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Holiday lighted boat parades, tree lightings and more in Tampa Bay

Here are 19 ways to join in the celebration at boat parades, land parades and tree lightings.
Santa Claus leaves behind his reindeer and sleigh to board a boat for numerous lighted boat parades around the Tampa Bay area.
Santa Claus leaves behind his reindeer and sleigh to board a boat for numerous lighted boat parades around the Tampa Bay area. [ TIM WYNKOOP | The Express-Times ]
Published Nov. 30, 2022|Updated Dec. 3, 2022

Cities around Tampa Bay are lighting up by land and sea for the holidays. Here are 19 ways to join in the celebration at boat parades, land parades and tree lightings.

Boat parades

Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade: Vessels will proceed down the Anclote River at 6:30 p.m. and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats in Spring Bayou. Best viewing is from Craig Park/Spring Bayou. Boats are scheduled to pass Craig Park for judging at 7:30 p.m. Boats must be registered if you plan to enter the contest. Free. 6:30 p.m. Friday. Craig Park, 100 Beekman Way, Tarpon Springs.

Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade: The Dunedin Boat Club organizes this parade through the Dunedin Marina and Edgewater Park. Santa arrives by boat for the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. Starts at Marker 1 Marina and ends at City of Dunedin Marina. Free. 5-9 p.m. Saturday. Edgewater Park, 51 Main St., Dunedin. 727-298-3278.

Cotee River Christmas Boat Parade: Decorated boats sail along the Pithlachascotee River from Miller’s Bayou in Port Richey to Sims Park. Free. 6-8 p.m. Saturday. Sims Park, 5547 Main St., New Port Richey.

South Pasadena Lighted Boat Parade: Kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on the northeast side of Pasadena Isle just outside MarineMax St. Petersburg, then follows the coastline of South Pasadena, going under the Corey Causeway bridge, then through the inlets near Harbourside Condominiums and Bay Island Condominiums, ending behind Causeway Village and The Fountains. Free. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9. MarineMax St. Petersburg, 6810 Gulfport Blvd. S.

Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade: The parade will begin at dusk near marker 12 in the south basin of Apollo Beach. Free. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 10. Tampa Sailing Squadron, 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd., Apollo Beach. 813-645-8377.

Clearwater Yacht Club Holiday Lighted Boat Parade: Fox 13 Tampa Bay’s Laura Moody serves as grand marshal for the 47th annual parade. It starts in Mandalay Channel, heads north through the Island Estates community, to the Memorial Causeway Bridge, then heads back to the beach to turn around at the City Fuel Dock and down to the judging area at the Clearwater Yacht Club. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 10. Clearwater Yacht Club, 830 Bayway Blvd.

Madeira Beach Festival of Lights Boat Parade: The 55th annual boat parade kicks off at John’s Pass. Head to ROC Park for the best view of the parade and for holiday music. Free. 6:45 p.m. Dec. 10. Madeira Beach Boardwalk, 12945 Village Blvd.

WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times Lit for the holidays, boats cruise on Boca Ciega Bay, South Pasadena, during the annual St. Pete Beach Holiday Boat Parade on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. This view is from the St. Pete Beach Community Center on Boca Ciega Drive.
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times Lit for the holidays, boats cruise on Boca Ciega Bay, South Pasadena, during the annual St. Pete Beach Holiday Boat Parade on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. This view is from the St. Pete Beach Community Center on Boca Ciega Drive. [ Times (2015) ]

Hillsborough River Holiday Boat Parade: If it floats, you’ll see it in this parade. Decorate your standup paddleboard, canoe, kayak, motorboat or sailboat and join the Friends of the Hillsborough River for a lighted boat parade from the Lowry Park boat ramp to Sulphur Springs. Residents along the route are encouraged to decorate their homes and docks. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 11. Lowry Park boat ramp, 1204 W Flora St., Tampa. 813-841-3601.

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Tampa Holiday Boat Parade: Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade takes place along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. The parade begins at the southern tip of Davis Islands, travels through the Convention Center basin and up to the Heights, where the boats will turn around and head to Sparkman Wharf for judging. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 17. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St. 813-221-1539.

Boca Ciega Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade: Starting at Osgood Point, the parade continues to the Municipal Marina and on to Gulfport’s Williams Pier, the casino and beach before moving on to Town Shores, Kipp’s Colony, Skimmer’s Point and other communities. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 17. Gulfport Municipal Marina, 4630 29th Ave. S. 727-893-1071.

Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade: The holiday celebration begins at 5 p.m. at the Treasure Bay Recreation Facility, with the boat parade leaving at 6:20 p.m. Viewing areas are the City of Treasure Island Golf Course at Treasure Bay, along the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge and at John’s Pass. Free. 6:20 p.m. Dec. 17. Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis, 10315 Paradise Blvd., Treasure Island. 727-360-6062.

Redington Beach/Indian Shores Christmas Lighted Boat Parade: Optimum viewing locations include ROC Park in Madeira Beach, the 161st Avenue causeway in Redington Beach, Del Bello Park in Redington Shores (just north of Seabreeze Restaurant) and the Park Boulevard boat ramp in Indian Shores. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 18. ROC Park, 200 Rex Place, Madeira Beach. 727-391-3875.

Tree lightings

Downtown Palm Harbor Tree Lighting: Start the holiday season with an evening of entertainment, games, a real snow play area, food, vendors, visits with Santa (5:30-7:30 p.m.) and the tree lighting (6 p.m.). Free. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday. Harbor Hall, 1190 Georgia Ave, Palm Harbor. 727-771-6000.

Christmas Block Party and Tree Lighting: The ceremony includes hot cocoa, cookie decorating, Santa hats and stockings for kids, music, games and “s’more.” Adults can stop by Santa’s Bar to spice up the night. Free. 6-9 p.m. Friday. Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce, 5443 Main St., New Port Richey. 727-842-7651.

Tampa’s Santa Fest and Tree Lighting: The parade steps off at 1 p.m. beginning at Morgan and Madison streets. It travels west on Madison Street to Ashley Drive, turns north and ends at Ashley Drive and Cass Street. Best viewing is along Madison Street. After the parade through downtown, stop by Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Santa Fest entertainment and activities (1-4 p.m.). Stay to watch Mayor Jane Castor and Santa Claus light up Tampa’s Christmas tree (6 p.m.) before an outdoor movie screening (6:30 p.m.). Free. 1-6:30 p.m. Saturday. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. 813-274-8211.

Join area residents as local cities light up their holiday trees.
Join area residents as local cities light up their holiday trees. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting: Seminole City Center and The Rotary Club of Seminole Lake ring in the holiday season with the Sail-A-Bration waterless boat parade, a tree lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa and music by the Seminole High School Big Band, Chamber Orchestra and Seminole Singers. The waterless boat parade starts at the Seminole Recreation Center, proceeds south on 113th Street and turns in to Seminole City Center. Free. 6-9 p.m. Sunday. Seminole City Center, 11201 Park Blvd. N. 727- 231-4114.

City of Gulfport Tree Lighting: Enjoy refreshments and music as your children give Santa their Christmas wish list at the City of Gulfport’s tree lighting ceremony. Free. 6 p.m. Dec. 5. Clymer Park, Gulfport Boulevard S and Beach Boulevard S, Gulfport. 727-893-1118.

Land parades

Palm Harbor Holiday Parade: Palm Harbor’s annual Santa parade starts at Delaware and 12th Street. Stick around for the Gift Market in the Harbor Hall parking lot. Free. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 10. 1190 Georgia Ave., downtown Palm Harbor. 727-771-6000.

Old Fashioned Christmas and Holiday Parade: Watch Santa arrive during the Holiday Street Parade, then stay downtown for the festivities along Main Street and Broadway Avenue. Activities include carriage rides, train rides, a snow slide, kids crafts, games, storytelling, face painting, street performers and singers, snow flurries, a visit with Santa Claus and music by Late Night Brass. The parade begins at 4 p.m. and travels along Douglas Avenue from Beltrees Street heading north to Skinner Boulevard. Free. 4 p.m. Dec. 10. Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue, Dunedin. 727-298-3266.