The most wonderful time of the year is especially wonderful in California. Every December, several of our coastal communities gather for an annual holiday boat parade. And whether you charter a cruise to see them, take your own boat out on the water or try to catch a glimpse from the shoreline, this is one holiday activity you won’t want to miss.
Venice Christmas Boat Parade
Venice’s annual boat parade is always the first Saturday in December at 6 PM. Since 1989, locals and visitors have gathered to decorate their boats and coast through the water. The route starts just north of the Albee Road Bridge, continuing down the Intracoastal waterway through the Venetian Waterway Trail. More info here.
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights has two dates that are typically the second and third Sundays in December. The procession starts at 5 PM and includes about 80 beautiful boats. There is a fun theme every year to make the parade a little different. More info here.
King Harbor Holiday Boat Parade, Redondo Beach
Photo: King Harbor Marina
The King Harbor Yacht Club puts on a holiday boat parade annually on the second Saturday of December. Holiday decorated boats and SUPs cruise on by (SUPs start at 4pm, boats at 5pm). A fee is charged for entry as a boat or spectator, but it supports several local charities. More info here.
Huntington Harbour Boat Parade
For over 50 years Huntington Harbour has been putting on a holiday boat parade in December. It happens on a Saturday and Sunday, typically the second weekend of the month, and benefits music education programs for Orange County. More info here.
Long Beach Parade of 1,000 Lights
Photo: Rachael Moore, Flickr
On a Saturday evening in mid-December, Long Beach’s Shoreline Marina will be illuminated with decorated boats. You can view the parade from all the restaurants and the boardwalk at Shoreline Village, Rainbow Harbor, the Queen Mary, and Shoreline Park. More info here.
Naples Holiday Boat Parade
Photo: Naples Holiday Boat Parade, Facebook
The annual Naples Holiday Boat Parade takes place on the second Saturday of December at 6 PM. The nearby streets close down at 5 PM, offering visitors a better chance to seeing the parade from the shore. With boat a Small Boat Parade and Large Boat Parade cruising through the water, you’re sure to see some creatively decorated vessels.
Marina del Rey Snow Wonder & Holiday Boat Parade
Photo: Jeremy Miles, Flickr
On the second Saturday of December, join the Marina del Rey community for their most festive celebration of the year. The fun begins at noon with the family-friendly Burton Chace Park. At 5:55, fireworks precede the parade, which begins at 6 PM and runs until 8 PM. More info here.
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Photo: Tom Walker, Flickr
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is arguably the biggest and brightest holiday event on the California coast. It takes place over five days in mid-December. Chartered cruises from several different companies depart three times a day to give you your best look at the beautiful boats. The parade kicks off at 6:30 PM at the south end of Lido Isle and ends around 9:30 at the same place. More info here.