We have a longstanding family tradition of staying at home for New Year’s Eve to watch football and enjoy a huge, low-country boil – complete with crab legs (my favorite!), shrimp and tons of appetizers throughout the day.
I’m always fascinated to see other New Year’s Eve traditions and how families choose to ring in the New Year. From early celebrations to late night parties, here’s a look at my top picks for celebrating New Year’s Eve in Florida —
The kids-centric, brick-tastic New Year’s Eve celebration at LEGOLAND Florida features an early night so that even the little ones can join the fun. Take part in scavenger hunts in MINILAND USA and DUPLO Valley with a chance to win LEGO prizes, meet-and-greets with LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier and other holiday fun.
The night concludes with a kid-friendly dance party leading up to the countdown to 2017 with a giant LEGO® “brick drop” and grand fireworks celebration overlooking Lake Eloise at 8 p.m. Be sure to pick up a free pair of LEGOLAND viewing glasses to see an awesome LEGO “surprise in the skies” with each burst!
Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach
Want to ring in the New Year at the beach? Book the Toast by the Coast package at the Tradewinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach and get ready for a grand party. The package includes two nights accommodations and 2 adult tickets to the New Year’s Eve Party and Buffet “Toast by the Coast” where you’ll enjoy music by Motel Funk, a champagne toast, open bar and balloon drop at midnight. The resort fee also includes a beach cabana, wifi, parking and more.
And if you’re bringing the kiddos along for the fun, scoop up a ticket for the A Teen New Year’s Eve Party (ages 13-17) or the Kids Celebration (ages 4-12) help at the resort’s Adventure Center. Tickets are not included in the package.
My hometown knows how to throw a party, especially for New Year’s Eve. With the TaxSlayer Bowl taking place on New Year’s Day, thousands of fans make their way to the riverfront for the celebration. This year, the NYE Bowl Bash takes place at the corner of Ocean and Forsyth Streets with country duo Brothers Osborne, Brett Young and more. The concert begins at 4 p.m. Admission is free, VIP passes are available for $100.
For an extra treat on the night before, don’t miss the 32nd annual Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade on December 30. Watch the festive boats make their way down the St. Johns River and wrap up the night with fireworks over the riverfront. Thousands of families make their way to the Downtown area for this event — and it is one of my favorite childhood events.
CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort welcomes guests to dance in the New Year with party zones, an outdoor dance floor, festive drinks and unlimited specialty cuisine.
Purchase your EVE ticket and also have access to six CityWalk night clubs – including Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, Pat O’Brien’s, the groove, Rising Star and Red Coconut Club, a midnight champagne toast, a pyrotechnics show and more excitement throughout the night.
Advance General Admission is $109.99 plus tax ($139.99 after Dec. 15). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.CityWalk.com/EVE
St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights
The nation’s oldest city of St. Augustine, Florida sparkles with more than 3 million lights nightly now through January 31. It is a magical display throughout the city featuring historic buildings, museums, local businesses, the Bridge of Lions, the city’s bay front walkway, hotels and bed & breakfast inns.
Old Town Trolley’s Famous Nights of Lights Trolley runs nightly through January 2. The trolley takes guests throughout the city to view Nights of Lights then provides free cider and cookies for a $12.99 for adults and $5.99 for children.
If you’re looking for fireworks in St. Augustine on New Year’s Eve, make your way to the St. Augustine Beach Pier. The Beach Blast Off event features a kids zone, food vendors and live entertainment. The event is from 4-10 p.m. with the fireworks display at 8:30 p.m.
How Do You Celebrate New Year’s Eve?