Holiday boat parades are dazzling, glitzy affairs that remind me of what the Rose Parade might look like if it were held at night and took place on water. Christmas, tiki and even Elvis themes are depicted in strings of colored lights along masts and bows as boats glide along marinas and channels.
Parades are free, but do require some advance planning to get a good viewing spot. Check out these upcoming light shows; click on the websites to find details and parade routes.
Newport Beach: The 103rd Christmas Boat Parade is one of the oldest and longest in Southern California. The parade takes place five nights from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 14 through Dec. 18. Yachts to kayaks light up along 14 miles of the harbor starting and ending at Bay Island.
To watch, you can dine at a waterside restaurant, find a favorite bridge or stand anywhere from Pirate's Cove to Lido Park. Or better yet, rent a boat or a spot on a boat from Newport Balboa Boat Rentals to see the show from the water. Fireworks are shot off from Balboa Pier the final night (9 p.m. Dec. 18). Directions: Take the 55 Freeway to its end at Newport Boulevard.