Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Brings Holiday Joy to SoCal

Considering a Christmas vacation in Newport Beach? Don’t miss the area’s signature boat parade. For over 100 years, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade has delighted millions of viewers. For five days in December, light-filled boats, canoes, kayaks and yachts float along the Newport Harbor, bringing Christmas joy to all. Read more to learn about the parade and what visitors should expect.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade: Tips for Winter Travelers

newport beach christmas boat parade

Photo: fortherock

View the Route

Newport Harbor sits within three popular destinations in Newport Beach: Balboa Peninsula and Village, Fashion Island, and Mariner’s Mile. The parade starts and ends at Lido Isle located in the harbor. From there, boats travel along Balboa Peninsula, Balboa Village, around Balboa Island to Fashion Island and Mariner’s Mile. View the map.

Pick Where to Watch the Parade

No matter the location, there’s not a bad seat in the house. Book a Balboa Island vacation rental for a prime spot, and enjoy the comforts of home. Some rentals feature waterfront locations only steps away from the parade and area dining and shopping. This provides a great opportunity to grab some take-out and watch from the couch with loved ones.

Those further away from the water, have access to the 10.5 Marina Park. This spot offers over 175 parking spaces and serves as the largest public viewing area along the parade route. Other amenities at the park include a nautical-themed playground, picnic area and sailing center.

In addition, several Newport Beach restaurants offer close-up viewing spots and schedules. Plan a date and have dinner at popular restaurants such as Newport Landing, Joe’s Crab Shack and Billy’s at the Beach. Or grab something to-go and walk around to take in the fresh air and festive vibes. See the full list of restaurants and schedules.

newport beach ring of lights

Photo: Andrew “FastLizard4” Adams

Arrive Early

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is free of charge and open to the public. Due to the amount of parade-lovers, plan to arrive early and consider traffic and time to find a spot. All city parking lots are open to the public, and several boat charters rent to guests.

How to Enter

Want to join and enter to win prizes? Register a boat, home or business, and become a part of the action. Boats should enter the parade, while homes and business are showcased in the Ring of Lights. Registration automatically enters participants into the parade and competition for prizes. Winners receive custom banners, tickets to the awards dinner and auction, and serious bragging rights.

Make a day of it! Read our Balboa Island day trip guide. Or browse available Newport Beach vacation rentals and plan a trip.

*Main photo by: fortherock