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2015 Holiday Boat Parade Guide

The Getty Yacht docks at Burton Chace Park, giving guests a front row spot to see the Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

The Getty Yacht docks at Burton Chace Park, giving guests a front row spot to see the Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

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.

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'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.

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.

Also Read: Santa Barbara’s “Merry” Season

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.

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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.

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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)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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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)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The Killer Shrimp (restaurant) boat (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Santa Monica Wind Jammers Yacht Club is usually a big winner at the parade. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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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.
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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)

 

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Labor Day: 5 free (or low-cost) So Cal Staycations

Palisades Park Santa Monica is a popular spot for a walk, workout or picnic.

Staying in town over the Labor Day Weekend? There are plenty of fun places to explore across Southern California, without spending much money. And, with gas prices at their lowest levels in months, why not hit the road? Here are five free (or nearly free) So Cal day-cations.

Palisades Park: Santa Monica

Palisades Park stretches several blocks across a bluff overlooking the Santa Monica shoreline and Pacific Coast Highway.  Stroll along the tree-lined pathway from San Vicente to the Santa Monica Pier or Third Street Promenade as you take in the gorgeous views. Pack a picnic, or choose from a variety of restaurants to enjoy a meal. The famous Santa Monica Pier is an easy walk from Palisades Park, and admission is free to the pier amusement park.  Tourists from around the world visit Santa Monica and the Malibu coast, so it’s definitely worth the drive across town.

Related: Parking in Santa Monica

Malibu, CA

California's Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) between Oxnard and Santa Monica offer is one of the most beautiful drives in the USA. The New York Times calls this drive through Malibu one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the USA! Here are some photos I took along the way. Story to follow soon, in case you want to try this 30 mile coastline drive yourself. I highly recommend it!

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Point Dume offers a hiking trail down a hill to a beautiful secluded beach.
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How's this for a camping spot?!? Thornhill Broome Beach State Park is an ideal place to cool off in the summer. Bring your camper, motorhome or fifth wheel and you're all set!
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This stretch of California coastline is among the most beautiful in the state. Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) is also a great alternative to the 101 freeway when traveling between Ventura County and Los Angeles.
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Malibu Coast

Pacific Coast Highway will likely be very busy over the holiday weekend, but if you’re patient and feel like a scenic road trip, the PCH drive through Malibu (Santa Monica to Oxnard) offers some of the most stunning views of the California Coast. North of Point Dume, to Ventura County, the coast is undeveloped. You might even recognize the view since it’s a popular location for new car commercials.

A cascading fountain greets visitors at the entrance of Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, CA

A cascading fountain greets visitors at the entrance of Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, CA

Gardens of the World

Soak up botanical beauty at this best-kept Conejo Valley secret, located across the street from the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center.  Admission is free to Gardens of the World, a stroll through the grounds will take you on a tour of lush landscapes from around the world.

Balboa Island, Orange County

Balboa Peninsula and the Fun Zone arcade are a quick ferry ride away from Balboa Island.

A stroll on Balboa Island will have you feeling like you’re in New England. The quaint streets and bayfront homes are surrounded by water, which will help to keep you cool.  Parking is tight on the island, especially on a holiday weekend. You might want to park in Newport Beach, and walk  across the small bridge that leads to Balboa Island.

Hollywood Bowl

It’s a Los Angeles landmark, but a lot of locals have never been to The Hollywood Bowl.  Movie music takes center stage this weekend, with a concert by John Williams ( Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Arc) and a tribute to the Henry Mancini and director Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) fans will enjoy the tribute to Henry Mancini and director Peter Sellers.

I recently attended a Hollywood  Bowl show at the last minute and was surprised to get a ticket for well under $20. You don’t need the best seats in the house to enjoy the experience. This weekend, tickets start at just $15, and you can avoid online ticketing fees when you buy tickets on site at the box office, just call ahead to make sure it’s not close to a sell out.

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Daylight Saving: After Work Getaways!

Get ready to hit the road and enjoy the extra So Cal sunshine that comes with Daylight Saving Time.

With Daylight Saving Time kicking in on Sunday, you’ll be enjoying at least an extra hour of daylight.  So, why not head out on an after-work adventure?  You don’t have to go very far to find a beautiful place to relax and take  in a Southern  California sunset.

Santa Monica and Malibu top my list of quick getaways.  From the bluffs of Palisades Park, to Montana Avenue and the Third  Street Promenade,  click here for more Santa Monica Daycations.

When you’re in the mood for a scenic coastal drive, Pacific Coast Highway through west Malibu is hard to beat. Click here for details on the Malibu Drive from Oxnard to Santa Monica. Your car will be hugging the rugged coastline and there are plenty of places to pull over and enjoy the view. If you hurry, you might even see some whales migrating along the coast, prime whale watching season continues through April.

Related: Conejo Valley Getaway – Gardens of the World

Palisades Park in Santa Monica is a lovely place to enjoy the extra hour of daylight that comes with Daylight Saving Time.

 

An easy work getaway in Orange County could include a trip to Fashion Island.  This upscale outdoor shopping mall offers fresh air, a sea breeze and several delicious restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen and Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, one of my favorite places for bar dining.

Across from Fashion Island is Balboa Island. A short drive over the bridge and you might feel as if you’re in a quaint NewEngland beach town. You can catch the ferry to Balboa Peninsula.

Pacific Coast Highway through South Orange County will take you from Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente, with plenty of places to enjoy and explore along the way.

Read: So Cal Burgers

When you’re in Southern California, there’s no need to wait for the official start of summer to start your summer vacation. Enjoy!

Balboa Island, CA USA

Balboa Island, CA is a seaside getaway in Orange County. It offers a small town feel on the edge of sprawling Newport Beach.

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[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/balboa-island-ca-usa/thumbs/thumbs_balboaislandchannel.jpg]40Balboa Island in Orange County has a ferry to take drivers, bikers, skaters and pedestrians from Balboa Island to the Balboa Peninsula.
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Balboa Island, CA USA

Balboa Island offers a small town vibe amid sprawling Newport Beach and Orange County.  Driving over the bridge from Newport Beach onto the Island, you’ll be on Marine Avenue, Balboa Island’s main street, lined with shops with colorful flags and awnings, and a lot of red, white and blue.

Balboa Island is a comfortable place for a summer stroll.

This small piece of paradise is an ideal place to enjoy a relaxing walk, once you find a parking spot.  The residential streets are narrow and, since the entire perimeter of the island is less than a two mile walk, you can park anywhere, walk around the island, and be back at your car in about an hour (just remember the name of the street where you parked!).

Walking around Balboa Island is a comfortable experience. The boardwalk is smooth and flat, lined with beautiful bay front homes, private docks, and a front-row view of the array of boats cruising Newport Harbor.


Related: Check Real Time Traffic Conditions to Balboa Island & across California
Marine Avenue features an array of unique boutiques, restaurants and ice cream shops featuring chocolate dipped frozen bananas and ‘Balboa Bars,’ vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate and colorful sprinkles.

Balboa Island is the place to enjoy a frozen banana or ice cream bar while shopping.

You can hop on the ferry (in your car or on foot) for a five minute ride across the bay to the Balboa Peninsula, where the Balboa Fun Zonefeatures a bayside Ferris wheel, arcade games, along with boat rentals and tours.

Balboa Island will be decked out in red, white and blue for Fourth of July week and other summer holidays.  It’s also a good place to catch the Old Glory Boat Parade on July 4th,  sponsored by the American Legion Yacht Club.


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Balboa Island, CA USA

Balboa Island, CA is a seaside getaway in Orange County. It offers a small town feel on the edge of sprawling Newport Beach.

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[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/balboa-island-ca-usa/thumbs/thumbs_balboaislandchannel.jpg]40Balboa Island in Orange County has a ferry to take drivers, bikers, skaters and pedestrians from Balboa Island to the Balboa Peninsula.
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Nearby attractions:  Newport Beach Fashion Island, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach.

 

 

 

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