1. Key West New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Capitalizing on its quirky culture, Key West is famous for its own funky “drop” traditions. Whether it’s the conch-shell drop at Sloppy Joe's, the descent of Sushi the drag queen in her signature 8-foot red high-heel shoe on Duval Street, or the dropping of the pirate wench from a ship’s mast at Schooner's Wharf, a New Year’s Eve in Florida’s southernmost city is always full of wild surprises. Details.
2. New Year’s Eve Black & White Masquerade Ball
This posh party is everything a New Year’s Eve soiree should be, complete with lavish food, live music, dancing, open bar and fireworks. The one catch: you’ve got to wear black or white. Got an awesome party mask? Now would be a good time to bust it out. If not, they can provide one for you. Details.
3. Bayfront Park’s New Year’s Eve
301 N. Biscayne Blvd.
Both MSN and USA Today have declared South Florida to be “One of the Top Places in the World to Ring in the New Year,” and it’s easy to see why. This famous (and free!) event is good for families or partygoers and has live music all evening, yummy food and a fireworks show at midnight. Don’t miss the highlight of the night: watching The Big Orange make its grand descent in the final minutes of 2012. Details.
4. Beach Blast Off
St. Johns County Fishing Pier and Pavilion
Usher in 2013 with a little bit of hot and little bit of cold— no, seriously. St. Augustine’s Beach Blast-Off is known for its Fire and Ice Chili Cookoff where spicy sauces are balanced out with intricate ice sculptures. Get that last spoonful of chili before watching the fireworks show (synchronized to music) at 8:30 p.m. Details.
5. 24th-Annual “Rockin’ the Dock” New Year’s Eve Party
Cocoa Beach Pier
Ring in the New Year with this oceanside bash, and surf through five different parties hosted by local restaurants and bars on the pier. Each venue will have live entertainment, champagne toasts, balloon drops and confetti cannons. Details.
6. The Rooftop Eve
Hyde Park Village Tampa at The Rooftop
Mysterious and elegant, this upscale New Year’s Eve party takes over-the-top to the next level with its modern décor and luxurious setting. Don a mask (this year’s theme is “Masquerade Noir”) for the midnight reveal and enjoy complimentary spirits, wine, beer and champagne — all paired with live entertainment and a breathtaking view of Tampa’s fireworks. Details.
7. Starlite New Year’s Eve Cruise
3400 Pasadena Ave.
Cruise into 2013! Escape for the night (or at least 4 hours of it) on a luxury yacht and indulge with a sit-down dinner and complimentary premium open bar throughout the evening, and a champagne toast at midnight. Details.
8. Mango’s Gala New Year’s Eve Party
South Beach Miami
Mango's Tropical Cafe
Mango’s in South Beach is a non-stop party anyway, but on New Year’s Eve, they kick it up even higher. A South Florida favorite, The Latin Connection will be playing all night long, and the Mango’s dancers provide eye candy and inspire you to hit the floor as well. At midnight, step outside to enjoy Miami Beach’s fireworks display. Details.
9. New Year’s Eve Annual Harbor Rockin’ Street Party
Fireworks, concerts, and northwest Florida’s one and only ball drop— this is one New Year’s Eve party you don’t want to miss. Choose which party is more your style (the Luxe Vegas Party or the Street Party) and rock out on the docks with live music, two fireworks shows and the big countdown to midnight. Details.
10. Hotel Duval Carnaval NYE Bash
Level 8 Lounge
Admission: $150 solo / $225 couple
Why wait til February to enjoy a little Brazilian Carnival? Rio de Janiero comes to Tallahassee in the form of salsa dancers, signature Brazilian cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and Latin music. Keep the party going till the morning with the Rio Room Package that includes breakfast and Carnival swag for $359 per couple. Details.
Want a complete listing of all the Florida theme park parties? Check out our guide to the New Year’s bashes of Disney, Universal Studios and more.