Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Local parents share PRO TIPS

We want to help you and the kids easily navigate the Gasparilla Children’s Parade which is on Saturday, January 20, 2024, so we’re sharing our top tips along with tips from parents like you!

Keep reading for pro-tips from local Tampa Bay parents. And, if you need a summary of all the fun that awaits this season, jump over to our Complete Guide to Gasparilla 2024.

This alcohol-free event is the best way to enjoy Gasparilla with the whole family, so make the most of it together!

Children’s Gasparilla Parade – Schedule

First–did you know the Gasparilla Children’s Parade is so much more than just a parade??? It’s an all day experience jam-packed with family-friendly fun!

You can arrive as early as 11:00 am when vendors open and the first special event kicks off–the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Rodeo at Bayshore Blvd and Rome Ave which is an absolute must attend! Your child can navigate the bike course (Tampa Police will provide bikes if your child does not ride one to the parade route), learn safety tips and even get fitted for a FREE helmet while supplies last.

Bikes will be provided to ride if you don’t bring your own.

The Preschooler’s Stroll follows at 2:00 pm at Bayshore Blvd and Howard, ending at Rome Ave. This is the cutest parade you’ll ever see featuring pint-sized pirates and their families!

Another returning favorite is the air show experience with an Air Invasion performance by aerobatic pilots flying vintage military planes and USSOCOM parachute jumps!

The main parade steps off at 4:00 pm at Bayshore and Bay to Bay Blvd and ends at Edison Ave. Be sure to stick around for the fireworks show, Piratechnics!

Reserved Seats

One of our favorite ways to view the parade, especially when you have little ones or plan to arrive just before the main parade steps off…are the reserved seats like the First Mate seats and bleacher seats. (Also a great option if you want to avoid big crowds while viewing the parade.)

The First Mate seats are on the waterside of Bayshore Blvd. New this year – it’s TWO rows of folding chairs with plenty of room to park a stroller, wagon or bikes. This is pretty much the best way to guarantee front row views and is great for families with little ones.

The Bleacher Seats are available on the water side and land side. It’s also a reserved spot with great views and access to catch plenty of beads.

If you really want to elevate your day, consider the Scully VIP tent which includes a picnic buffet, snacks and a reserved bleacher seat.

Click here to find details about parking and transportation

What to Bring to Gasparilla

We also recommend having your child bring a small backpack to store their water bottle, snacks, hand sanitizer, and any other necessities. The backpack will double as a great place to store all of the BEADS!

Keep in mind there are only porta-potties along the parade route, so hand sanitizer and wipes are a MUST. Some parents even bring a spare roll of toilet paper just in case.

Don’t forget to don your pirate garb! We’ve got some favorite places to purchase Gasparilla gear while supporting local businesses.

Here are some more great Gasparilla Children’s Parade day tips from parents like you:

  • “Bring a bag to hold all of your loot!”. –Shannon T.
  • “Get there early.” –Daisy Q.
  • “Sunscreen.” Susan M.
  • “Wear sneakers. Lots of walking. ” -Jennifer S.
  • “Chairs, water and hat.” –Debra C.
  • “Each of my kids wears a sinch sack backpack for their stuff.” –Christina P.
  • “Bring something to keep the kids entertained while you wait for the festivities to start. A deck of cards or a small notebook and pen can help you keep your sanity.” –Teena G.
  • “Snacks!” –Courtney D.
  • “Have a positive attitude.” –Katie B.
  • “I’m bringing a blanket to snuggle.” – Krystal B.
  • “Bring snacks, water and sunscreen…and use the potty before you get to your spot.” –Nahal S.
  • “Show up early and have fun!” –Latisha D.
  • “Plan your parking spot in advance or take public transportation.” –Barbara M.
  • “Have patience and be kind.” –Meghan Y.
  • “Add something to your child’s outfit so you can easily see them in the crowd! And bring hand sanitizer.” –Lindsay C.
  • “I love to stand near the beginning of the parade to beat the crowds of people trying to leave! SHHH if my secret gets out then it won’t work anymore!” –Brittany G.
  • “Bring tissues in case the port o potties run out of toilet paper.” –Becky S.
  • “Check road closures. Bring snacks and water. Enjoy yourselves and make lots memories with your kids.” –Brianna J.
  • “Dress like a pirate!” –a lot of you!
  • “Bring LOTS of blankets and snacks! Dress in many layers, including an AWESOME pirate costume as the top layer!! AAARRGH!!!” –Angela B.
  • “Uber unless you get there very early to park, dress appropriately for the weather, bring lots of food, drinks and def. scope where the port-a-potties are beforehand!” Michelle S.
  • “Taking an Uber or Lyft? Easy drop off point is the Publix on the corner of Platt and Bayshore.” –Chris K.
  • “Write your phone number on kids’ arms with washable marker in case they get separated.” –Dell E.
  • “Be kind and remember it’s about the kids and have fun of course.” –Michelle P
  • “Sunglasses protect the eyes from more than just the sun. They are a must to keep your little ones peepers safe from flying beads! ? A kiddo size plastic yard rake too if your close enough to the street for scooping up beads that fall short of the crowd and land in the street! Sheesh, you’d think I’d never been to one of these before. Only since about 1976.” –Michele D.