Newport Beach Holiday Boat Parade. Photo by Trent Bell
Newport Beach Holiday Boat Parade. Photo by Trent Bell

Christmas Boat Parades around LA, from Newport Beach to Santa Barbara

Update 11/20/20: Since publish date, several more boat parades have changed their plans for the 2020 season. We will continue to update this post as information changes.

Los Angeles is all about outdoor activities at Christmastime—and nothing says "This is why I moved to Southern California" quite like a Christmas boat parade. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, boat owners gussy up their crafts and parade them up and down waterways for applauding spectators, who line the harbors and marinas from Dana Point to Oxnard. Driving around looking at holiday lights is great; letting them float by you at one of these dozen sailing holiday parades is even better. The only trick to enjoying one of these in COVID times is to find a non-crowded vantage point to relax and enjoy the floating light show.

Find more ideas for the 2020 holiday season in our Christmas and Hanukkah Guide for LA Families.

Please keep your family and others safe by wearing masks and social distancing. If an event appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do.

Newport Beach Boat Parade
Newport Beach Boat Parade. Photo Courtesy of Robert Downs Photography

Huntington Harbour Holiday Boat Parade

December 12 and 13, 2020
Note that while most other boat parades have canceled as the season draws closer, Huntington Harbor has announced, "Rain or shine or pandemic, the 58th Annual Huntington Harbour Boat Parade will go on."

The annual Huntington Harbour Holiday Boat Parade cruises through the harbor for two nights; the first night the judging takes place, while the second night is a chance for the honorees to strut their stuff. Note that parking this year will be strictly limited to keep crowd size down; the boat parade committee encourages people to enjoy the parade in the safest way possible: by decorating a boat and entering the parade!


Boat Parades that Are Still TBA for 2020:

The annual parades below have not yet made an official announcement for 2020. After the 11/20/20 announcement of the cancelation of the Newport Beach Boat Parade, however, it seems increasingly likely that others will follow suit.

Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights

Has not yet announced a plan for 2020
The annual Parade of Lights and Fireworks kicks off the holidays in Ventura Harbor. The two-day celebration includes afternoon visits from the Claus family and snowfall on Saturday on the Ventura Harbor Village Main Lawn.

Parade of 1,000 Lights

Has not yet announced a plan for 2020
Long Beach has its own boat parade tradition, giving a visual feast to anyone waiting and watching from Shoreline Village, Rainbow Harbor, or the Queen Mary. Reservations at Parker's Lighthouse are bound to be hard to come by, but a table by the window there would be prime viewing territory.

Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade

Has not yet announced a plan for 2020
The Island of Naples hosts its annual Holiday Boat Parade, visible from several vantage points around the island. Homes are festively decorated; carolers wander the small island singing, and creatively lit boats get everyone in the holiday mood.

Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
Photo courtesy of Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade

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Brentwood Country Mart - 6:00 PM Pick
Drive-in at the Roadium
The Roadium Open Air Market - 6:30 PM Pick
Annual Pumpkin Festival Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly Pomona Pumpkin Festival at AGRIscapes - 8:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
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