Tiki Is the Theme at Dana Point's Parade of Lights

This on-the-water charmer returns for four festive nights.

Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights

What to Know

  • Dana Point Harbor
  • Dec. 6, 7, 13, and 14
  • Free to see; boat rides additional

When it comes to seasonal celebrations that have a bit of splash, where can you find one of the purest and most wholesome of fun-making times?

Our vote is squarely in the corner of the holiday boat parade. After all, it is free to see, if you've found some shore to call your own, and its many pleasures are of the old-fashioned, lights-on-the-water variety.

In short? It's as sweet as water is wet.

So while we'd never cast an eye on any boat parade that is out there sparkling after sunset, we will give a special shout-out to the Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights, which is anchored just a half-decade away from its big 50th.

Why do we love this aquaticular, which is like a spectacular, but on the water, so much? Because there's always a great theme, and what winning themes the organizers have chosen over the years.

The festive focus in 2019 is "Tiki Holiday," meaning many of the vessels will be wearing their island finery. Past themes have included a galactic vibe and one saluting "A Western Wonderland."


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Of course, not every boat in this cheerful parade, which sails over four nights in 2019, will dress up in tiki-fabulous splendor. Some simply go with simple sparkle, or Santas everywhere, or a light-bright, see-it-from-the-moon kind of look.

There are ways for interested attendees to board sightseeing boats in the harbor, which means you may get a closer look at the action. Those do have a separate fee, keep in mind.

Will you be there all four nights? It's all dazzling-up Dana Point Harbor on Dec. 6, 7, 13, and 14.

A themed boat parade that's been around for the bulk of a happy half century? That's got big California coastal energy, for sure. 

The family festivities kick off at 4:30 each day, so arrive before that ol' star we do love meets the far end of the Pacific Ocean.

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