Holiday Lights

Vibrant Ventura: Join an Island Packers Holiday Lights Cruise

Ooh/aah over Ventura Harbor's famous Parade of Lights, or take in the glow around the harbor.

Island Packers

What to Know

  • Island Packers famously travels to Channel Islands National Park, but the company's holiday harbor cruises are popular, too
  • The Parade of Lights Cruises happen on Dec. 17 and 18
  • The Harbor Holiday Lights Cruise is sailing through Dec. 23

VENTURA HARBOR? It's always vibrant, thanks to its picturesque water, its tasty restaurants, all of those charming shops, and the pretty, sit-awhile places that invite you to soak up the sunshine. But that vibrancy grows each December when Island Packers, the Official Boat Concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park, adds a bit of ho-ho-ho to its go-go schedule: It offers quaint cruises around the harbor, all so guests can soak up the lights from a watery vantage point. People who join such a cruise are able to admire the impressive illumination emitting from the boats around the harbor, as well as the decorated houses, businesses, and attractions found on the shore.

THE ULTIMATE IMPRESSION? It's all rather dazzling, to spy so many bulbs adding so much cheer to so many places that instantly double their lights, thanks to the harbor's surface reflecting back. And there's still time to board a boat and enjoy this sparkler of a scene: The Parade of Lights will set sail over two nights, on Dec. 17 and 18, while Harbor Holiday Lights Cruises, which visit the Ventura Keys, will conclude on Dec. 23. Call it a different way to soak up the ocean-close sights of the season, while riding with one of the Golden State's best-known island-going adventure outfits.

AND SPEAKING OF ADVENTURE? Island Packers continues to call upon the Channel Islands, an always-thrilling prospect but even more so in late December, when the start of the gray whale migration grows near, and the promise of spying all of those flukes, and blowholes, draws us to the waves.

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