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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.




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