport. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. For more information, visit schoonerwharf.com.
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS