‘Tis the season! For some, the holiday season is marked by the distinctive smell of pine, sparkling lights, or a festive party. In Charleston SC however, we mark the holiday season by lining the banks of the  Ashley River and the Charleston Harbor to enjoy a floating parade of sorts, filled with hundreds of decked out boats wrapped in glittering lights, as they promenade through the Harbor and down the Ashley River.


The Holiday Parade of Boats is an annual, locally-loved tradition and a part of Christmas in Charleston SC. It combines two of the lowcountry’s most beloved traditions – the Harbor and twinkling holiday lights. Participants decorate their vessels from bow to stern with lights and compete for the best-in-show award at this Charleston holiday event. Due to the borders and banks of the peninsula that we live on, there are PLENTY of ideal viewing spots from Mt Pleasant to the Ashley River to witness this twinkling extravaganza with the company of family, friends and the Charleston locals!


The annual event takes place on December 14th from 5:30-8 p.m. Thousands of Charlestonians are expected to gather around the Harbor to watch the dazzling boats dance across the water. You can pick a dock or waterfront restaurant to have a great view of the parade; or if you’re lucky enough, you can have a front row view from the water as many spectators will take their own boats on the Harbor.


A great way to witness this festive event is across the Cooper River at the Charleston Maritime Center for the historic “Light Up The Night Parade Party” hosted by the Rotary Club of Charleston. With food catered by Sticky Fingers, a fully stocked bar and great music, the Holiday Parade of Boats makes for the perfect holiday kick-off!


Luxury Simplified Retreats invite you to stay at one of our many luxury properties, such as Studio 36 or The King’s Line, both located in the heart of downtown Charleston. If you are booking with a larger party, an amazing and newly renovated property downtown is Seeking Indigo, with a total of 6 bedrooms the home sleeps up to 12 guests!