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So Cal Boat Parade of Lights

HP5A4347It’s a California holiday tradition. Rain or shine, colorful boat parades will be lighting up harbors up and down the coast almost until Santa comes down the chimney.

Most of the parades take place this weekend. So, bundle up and watch twinkling lights glowing off the water, as festively decorated boats and yachts decked out with Christmas trees, candy canes and even a Singing Santa or two make our coastline extra merry.

Parades in Dana Point and Ventura Harbor run tonight and tomorrow night ( Fri-Sat Dec. 12-13 2014). Marina del Rey and Redondo Beach host their parades Saturday night (Dec. 13). I am your friendly announcer in Burton Chace Park, in Marina del Rey (to get there, take Mindanao until it ends in the Marina).  Parking is free in the County lots, so plan to arrive early to get a spot (well before 5pm). Fireworks kick off the Marina del Rey Christmas Boat Parade at 5:55pm.

'Santa's Helpers' assist boat parade announcers  Lisa & Mickey Lazslo with holiday carol singalongs at Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey.

‘Santa’s Helpers’ assist boat parade announcers Lisa & Mickey Lazslo with holiday carol singalongs at Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey.

Sunday in Santa Barbara, it’s an all afternoon affair – Santa’s Village on Stearns Wharf will keep kids of all ages busy until colorful vessels parade along the breakwater.

Starting on Tuesday, December 17th, head to Orange County for the granddaddy of Southern California boat parades. Hundreds of boats and yachts are expected to participate in the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, which runs for five nights. This parade has been going on for more than 100 years. See Newport Harbor packed with watercraft, from kayaking Santa to dancing elves. Boat owners go all out for this parade, it’s not uncommon to see $70,000 worth of decorations lighting up each boat!

Saturday, December 21st, is the Naples Holiday Boat Parade in Long Beach. The parade starts at 6pm, but nearby streets close at 5pm, so plan to arrive early.

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!

Click here for details on the Christmas Boat Parades across the Southland.

Traffic411 Insider’s Tip: Dress warmly – it might feel cooler than the temperature outside sitting waterside to view the parade.

 

 

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Whale Watching

Marina del Rey is one place in So Cal to take a whale watching tour.

Marina del Rey is one place in So Cal to take a whale watching tour.

It’s whale watching season in Southern California. This time of year, hundreds of pacific gray whales are migrating from the icy Alaskan sea to the warm waters of Baja California to give birth to their calves. From now until mid-April, you’ll have a good chance of seeing whales and dolphins up close when you embark on a whale watching tour in Orange County, Los Angeles or Ventura County.

The pristine waters off the Channel Islands in Ventura County (one hour north of Los Angeles), is a beautiful place to go whale watching. Public access to the Channel Islands is limited, so the natural beauty and ecosystem is largely untouched.  Island Packers and Channel Islands Whale Watching offer whale watching tours in Ventura County.

In Los Angeles, you can catch whale watching tours at several ports, including Marina del Rey, Redondo Beach and Long Beach. In Orange County, tours originate from Dana Point and Newport Beach.

Seeing these giant sea creatures up close can be a powerful and life changing experience. In March and April, mother whales can be seen migrating north with their recently-born calves. With hundreds of pacific gray whales moving along the California coast between December and April, it’s an ideal time to take a whale watching adventure.

My KFWB colleague, Phil Hulett, didn’t see any whales during his February outing in Ventura County, but there were plenty of dolphins!

Traffic411 Insider Tip:  Whale Watch in Ventura,  you’ll enjoy the added bonus of seeing the beautiful Channel Islands

Distance from LAX: various.  Ventura is 70 miles away

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What to Visit in L.A. on a Layover: Marina del Rey

Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey

Only a 10 minute drive from LAX, Marina del Rey is a nice place to visit during a layover in Los Angeles.

When your travel plans take you through LAX and you have a layover of three hours or more, you’ll have time to escape Los Angeles International Airport and visit some of LA’s nicest coastal areas.

Marina del Rey is only five miles north of LAX. It’s an easy ten minute drive when it’s not rush hour and, even at peak travel times, Lincoln Boulevard (Highway 1) isn’t among LA’s most traveled roads.

Marina del Rey is the world’s largest man-made small craft harbor and home to more than 5,000 boats. Much of the waterfront is lined with sidewalks, an ideal place for a brisk walk or relaxing stroll to stretch your legs in between long airplane flights.

Marina del Rey is home to an array of interesting restaurants, from casual to upscale dining. For casual dining on the waterfront, try Tony P’s Dockside Grill, with its large outside deck overlooking the water, or large inside bar. If you’re looking for something more upscale, try Cafe del Rey (one of LA’s best restaurants) or the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The Cheesecake Factory, the Chart House and the Warehouse are some chain restaurants located in the marina.  Shanghai Reds in Fisherman’s Village offers a tropical theme and a large outside dining area.

You might want to begin at the Marina del Rey Visitors Center, at Admiralty Way & Mindanao.  There are some restaurants within walking distance.  Right down the street from the visitors center is Burton Chace Park, located on a hilly peninsula at the end of Mindanao Way. Chace Park is a nice spot for a walk and ‘yacht watching.’ There are several private yacht clubs around the marina, too.

Some of my favorite spots in Marina del Rey include Cafe del Rey (a terrific ‘special occasion’ restaurant), Mermaid Cafe is a good spot for a super casual breakfast or lunch (it’s a little hole in the wall located on the waterside of the Marina Fitness Center.

If you are looking for a place to spend the night, the Best Western Jamaica Bay Inn at Mother’s Beach is a beautiful ‘barefoot elegant’ inn. The fire pit outside the bar is a great place to enjoy a drink on a cool evening, however, the restaurant, Vu, has gotten mixed reviews.

Related: Santa Monica Daycations

I always feel at home when I’m in Marina del Rey, I hope you have the chance to experience this oasis amid the giant city of Los Angeles.


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Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey is a ten minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) but, it feels like a world away. Travelers who have a 3+ hour layover at LAX can experience the So Cal lifestyle by taking in a waterside meal or walk. If you're into the boating lifestyle, Marina del Rey is terrific place to live or visit.

[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreysunset.jpg]1230Marina del Rey Sunset
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_ritzcarltonmarinadelreychannel.jpg]440Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey
Bring your own room. The Ritz Carlton offers room service to boaters docked at the hotel's slips!
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinacityclubritzcarlton.jpg]11940Marina City Club
This condo highrise is a landmark in Marina del Rey.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_ritzcarltonapartmentbuilding.jpg]260Ritz Carlton
The Ritz Carlton on the left, and a modern highrise apartment building on the right.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreykillershrimpview.jpg]230Marina del Rey
The view from the patio at Killer Shrimp.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_kayakermarinadelrey.jpg]210Kayaker on Marina del Rey
The calm waters of the Marina is an ideal spot for kayakers.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_mothersbeachmarinadelrey.jpg]290Mothers Beach
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreyharborarielview.jpg]550Marina del Rey Harbor, ariel view
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_billofrightstallship.jpg]2370The Bill of Rights sails into Marina del Rey
The Bill of Rights, a 137 foot replica vintage sailing ship, sails into Marina del Rey, CA on Wednesday, May 16th. The public can tour the Bill of Rights on Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, during MarinaFest 2012. Image courtesy of http://americantallship.org/
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Tall Ship Sails into Marina del Rey

The Bill of Rights sails into Marina del ReyThe Bill of Rights, the stunning vessel that led the Bicentennial Celebration Ship Parade into New York Harbor in 1976 sails into Marina del Rey this week.  The 137 foot replica sailing ship built in 1971 will take groups of kids on sailing adventures on Thursday and Friday, and will dock at Fisherman’s Village for public tours through the weekend.

The Bill of Rights is the first tall ship to sail into Marina del Rey in six years.  Her arrival coincides with MarinaFest, a recreational boat show showcasing the latest in motor yachts, sailboats, fishing boats and family sport boats.  Visitors can get a close up look and tour the Bill of Rights, docked at Fisherman’s Village, on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20.

Teen sailing sensation Abby Sunderland will be signing autographs, books and DVDs, and sharing stories about her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.  You can find Abby during MarinaFest in Marina del Rey’s G Basin and Pier 44 Slips at the corner of Admiralty Way and Bali Way.

Read more about The Bill of Rights in Marina del Rey Patch

Image courtesy of American Tall Ship.org

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey is a ten minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) but, it feels like a world away. Travelers who have a 3+ hour layover at LAX can experience the So Cal lifestyle by taking in a waterside meal or walk. If you're into the boating lifestyle, Marina del Rey is terrific place to live or visit.

[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreysunset.jpg]1230Marina del Rey Sunset
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_ritzcarltonmarinadelreychannel.jpg]440Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey
Bring your own room. The Ritz Carlton offers room service to boaters docked at the hotel's slips!
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinacityclubritzcarlton.jpg]11940Marina City Club
This condo highrise is a landmark in Marina del Rey.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_ritzcarltonapartmentbuilding.jpg]260Ritz Carlton
The Ritz Carlton on the left, and a modern highrise apartment building on the right.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreykillershrimpview.jpg]230Marina del Rey
The view from the patio at Killer Shrimp.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_kayakermarinadelrey.jpg]210Kayaker on Marina del Rey
The calm waters of the Marina is an ideal spot for kayakers.
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_mothersbeachmarinadelrey.jpg]290Mothers Beach
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_marinadelreyharborarielview.jpg]550Marina del Rey Harbor, ariel view
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/marina-del-rey/thumbs/thumbs_billofrightstallship.jpg]2370The Bill of Rights sails into Marina del Rey
The Bill of Rights, a 137 foot replica vintage sailing ship, sails into Marina del Rey, CA on Wednesday, May 16th. The public can tour the Bill of Rights on Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, during MarinaFest 2012. Image courtesy of http://americantallship.org/

 

 

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