Columbus Day Weekend in Miami 2018

October 6 - 8, 2018... Regattas, Sports, Concerts and Events...

Columbus Day Regatta

Columbus Day celebrates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas on October 12, 1492 and is observed in the United States on the second Monday of October.

Columbus Day is a bank holiday and this year will be on October 8, 2018.

Columbus Day Weekend is a huge boating event in Miami. Originally, the center of the celebrations were the Columbus Day Regatta races commemorating the voyages of discovery.

Through the years, the event has given way to a massive Mardi Grass-like boating party that has drifted towards the banks of Elliot Key for a weekend jammed with boaters on (and in) the water, loud music, heavy drinking and clothing optional everything-goes crowd.

The Elliott Key revelry is NOT part of the Regatta activities. So be sure you understand these are two separate events, even though they are both taking place in the waters of Biscayne Bay.

The Columbus Day Regatta

Columbus Day Regatta

This is the oldest event taking place in the waters of Biscayne Bay. There is even some colorful history behind it that ties back to the 17th Duke of Veraguas, a direct descendant of Cristobal Colon, who attended the event in 1960 and granted permission for the use of the Columbus Coat of Arms for the Regatta's emblem.

The races take place over Saturday and Sunday, it is sailing at its best. Watch this fantastic drone footage...

The course is between the Quickflash marker just south of the Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne and Black Ledge in the south, just north of the Biscayne National Park boundary.

On Saturday, the vessels will race southwards from Quickflash to Black Ledge, and on Sunday on the opposite direction. The points will be marked with orange flags and a red Bacardi (the event's sponsor) mark.

Here's a course chart indicating the start and finish points. This is a reference chart and not for navigation purposes.

Planned race course for Columbus Day Regatta Races Start and Finish Points

When?: Saturday and Sunday preceding Columbus Day
Saturday October 6, 2018 - races will start at 9:55 a.m. Starting point near Quickflash marker south of Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne.
Sunday October 7, 2018 - races start at 10:55 a.m. Starting point is the previous day finish line near Black Ledge ending off Dinner Key.

Where?: On the water all along race course. Where to watch the races? The start and finish points are good places

More info:

Columbus Day Weekend Events by Elliot Key

Columbus Day Elliott Key

The heavy partying area (not part of the Regatta activities) is along Elliot Key. Elliot Key although part of Biscayne National Park, is not associated with these activities. The park has dubbed this the "most dangerous weekend of the year" and needless to say, this is not a family event.

In fact, there are special regulations issued for the weekend. If you are heading out please act responsibly and comply with them as there will be zero tolerance for violations:

  • Boats are directed into a marked anchorage area on the northwest side of Elliott Key. See chart below.
  • No more than five boats may be rafted together in this area
  • A minimum of 100 feet is required between single vessels or groups
  • 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 the majority of the boating accidents that have occurred over recent Columbus Day Weekends have occurred after sunset. 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 eventual transport to the mainland. Park personnel WILL NOT taxi lost swimmers back to their boats.

Anchorage Zone During Columbus Day Weekend

You can follow the Columbus Day Weekend activities being planned on the community Facebook page. And remember, stay safe!

Sports, Concerts, Carnivals this Columbus Day Weekend 2018

What Else is Happening on Columbus Day Weekend? There is plenty to keep you entertained:

Federal government offices are closed except for National parks.

You can expect the following to be open and closed on Monday:


Government Offices
Post Offices
Public Libraries


Shopping centers and malls
Grocery Stores
Federal, State, Regional Parks
Public Transportation (check for special holiday schedules)

Phil Collins - Not Dead Yet Live! Tour

Phil Collins on Tour

When? Friday, October 5, 2018 - 8:00 pm

Where? BB&T Center, Sunrise

How Much? $210 +

›› Find Phil Collins Tickets

Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida State Seminoles

Miami Hurricanes schedule and tickets

When? Saturday, October 6, 2018

Where? Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

How Much? Likely to sell out fast

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Miami-Broward Carnival Parade and Concert
Sunday, October 7, 2018

Miami Broward Carnival costumes

Steel bands, colorful masquerades, flashy costumes, hot music, concerts, stage shows, cultural performances... all celebrate the spirit and vitality of Caribbean island culture.

This is a week-long celebration that culminates on Sunday October 7, 2018 when the grand finale events are planned.

A "Junior Carnival" is also held which include many family-friendly activities.

When? Main events on Sunday October 7, 2018 11:00 am to 11:00 pm include a Carnival Parade and the live Carnival Concerts.
Where? Miami Dade County Fairgrounds (The Fair) at 10901 SW 24th Street, Miami FL 33165
How Much? $30 buy online, VIP $100. Tickets are also available for the different events throughout the week.

More Info and

NBA Pre-Season: Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic

Miami Heat Tickets AA Arena

When? Monday October 8, 2018

Where? AmericanAirlines Arena

How Much? As low as $12, but they go quick!

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