Columbus Day Events in Biscayne Bay: Which Should You Check Out?

Columbus Day Events

Columbus Day Events in Biscayne Bay: Which Should You Check Out?

One of the most anticipated events in the Miami social calendar is the annual Columbus Day Regatta. A favorite of both tourists and locals alike, the boat race – and the parties associated with it – have long drawn people to the waters of Biscayne Bay at the start of October. Canceled last year due to Hurricane Irma, this year’s Regatta promises to be something you don’t want to miss! Here is The Advantaged guide to Columbus Day Events in Biscayne Bay: Which Should You Check Out?

Columbus Day Regatta

Known as the Mardi Gras of the Sea, the annual Columbus Day Regatta is back in Biscayne Bay this October! The renowned festival will be held on the weekend of October 6 and 7 and is sure to be an unforgettable experience.50 boats are registered for the event and will race around the Bay in grand fashion.

The Columbus Day Regatta, the oldest event to take place on the Bay, celebrates the revival of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World in October 1492. This prestigious event, in its 63rd year, even has some fascinating historical events in its past, with the 17th Duke of Veraguas, a descendant of Christopher Columbus himself granting the Regatta the use of his family’s coat of arms as the Regatta’s emblem in 1960.

Coordinated by a committee of volunteers and supported financially by sponsors (including Bacardi) and local yacht clubs, both local residents and visitors alike come together to race their boats. Countless others come to watch and take in the sights. The start and finish areas are prime spots for watching the race.

Yacht Miami Regatta


Regatta Events Details

As previously stated, the event will take place on the 6th and 7th of October. As the official website states:

The Regatta shall consist of one race each day with a start of the first class at 0955 hours, Saturday, October 6th, 2018, and at 0955 hours, Sunday, October 7th, 2018. Both the Start and Finish for Saturday and Sunday will be approximately 0.5 miles South East of the Dinner Key Channel. The Regatta Brochure describes all courses. An orange flag on the Race Committee Boat and a Red inflatable mark will designate the start and finish lines.

For those who register, final sailing instructions, starting times, course information, Columbus Day flag, class flag, scratch sheet, and boat numbers will be included in their race packet, which can be picked up on the 5th or 6th of October.

Elliot Key Weekend

It’s not just the races, however, that bring people together. A separate event on Elliott Key answers the question ‘where’s the party?’ This sandbar celebration is jam-packed full of music, drinking, eating, and dancing. It is truly one of the most fun weekends in the Miami area. Famed author and journalist Tom Wolfe called it “the most hedonistic place” he had ever been.

For those looking to have a wild time, Elliott Key does not disappoint! Its amazing parties are legendary. Elliott Key is part of Biscayne National Park – because of the raucous parties; the park itself has dubbed this, “the most dangerous weekend of the year.”

While having fun is on the top of everyone’s mind, safety should be a top priority as well. The park actually has rules in place that boaters should be aware of, so if you plan on taking part in any of the festivities or the revelry, be sure to comply with them entirely, as there is a zero-tolerance policy in place:

Boats are directed into a marked anchorage area on the northwest side of Elliott Key.
  • No more than five boats may be rafted together at the same time in this area
  • A minimum of 100 feet is required between single vessels or groups of vessels.
  • Boaters should be alert for swimmers, or those operating boats under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • “Stay Parked After Dark”: While no official curfew will be in place for the weekend, remember that all the fatalities and most of the boating accidents that have occurred over recent Columbus Day Weekends have occurred after sunset. It is advised that you stay on your boat and remain in the anchorage after sunset.
  • Lost swimmers: Visitors who get separated from their boats (“lost swimmers”) will be transported to Elliott Key to await transportation to the mainland. Park personnel will not taxi lost swimmers back to their boats under any circumstances.

Other Events in the Miami Area

If you are coming into Miami for the Columbus Day Regatta, or perhaps have some friends in town for the weekend, Miami has so much more to offer! Here are a just a few of the marquee events happening across South Florida over the Columbus Day weekend:

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