Please select your home edition
Edition

Dazzling lights and nautical delights: Exploring the best holiday boat parades across the US

by Sailfish Boats 23 Nov 2023 22:08 UTC
Discover the rich history of Christmas boat parades © Sailfish Boats

The first Christmas boat parade is alleged to have taken place in Newport, Harbor, CA, in 1907.

At the time, the founder of the Balboa Island Ferry, Joseph Beek, along with gondolier John Scarpa, arranged for nine vessels to be illuminated by Japanese lanterns - a gondola followed by eight canoes - and ferry across Newport Harbor.

With the electrification of the US and the technological advances of the next 115 years, Christmas boat parades have become a fantastic spectacle in many city and national waterways. Here is a sampling of some of the best:

Florida

The Key West Lighted Boat Parade
One of the most anticipated Christmas boat parades in Florida is the Key West Lighted Boat Parade. Taking place in the southernmost city in the continental United States, this parade features boats of all shapes and sizes adorned with colorful lights and festive decorations. The procession begins as the sun sets, allowing the lights to create a stunning contrast against the twilight sky. Spectators can line the shores of the historic Key West Bight to witness this captivating event.

The Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale
Another must-see Christmas boat parade in Florida is the Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale. This grand spectacle attracts many participants and spectators each year. The parade route takes boaters through the scenic Intracoastal Waterway, where the lights and decorations reflect beautifully on the calm waters. From elaborate yachts to small family boats, the procession boasts a variety of vessels all decked out for the holiday season.

California

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is a true spectacle to behold. This long-standing tradition, which has been running for over a century, fills the harbor with boats adorned with intricate light displays. The parade route stretches for several miles, providing ample opportunities for spectators to catch a glimpse of the festive boats. The grand finale features a dazzling firework display that illuminates the night sky and adds an extra touch of magic to the event.

San Diego Parade of Lights
The San Diego Parade of Lights is another incredible Christmas boat parade in California. This two-night event features a procession of boats sailing along the San Diego Bay, with their decks shimmering with festive lights. The parade follows a unique theme each year, adding an element of surprise and creativity to the event. Spectators can choose from various vantage points along the bay to catch the parade, from popular parks to waterfront restaurants.

Texas

Austin's Lake Travis Holiday Boat Parade
Austin's Lake Travis Holiday Boat Parade is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Boats of all sizes, from kayaks to luxurious yachts, deck themselves out with lights and decorations for this festive event. The parade takes place on the picturesque Lake Travis, providing a truly scenic backdrop for the procession. Spectators can choose to watch from designated viewing areas along the shoreline or even join in on the fun by decorating their own boats and participating in the parade.

The Clear Lake Christmas Boat Lane Parade in Houston
Clear Lake, located in the Houston area, is home to the Clear Lake Christmas Boat Lane Parade. This vibrant event showcases boats of all types, from sailboats to powerboats, all aglow with shimmering lights. The parade winds its way through the Clear Lake channel, offering spectators ample opportunities to catch a glimpse of the beautifully decorated boats. The energy and enthusiasm that surround this parade make it a must-see event for anyone in the Houston area during the holiday season.

The Carolinas

The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach
One of the most popular Christmas boat parades in North Carolina is the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach. This festive event features a variety of beautifully decorated boats navigating their way through the Intracoastal Waterway. The highlight of the parade is the famous fireworks display that lights up the night sky, delighting both young and old. Spectators can gather along the shoreline to cheer for their favorite boats and soak in the holiday spirit.

The Charleston Holiday Parade of Boats
South Carolina's contribution to the Christmas boat parade scene is the Charleston Holiday Parade of Boats. This charming event showcases a wide array of boats, from traditional fishing vessels to elegant yachts, all adorned in their holiday best. The parade begins on the Ashley River and then winds its way through Charleston Harbor, passing by iconic landmarks and historic sites. The beautifully lit boats create a mesmerizing display that perfectly complements the city's quaint charm.

Christmas boat parades offer a unique and enchanting way to celebrate the holiday season. Whether you find yourself on the sunny shores of Florida, the awe-inspiring coastlines of California, the heart of Texas, or the charming Carolinas, there is sure to be a Christmas boat parade that will ignite your holiday spirit.

Related Articles

Best practices: How to run a Sailfish
Unique Variable Degree Stepped (VDS) hull system is designed to deliver the smoothest experience If you want to know only one thing that that distinguishes a Sailfish boat, it is the technology behind its smooth ride. Posted on 30 Mar
Best practices: How to run a Sailfish
How to get the most from a Sailfish VDS Hull Sailfish VDS hulls are unique. Our engineers demonstrate how to operate them properly for best economy and performance. Posted on 20 Dec 2023
Sailfish Dual Console boats
Discover the ultimate blend of safety, versatility, and luxury All Sailfish dual consoles are built with the Sailtech construction process, using premium materials that can can withstand the rigors of any water environment. Posted on 25 Nov 2023
Exploring Key West with Captain Justin Farrell
Sailfish 2360 center console adventures Captain Justin Farrell's journey in his Sailfish 2360 Center Console is proof of the exceptional adventures that await in the Florida Keys. With over 7,000 hours on the water, his boat has seen its fair share of action. Posted on 25 Oct 2023
Go behind the scenes at Sailfis
Built fishing focused, and family friendly Go behind the scenes with Florida Sportsman to see what DNA is built into every Sailfish boat. Posted on 29 Sep 2023
Sailfish Boats loaded with fishing features
Every detail ensures your adventure is both productive and worry-free Sailfish Boats are crafted by anglers, for anglers. Every fish boat model is designed from the start for trouble- free operation, with everything you need for a productive day. Posted on 30 Aug 2023
Exploring popular vacation spots with Sailfish
Discover how VDS Hull Technology enhances boating experiences Sailfish Boats VDS hulls use a unique, versatile technology that is well-suited for a range of popular vacation spots throughout the United States. Posted on 28 Jun 2023
Get out and stay out
Sailfish can take you to some of the best vacation spots with ease Sailfish Boats VDS hulls use a unique, versatile technology that is well-suited for a range of popular vacation spots throughout the United States. Posted on 3 Jun 2023
Boating through generations: Continuing the legacy
Dale Reis has been boating as long as she can remember Dale Reis, a lifelong boat enthusiast and recent Sailfish convert, has been boating as long as she can remember. She was brought up in the waterways of coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island by parents who were passionate boaters. Posted on 31 May 2023
Sailfish 226 Dual Console
Experience the thrill of boating Sailfish has announced the launch of its new 226 Dual Console model, designed to cater to the growing demand for "fish boats" that double as runabouts and SUVs on the water. Posted on 27 Apr 2023