While we sometimes long for an alpine-y mountain situation this time of year, nothing compares to seeing a parade of sparkling, seafaring vessels cruising along a waterway, with the Captain dressed like Santa or the Grinch. There are numerous places to see the aqua action around Southern California the weekend of December 13-14. Bundle up, camera up, cocoa up, and head down -- or up -- to the harbors...
Shoreline Yacht Club's 26th Annual Parade of 1000 Lights: We love the descriptive name of this one, but, truth be told, expect way more than a thousand lights at this spectacular show. The theme this year is rock 'n roll, so the carols should have some edge. Saturday, December 13, Long Beach Downtown Marina. Shoreline Yacht Club is at 386 Shoreline Drive, Long Beach. Party starts at 7PM.
Naples Island Annual Holiday Boat Parade: Not too far, and equally as glittery. Small and large boats are part of the grand procession. Note that the parade cannot be seen from the restaurants near the shore. Saturday, December 13, 6PM. Long Beach Yacht Club, 6201 Appian Way, Long Beach. 562-598-9401
Marina del Rey Boat Parade: Almost a half century old, this always creative spectacular is still cruising along. We like some of the awards in this one -- Best Sail, for example -- and the fireworks. Saturday, December 13, 5:55PM fireworks, followed by the parade at 6PM. Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey.
Channel Islands Parade of Lights: A packed day of activities leading up to the parade is on the schedule (think Santa, snow, and horse-drawn carriage rides). There are also charters available to go and see the parade from out on the water. Now that is an immersive experience. Saturday, December 13, 7PM (festival is noon-9PM). Channel Islands Harbor, corner of Harbor Boulevard & Channel Islands Boulevard, Oxnard.