The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, or the Parade of Lights as it's also known, is one of the major Xmas events in the whole of Southern California, and within easy reach of Los Angeles. As you can see from the photos, it's one of the most colorful parades you could find, and it's been going now for over 100 years. In fact The New York Times described it as “one of the top 10 holiday happenings in the nation."
Each holiday season Newport Harbor comes alive with Christmas lights and decorations, and these and the Boat Parade bring over a million people to this beach town less than an hour from downtown Los Angeles. Some of the boats in the parade spend over $50,000 decorating themselves, in the hope of winning a prize for the best boat in the parade.
Best Way to See the Boat Parade
The best way to see the boat parade is definitely up-close and personal. From December 1st five boats in Newport Harbor offer cruises around the harbor to see the lights, with three departures every night. The cruises offer visitors the best opportunity to see the boats in the Boat Parade. See below a link to the online booking form.
When to See the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
The Christmas lights start going up after Thanksgiving, and by December 1st Newport Harbor is lit up like… well, lit up like a Christmas tree!
From December 1st to December 17th you can join one of the harbor cruises to see the best of the Christmas lights. The Boat Parade itself takes place on the evenings of December 18-22, though the harbor cruises continue. From December 23rd to the end of the month, you can still join a harbor cruise to enjoy the holiday lights.
You can book an evening tour of Newport Harbor to see the lights here:
More Info about the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
There are two websites in particular where you can find out much more about the boat parade:
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The Napa Wine Country Inn and Gardens in St Helena, Napa Valley, overlooks a vineyard and has free wine tastings every evening, and offers guests help with booking wine tours.
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La Jolla in southern California is north of San Diego off the Pacific Coast Highway and has museums, good shopping, restaurants, hotels, beaches, wildlife, and the wonderful Birch Aquarium.
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Cambria on California’s Central Coast is a good stop on the Pacific Coast Highway, with hotels and restaurants, and close to Hearst Castle and the Piedras Blancas Beach to see elephant seals
To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.