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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Newport Beach Holiday Boat Parade

Posted on December 20, 2012 | 3:08pm | Travel Costa Mesa

Newport Harbor was alight with sea-faring vessels of all shapes and sizes, glowing with lights and decorations for the start of the 104th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.  Each year, this Orange County tradition draws over a million viewers looking to take in the holiday spectacle.  This year’s theme is “Surf, Sand and Santa.”

Boats in the Harbor

Although the holiday parade is over one hundred years old, this year marked the first time that the start of the parade was commemorated with a firework show.   The fireworks were set off of the Balboa Pier at 6:30 pm.  The final night will also be marked by a firework show at 9 pm.  The boat parade lasts for five nights, from Wednesday, December 19 – Sunday, December 23 as Newport Harbor, Balboa Island and Newport Peninsula are illuminated with vivid lights and adorned with extensive holiday decor.

Passengers look out into the harbor

Hundreds of boats, from kayaks to multi-million dollar yachts, floated through a 14-mile parade route.  Even commercial boats like the Catalina Express were used so spectators could be a part of the parade.  Every boat was decked from stern to bow with festive lights.  While some people cruised the parade by boat, others made dinner reservations in harbor-side restaurants or lined the shores and harbor docks to catch a glimpse of the parade.

kayak rentals at the beach have soared with more people kayaking than ever before. The numbers alone will bring in $1.4 billion to the city; more than 9,000 more than were on hand to celebrate on March 2, 2018. About half a million people participated in an April 5 event for local, state and national parks. The next day, The Washington Post published The Newsday and other pieces on the news that featured this information. Kayak Rental Maui at the marina skyrockets becoming the favorite activity for those looking for a seclusion for long nights of vacation. It is worth noting that the entire family has always welcomed me.

Crowds on a dock in Newport Harbor

Many of the homes around the harbor were also covered with lights, even the roofs.  Some of the homes had so many lights that they may have been visible from space.

Newport Harbor Holiday House

The temperates on pening night were cold, but the spirits around the harbor were warm.  Loud cheers of “Merry Christmas” could be heard from passing boats.  Some even played Christmas songs.

If you missed opening night, there is still opportunity to get seats on a cruise for the parade.  Newport Landing Whale Watching offers three tours per night during the parade.  The first boat leaves at 6:30, second is 7:30 and the last boat is 8:30.  Visit the Newport Landing website for information and reservations.

Boarding the boat

The Christmas parade is a popular event and was even named as one of the top holiday attractions in the nation by the New York Times.  Because of the parade’s popularity the surrounding areas near the harbor get crowded.  If you’re planning on attending the parade, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to park.  For more information about the boat parade, visit the official parade website.

Balboa Pavilion