A past "Best in Show" winner at Historic Yorktown's lighted boat parade. Photo courtesy of York County Tourism Development.

It’s Lighted Boat Parade Season! Here’s Where.

After 2020 brought cancellations of so many treasured holiday traditions, all the lighted boat parades we’ve grown to love around the Bay are back! Please see our 2021 list below and let us know if we’ve missed your favorite parade of lights: [email protected]

Maryland

Middle River Lighted Boat Parade, Nov. 27, 5:15 p.m.

This event claims to be “the Mid-Atlantic’s largest lighted boat parade and now the fifth largest in the U.S.A.” The parade will begin at 5:15 p.m. and progress from Carson’s Creekside to Middle River Yacht Club and several other stops before ending in Stansbury. You can track the lead boat & follow Rudolph live on Facebook (@mrboatparade).

Pasadena Lighted Boat Parade, Nov. 27, 5 p.m.

 This lights parade organized by PYY Marine brings about 30 boats from Nabbs Creek to Stoney creek to Rock Creek to Bodkin Creek.

Baltimore Parade of Lighted Boats, Dec. 4, 5-8 p.m. at Anchorage Marina.

A tree lighting and holiday cheer begin at 5 p.m. on P dock. Sponsored by Anchorage Marina & Sail Baltimore, the parade is viewable all along the Baltimore waterfront Promenade. Social distancing rules apply and masks are strongly suggested.

Solomons Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m. at Solomons Island Yacht Center

The parade will organize at 6 p.m. at the yacht center and travel to the Patuxent Riverwalk, arriving around 7:15 p.m. Boats will parade through the harbor, then out to the river, past the boardwalk, and back.

Bear Creek Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m. at Anchor Bay East Marina

The Bear Creek Sailing Association sponsors its second annual boat parade hosted by Hard Yacht Cafe. Public viewing is available from Inverness Park and the Wise Avenue Bridge.

Christmas in St. Michaels Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 11, 6 p.m. at St. Michaels Harbor

This lighted boat parade provides about an hour of creatively decorated vessels, seen from numerous venues around St. Michaels. Last year 22 entrants paraded around the harbor.

Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade, Dec. 11, 6-8 p.m. at the Spa Creek Bridge, Annapolis.

EYC is celebrating 39 years of their Lights Parade. Two fleets participate and switch places mid-event: one circling in front of Eastport, the City Dock and the Naval Academy seawall, the other circling the length of Spa Creek, inside the bridge. Only high winds will result in cancellation.

Deale Parade of Lights, Dec. 15, 5-7 p.m., at Rockhold Creek.

This parade takes place on a Wednesday evening. The route will be similar to years past starting at Happy Harbor, going to Dockside, then circling back in front of Skippers Pier and then back to Happy Harbor.

Washington D.C.

The District Holiday Boat Parade, Dec. 4, 6-9 p.m. at The Wharf

Watch the beautifully decorated boats pass by The Wharf. From the shore you can sip hot cocoa, make s’mores, and sample winter drinks. The evening also includes a lighted Christmas Tree live music, ice skating, meeting Santa, and fireworks.

Virginia

Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 4, 6 p.m. at the Yorktown Waterfront.

Pre-parade festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include caroling around a beach bonfire, a musical performance by the Fifes and Drums of York Town, and complimentary hot cider. The boats will make their way down the river in a dazzling show of lights that starts at 7 p.m. This annual community tradition has been taking place for more than two decades. Families are encouraged to bring flashlights to assist in navigation around town at night. No rain dates are scheduled for any holiday-related weekend activities. If rain, storms, or heavy winds are in the forecast—please call the York County Event Weather Hotline (757.890.3520) before heading into town.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, Dec. 4, 5:30-8 p.m.

At sundown on the day of Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, dozens of decorated boats travel the mile-long route along the Old Town waterfront. The parade begins at the Alexandria City Marina at 5:30 p.m. and can be viewed in public parks along Alexandria’s waterfront. Plan to arrive early and allow plenty of time to get to your parade viewing site. The 21st annual event is sponsored by Amazon this year.

Colonial Beach Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 4, 5:30-8 p.m. at Colonial Yacht Club

Boats in this 23-year-old parade will line up at Monroe Bay # 2, then proceed past town pier to St. Johns condos, for some incredible views of boats decked out for the season on the Potomac River.

Downtown Hampton Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 11, 2-9 p.m. at 710 Settlers Landing Rd.

The parade of illuminated power and sailboats will be visible from anywhere along the Hampton River. Santa will arrive by boat at the Maritime Center at 2:00 p.m. Enjoy live music by Hard Times beginning at 4:00 p.m. and the Lighted Boat Parade will begin at 6:00 PM with the awards ceremony to follow. Hot chocolate, holiday snacks, and adult holiday beverages will be available for purchase inside The Landing Hotel.