Many boaters across the United States are forced to live with the challenges of four-season weather. Unfortunately for them, Christmas time means winterization and no time on the water. But for those lucky few who enjoy year-round sunshine (cough…Florida), winter means putting Christmas lights on palm trees and endless holiday boating opportunities.

As you may have seen, recently released an article, Holiday Boating: Some Like It Cold, highlighting how boaters in the North enjoy spending their holidays despite battling snowy days and freezing temperatures. Now, we’re taking a look at some of the most popular holiday events across the South and in other warm-weather locations like Southern California and Hawaii. Take a look at our list—and for those of you who are bundled up and preparing to shovel snow, try to contain your jealousy…


Some people like it cold and some people like it hot. If you're a boater looking for some sand and sunshine, you better head south for the winter.


Lighted Boat Parades

It's time to deck the hulls. Holiday boat parades seem to be a tradition that you can find throughout many different parts of the country, even in states fighting the cold.  So what’s the main difference between these parades in the South versus the parades in the North? A lot has to do with wardrobe. Maybe it’s just us, but we’ll take flip-flops and tank tops over snow boots and parkas any day.

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Accompanied by three of his helpers and led by his faithful reindeer, Rudolph, it looks like this Santa is ready for an island Christmas as he sails through the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. Photo Credit: Tony Webster.

Here are a few of the most well known lighted boat parades in warm-weather destinations:

Celebrations in the Sand

If you happen to be in the South for the holidays, drop anchor or tie up at the dock. Then, head over to the beach for some Christmas festivities.

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Surf's up, Santa—it looks like good 'ole St. Nicholas is ready to hang ten.

It’s safe to assume that children in the South have been deprived of some of the most beloved holiday traditions, like playing in the snow, sledding, and building a snowman—but not to worry, these warm-weather locals have found a way to compromise. Instead of using snow, they pack together mounts of wet sand to build their “sandman,” and whenever they find the perfect sand dune, they hop on a sled and enjoy the ride.

Santa Claus himself also frequents the beach. You might find him catching a wave with Mrs. Claus or dropping in via parachute at the Flora-Bama Santa Drop in Pensacola, Fl..

Festive Fishing Tournaments

Photos courtesy: Angler Armory.

At John’s Pass Jingle Bells Kid’s Fishing Tournament, all they want for Christmas is the biggest catch. Photo courtesy: Angler Armory.

When you live in a warm climate, you not only get to reap the benefits of year-round boating, you also get to enjoy year-round fishing. When the holidays roll around, it’s the perfect time to spend quality time with family—and what better way to do that than fishing. All over the state of Florida, there are multiple children’s fishing tournaments for anglers of all ages. Two of the most popular tournaments for the little tikes include the 26th Annual Children’s Holiday Fishing Tournament in Wellington, Fl. and John’s Pass Jingle Bells Kid’s Fishing Tournament hosted by Angler Armory in Madeira Beach, Fl..

Watersports in the Winter

Grab your bathing suit and your Santa hat—get ready to hit the wakes. Watersports' season never ends when the sun never stops shining. In Tampa Bay, Fl., you can catch the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team performing their annual Holiday Ski Show. Or head over to the West Coast to Long Beach, Ca. to explore the Christmas Lights in the Harbor—did we mention you get to ride a hydro bike?

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The Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team definitely isn't dashing through the snow—they prefer gliding through the water.

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This junior member of the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team gave "here comes Santa Claus" a whole new meaning.

Are you ready to head south for the winter? If you happen to be a resident of one of these warm-weather wonderlands, let us know how you like to spend your tropical Christmas by sharing all your photos and videos with us on the Facebook page.