boat parade illustrationThe holidays are officially in full swing, and Orange County residents know that enjoying the festivities with friends and family doesn’t get much better than the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade!

The 2016 Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights will run December 14th through Sunday, December 18th. The parade begins at 6:30 pm each evening off of Bay Island, and ends at approximately 9:00 pm. Fireworks will also be featured from the Balboa Pier around 6:15 pm on Wednesday and around 9 pm on Sunday.

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade cruises through Newport Harbor, which stretches around the Balboa Peninsula, located off of Newport Blvd. There will be plenty of parking available in all city parking lots, as well as several opportunities for street parking along the parade route. Since the parade draws thousands of viewers every night, please allow extra travel time to find parking!

The parade is a free event for the community and tourists to enjoy. The Balboa Village, aka home of the Fun Zone, is a great place to watch. There are also plenty of bars, restaurants, and kid-friendly activities nearby. However, for those who prefer a more intimate setting, watching the parade aboard a boat charter or in a waterfront restaurant is also highly recommended. Considering the popularity of the event, booking your reservations as early as possible is definitely encouraged.

The Newport Sea Base lawn is also a great place to join in on the fun of the boat parade. Located at 1931 W. Coast Highway, this site features reserved chair seating and food and beverages available for purchase from Sea Scouts. The non-refundable tickets are $10 per person in advance and $20 at the door if space is available. Onsite parking is $20 car and is only available with a prepaid parking pass.

The parade will take place rain or shine. However, if the Coast Guard issues a small watercraft advisory notice, the parade would be cancelled for that evening. The decision will be made by 6 pm each night and a message will be posted on the parade website in the rare case of a cancellation.

All registered boats and homes compete for a number of awards, ranging from best theme, best music, and most humorous. Winners and the public are all invited to the Awards Dinner and Auction on January 27, 2017 at the Island Hotel Newport Beach to celebrate and raise funds for next year’s parade.

2016 marks the 108th year for the parade, which makes it one of the oldest running holiday traditions in the country. Nearly one million viewers enjoy the parade each year! The parade is proudly organized by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the Commodores Club. For more information on viewing, local hotel accommodations and more please visit the parade website.

We hope to see you there to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season!