Family Guide To The 48th Boat Parade of Lights + Boat Rides With Santa

It’s the most wonderful time of year and you are invited to celebrate the season with “A Superhero Holiday” at the 43rd Annual Boat Parade of Lights. Enjoy jolly activities with a superhero twist on select dates December 8-16 by the water’s edge.

Watch a night at the Harbor

What Nights Does the Boat Parade Take place?

The 48th Annual Boat Parade of Lights will take place on December 8 – 10. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and is sure to be sweet with this year’s “Candyland” theme. Boaters will decorate their vessels for a chance to win $10,000 in cash prizes across different award categories courtesy of Dana Point Harbor Partners. Award categories include Best Use of Theme, People’s Choice, Supervisor’s Cup, Mayor’s Cup and more.

Photos With Santa

Santa Claus will visit the Harbor on December 8 & 15 from 3 – 5 p.m. and take residence in front of the classic Dana Point Harbor VW bus in the Clock Courtyard. On November 18 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. visitors can book professional photos with Santa in front of the holiday-themed photo op created by Style My Holidays. The holiday display will remain up throughout the month of December for all to enjoy.

Additional Holiday Happenings:

Little Folk Club returns December 15 and invites children of all ages to bring their favorite instrument for a special Christmas sing-along. To spread the holiday cheer, face painting and crafts for little ones will also be available. Little Folk Club takes place in the Clock Courtyard from 10 – 11 a.m.

The Pet Project Foundation will host its annual Santa Paws on December 9 & 10 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Clock Courtyard. Pet photos will be offered for small donations with all proceeds supporting the Pet Project Foundation.

Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching will also host the annual Boat Rides with Santa on December 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Take photos with Santa and his holiday helpers on this adventure at sea for a $5 donation with proceeds supporting Soroptimist of Capistrano Bay. Reservations will be required. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

Boat Ride with Santa | Dana Wharf

Walk Through Candy Cane Lane

The city has decorated the pathway to look like candy cane lane! There are twinkling lights in red and white and it unlike anything you have ever seen!

Free Trolleys

No parking? No problem! No need to be frustrated. Free trolleys for each night of the Boat Parade will be running from 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. and will be dropping off and picking up along Dana Point Harbor Drive at Doheny State Beach, The Visitor’s Center, Ocean Institute, Baby Beach, Island Way, Retail Area and back to Doheny. Stay relaxed knowing you don’t have to sit in a long line of cars. I would advise to allow for traffic on the way there though!

For more information on the evening’s festivities, visit

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: