Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Florida
Champagne toasts! Fireworks! Parties! The Sunshine State rings in the New Year in a big way, from the white sands of Pensacola to the bright lights of Miami Beach. Read on to discover some of the events in your neck of the sandbar. Please check individual websites for more details.
Pensacola Pelican Drop - A ball-drop is so yesterday. Pensacola ups the ante by dropping a giant, illuminated pelican. Free and popular, this event offers live entertainment and activities for your whole posse. Your little ones will enjoy the Little Pelican Party, highlighted by the bubble stop and Pelican lighting at 8 p.m., with activities beginning at 6 p.m.
Where: Downtown Pensacola
HarborWalk Village New Year’s Eve Street Party – Destin heralds the arrival of 2018 with two firework shows. Dance to live music and make merry at the restaurants as the excitement builds for the 10th Annual Ball Drop over the Harbor.
Where: HarborWalk Village, Destin
Celebrate Twice - Double the fun on New Year’s with this utterly unique event. Start the party in the Eastern Time Zone in Port St. Joe, then travel west five minutes to Mexico Beach and celebrate all over again an hour later in the Central Time Zone. Both celebrations include fireworks, and complimentary trolleys between the time zones will keep the celebration safe. A scavenger hunt rounds out the adventure.
Where: Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach
New Year's Eve Beach Ball Drop – Panama City Beach welcomes the New Year with free live music, entertainment, fireworks, and a ball drop, plus a special 8 p.m. countdown for the kids, featuring over 10,000 inflated beach balls dropped from nets stretched over the street.
Where: Pier Park, Panama City Beach
Beach Blast Off – A spectacular fireworks show, live music, a kids’ zone, and abundant food and drink combine to make this New Year’s event the most popular in St. Augustine. What makes it even better? Admission is free. Tickets are available for Kids’ Zone activities as well as food and drink purchases.
Where: St. Augustine Beach Pier Park
Orlando and central Florida’s famed theme parks are offering a slew of celebrations, including:
- Fantasy in the Sky - Magic Kingdom vows to wow the crowd with its firework spectacular at 11:50 p.m., slated for both Dec. 30 and Dec. 31. The New Year's Eve show comes complete with party hats and noisemakers.
Where: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando
Web: Magic Kingdom
- IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth - DJs, live music, dance stations and mouth-watering food from around the globe highlight this event. Holiday fireworks at midnight cap off the evening, but if you want to turn in earlier, two additional showings of the firework spectacular are scheduled for 6 and 11:40 p.m.
Where: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando
Web: IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
- Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular - When the clock strikes midnight, intense fireworks mark the New Year. But the fun is just beginning. Afterwards, a special presentation of ‘Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular’ promises to regale the crowd, with the festivities continuing until 1 a.m.
Where: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando
Web: Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
- Pixar Party: A New Year's Eve Celebration – Celebrate the New Year with your favorite Disney-Pixar characters. Enjoy a buffet dinner, show your moves on the dance floor, discover games for the kids, and be dazzled by the mind-blowing fireworks.
Where: Disney's Contemporary Resort, Orlando
Web: Pixar Party: A New Year's Eve Celebration
- Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure New Year’s Celebrations: Celebrate the New Year with DJs and unforgettable character meet-and-greets from 8 a.m. on Dec. 31 until 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 at both parks. A majestic fireworks show will ring in 2018 at midnight.
Where: Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort
Web: Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure
- Rock ‘Til The Drop New Year's Eve Party – Bring the family and prepare to boogie! This family-friendly event features live music, an array of menu offerings and a champagne toast at midnight. Your little ones won’t be left out; each ticket includes unlimited soda, juice and water.
Where: Hard Rock Cafe & Live Orlando at Universal CityWalk
Web: Rock ‘Til The Drop New Year's Eve Party
- New Year's Eve at SeaWorld Orlando - 2018 receives a watery welcome at SeaWorld, home to some of your favorite aquatic animals. Interactive DJ stations, craft beers, delectable food, musical performances and a booming midnight firework display will highlight the party.
Where: SeaWorld Orlando
Web: New Year's Eve at SeaWorld Orlando
- Kid's New Year's Party – Legoland offers a brick-tacular gala for your little ones, where they welcome the New Year at the kid-friendly hour of 7 p.m. The dance party culminates with a giant Lego brick drop and fireworks.
Where: Legoland Florida Resort, Winter Haven
Web: Kid's New Year's Party
New Year’s Eve in Daytona Beach - Get down to the sounds of an early evening tribute band at the oceanfront Bandshell. Enjoy fireworks after the show and again at midnight, with the Atlantic Ocean as the perfect backdrop. The Main Street block party celebration boasts an illuminated ball drop, stilt walkers, live bands and DJs, food vendors and souvenirs. For more live music and champagne toasts, drop by one of neighborhood restaurants, like the Ocean Deck.
Where: Oceanfront Bandshell and Ocean Walk Shoppes, Daytona Beach
Light It Up Clearwater! – This annual, toes-in-the-sand event features midnight fireworks. Kick back on the beach, nosh at a local restaurant, and enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Gulf while you countdown to 2018.
Where: Clearwater Beach
Fort Lauderdale Orange Bowl Downtown Countdown – This free street festival is touted as the premiere New Year’s celebration in South Florida—and with over 100,000 expected revelers, it deserves every ounce of the hype. It serves up fun and excitement for your whole gang, including bounce houses, inflatables, face painting, games, contests and line dancing with the DJ, as well as an early ball lighting countdown at 7 p.m. for youngsters.
Where: Downtown Fort Lauderdale
Sloppy Joe’s Annual Dropping of the Conch Shell - Key West knows how to party like a fish knows how to swim, and that prodigious ability is on display in spades at this anything-goes event. Dance and catch beads as folks crowd the street at about 10 p.m. Sloppy Joe’s rooftop host will entertain the masses as the fervor builds. At midnight, the Conch Shell will descend from the darkness like a bit of magic, and the sky will brim with confetti, streamers and lights.
Where: Duval Street, Key West
New Year’s Fireworks – The beach provides the backdrop for this fabulous firework extravaganza over the Gulf of Mexico, blasting off from Naples Pier. For an unprecedented view, watch from the water; most area boat sightseeing tours offer this special experience. If you’re going to stay on the shore, taxis, limos, and ride share services are highly recommended.
Where: Naples Pier, 137 12th Avenue South, Naples
Clevelander South Beach NYE 2018 – The iconic Clevelander boasts the best fireworks viewing party in South Beach, and you’re invited to the bash. In honor of the hotel’s 80th year, the theme of the party is the 80’s, so get ready to get styling with your parachute pants, mullets and fanny-packs. General admission starts at just $30.
Where: 1020 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Web: Clevelander South Beach NYE 2018
New Year’s Eve and Town Birthday – Help celebrate the birthday of the Town of Fort Myers Beach and New Year’s Eve at Time Square, located smack-dab on the Gulf of Mexico. The festivities begin at noon with free cupcakes, and include live music. A ball drop marks midnight, followed by fireworks off of the pier.
Where: Times Square, Fort Myers Beach
Web: New Year’s Eve and Town Birthday