Looking for the Best Places to Celebrate New Years Eve in Florida?
You’ve probably seen pictures of revelers bundled in coats and scarves waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, New York on New Year’s Eve. Looks frigid, right?
What if we told you there are places where you can watch sparkly objects descend from the sky to the sound of a New Year’s countdown in pleasant temperatures just miles or even feet from the nearest beach? It’s true, this experience exists in cities all over Florida!
Whether your priority is the countdown moment, a toast at midnight, fireworks over the water, or swanky parties with live music and gourmet food, Florida has just the thing to help you ring in the New Year in style.
The events listed below cover all price points, from free family-friendly street parties to exclusive ticketed events. 2022 is winding down fast, so now is the time to make your plans to welcome 2023 from the Sunshine State! The best Florida new years eve events here!
14 Best Places to Celebrate New Year’s in Florida
Panama City Beach
Located on the Gulf Coast in northwest Florida, Panama City Beach is a popular vacation spot for its white-sand shores and calm waves. The town also hosts a free New Year’s extravaganza in the Pier Park shopping district. The streets are closed to vehicle traffic, creating a street party full of live music, food vendors, games for kids, and fireworks displays.
The festival’s signature events are the two Beach Ball Drops, a twist on the famous Times Square spectacle. The first occurs at the stroke of 8 PM, making it ideal for kids and anyone else who might have trouble staying up until midnight.
Those on S. Pier Park Drive will notice nets strung over the street with something colorful inside. When the countdown to 8 o’clock ends, the nets release, and 10,000 inflatable beach balls drift gently down as the night’s first fireworks light up the sky.
The second Beach Ball Drop occurs at midnight in front of Celebration Tower, where an enormous beach ball inches downward with the countdown to the new year. Once it reaches the bottom, another round of fireworks launched from the pier closes out the evening’s festivities with the colorful starbursts reflected in Panama City Beach’s famous waters.
If you didn’t get your fill of holiday lights at Christmastime, head over to St. Augustine where their Night of Lights event continues through late January, setting the Spanish colonial architecture aglow. One of the best places to celebrate New Years eve in Florida for sure. The displays at the Plaza de la Constitucion, Lightner Museum, Flagler College, or the Bridge of Lions will make a perfect backdrop for your New Year’s Eve celebration, and the best part is they’re free!
St. Augustine also puts on a gorgeous fireworks display at their Light Up The NIGHT! event on the St. Johns County Ocean Pier.
You can view the 20-minute show from several beach locations including St. Augustine Beach Pier Park, and a limited shuttle service is available to each viewing area. The show takes place at 8:30 PM on New Year’s Eve and is near local restaurants and bars, some of which host parties with countdowns to midnight.
Other notable events this year include the Venardos Circus at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, known to locals as the AMP. This family-friendly show includes world-class circus acts and Broadway-style musical numbers, and it does not use animal performers.
Or, take in a free concert at Colonial Oak Music Park, a hidden garden tucked within the streets of the old city. On New Year’s Eve, performers will be playing from 7-10 PM.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve on Main Street in Daytona Beach, where the party starts at 6 PM and doesn’t stop until 1 AM on New Year’s Day! About a quarter mile of Daytona Beach’s main drag will become a pedestrian-only street fair, including live entertainment, food and drink specials, and other activities for all ages.
There are a total of six performance stages, some outdoors and some inside local bars such as The Bank and Blues Club. The event is free to attend and culminates with a Ball Drop and fireworks display at midnight, all visible from Main Street.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort also host ticketed New Year’s Eve parties where guests can ring in the new year in style.
At the Hilton, arrive in costume and dance to the popular party band Midnight Mayhem, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and the sumptuous dinner buffet, and toast to the new year as you look out over the Atlantic Ocean. At the Hard Rock, try your hand at the many casino games for a lucky start to 2023! For VIP treatment, choose their High Roller package and get access to reserved seating at the Sky Lounge.
Spending New Year’s Eve at one of the Orlando theme parks requires some advance planning, but it may be worth it if you dream of ringing in the New Year at The Most Magical Place on Earth! In 2022, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will all be open until midnight, while Disney’s Animal Kingdom will have extended evening hours.
\Plan to arrive at the park of your choice early and spend your whole day there, as the parks can quickly reach capacity. When you arrive, pick up a Times Guide to check for information on special performances and entertainment. Fireworks shows will take place at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT for the perfect welcome to 2023!
There are plenty of New Year’s parties outside the theme parks, too. Get a taste of winter at ICEBAR, the world’s largest permanent ice bar, featuring cocktails in glasses made of ice and carved ice sculptures, plus great entertainment.
ICEBAR Orlando is hosting a party they’re calling New Year’s Eve Around the World featuring champagne and a buffet after midnight. ICEBAR does provide coats and gloves, but if you’d rather not brave the cold, head over to Howl at the Moon instead. This dueling piano bar always puts on amazing live performances of dance hits and party anthems, and their New Year’s party is no exception.
Key West has gained national recognition for its quirky New Year’s Eve traditions. At the top of that list is the lowering of the Pirate Wench from the schooner America’s 80-foot mast at the Schooner Wharf Bar.
This spectacle is the climax of a day-long party with music from bands and DJs starting at 11:30 AM on New Year’s Eve. After the wench makes her descent to welcome in 2023, the party will continue long into the wee hours with more music. You can attend all of this with no cover charge – it doesn’t get much better than that!
Sloppy Joe’s bar, a Key West institution since 1933, also hosts a New Year’s party which culminates in the dropping of a huge glittering conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys. Sloppy’s will also have music all day, and tables are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. A third famous Key West drop occurs at the Bourbon Street Pub, a gay bar where local drag queen Sushi is lowered in a giant high-heeled shoe.
If those events sound too crowded, never fear. Duval Street and downtown Key West in general are full of bars where you can dance the night away without the massive crowds at the drop events.
Locals also like to celebrate by watching the last sunset of the year from places like Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the harbor docks near the pier, or the Truman Waterfront.
Clearwater and Tampa
Those who want to ring in the new year on a literal beach should look no further than Light It Up Clearwater, the New Year’s Eve fireworks show on Clearwater beach. Spend the day lounging in the sun, watch as it sinks below the waves in a blaze of color, and round out the evening with fireworks at midnight. The event is family-friendly, and this year the best place to view the fireworks will be from the southern end of Clearwater Beach.
ZooTampa’s New Year Celebration is another great event for kids. It’s free with regular zoo admission on New Year’s Eve and features a DJ spinning dance tunes, contests, giveaways, and hourly toasts to welcome in 2023 from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Shephard’s Beach Resort offers a VIP view of the Clearwater Beach fireworks at their New Year’s Eve party. One ticket gets you into multiple venues at the resort including the Tiki Beach Grill overlooking the white sands and the Soak Pool Bar on their poolside terrace. The event includes a live band, DJ, and balloon drop and light show in the Wave Nightclub at midnight.
To kick off 2023 with some Cuban flair, purchase tickets to the Havana Nights New Year’s Eve party at Safety Harbor Resort. Tickets include gourmet hors d’oeuvres, dinner and dessert buffets, an open bar from 8 PM until midnight, a live band, and a champagne toast when the clock strikes twelve.
Miami is known for its nightlife, so of course there’s no shortage of swanky New Year’s Eve parties scheduled for 2022-2023. One glamorous option is the Great Gatsby-themed yacht party on the Seafair Miami, a 228-foot vessel with 20,000 square feet of floor space. Tickets include an open bar, gourmet carving stations and desserts, live entertainment, and a spectacular view of the fireworks over downtown Miami.
Miami also offers plenty of New Year’s events on land, including the Opulence party at Sunset Cove. Organizers promise VIP treatment for all guests along with a surprise celebrity DJ, food trucks, an open bar, and a champagne toast at midnight. Or, for a sit-down dinner, reserve seats at the Biltmore Coral Gables and feast on a three-course meal. Dinner runs from 6-10 PM and includes a champagne toast.
If you want to celebrate without breaking the bank, take advantage of free general admission at Bayfront Park’s NYE concert in downtown Miami. This year’s headliners are Cuban musicians Willy Chirino and Arturo Sandoval. Thousands of people attend this epic bash every year, so you may want to consider arriving in time to enter when the doors open at 6 PM. You can purchase tickets for VIP seating.
Despite its smaller size and lack of beachfront resorts, Tallahassee puts on some New Year’s events you won’t want to miss. For a night of great tunes, head over to the House of Music where appetizers and cocktails will be served starting at 6:30 PM and performances will run from 7 until midnight.
The highlight is local powerhouse Revival, belting out new versions of classic blues, rock, and soul tunes. Ticket options include reserved seating for $35 or overflow standing room in the bar for $20.
Foodies will want to consider the chef’s dinner at The Huntsman, a popular eatery showcasing wild game and gathered ingredients. They offer a five-course tasting menu on December 30th and 31st where the alligator sausage and wild boar and rabbit cacciatore will appeal to adventurous eaters. Vegan options are available with advance notice, and The Huntsman also offers optional drink pairings for each course.
If fireworks are your priority, you can see Tallahassee’s biggest show for free at Cascades Park. The kid-friendly Countdown Downtown event runs from 6 to 10 PM and includes live music, DJs, food trucks, and more. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on and dress in the style of their favorite decade.
Amelia Island is a lovely beachy retreat year-round, and New Year’s Eve is no exception! The town of Fernadina puts on a yearly event that’s early enough in the evening for families to attend.
From 5-8 PM, the marina will be full of music, food trucks, vendors, and revelers waiting for the evening’s highlight: the Shrimp Drop at 7:00 (which just happens to be midnight, GMT)! Watch the giant illuminated shrimp descend and stay for the fireworks show right afterward.
Those who want to keep the party going after the Shrimp Drop can head to one of the area’s many restaurants, bars, or, hotels. The Palace Saloon claims to be Florida’s oldest bar and will be hosting party band Soundwavez for their 2022 New Year’s Eve bash.
For a high-class evening, get tickets to the Black and White Gala at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, where the revelry begins at 9 PM. Let the luxury hotel’s talented chefs and staff wine and dine you as you dance to live music and ring in the new year with a champagne toast at midnight.
College football fans should consider kicking off their New Year’s weekend in Jacksonville at the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl! This year, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will take the field versus the Gamecocks of South Carolina in a thrilling matchup at TIAA Bank Field. The game starts at 3:30 on December 30th and you can purchase parking passes in advance for $35. Or, arrive at the field by water taxi and enjoy views of Jacksonville from the river on your way to the game.
On New Year’s Eve, begin your celebration at the family-friendly Early Bird New Year’s Eve party at Legacy Ale Works, which runs from 3-6 PM. The event is free with plenty of fun games and activities for kids, plus a DJ spinning tunes. Cap it off with a countdown and toast to the new year, with sparkling juice for the little ones and champagne for the adults. You can head home and still be in PJs by 8, or stay out past bedtime to see the fireworks over the St. John’s River at midnight!
Those who want to get a little wild should check out downtown Jacksonville’s bar district at N. Ocean and E. Bay Street, affectionately known to locals as The Elbow. Partygoers are sure to find a hot spot to ring in the new year with DJs or live music, dancing, and great cocktails or craft beer. Favorite venues include Dos Gatos, The Florida Theatre, The Volstead, 1904 Music Hall, Intuition Ale Works, and Bold City Brewery.
If your vision for the perfect New Year’s is spreading a blanket on the beach and seeing fireworks over the ocean, Pensacola is a fantastic option. Their fireworks show starts at midnight sharp and takes place over the Santa Rosa Sound, but there’s no reason you can’t arrive a little early and enjoy the sunset beforehand.
Pensacola also offers a host of glamorous parties for New Year’s Eve revelry. The Countdown at the Hadji Temple event space will feature both DJs and live music, casino-style games like roulette and blackjack, and a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight.
Note that the event’s formal dress code is strictly enforced. If you want your night of celebrating to benefit a good cause, head over to Gatsby Girls’ 8th Annual Speakeasy Ball and Charity Event. Proceeds from this glamorous event will go to the Honor H.E.R. Foundation of Northwest Florida, which benefits women veterans.
For something a little different, check out the New Year’s Mega Car Show at Blue Wahoos Stadium from 10 AM – 7 PM on New Year’s Eve. You can watch the festivities or enter your own vehicle for a chance to win trophies and other prizes. The organizers promise awards for all vehicle classes, from motorcycles to pickups, from classics to the newest models, plus vendors preparing delicious barbecue, soul food, and seafood.
Ring in the New Year at one of Boca Raton’s many opulent events, such as the Harborside New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Boca Raton Luxury Resort. This year’s theme is Around the World in 8 Cuisines, and guests will sample delicacies at carving stations throughout the venue. Begin your evening with drinks at Palm Court and proceed through each destination until you reach the glamorous culmination where a live band, dancing, and midnight countdown awaits.
For a seated dining experience, purchase tickets for the Gold Rush event at The Addison, a historic 1926 venue featuring Spanish-style architecture. Tickets include valet parking, a four-course dinner, unlimited champagne service, DJ and live music, and a platinum open bar. For more of Chef Patrick’s award-winning cuisine, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and food displays throughout the night.
To keep the party moving well past midnight, head over to Throw Social in nearby Delray Beach, where their New Year’s Eve party goes until 4 AM. You’ll probably be getting peckish by then, but never fear: tickets include a breakfast buffet from 12:30 until 3:00 AM, after you’ve toasted 2023 with champagne in hand. Live music will keep you dancing all evening, and be sure to pop a few balloons as they fall from the ceiling for the chance to find free drink tickets.
Fort Myers and Punta Gorda
Fort Myers Beach is another great place to see fireworks over the water on New Year’s Eve. Head to the downtown river district for food trucks and five stages of musical acts while you await the ball drop and countdown. The Fort Myers River District Downtown Countdown to New Year’s Eve is free to attend and ends with a spectacular fireworks show.
For a bird’s eye view of the River District fireworks, purchase tickets for the New Year’s Eve party at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden. Their glamorous cocktail celebration will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, live music and dancing, and great views over downtown.
Nearby Punta Gorda hosts a free, family-friendly New Year’s party each year, complete with live music and fireworks. Head to Fisherman’s Village for hours of fun from 6 PM until midnight. Kids will love the chance to get their faces painted, watch a balloon artist work their magic, or have their Tarot cards read. Pop into the photo booth to capture the final memories of 2022!
For one final Floridian twist on the Times Square ball drop, head to Fort Lauderdale and watch a giant sparkling anchor descend from the heavens to ring in the New Year. The city’s free Downtown Countdown street party kicks off at 4 PM at Southwest Second Street and Southwest Fifth Avenue. The event is packed with fun activities for kids including inflatables, face painting, and pony rides.
Adults can boogie their way into 2023 at B Ocean Resort’s spectacular Disco Fever Party, where highlights include a live DJ and mermaid show at 11 PM. Depending on the ticket level you purchase, you can access the open bar, the buffet, or both. If food is your priority, consider the New Year’s Eve 2023 Champagne Soiree at Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, which boasts over ten gourmet food stations.
Or for an open-air venue, check out the Captain’s Ball at The Wharf, a nautical-themed event space where local chefs showcase their latest creations in a pop-up atmosphere. The venue includes a dock for convenient boat access from the river. Their New Year’s Eve celebration runs from 6 PM until late and promises stunning waterfront views, great food, and live music. Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ups are welcome.