The Best Holiday Parades In Florida

Annual Christmas Parades in Florida
Photo by Brandnewday from Pixabay

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Ah, Florida, where holiday parades are as common as sunscreen at the beach. Starting in mid to late November and continuing through mid-December, Floridians celebrate the holiday season with a squeeze of citrus and a sprinkle of tropical vibe. While holiday parades come in all shapes and sizes, Florida knows how to put the “sun” in the holiday season. 

From Key West to Pensacola and everywhere in between, holiday parades in Florida are a yuletide rollercoaster ride through the Sunshine State. It’s a “holly jolly” journey capturing the heart of each community and adding twists to the traditional holiday spirit. So, without further ado, let’s dive into Florida’s best holiday parades.

Holiday Parades Around Florida

Key West Hometown Holiday Parade – A colorful island block party through Old Town and ending on Duval Street, where you can see Santas in sunglasses and palm trees strutting their stuff, marks the start of the holiday season. It’s where festive fun meets the laid-back Key West vibe. With snowmen wearing Hawaiian shirts and elves in flip-flops, this parade’s got “Island Time” written all over it. Instead of traditional carriages, you might spot floats shaped like beach chairs or margarita glasses. It’s the perfect blend of holiday spirit and that island lifestyle that makes Key West unlike any other place during the holiday season.

Tavares Christmas Parade – The sights and sounds of the holidays take over downtown Tavares as the Tavares Christmas Parade, with its fire engines, floats, and bands rolls down Main Street. Following the parade, there are lots of family-friendly activities, to get you into the spirit of the season.  Enjoy food vendors, live entertainment, a huge Christmas tree, “ice” skating, photo op spots, a movie in the park, and fireworks. This parade’s got the kind of vibe that’ll leave you feeling the holiday cheer.

Hot Holiday Ideas For Christmas in Florida

It’s a Wonderful Life in Plantation Holiday Parade – You can watch this waterfront city come to life as It’s a Wonderful Life Plantation Holiday Parade marks the unofficial start to the holiday season in Broward County. From Broward Blvd to City Hall, it showcases a mix of colorful floats, classic cars, local organizations, and even Santa Claus, who makes his grand entrance on one of the city’s fire engines, creating a heartwarming, small-town holiday feel. So, if you’re looking for a dose of holiday spirit that’s straight out of a movie script, Plantation’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”  holiday parade is a whole lot of festive fun for everyone!

Mount Dora Christmas Parade – The Mount Dora Christmas Parade is like a giant gift-wrapped present that the whole town can’t wait to open. With its colorful floats, marching bands, and community groups showing off their holiday best along Donnelly Street, it’s small-town holiday charm at its finest. Santa’s arrival is the parade’s highlight for both kids and kids-at-heart. After the parade, there’s plenty of opportunities for shopping and treats. It’s a community celebration that’ll make you feel like you walked into a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Naples Christmas Parade – At the Naples Christmas Parade, expect to see floats rolling down 11th Avenue S., that makes you think you stumbled into a tropical dream. It’s all about blending the holiday cheer, that’s a little bit beachy and a whole lot jolly, with that unmistakable Naples chill vibe. Instead of sleigh bells, it’s steel drums and maracas in the air. And if Santa doesn’t roll up on a golf cart, he’s probably cruising in on a convertible. So, whether you’re a local or just visiting, don’t miss out on the laughter, palm trees, and that unmistakable Gulf Coast flair at this quirky, “start to the holiday season” celebration!

Festival of Lights & Christmas Parade – The Festival of Lights is a night of family fun that turns Main Street in Zephyrhills into the North Pole throwing a beach party. Starting with a parade of floats, decorated vehicles, and bands, and wrapping up with Santa doing the tree lighting, this family-friendly, free holiday event features dozens of community groups and organizations, shopping, food trucks, live entertainment, raffles, gifts, and contests. With laughter, lights, and a whole lot of fun, the Zephyrhills Festival of Lights and Parade is where you find the magic of the season and plenty of good times to go around.

Tampa’s Santa Fest & Tree Lighting Parade – Tampa’s Santa Fest & Tree Lighting Parade showcases Santa’s grand entrance into the city on Madison Street, complete with marching bands, giant balloons, and even pirates showing off their holiday cheer. But the real magic happens at the tree lighting, where you witness the city’s Christmas tree illuminating the night in a blaze of twinkling lights. It’s a spectacle that takes you back to when you were a kid, no matter your age. With family-friendly activities, live entertainment, plenty of shopping, food, and even a meet and greet with jolly old Saint Nick himself, it’s a day of pure holiday joy. 

St Augustine Christmas Parade – One of the largest parades in Northeast Florida, running seven miles of the Intracoastal through downtown, St. Augustine’s annual Christmas Parade is the city’s holiday tradition. Featuring floats, marching bands, classic cars, and horse drawn carriages, along with the town’s decorations, the “oldest city in the United States” is transformed into a scene from a holiday movie. The parade winds its way through the streets of historic St. Augustine as thousands of locals and visitors watch in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. After the parade, everyone is welcome to take photos alongside Santa himself.

Santa Parade & Tree Lighting, St Petersburg – The St. Petersburg Santa Parade and Tree Lighting is the North Pole’s southern outpost, a perfect blend of holiday cheer and Florida sunshine. The parade is the official kick-off of the holiday season, with colorful floats, high school bands, and Santa arriving in holiday style as it travels along Bayshore Drive. Kids and adults alike line the streets to catch a glimpse of their favorite holiday characters before the tree lighting, which takes place in North Straub Park.

Holiday Parade #onLincoln – Get ready to light up the holiday vibes at the Christmas Tree Lighting on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. This family-friendly free event has craft activities for the little ones, a holiday parade with some special surprise guests, and a countdown to light Lincoln Road’s 30-foot tree. And who best to flip the switch? Why Santa, of course! It’s an annual tradition that warms hearts and brings smiles to faces of both young and old.

Pensacola Christmas Parade – The Pensacola Christmas Parade draws over 50,000 visitors along its route on W Garden Street, nearly 100 participants, and bands from Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, and New Orleans. Plus, all the money it makes goes to local high school band booster organizations. The parade has more than floats, marching/music groups and is the only parade in the area with all eight local school bands participating. Before the parade, there’s the traditional Christmas Parade Dash, a 1.2-mile route through downtown. You can run or walk it while plenty of folks cheer you on. 

Venice Holiday Parade –  The Venice Holiday Parade is a community-wide event with over 100 participants representing local businesses, schools, churches, social organizations, and music groups. Spectators arrive early to secure their viewing spots along the parade route of W Venice Avenue, and to enjoy plenty of pre-parade entertainment. Refreshments are available for purchase from various organizations, including high school booster clubs, Scouts, and local nonprofit service groups.

Christmas on 15th Ave – Inner City Parade & Festival – Christmas on 15th Ave, Inner City Parade & Festival is the ultimate holiday celebration in Miami. Expect sparkling lights, music, the annual parade, of course, special guests, activities for all ages, food trucks, carnival rides, vendors and a whole lot more. Get a jump on your holiday shopping, and don’t miss your chance to meet Santa and capture memorable moments. It’s the ideal way to start the holiday season, as you experience the magic of Christmas in the heart of Miami.

The City of Oviedo’s Holiday Parade  – The City of Oviedo’s Holiday Parade is a great way to kick off the holiday season. The parade travels down Oviedo Boulevard and features holiday floats, local bands, and community organizations , and there are plenty of vendors selling food, drinks, and more at Center Lake Park. Marking the start of Oviedo’s WinterFest and featuring Santa making his grand entrance while riding high on a fire truck, it’s a perfect time of the year to come together, enjoy the community spirit.

“Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade –  The oldest continuous holiday parade in Central Florida, “Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade” in Winter Park, is a free, family-friendly event. Spectators gather on Park Avenue and watch as over nearly 100 organizations come together including  marching bands, local police and fire departments, scouting groups, local dignitaries, and the one and only Santa Claus. It’s a wonderful holiday tradition. 

Florida Holiday Parades: Bringing Joys of the Season

Holiday Parades in Florida are all about spreading seasonal joy. From the cheerful greetings exchanged between neighbors to the laughter of children as they catch candy thrown from passing floats, Florida holiday parades create lasting memories. It’s a time when everyone, young and old, feels the holiday spirit in the air, and the shared experience of these parades brings a sense of togetherness. So, whether you find yourself at a city parade or one in a charming small town, there’s no better way to experience the warm and friendly side of the Sunshine State.

Make sure to check out The Best Holiday Boat Parades in Florida.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

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