A guide to one of Newport Beach’s longest-standing holiday traditions.
Whether you look forward to it every year or you’re hoping to start a new holiday tradition, the Newport Beach Boat Parade is a can’t-miss. Running for five nights every holiday season, the Newport Beach Boat Parade draws over a million annual visitors to watch beautifully decorated boats, yachts, kayaks, and canoes sail the Newport Harbor for one of the largest Christmas celebrations in the country. With its roots dating back more than 100 years, this parade is the perfect fit for Southern Californians and visitors alike who are looking for a taste of classic culture. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event.
What is it?
The Newport Beach Boat Parade is a holiday lights celebration that started over a century ago. Now celebrating its 111th year, this parade brings together residents, boat owners, local businesses, and more to put on a display like no other. People from all over the state, country, and even the world flock to Newport Beach to enjoy the festivities.
Today, you’ll see everything from waterfront homes and luxurious yachts to canoes and fishing boats decked out in spectacular holiday lights, decorations, and special effects. Dazzling firework displays launched from the Balboa Pier both open and close out the evenings.
When is it?
The parade takes place every December from the third Wednesday to the third Sunday of the month.
Where can I watch it?
The parade starts at Bay Island, and there are a few different ways to enjoy it. The easiest way is to watch from anywhere along the Newport Bayfront, where you can watch the lighted boats go by from the shoreline. Other options include the bayside of the Balboa Peninsula, any waterfront spot on Balboa Island, waterside locations along the Pacific Coast Highway, and the Marina Park Recreational Center.
If you want to watch from the water, Davey’s Locker offers scheduled cruises with three departures every night that allow you to enjoy the parade from boats that participate in the light displays.
There are also several restaurants and hotels from which you can experience the parade, including the Rusty Pelican, Billy’s at the Beach, Waterline Restaurant, Harborside Restaurant, Newport Landing Restaurant, and Balboa Bay Resort.
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