Updated for 2023
Here in Southern California, we can celebrate the holidays at the beach and the mountains (even on the same day), but if you’re looking for something near the shore, we suggest a boat parade! Families can enjoy several annual Christmas Boat Parades and Holiday Boat Parades that are scheduled throughout the month of December.
These terrific, unique events are all about boat owners decorating and showing off their boats, which are the true Parade Floats, if you think about it! Holiday Boat Parades are held at night, so fabulous lighting is the key to standing out.
Some boats will be decked out in twinkle lights, and some will go much further, with Christmas trees and Santa Claus, some even go all out with inflatables. Many of these Christmas Boat Parades have a bonus fireworks shows, which make them even more festive! Boat Float makers often compete for trophies and prizes, too.
Each parade can be viewed from the shore or from a boat (or flotation device) of your own, and each one will have an ideal spot or two to see things from, so be sure to read up on their websites. However they’re dressed up their boats, you’ll get to see a light show floating right by your beach blanket.
The Best Christmas Boat Parades in Los Angeles and SoCal
Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights
Ventura Harbor, 1583 Spinnaker Dr, Ventura, CA 93001
It’s a “wow” moment when spectators get their first glimpse of the magnificent boats amid festive décor at the Annual Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights, taking place on December 15th and 16th. Vivid and bright, the procession of colorfully-decorated boats is a spectacle to behold. This year’s theme is Hula Holiday!
Related: See all the Nutcracker Performances in SoCal
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
309 Palm Street, Newport Beach 92661
The 2023 Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is the premier Christmas event for Southern California, taking place this year from December 13 -17. With more than 115 years of history, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade of Lights has hundreds of decorated yachts & watercraft of all kinds competing for top honors in several categories. Along with the Boat Parade of Lights there is also the “Ring Of Lights” which has Bayfront estates competing for top honors in all-out holiday décor & light displays which takes place all of December.
Related: See all the Family-Friendly Christmas and Holiday Shows in SoCal
Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
Burton Chace Park and Fisherman’s Village, Marina del Rey
Watch a trail of lighted boats cruise through the main channel on December 9th. Arrive early to grab a spot on the lawn at Burton Chace Park or a good photo spot at Fisherman’s Village, two of the most popular viewing places. Narration on a PA system is available at both locations. Free admission.
Related: See Christmas and Holiday Lights in SoCal
Huntington Harbour Boat Parade
Huntington Beach, CA
The all-volunteer Huntington Harbour Boat Parade is the non-profit Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee’s way of saying “thank you” to the Harbour residents for decorating their homes. Happening this year on December 9th and 10th.
Related: Find all the Christmas and Holiday Events in Los Angeles
Dana Point Harbor Annual Fiesta Boat Parade of Lights
Dana Point, CA
The Harbor’s much anticipated annual Boat Parade of Lights will take place December 8-10 this year. Boaters will decorate their vessels to the theme of the parade, for a chance to win prizes across several award categories.
Related: Where to Get Photos with Santa Claus in SoCal
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
San Diego, CA
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition in San Diego. The 53rd annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights promises to dazzle and entertain during 2 evenings on December 10th and December 17th, 2023. The parade usually boasts at least 80 boats and always draws a big crowd.
Past Boat Parade Events That Have Not Yet Announced Dates for 2023
Mission Bay Parade of Lights
San Diego, CA
Stand by for more info.
Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights
Stay tuned for information on this year’s event.
Long Beach Naples Islands Christmas Boat Parade
Long Beach, CA
We’re awaiting information about the 2023 parade.
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