New Years Eve

By James | Last updated December 29, 2023

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Florida is a great place to celebrate the New Year, there are so many places to go. According to in 2006, Florida took 15 of the top 50 spots (six in the top 20) when it comes to Americans celebrating New Year’s Eve and 2009 should be no different. The areas around Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Disney were in the top 10.

Thousands flock to the major theme parks like Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens and coastal resorts like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Key West, Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples and Key West.

Most local communities and hotels hold First Night New Year’s Eve parties.

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year in Florida so it is important to make sure you arrive at the parks early as often they will close when they reach capacity and it also makes sense to make dinner reservations well in advance. If planning on going to Walt Disney World, do not think about park hopping, you need to plan on staying in the park all day.

Some New Year’s Eve celebrations are free or included in the standard ticket admission, others are by separate ticket (as described).

In Jacksonville, there is a big celebration downtown culminating in a firework display. During the day there are Toyota Gator Bowl pep rallies, the Winn-Dixie Hometown Gator Bowl Parade at 3:00 pm (this year’s theme is “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”) plus food, beverages and live entertainment.

There is a free concert performance and midnight fireworks display in Miami in Downtown’s Bayfront Park.

St. Petersburg celebrates First Night St. Petersburg with fireworks, food and games; an alcohol free event for all the family, starting at 2 pm and going on into the night.

In Ybor City the TECO Energy Parade & Band Blast features twenty marching bands and floats. The parade starts at 5:30 pm with a firework finale at 8:15 pm.

In nearby Tampa, the Florida Aquarium and Channelside celebrate “Light Up Tampa Bay” with live entertainment and a midnight Fireworks Show and Ball Drop.

Not to be outdone, down in The Keys, they go one better with a wench drop at Schooner Wharf, a conch shell drop at the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar and a red high heel drop with drag queen Sushi at Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House.

The daily Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square in Key West will be extra special with a beautiful sunset and fireworks.