If any place does, the city of Cape Coral knows how to celebrate the holidays. The Dec. 17 Holiday Boat-A-Long & Movie in the Park water parade and a complementary festival along the shoreline are big-league fun in the Cape, drawing thousands in decorated boats and to a series of activities and food options at the nearby Four Freedoms Park in the Bimini Basin district. Expect a visit from Santa, as well. Because of the Cape’s special geography―some 400 miles of canals situated along the Caloosahatchee River―the boating life has played a big part in the city’s genesis and progress. Citizens, in fact, first combined the water culture and the holidays in 1976,
Cape Coral's holiday celebration, lighting the night, Santa visits
decorating boats, kayaks and rafts with lights and parading in and around the Bimini Basin and its canals. It was much like Venetian Night boat parades in other parts of the country; Captiva Island holds a similar night parade during its holidays. But the Cape’s Boat-A-Long that is today hosted by the city’s Parks & Recreation Department is much larger than others, with 100 or so boaters joining the conga line, plus thousands lining the shores, enjoying food vendors, stage performances, a free movie (A Christmas Story) and a visit from Santa at Four Freedoms Park. Visitors can expect larger boats to rafts, each in a holiday theme of lights and music. Park entry is free.
The Cape's holiday boat parade is Dec. 17 in the Bimini Basin district.