One of my favorite holiday events is watching the lighted boat parades. There’s just something magical about seeing twinkling lights reflecting on the water, Santa and reindeer on board and holiday music playing while being surrounded by family, friends and newly made acquaintances. Everybody is friends with everybody on nights like these.

I have to admit it is a lot easier to watch the winter boat parades here in Florida in flip-flops than those in the Chesapeake Bay in the freezing cold with boots, coats, scarves and gloves. I do miss the oyster roasts that always fortified us for that cold though. I still manage to bring hot chocolate for parade watching even if the temperature is 65 degrees. So I know where I will be tomorrow night. Below are listed some of the local boat parades. Enjoy watching the parades wherever you may be! Happy Holidays!

St Petersburg Lighted Boat Parade 2011-William Mansell

St Petersburg Lighted Boat Parade 2011-William Mansell

St. Pete Boat Parade and Holiday Festival   Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at 3 p.m.   Vinoy Park 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg Florida

The festival starts at 3pm and  includes children’s activities, food and drink vendors, and live music by the Ries Brothers, Brother Brownlow, the Southside Bulldogs and the Troy Duncan Band. The boat parade starts at 6pm. Benefits the Children’s Dream Fund and other Rotary charities.

Gulfport Lighted Christmas Boat Parade   Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012at 6 p.m.    Gulfport Municipal Marina 4630 29th Ave. S, Gulfport Florida

Members of the Boca Ciega Yacht Club decorate their sail and power boats for this 27th annual holiday water parade. It begins at the marina, past the Williams Pier into the canals of Town Shores Condominiums, through the Pasadena Yacht Club Estates and by Isla Del Sol. Toys benefit Operation Santa.

Treasure Island Lighted Boat Parade  Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at 6:20 p.m. The Club at Treasure Island  400 Treasure Island Causeway, Treasure Island

Boats all decked out for the holidays compete in this annual parade. It starts at The Club, goes through the Treasure Island Bridge into Boca Ciega Bay and follows the coast line to end at John’s Pass.

Island Estates Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade  Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. Coachman Park 301 Drew St., Clearwater

Decorated boats start in Mandalay Channel and head to Coachman Park, under the Memorial Causeway Bridge and to the Clearwater Yacht Club’s judging stand. Prizes awarded for best decorated boats.

Indian Rocks Beach Lighted Boat Parade  Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 at 7 p.m. Holiday Inn Harbourside 401 Second St., Indian Rocks Beach

Power boats, sail boats, canoes and row boats are given awards by division.  It begins at the Holiday Inn Harbourside and heads north through the inner coastal canals and ends just south of the Belleair Causeway.