When you think of the Sunshine State, you wouldn't initially think that some of the best Christmas light displays are in Florida. However, from holiday-lighted boat parades to the world's largest Christmas light maze, you'll be wanting to extend your vacation to visit all Christmas light displays in Florida. Here are five of the best places to see Christmas lights.
Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade
Florida has its fair share of holiday boat parades, but one of the top light displays is the annual Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade. Bradenton's largest holiday event of the year is just around the corner, and a fleet of holiday-themed boats will compete for cash prizes and the winning title. Boats are judged on their creativity, theme, lights, and music, so get there early to experience a magical night on the river.
- Where: Shaw Point, Bradenton, FL
- When: December 9th from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Price: Free admission
Presented by Hallmark Channel, you won't want to miss the world's largest Christmas light maze and village. Bring your friends and family to experience an enchanting night of gazing at over 4 million sparkling lights, ice skating, exploring a story-themed maze, live entertainment, games, holiday shopping, meeting Santa, dining, and more! Be sure to visit their website to see current discounts and offers.
- Where: 1 Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg, FL 33705
- When: November 24th to December 31st; Opening hours vary
- Price: Starting at $34 for adults; $25 for children; Add-ons available
Treasure Island's Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
One of the largest boat parades in the Tampa Bay area, Treasure Island's Holiday Lighted Boat Parade is one of the best Christmas light displays in Florida. Get into the holiday spirit and celebrate the 38th annual event with your loved ones. There will be a beautiful display of lighted boats, a DJ, a guest appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus, interactive entertainers, and concession stands.
- Where: Treasure Bay
- When: December 16th from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Price: Free admission
Lights in Bloom at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby's is the perfect place for nature lovers to view Christmas lights in Sarasota, Florida. With over two million lights and 15 acres of land to explore, you'll quickly feel the magic of the holidays as you walk through glowing tunnels and under banyan trees. Bring the kids because there will be nightly visits from Santa, children's activities, and festive food and drinks.
- Where: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
- When: December 8th - 10th, 12th - 23rd, 26th - 30th, and January 1st - 3rd from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Price: $30 for non-members, $25 for members, $15 for children 5–17, and free for children 4 and under.; Add-ons available
Edison and Ford Holiday Nights
The 48th Annual Edison and Ford Holiday Nights event is a festive and unique holiday experience illuminated by thousands of lights and adorned with hundreds of historic decorations. Set to take place from November 24 through December 31, 2023, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas night, the event offers visitors the chance to enjoy guided Holiday Tradition Tours at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. each night or explore at their own pace with self-guided tours. Additionally, special Inside-the-Homes tours are available on select dates for an up-close view of the homes' decorated interiors. General admission tickets are priced at $20 for adults, $10 for teens (ages 13-19), and $2 for children (ages 6-12), with members receiving free admission. An additional $10 fee applies for guided tours, subject to availability on the day of the tour.
Christmas isn't complete without enjoying one, two, or all of these Christmas light displays. If you are looking for more activities to do in the area, bring the family mini golfing with live alligators at Smugglers Cove! All of our courses feature a unique, one-of-a-kind layout full of extraordinary obstacles amid a beautiful landscape. We have been voted the "Best Mini Golf in Florida!" 5 years in a row and take great pride in our unsurpassed adventure golf courses.