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Ho, Ho, Ho Your Boat

Christmas Boat Parades in the U.S.

If you plan to be a home exchange guest during the holiday season and spend your vacation in a U.S. coastal community, chances are you won’t be far from a dazzling Christmas Boat Parade. Cities up and down the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific coast (and even some inland places on bodies of water) roll out the holiday red carpet to boaters who love a parade and to spectators who love to watch. Florida alone has over 74 events.

It's all about boats decked out like floats parading at night down intracoastal waterways, bays, and harbors.   Some feature traditional carolers and modest strings of blinking lights, while others splash their way with glitz and glitter and rockin’  music.

Photo source:flickr,fortherock
Themes may be set by parade officials, but they are usually left to the imagination of boat owners. And imagine they do -- Santa Clause in commodore clothes riding a seashell sleigh drawn by a bevy of mermaids; sugar plum fairies and tin solders cavorting on deck; the Three Wise Surfer Dudes Following Yonder Wave. Of course, you can always count on seeing Rudolph at a boat’s bow guiding the way with his red-nose beacon. It’s all great fun for everyone – the nice and the naughty.

Florida has the longest coastline of any U.S. state.  In cities all around the peninsula, from Jacksonville to Pensacola, thousands of boats strut their stuff in holiday parades.
 IVHEhome exchange properties in coastal Florida are available in these cities:

Bradenton, Boynton Beach, Cape CoralCoral Springs, 
Hutchinson IslandKey West, Marco IslandNaplesNew Port Richey, New Smyrna, North Port, Panama CityPompano BeachRosemary Beach, SanibelSarasotaSeaCrestSmyrna Beach, St. Augustine
Home exchange with IVHE
Photo source: flickr, yoTut
All of the boat parade celebrations are bound to brighten your holiday spirit, but Key West presents one of the most fun, and IVHE home exchange offers one of the most unique ways to enjoy it – from your own private luxury sailboat, a floating condominium that can accommodate six.  No sailing experience necessary. This home exchange comes with a captain who can park your boat along the parade route (Key West’s historic seaport and harbor) for a front row seat. And the next day take you out to sea for all the pleasure that sailing has to offer. 

IVHE home exchange

On the west coast, one of the oldest Christmas boat parades, dating back to 1908, is held each season in Newport Beach, California. The New York Times has called it “One of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation.” Here,  IVHE presents this seaside pearl, among other southern California gems; home exchange property #0694

Regardless of your coastal location, check with the local or state tourism office for details on participating in a parade with your own boat or with a rental.  For landlubber spectators, information on reserved seats dockside, and the nearest wells for holiday libations, is also available.

If you are not a member of International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to learn more about it, visit us at


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