harborfest norfolk

How to View Harbor Fest by Boat in Norfolk with Scenic Cruises and Festivities

Norfolk’s Harbor Fest is an annual maritime celebration that draws boaters from far and wide to enjoy a weekend of festivities on the water. Here's how to make the most of Harbor Fest by boat:

Arriving by Boat

Harbor Fest is best experienced from the water, providing a unique vantage point for all the excitement. Ensure you arrive early to secure a good spot, as the waterfront fills up quickly. The Norfolk Waterside Marina offers transient docking, but it’s recommended to reserve your spot in advance due to the high demand during the festival.

Key Highlights

  1. Parade of Sail: Kick off the festivities by joining the Parade of Sail, a grand procession of boats that marks the start of Harbor Fest. Decorate your boat and join in the fun as you sail into downtown Norfolk alongside tall ships, military vessels, and pleasure craft.
  1. Live Music and Entertainment: Dock your boat and head ashore to enjoy a lineup of live music, from local bands to national acts, performing on multiple stages. The vibrant atmosphere is enhanced by street performers, magicians, and other entertainers.
  1. Fireworks Display: One of the highlights of Harbor Fest is the spectacular fireworks show over the Elizabeth River. The best seats in the house are on your boat, where you can enjoy the display reflecting off the water.
  1. Food and Beverage: Norfolk’s waterfront is lined with food vendors offering a variety of delicious options. From seafood delicacies to festival favorites, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Some restaurants along the waterfront also offer dock-and-dine options.
  1. Family-Friendly Activities: Harbor Fest features numerous activities for families and children, including educational exhibits, craft stations, and interactive displays. These activities make it a fun outing for boaters of all ages.


Tips for Boaters

- Plan Ahead: Make dock reservations early and familiarize yourself with the festival schedule.

- Safety First: Ensure your boat is equipped with necessary safety gear and that you follow local maritime regulations.

- Stay Hydrated: Bring plenty of water, especially if you plan to spend extended time on the boat.



Harbor Fest in Norfolk is a vibrant celebration that comes alive from the water. Whether you’re participating in the Parade of Sail, enjoying live music, or watching the fireworks from your deck, experiencing Harbor Fest by boat offers a unique and memorable perspective. Set your course for Norfolk’s waterfront and be part of this exciting maritime tradition.

For more information on boating adventures and events, visit Sea-Eo.

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