Key West Lighted Boat Parade

Key West Lighted Boat Parade

The 29th Annual Key West Lighted Boat Parade

Nothing says Christmas in the Islands like partying down on the waterfront in shorts and Hawaiian shirt as holiday-lit boats of every shape and size cruise the harbor in a nautical noel celebration. The 29th Annual Schooner Wharf Bar Lighted Boat Parade weighs anchor at 8 p.m. on December 14th and every year this exciting event draws hoards of seafarers and sightseers alike to join the festivities.

Dozens of creatively decorated craft of all shapes and sizes from tall ships and day-sailers to kayaks, catamarans, and Coast Guard rescue boats will get blinged-out in an amazing display of holiday lighting and décor in hopes of taking home a piece of the $25,000 plus in prizes. The boats muster in open water off the end of the Coast Guard pier, then cast off at 8 p.m. to run in to the brightly-decorated Key West Bight and past the judges stand set up next to the Schooner Wharf Bar. Then they head back out to sea for a slow loop that takes them the length of the Key West Waterfront.

One of Key West’s Best Family Events

It’s a great night to catch the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration because the fun begins at 6 p.m. just a few blocks away from the Square along the Harbor Walk in Key West Bight, also known as the Historic Key West Seaport. Live calypso and reggae music from the Bahama Village steel band and other groups livens up the night as kids scramble for beads and candy tossed onto the docks by the merry crews of the brilliantly-lit boats cruising by.

Spectators watch from the docks, or from the verandas of seaside dining establishments as each craft shows off its crew’s efforts to outdo all the rest for cleverness of design or sheer quantity of lights. Anything goes out on the water, and no artistic effort has been spared in decking the hulls and bows to look jolly: Christmas-decorated palm trees, animated leaping dolphins, or the elegantly-outlined riggings of classic schooners all look fantastic. Meanwhile, back onshore, caroling, charity fund raising, and holiday food & libations keep Christmas spirits high.

The Event of the Season

The Lighted Boat Parade is a “must see” on the Key West event calendar. Along with viewing at the Bight itself, there are plenty of great vantage points along the waterfront and at Mallory Square. Parade-related dinner and drink specials at tables with views of the parade route abound at various seaside establishments. You could also take a sunset cruise to warm up and arrive back in time for the parade, or simply stroll around the harbor and enjoy the decorations on display as part of the Key West Bight Before Christmas Holiday Celebration.

Join the crowds of locals and visitors alike who gather to usher in the holiday season with this uniquely Key West celebration of creativity, beauty, and nautical flair. If you don’t live in Key West, this is a good time to plan a visit, and there are a number of oceanfront hotels and resorts that offer excellent walking access to the festivities.

Spend Every Christmas in Paradise

After a warm evening on the waterfront watching the boat parade, you might find yourself wishing you did live in the Keys. Please browse around our website to get a feel for the possibilities, then drop by our Bascom Grooms Real Estate Office at 1716 N. Roosevelt Blvd. or contact us at 305-676-0347 / to talk about making your Caribbean dreams come true. Happy Holidays from all of us on the Bascom Grooms Key West Real Estate Team!