We ended our year of adventures with a relaxing Newport Beach Christmas Light Cruise. Running through December, Holiday Lights Cruises depart out of Balboa Village, and you’ll want to arrive at least an hour before your reservation. Cause parking there can be an issue during the holidays, But we managed to park across the street in Balboa Piers’ lot without a problem.
See The Full Detailed Video Below
Newport Beach Christmas Light Cruise Visiting Information
- 400 Main St., Newport Beach, CA 92661
- Dates & Hours:
- Dec 2-31, 2022
- Departure times are from 4-9 pm.
- Dates and hours of operations may change. We recommend calling them or checking their website beforehand to confirm their business hours.
- $20 Boast Parade & Holiday Lights Cruises Special – Promo code: LIGHTCRUISE20 or LIGHTS20 (Not valid from Dec 15-19)
- It was cheaper for us to buy 4 adult tickets instead of buying 2 adults and 2 child tickets using the promo codes.
- Use promo code: LIGHTSCRUISE20 or LIGHTS20
- Palm Parking Lot off Palm St and East Balboa Blvd. Free after 6pm.
- Short Term/Long Term Parking lot off Palm St and Oceanfront Boardwalk. Free after 6pm.
- Parking payment is required from 8am-6pm. There is a 2 hour max limit and prices range from $2.10-3.10 per hour.
- Time spent:
- 2 hours
- Pet allowed:
- Stroller friendly:
- Yes, flushable toilets.
- What we observed:
- We went on a Monday night and had no issues getting there. The area does get busy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We recommend giving yourself extra time for traffic and finding a parking spot.
- Check in at the main office to get your tickets and to figure out which boat you will be riding on.
- You must be in line to board your boat 15 mins before departure.
- Our boat did not have many seats. We recommend coming early if you would like to grab some outdoor seating. We accidentally stood in line for the wrong boat and ended up standing for most of the boat ride.
- The best views are on the right side of the boat.
- At 9pm, it got really chilly towards the end of our cruise ride.
- You can bring your own food and drinks.
- The boat ride was nice and relaxing with lots of warm cuddles with the kids. There is no music or guided tour and not all the homes are decorated. There were some homes that were impressive and the girls enjoyed pointing them out.
- Before we left, we changed our kids into pjs and brushed and flossed their teeth before heading home.
- Ways to save money:
- Pack a meal, snacks, and hot cocoa in a thermos.
- Gift Certificates:
- Event party rentals:
- Holiday Lights Cruise Party Rental – Cadillac Yacht
- Other events:
- Whale Watching
- Half-Day Fishing Trip
- Full-Day Fishing Trip
- Overnight Fishing Trip
What to bring
- Check the weather before you go. The weather can be changeable; layered clothing and closed toe shoes is recommended.
- What we packed:
- Thick jackets, beanies, @Suds2go cap, water wipes, hot cocoa, popcorn, ham and cheese croissants, water, kid’s pjs, toothbrush,and floss.
- Where we ate and places to eat:
- Seaside Bakery (2 miles away) for ham and cheese croissant and green thai tea.
- There are plenty of places to eat around the boardwalk. Pizza, BBQ, tacos, donuts, and ice cream.
- There is food available to purchase on the boat. They have breakfast burritos, hamburgers, sandwiches, grilled cheese, quesadilla, beer, hot cocoa and coffee. Price ranges from $2-9.
- Recommended itinerary:
- Pick up some ham and cheese croissants from Seaside Bakery
- Holiday Lights Cruise
- Walk on the beach
What We Said In Our Newport Beach Christmas Light Cruise Video
Balboa Village has plenty to check out if you get there early enough. With many food options and the Balboa Fun Zone. Before getting in line, we checked in at Davey’s Locker to get our boat tickets. And shortly before our scheduled departure time, we were loaded on. That being said, seats are very limited, but as the tour progresses and people move around, you should be able to find something.
Looking out around the harbor, it appeared the number of decorated homes has dropped from our past experience. But the handful of houses that went all out were a sight to see, and our girls didn’t mind as they happily pointed out all their favorites. And enthusiastically waved to any pedestrians saying hi from ashore.
At around 75 minutes in length, the tour gives plenty of time to take in the lights, So much so that kids may eventually get restless. Heading down to the boat’s lower section to snack and warm up a bit is a nice change of pace from being on the deck the entire time.
We had a fun time out on the water. As a mom, Trang really loved being able to just stay in one place and relax. Enjoying the crisp winter air off the harbor and having the lights come to us. Not having to worry about chasing the girls down some random street or walking miles through a Christmas Lights event path.
Similar Options That Might Interest You
On the way out, we said hi to the beach before making a stop at Seaside Bakery for our favorite Ham & Cheese Croissants. If you’re still looking for places to take the kids this December. Feel free to check out our favorites here.
123 Farm Christmas Lights (Cherry Valley, CA)
And we hope you come back next year for even more exploring around California with kids. Here are some similar options you might enjoy.