Christmas Boat Parades in Southern California

Christmas Boat Parades are a festive holiday tradition in southern California. Throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties, there are water parades occurring all during the holiday season.

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.

01 of 07

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

The 111th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade takes place nightly December 18-22, 2019. If you're in the area, you can't miss this procession of yachts, boats, canoes, and kayaks. The parade begins each night at 6:30 p.m. from the Tip of Lido Isle and finishes at about 9 p.m. at the same place.

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 bayside 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.
  • The Newport Sea Base, 1931 West Coast Highway, has lawn seating with a view of the parade.
02 of 07

Long Beach Parade of 1,000 Lights in the Downtown Shoreline Marina

Parade of 1000 Lights at the Shoreline Marina in Long Beach, CA
Photo by Craig Ryan, courtesy of Shoreline Yacht Club

The Long Beach boat parade takes place on December 7, 2019, from 5 p.m. 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 Queen Mary. 

Parking: Paid parking is available at Shoreline Village, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and the Pike. You can also look for metered street parking or the pre-paid ticket boxes at the Downtown Marina.

03 of 07

Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights

Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights
Photo courtesy of MyDanaPoint.com

At the southern end of Orange County, you can head to the water to see the Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights, a 45-year tradition in Dana Point, California. This year's theme is Tiki Holiday, so you can expect to see some tropical influence at this winter event.

The Dana Point event takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings, December 7-8 and December 13-14, 2019. Festivities begin at the Dana Point Harbor at 4:30 p.m., with music, shopping, restaurants, and visits from Santa. The parade begins each night at 7:30 p.m.

For the most comfortable view, make a dinner reservation at one of the restaurants located in the harbor and enjoy the parade while you eat.

Viewing Locations: Dana Point Harbor, 34555 Golden Lantern, Dana Point. Free trolleys run all evening long to shuttle spectators around the harbor.

04 of 07

LA Harbor Holiday Afloat

Decorated boats parade through the Port of Los Angeles Main Channel in this spectacular event on December 7, 2019. At 6 p.m., 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:

  • 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
Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Marina del Rey Boat Parade

Marina del Rey Boat Parade
Photo courtesy of Marina del Rey Boat PArade

The Marina del Rey parade takes place on December 14, 2019. Fireworks begin at 5:55 p.m., and the parade follows immediately after from 6 p.m. 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 and crafts, DJ, and food trucks. 

Viewing Locations:

  • 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: County parking lots are located at Burton Chance Park, and pay stations take credit card or cash. There is no street parking.

06 of 07

King Harbor Boat Parade in Redondo Beach

King Harbor Yacht Club

Courtesy of King Harbor Yacht Club 

The King Harbor parade takes place in Redondo Beach on December 14, 2019, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The theme for this year is "Surfing the Yule Tide."

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.

07 of 07

Naples Christmas Boat Parade, Long Beach

The Naples Island parade of boats takes place on December 14, 2019. 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.

Viewing Locations:

  • From the bridges and along the canals around Naples Island you can see the small boat parade.
  • From the Second 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.

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