Every year this event gets better and better as Canyon Lakers come up with more creative lighting displays for their vessels. Growing by a few entries each year, the parade keeps getting bigger and makes for a great evening of entertainment and not surprisingly coincides with a lot of local Christmas parties.
The parade starts at 5:00pm on Saturday at the East Bay launch ramp and makes a full run down the East Bay through the boat tunnel, all the way up to the north end of the Main Lake and back down to finish at Holiday Harbor. If you live on the water or are partying with friends on the water, then you’ll have a front row seat almost anywhere on the lake.
If you don’t have a back deck to view from, here’s a list of public areas that are excellent vantage points: On the East Bay, Indian Beach, Roadrunner Park and Diamond Point Park all offer great views and lots of space to get comfortable with lawn chairs and a thermos of hot cocoa.
On the Main Lake, Holiday Harbor is a great venue and also happens to be where the boats finish the cruise at. Additionally, you can get refreshments and hot cocoa at the park while you’re watching. Sunset Beach offers the largest area to spread out and bring the family and offers the opportunity to see the parade twice as it passes by that area of the lake on it’s route. The boardwalk around the lodge and pool area near the Lighthouse is also a great area to get up close and personal.
If you live on the west side of Canyon Lake, then Moonstone Beach off of Whirlaway Ct. is a great viewing area. If you’re new to Canyon Lake or just visiting, refer to our map below for viewing locations.
If you are planning on photographing the parade, here are a few tips.
- If your camera has a night setting or fireworks setting, they sometimes also shoot holiday lights well.
- You can choose the action setting and you can adjust your white balance to “tungsten” if your camera has it. If burst mode is available, that sometimes make it’s easier to capture at least a few good shots out of the series.
- Try turning off your flash to really capture the brightness of the lights from the boats. Leaving the flash on, may wash out the lights.
- Use a tripod if you have it because most night settings on a camera will increase exposure and can cause blurriness if you don’t hold still. If you zoom in to catch a far away boat, it just makes the problem worse so use the tripod for best quality photos.
Want to catch some other fantastic Holiday Light Boat Parades this year? Try a few of these (click the links for more details and routes):
Newport Beach Boat Parade | Dec 18th-22nd – known as the oldest Holiday Boat Parade in the US at 105 years strong.
Dana Point Harbor Parade | Dec 13th & 14th – 39 years running and a pretty easy drive from Canyon Lake over Hwy 74.
Naples Long Beach Boat Parade | Dec 21st – always a fun event and close to Second street shopping and dining.
Marina Del Rey Boat Parade | Dec 14th – this long running event features a fireworks show (same day as Canyon Lake parade unfortunately).
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights | Dec 15th – almost 100 boats participate each year.
Remember to dress warm and bring a blanket and maybe some warm drinks to sip on. It’s cold down by the water.
Photo credits: MDR Boat Parade, Naples Boat Parade & Port of San Diego via Flickr.com
Well, it was a great boat parade this year with even more entries than last and some very creative efforts. We even had a fire breathing dragon! Here are a few photos taken from Indian Beach.