The Best Ways to Spend New Years Eve on the Gulf Coast of Florida
*This post was originally published in 2015 but has been updated to reflect the 2017 New Year's Eve and the 2018 New Year events on Florida's Gulf Coast. Enjoy!
Goodbye 2017, hello 2018! It's hard to believe the New Year is just around the corner. It's time to start thinking about your New Year's celebration plans during your time here on Florida's Gulf Coast. Want to know what's happening as December 31st changes into January 1st? Check out our favorite ways to ring in the New Year! May your 2018 be filled with lots of sunny days, white sandy beaches, Gulf of Mexico waters, and plenty of palm trees.
New Year's Eve Fireworks Celebration on Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach lights up (and the beach, and the water) on New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight with a fireworks display over the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. Sink you toes into the powdery white sand and then sit back, relax and enjoy the show. By the way, the Clearwater Light It Up NYE Fireworks Celebration is FREE!
Come early and check out the New Year's Eve dining specials before heading to the beach for the fireworks display. Find your spot in the sand and welcome in the New Year in true Gulf Coast style.
New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise
A nice alternative to spending New Year's on the beach is spending it on the water. You can do just that on a New Year's Eve fireworks cruise that allows you to say bon voyage to 2017 in a very fun and festive way. Dress in your best cocktail attire and enjoy a champagne toast at midnight, gourmet food stations, an open bar, music and more. This is for the 21-and-over crowd, so don't forget to bring your ID.
Cruises are available in both Tampa and Clearwater, but the tickets go very quickly. The New Year's Eve boards at 10p.m. and the cruise departs at 10:30p.m. then returning at 12:30a.m. Tickets are $149.95 plus taxes and fees but are worth every penny. You cannot beat the view or the experience. And don't forget to take a look at that menu. Wow!
Rooftop New Year's Eve at Jimmy's Crow's Nest in ClearwaterSpeaking of great views, you'll find they are pretty spectacular from the 10th floor rooftop bar at the Pier House 60, where you'll find Jimmy's Crow's Nest New Year's Eve celebration. A $10 cover charge gets you in the door and gives you access to the amazing views along with complimentary champagne toast at midnight, party favors and hats to ring in the New Year. The party starts at 7p.m. and you'll enjoy the DJ, the music and a Clearwater celebration that lasts well into the new year.
New Year's Eve at Busch Gardens TampaIncluded with your daily admission, you get more bang for your buck (literally) with a New Year's celebration at Busch Gardens Tampa that includes thrill rides, live music, a fireworks show and an exciting night like no other here on the Gulf Coast. Go ahead and dive into the dark on Falcon's Fury and join in on the park-wide New Year's countdown to midnight. On New Year's Eve, Busch Gardens Tampa stays open until 1a.m. so you can enjoy both the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 at the park.
New Year's Eve in Indian Rocks BeachIf you're not into the party scene, be sure to check out our local Indian Rocks Beach restaurants and ask about what they have to offer on New Year's Eve. Wine and dine the night away with food and drink specials in a relaxing, laid-back, beachy atmosphere. Read more about where to dine in Indian Rocks Beach on our Good Eats in IRB and Where to Dine to Find the Fresh Local Seafood in Indian Rocks Beach blog posts.
Another wonderful option is to spend your New Year's Eve in the comfort of your Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores vacation rental. Make the most of your vacation rental kitchen by putting together a special meal, uncork a bottle of your favorite bubbly, and enjoy your intimate New Year's evening in whatever way you choose.