8 Best Thanksgiving Parades To See in the South

Houston H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo: Richard Carson

The floats and giant balloons, the marching bands and beauty queens—what's not to like about a Thanksgiving Day parade? No disrespect to the legendary extravaganza in New York, but we wondered whether the South might have a few notable Thanksgiving parades of its own—and it does. It comes as no surprise that most of the Southern parades we found are in our cities, where crowds can line the downtown streets and watch the majorettes twirl, the mega balloons drift by, and the drum majors strut their stuff. However, we did manage to find at least one Thanksgiving parade with a beach vibe—and golf carts. Here are the upcoming parades we've found, from El Paso to Charleston. Whether you're watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV or participating in your small-town festivities, make sure to spend the turkey holiday surrounded by the ones you love the most.

01 of 08

Charlotte

Charlotte Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade
Jim McGuire on behalf of Charlotte Center City Partners

Novant Health Thanksgiving Parade

A 76-year-old North Carolina event, Charlotte's parade is expected to draw a crowd of 100,000. It will be a night parade with lights and music held on Thanksgiving Eve at Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte.

02 of 08

New Orleans

New Orleans Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade
GSU Marching Band

Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade

There's nothing better than family and football, especially at Thanksgiving. The Bayou Classic parade is a long-standing tradition that leads into New Orleans' most anticipated football game. The parade steps off in downtown New Orleans on Nov. 26 to prepare fans for the day's afternoon game.

03 of 08

El Paso

El Paso FirstLight Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade
Sun Bowl Association

Sun Bowl Parade

This Texas celebration has been around since 1936. It was held on New Year's Day until 1978, when it moved to Thanksgiving Day. Some 250,000 spectators are expected to turn out for the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. MST and follows Montana Avenue from Ochoa to Copia.

04 of 08

Charleston

Charleston Wild Dunes Resort Thanksgiving Day Golf Cart Parade
Courtesy of Wild Dunes Resort

Wild Dunes Resort Thanksgiving Day Golf Cart Parade

Yep—this South Carolina event is built around a golf-cart decorating contest. Led by the Isle of Palms Fire Department, the parade includes an appearance by Santa.

05 of 08

Houston

Houston H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade
Richard Carson

H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade

The humble beginnings of The H-E-B parade began more than 70 years ago. This parade has drawn over a quarter of a million people who come out each year to see the floats, giant helium balloons, and other entertainment. The festivities begin at 9 a.m. in downtown Houston, traveling a 20-block route.

06 of 08

St. Louis

St. Louis Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade
Dan Donovan

Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade

For nearly 40 years, this Thanksgiving event has delighted Missouri parade-goers. Featuring everything from floats and marching bands to giant balloons and a charitable food drive, this parade begins in downtown St. Louis at 8:45 a.m. CST.

07 of 08

Miami

Winternational Thanksgiving Parade
Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

Winternational Thanksgiving Parade

Retreat to warmer weather this Thanksgiving by traveling down South to Miami, Florida. Winternational Thanksgiving Parade has been celebrating turkey day for over forty years with a dazzling show filled with floats, local bands, and cheerleaders.

08 of 08

Wrightsville Beach

Holiday Flotilla: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
North Caroline Holiday Flotilla

Holiday Flotilla: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

On Thanksgiving weekend, Wrightsville Beach throws a nighttime holiday boat parade with an extraordinary firework finale. Head to the coast this holiday season.

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