Christmas Boat Parades are a festive holiday tradition in southern California. Find out how and when to catch holiday boat parades in LA and Orange County. With this handy guide, you'll get information on where to park and how to find the best place to view the colorful boats and they parade before you.
Floating parades of lights are a treasured holiday tradition along the southern California waterfront. For all Christmas boat parades, plan to arrive early to find parking. Traffic gets really intense close to parade time. Waterfront restaurants fill up sometimes months in advance, so call early if you want to have dinner with a view of the parade at the few locations that provide this.
All of the Los Angeles County holiday boat parades are one night only, but in Orange County, the Newport Beach and Dana Point processions take place over multiple nights. Find out all you need to know about the boat parades in December 2018.
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Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 19 to 23, 2018, the Newport Beach parade of yachts, boats, canoes, and kayaks starts off at the Tip of Lido Isle, a change of starting point from previous years, at 6:30 pm and finishes at the same point at about 9 p.m. in the 110th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
Boats will start from the east end of Lido Island following the usual route, with the first public viewing destination at the new 10.5-acre Marina Park. The community park offers 177 parking spaces, nautical-themed playground, picnic area, and sailing center, and is also the largest public viewing area along the parade route, creating an optimal location to gather and enjoy the festivities.
The map with times the parade passes various destination points is on the website.
Free Viewing Locations:
- Marina Park
- On the bay side of Balboa Peninsula from 18th Street to the end of Bay Avenue
- Anywhere along the water on Balboa Island
- Along the Pacific Coast Highway between Balboa Bay Club and Riverside Drive
- Along the water on Lido Isle
Paid Viewing Locations:
- Seating is available at the American Legion Post 291 at 215 15th Street. Call early to reserve (949) 673-5070 or 1-800-655-0149.
- The Newport Sea Base, 1931 West Coast Highway, has lawn seating with a view of the parade. Call 949-642-5031 for more details.
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Long Beach Parade of 1,000 Lights in the Downtown Shoreline Marina
The Long Beach boat parade takes place on Dec.15, 2018, 5:30 to 7 p.m. The parade starts outside the Shoreline Marina and the colorfully lighted boats and yachts sail past the Pine Avenue Pier, and then across the bay and past the Queen Mary. The best viewing locations are in Shoreline Village, Rainbow Harbor, and the Queen Mary.
Parking: Paid parking at Shoreline Village, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Pike, metered street parking, pre-paid ticket boxes at the Downtown Marina.
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Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights
You can view the parade free from anywhere in the harbor, or make reservations at one of the waterfront restaurants to view while you eat. This year's theme is "A Western Wonderland."
When: December 7, 8, 14,15, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. And, starting at 4:30 p.m. running until 7:30 p.m. you'll find Family Fun Festivities at Mariner’s Village/Alley and Dana Wharf.
Viewing Locations: Dana Point Harbor, 34555 Golden Lantern, Dana Point
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LA Harbor Holiday Afloat
Decorated boats parade through the Port of Los Angeles Main Channel in this spectacular event marking its 56th year in 2018.
December 1, 2018, 6 p.m. is when the parade of boats starts in the Port of LA's East Basin. The tall ships, Exy Johnson and Irving Johnson, along with vessels of all shapes and sizes will participate including powerboats, sailboats, and harbor working craft.
Viewing Locations along the parade route include:
Continue to 5 of 7 below.
- Banning Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington
- The Port of LA Cruise Ship Promenade, 600 N. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro
- Battleship IOWA, 250 S. Harbor Blvd, San Pedro
- Los Angeles Maritime Museum, 600 Sampson Way, San Pedro
- Downtown Harbor, 504 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro
- Ports O' Call Village, 1100 Nagoya Way, San Pedro
- 22nd Street Landing, 141 W. 22nd St., San Pedro
- SS Lane Victory, Berth 46 (at the end of Miner Street), San Pedro
- Cabrillo Marina, 200 Whaler's Walk, San Pedro
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Marina del Rey Boat Parade
The Marina del Rey parade takes place Dec. 8, 2018. Fireworks begin at 5:55 p.m., with the parade 6 to 8 p.m. Before the parade, from noon to 6 p.m., check out Snow Wonder at Burton Chace Park, which includes a real snow play area, sledding, arts, crafts, DJ, and food trucks.
- Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey (Music, commentary, and judging)
- Fisherman's Village, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey (View from along the channel or from one of the restaurants with a waterfront view)
Parking: Parking fees in county parking lots are waived for the parade. There is no street parking.
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King Harbor Boat Parade in Redondo Beach
When: The King Harbor parade takes place Dec. 8, 2018, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Viewing Locations: From King Harbor Marina to the Redondo Beach Pier, all along the waterfront from restaurants, break walls, or along the piers.
Parking: Paid parking in the Pier Parking structure, Redondo Beach Marina and street parking.
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Naples Christmas Boat Parade, Long Beach
The Naples Island parade of boats takes place Dec. 8, 2018. Large boats start at 6 p.m. along the peninsula. Small boats start at 6:30 p.m. from the Appian Way Bridge. Large and small boats will travel in opposite directions.
The houses around Naples Island put on one of the best displays of Christmas and Hanukkah lights in Southern California. Plan to get there early to stroll around the island before the parade.
- From the bridges and along the canals around Naples Island you can see the small boat parade.
- From the 2nd Street Bridge, Appian Way Bridge, and along Alamitos Bay Marina you can also see the larger vessels that don't fit in the canals.
Parking: Marine lots east of Davis Bridge, metered parking at Mothers' Beach lot off Appian Way, Marine Stadium, and 54th Street and Bayshore. Surrounding streets close at 5 p.m.