If you’ve spent one too many December 31sts planted on a couch in your living room (or a friend’s) watching the ball drop in Times Square, it’s high time for a night spent living it up. And while the Big Apple may be the most well-known city for its New Year’s celebratory spectacle, it’s certainly not the only one. Here, we highlight the top Opal destinations with New Year’s Eve events and attractions worthy of your next visit.
Celebrate on the Queen of American Lakes [Lake George, NY]
There’s no more unique way to welcome 2018 than on what is said to be the most beautiful lake in the US: Lake George. Lake George Steamboat Company offers two special cruises – one that departs during the day, sailing from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with a mock midnight countdown at 7 p.m. (an ideal option for parents with young kids), another that departs at 10 p.m. sailing until 12:30 a.m. where the real countdown is backlit by Lake George’s famous annual fireworks. Taking place on the climate-controlled, 190-foot Lac Du Saint Sacrement, both cruises include an all-you-can-eat buffet, live entertainment, and champagne toasts.
Where to Stay The Sagamore Resort
Comedy, Theatre & Music Until Midnight [Saranac Lake, NY]
Located 10 miles west of Lake Placid, the town of Saranac Lake hosts one of the biggest celebrations of the arts in all the Adirondacks come December 31st with the annual First Night Saranac Lake event. Starting at 6 p.m., more than a dozen acts – from puppet shows, comedians, and the region’s best musicians – perform in 10 different venues across the community and include favorites like the Teddy Roosevelt Show, a hilarious Theodore Roosevelt impersonator, and Primate Fiasco, featuring the instruments of a New Orleans’s street band, but the sounds of electronic dance music. It all concludes with the “snowflake” ball drop on River Street and a vibrant fireworks show over Lake Flower.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge
Eat, Drink, Dance, Stay [Rockport, ME]
What’s better than eating, drinking, and dancing? Eating, drinking, dancing, and then the convenience of crashing all under the same roof. For that reason, Samoset Resort offers two New Year’s Eve options: The Ballroom Party and Dinner in La Bella Vita. The Ballroom Party is a Mardi Gras–inspired event that kicks off at 7 p.m. with a delicious creole-themed buffet, followed by live music from 8:15 p.m. until midnight, while the La Bella Vita dinner is a five-hour eating affair (from 6 to 11 p.m.) that includes a three-course meal of herb and parmesan-crusted veal chop, jumbo shrimp saltimbocca, homemade lobster ravioli, dry-aged ribeye steak, and, of course, champagne. Can’t decide which one you’d rather attend? When you book tickets for the dinner, you can attend the ballroom party for an additional $10 per person.
Where to Stay Samoset Resort
Champagne in the Sky [Tampa, FL]
The place to see and be seen on New Year’s Eve in the Tampa Bay area? The Rooftop Eve, Tampa and Pinellas County’s most lavish party located 10 stories up on the top of the Ft. Brooke garage overlooking the stunning skyline of Tampa. Attendees dress to the nines in accordance with each year’s theme – for 2017, that theme being “All that Glitters is Gold” – and enjoy an inclusive experience of live entertainment, a premium open bar, champagne, and dessert reception. If looking to really go out with a bang, reserve a private cabana for you and your closest friends. With perks like lounge seating, a cocktail server, bottle service, and a private area to hang in, you’ll feel like VIPs and celebrate like them, too.
Beach Fireworks Display [Clearwater Beach, FL]
In stark contrast to the bundled-up network anchors on the street in New York City on New Year’s Eve, revelers at Light It Up Clearwater will get to say goodbye to 2017 on a warm (well, at least mild) and comfortable beach with this fantastic fireworks show. Starting at the stroke of midnight on the south end of the beach, the majestic display – rated as one of U.S. News’s “5 Kid-Friendly Places to Ring in the New Year” – can be viewed from the south end and Sand Key all the way up to the north near Sandpearl Resort.
Street-Wide Soiree [Naples, FL]
Starting at 6 p.m., Third Street South – Naples’s most scenic street, home to historic buildings, exquisite architecture, lush landscaping, and scores of high-end shops, boutiques, and galleries – becomes ground zero for a smorgasbord of holiday happenings. Expect live music on the sidewalks decked in twinkle lights and tinsel, champagne-inspired specialty cocktails and buffets at the various restaurants, and the annual snow display at 8:15 p.m., where snow machines spew showers of the fluffy white stuff for families to frolic through.
Where to Stay Edgewater Beach Hotel
Party with Hemingway’s Ghost [Key West, FL]
Given Key West’s penchant for eccentric celebrations, it should be no surprise that there’s an Annual Dropping Of The Conch Shell at Sloppy Joe’s, the very place where Ernest Hemingway used to carouse his nights away back in the 1930s. New Year’s Eve partygoers are entertained by a rooftop host, while the crowd dances and catches beads on the street below. The party has an eclectic vibe – you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with folks dressed up in New Year’s Eve finery and those still rocking it swimsuit casual. Keep an eye on the Queen Conch as the clock strikes midnight and watch as confetti, streamers, and lights fill the sky.
Ring in 2018 with Reggae [Jupiter, FL]
Started as a sandwich shop in 2004, Guanabanas has since grown into a venue for the best live music in Palm Beach County. And that’s especially true on New Year’s Eve, when this open-air bar with woven tiki huts and banyan trees towering overhead brings in some of the best blend of reggae, dub, and ska from South Florida. What’s even better is there is no reservation needed and no cover all night. The party starts at 9 p.m.
Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa