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HUNTINGTON BEACH, California Christmas Boat Cruise Every December

Baby, It's Warm in HB (except at night)  

Huntington Beach, Calif. - Surf City Californians are spraying down their palm trees as they bring out the holiday lights to decorate their lawns and boats. Anticipating another balmy Christmas in Huntington Beach, the first set of warm, Santa Ana winds arrived recently as they do each year just around the time folks purchase a Christmas tree.  SEE PHOTOS OF THE HOLIDAY CRUISE or click on calendar on this page to see specific daily Cruise of Lights events. Or see full calendar of events.

As locals sit in the warm sand at Huntington Beach and look over to the snow-topped San Bernardino mountains two hours away by car, they only dream of a white Christmas. The weather will remain warm and sunny, most often.

"Getting in the holiday spirit is easier when you step on a ladder to hang holiday lights with your shorts on, sipping ice tea in the afternoon sun," said Craig MacDonald, of Huntington Beach. MacDonald is one of thousands of Surf City residents who experience the ritual of untangling strings of tiny lights and adorning most everything in sight.

In Huntington Harbour, Huntington Beach's five manmade islands with multi-million-dollar homes that include docks with yachts and boats, residents often hire a professional light installer to decorate their estates, mansions and houses for the holiday season. The community has contests for best home and best boat decorations so many take the holiday on as a challenge to come up with something creative to catch the eye of the critical judges, some who've been judging for over 20 years.

"What matters here is the spirit," said local resident Sally Schwarz, a Harbour resident. Schwarz's home enjoys a ringside seat in the large channel near Peter's Landing (Marina). She watches the sun go down every night over the Pacific Ocean and in December, enjoys seeing the lighted boats parade through the waterways of Huntington Beach.

For those visiting, it is possible to drive through the neighborhoods of the five manmade islands to see the lights on houses, but the best views are on the water.

Take a Cruise of Lights tour through Huntington Harbour on one of the regularly scheduled boats and to see thousands of twinkling lights, light displays and animated figures such as snowmen, Santa Claus and palm trees flashing in motion and reflecting on the water. Be sure to bring a jacket because the night air in Huntington Beach is chilly. The likelihood of seeing snow anywhere but on the mountains is very slim.

Huntington Beach is centrally located between Los Angeles and San Diego and is just 10 miles from John Wayne Airport (Orange County Airport - SNA). Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is only 15 miles from Huntington Beach and features a very festive holiday display, all year long!

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA enjoys an annual event to help you get in the holiday mood. You can cruise the waterways of Huntington Harbour in December. If you book the Cruise of Lights Tour, you leave the driving to someone else. The money raised from that tour helps provide music programs for public school children. You may also reserve you own Duffy Boat available in Sunset Beach for hour and two hour rentals. The electric vehicle travels no more than 5 miles per hour in the harbor and is like driving a golf cart. DUFFY ELECTRIC BOAT CO. 6732 Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach, CA 90742  Tel: (562) 592-3028 

Huntington Harbour Boat Parade 

There's a boat parade (no cruise available, must rent a boat if you don't own one). Boat Parade - Huntington Harbour Cruise of Lights Huntington Harbour Boat Parade is an annual event, held in conjunction with Cruise of Lights. This is a boat decorating contest open to registrants who light their vessels and compete for awards. For two consecutive nights, the festive boats join in a parade that begins near Warner Avenue and heads south, making its way through the channels of Huntington Harbour. The Huntington Beach islands are closed to car traffic during this event so parking is extremely limited.  Time: 5 to 8 p.m. Location: Warner Avenue near Pacific Coast Highway. Cost: Free to watch.

Cruise of Lights  December

The Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee presents a themed annual narrated boat tour through the waterways of Huntington Harbour. Visitors can see thousands of twinkling lights on decorated boats, docks and homes. Proceeds benefit music programs for students. Parking and ticket location: 16821 Algonquin Street. Cost: $10- $17. Phone: 714-840-7542  

Nearby restaurants include:  Don the Beachcomber, House of Brews, Sam's Seafood, Captain Jack's, Mahe, Super Mex, Mimi's, California Pizza Kitchen, King Neptune's and many more for after cruise dining or eating before hand.

Cruise of Lights Links:

Cruise of Lights - HUNTINGTON BEACH - Holiday Boat Cruise

Photos of Cruise of Lights Tour

Huntington Harbour Mansion Holiday Lights

Huntington Beach December Events Calendar

Cruise of Lights Press Release - Media Archive