December is barely here, yet boaters in Santa Barbara and up and down the coast are already decking their bows with colorful Christmas lights! Attending a boat parade is a fun (and often free) way to celebrate the holidays in true California style.
Santa Barbara’s Parade of Lights takes place on Sunday, December 6th at 5:30 PM. Claim your spot somewhere between the City Pier and Stearn’s Wharf to see the colorful watercraft of all sizes glide along the water. Be sure to stay til the end for the fireworks show. And, get there early and head to the City Pier (near the Maritime Museum) to see revelers playing in tons of snow and enjoying other kid-friendly activities.
Just up the coast, Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo is holding its Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, December 5th at 6:30pm.
The Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade is on Saturday, December 12th. I’ll be your host at Burton Chace Park, offering colorful commentary at the passing boats. It’s always fun and, if there’s a lull in the parade, we’ll recruit some kids to lead us in a round of Christmas Carols.
Colorful fireworks will light up the Marina del Rey harbor at 5:55 PM, and the parade starts at 6 PM. The theme this year is “Adventures on the Sea,” and “Brady Bunch” mom, Florence Henderson, will serve as grand marshal. You should find free parking in the L.A. County lots (Burton Chace Park is located at the end of Mindanao in Marina del Rey).
Redondo Beach and the community of Naples are also holding their parades on December 12th. Redondo Beach’s parade isn’t as elaborate as Marina del Rey’s, but it will still be plenty of fun. If you are in the South Bay, Click here to check out some of the prime viewing spots. The Naples Holiday Boat Parade in Long Beach starts at 7pm, but nearby streets close at 5pm, so plan to arrive early.
Dana Point‘s parade expands to two weekends this year, Fri/Sat Dec 11, 12, 18 & 19th. And, the Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights and fireworks show takes place December 18-19th. Ventura Harbor Village is ground zero for all the Santa Fun.
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is the grand daddy of Southern California boat parades, running for five nights, December 16-20th. Calling itself ‘the nation’s longest running lighted boat parade,’ some boaters spend $50,000 decorating their yachts and watercraft, vying for bragging rights and some wonderful prizes. This parade has been going on for more than 100 years and the harbor is expected to be wall-to-wall boats again this year. I don’t know how the captains manage to keep from bumping into each other!
If you plan ahead, you might still be able to get a reservation at a waterside restaurant with a view. But, it can be just as much fun to watch the parade outdoors, it’s free and what a fun family Christmas activity!
Traffic411 Insider’s Tip: Dress warmly – it might feel cooler than the temperature outside sitting waterside to view the parade.
Enjoy this photo gallery of the 2013 Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, photos by Ken Pfeiffer Photography
Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade 2013
It's a holiday tradition that I've had the honor of hosting for more than a decade, the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. For the first time, my co-host Mickey Czegledy and I broadcast from Fisherman's Village. Thanks to Ken Pfeiffer for sharing these beautiful photos.
Colorful boats sparkle in the harbor next to Fisherman's Village, all decked out for the 51st Annual Holiday Boat Parade. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_blue-magic_traffic411.jpg]190
(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_lisa-mickey-announcers_traffic411.jpg]210
Lisa Osborne & Mickey Czegledy announcing the boats in the 51st Annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. This is the first year we were at Fisherman's Village. Normally we announce the parade from Burton Chace Park. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_polarexpress_traffic411.jpg]180
(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_killershrimp_traffic411.jpg]160
The Killer Shrimp (restaurant) boat (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_dragon_traffic411.jpg]110
(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_43_traffic411.jpg]100
(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_smwyc_traffic411.jpg]90
Santa Monica Wind Jammers Yacht Club is usually a big winner at the parade. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_donna-mickey-lisa_traffic411.jpg]190
Our friend Donna Leeds joins me and Mickey at the VIP party at Del Rey Yacht Club. It was fun to see this year's grand marshals, L.A. Lakers president Jeannie Buss and NBA Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson.[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey-holiday-boat-parade-2013/thumbs/thumbs_mdr-boat-parade_debbie-lisa-mickey-diane_traffic411.jpg]170
That's a Wrap!! Thanks for the property managers at Fisherman's Village for hosting us while we announced the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. (l-r Debbie Talbot with LA County Beaches & Harbors, Lisa Osborne, Mickey Czegledy, former MDR Holiday Boat Parade president Diane Barretti (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)