Bright Boats of Channel Islands Harbor

It's a shore-close soiree with plenty of water-reflective lights.

OVER ON THE CHANNEL ISLANDS... on any given Saturday night, you'll find a low-lit night-sweet darkness settled in, with only the moon above lending glow. The national park, save for overnight campers, looks much like it did a thousand years ago when the sun goes down, and the myriad local residents are either settling in for a rest or following their eternal nocturnal rhythms. But over on Channel Islands Harbor, just across the Santa Barbara Channel? Nighttime is much brighter, and especially so during the yearly Parade of Lights. The Oxnard illumination-big bash is all about resplendent boats, from big to wee, all done up in strings of lights and festive holiday figures and messages. It's a once-a-year thing that is sailing back into the harbor on Saturday, Dec. 10, and it has an extra-bright, extra-splashy theme for 2016. That theme is...

HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD, so don't be surprised to see a yacht or two take on a movie look, or even pay tribute to a specific cinematic favorite. True, the heart of Tinseltown is about a 60-mile drive from the area, but the spirit of filmdom will shine as various boat masts go for a merry and movie-ish mien. The cost to see all of this on-the-water spectacle? It's totally free, though a number of Pacific-adjacent restaurants and taverns are great places to perch for the show (so prepare to buy dinner, drinks, or such). Santa's arriving earlier in the day, and there's stuff to do before sunset, so if you want to make it a full-on thing, plan your getting-there on the early side. 

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