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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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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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Escape: Ventura County

The shopping arcade on Ojai Avenue, Ojai's main street.

Ventura county is less than a one hour drive from Los Angeles, but it feels like a world away.  The beaches are less crowded than those in L.A. and Orange County, and there are plenty of good restaurants, shopping and beautiful scenery to entertain and delight.

Heading north on the 101 you’ll see the Ventura Pier off California Street. Stroll along the water’s edge and watch surfers catch waves. There are restaurants on the pier. The Aloha Steakhouse on the waterfront is one of my favorite restaurants and offers a great view.

The Ventura Harbor features several shops restaurants including the Greek at the Harbor.  Visitors can experience boating life up close as you walk along the docks. Main Street Ventura is also home to a variety of shops and restaurants.

The spiritual town of Ojai is a quick, 20 minute drive from the pier.  Nestled in the hills the community is famous for it’s ‘pink moments,’ when the setting sun casts a pink light on the Topa Topa mountains.  Hiking and walking in nature in Ojai can renew your spirit.

Ojai offers world class spas and golf experienices. It’s also home to a variety of unique shops and restaurants.  Soul Centered, a Metaphysical Shoppe, is a destination in itself, offering classes on astrology and other topics in the geodesic dome located behind the store.

Whatever you do in Ventura County, you’ll return home refreshed and rejuvenated.

Distance from LAX: 70 miles

Traffic411 Insider Tip: Go off the beaten path in Ojai. Meditation Mount is a peaceful retreat with breathtaking views


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Ojai Valley, CA Nature at its Finest

Ojai, CA is only a 20 minute drive from the beaches of Ventura, yet you'll feel like you're a world away. The climate is sunny and warmer than the cool coastline, and the sights are pure technicolor. Whether you're a hiker or hippie, avid golfer or spiritual seeker, there's plenty to do and see in Ojai. Even if you do nothing but R&R, the energy here will recharge your batteries and can offer new insights on life.

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The Ojai Valley, located in Ventura County, CA, offers some of the most breathtaking nature scenery in the world. Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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Ojai is famous for its 'pink moments.' Just before the sun goes down the valley and mountains are washed in a beautiful shade of pink.
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View of Ojai's Topa Topa mountain range from Nordoff Ridge. Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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A rainbow adds magic to this beautiful shot of the windmill at Euterope Farms on a sunny Ojai day. Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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This is the windmill at Euterope Farms at sunset. Ojai sunsets are among the most beautiful in the world. Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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Located in the mountains of Ventura County, This shot of the Ojai Valley includes Lake Casitas, and the Pacific Ocean. Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com<br />
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The golden valley of Ojai. Taken from Nordoff Ridge. Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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Sunrise & sunset in Ojai are beautiful. Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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Sunset over chief’s nose, Chief Peak, Ojai. Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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Two-day old crescent moon and Venus in Taurus (May, 2012). Source: Smitty West http://smittywest.com
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Musician and amateur photographer Smitty West shares these beautiful pictures of the Ojai Valley, an artist enclave 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
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