For the 2019 list of lighted boat parades, click here.

Are you ready to deck the hulls? In Maryland and Virginia, lights parade enthusiasts are already prepping their displays, dusting off their Santa hats, and mapping out routes in preparation for 2018 lighted boat parades on the Chesapeake Bay. For tips, click to Tips for Building Your Lighted Boat Display.
Get ready to deck the hulls! Boats of all shapes and sizes compete for the best display in lighted boat parades around the Chesapeake. Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria


November 24: The Middle River Lighted Boat Parade is always the first of the season. Beginning around 5:45 p.m. by Stansbury Yacht Basin and along Wilson Point, this event boasts to be the Mid-Atlantic’s largest lighted boat parade. This parade is FREE to enter and each boat gets a Captain’s Package full of local restaurant gift cards and paddle craft rentals, valued at over $300. Prime viewing available at local waterfront restaurants, including Carson Creekside, the Crazy Tuna, Riverwatch, and Sunset Cove. Register online at Eventbrite by November 19.

November 24: Christmas Lights on the Choptank. Deck your hulls for the first annual Choptank boat parade at 4:45 p.m. in Cambridge, MD. Any size or type of boat welcome. Line up starts at 4:15 p.m. in Cambridge Creek behind the Boathouse at Yacht Maintenance. Route will pass Long Wharf and Great Marsh Park. Register by November 20: [email protected]. Rain date November 25.

December 1: Baltimore Parade of Lighted Boats. Vessels lighted up for the holidays will parade through Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Fells Point to kick off the holiday season.

December 1: Pasadena Lighted Boat ParadeBoats will start to arrive at 4 p.m. and leave at 5 p.m. to head down the creek and over to PYY Marine. Specials at the Broken Oar Bar & Grill in Glen Burnie, MD. Sign up by sending an email to [email protected].

December 1: The District’s Holiday Boat Parade. 6 to 9 p.m. at The Wharf in Washington, DC. Warm up by the fire pit, visit the lighted Christmas tree, go ice skating, and sample winter drinks at the Waterfront Wine and Beer Garden. Boats arrive in the Washington Channel at 7 p.m., followed by a fireworks finale at 8 p.m.

December 8: Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade. For the past two years, the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade has been nominated to compete in the USA Today poll, “10 Best Holiday Parades,” and took home first place in 2016! This year’s event takes place between 6 and 8 p.m., rain or shine in Annapolis, MD. Fleets will circle in front of Eastport, the City Dock, Naval Academy seawall, and the length of Spa Creek.

December 8: Solomons Lighted Boat Parade. Held 6:15 p.m., weather permitting, during the Solomons Christmas Walk in Solomons, MD. All that is required is to decorate your ship’s starboard side; decorate more if the moment strikes you! The parade begins at Solomons Yachting Center and heads up Back Creek, then down, then proceeds up the Patuxent River along the boardwalk before returning to Solomons Harbor.

December 19: Second Annual Deale Parade of Lights. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Rockhold Creek in Deale, MD. There will be three staging areas: Hidden Harbor Marina, Happy Harbor Restaurant, and Shipwright Harbor Marina. Commercial and recreational boats of all sizes are welcome to participate. Free entry!

In 2016, the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade in Annapolis was voted the number one holiday parade in America! This year's event takes place Decemvber 8. Photo by Shannon Hibberd
In 2016, the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade in Annapolis was voted the number one holiday parade in America! This year's event takes place December 8. Photo by Shannon Hibberd


December 1: Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade. Pre-parade festivities start at 6 p.m. at Yorktown Beach and include caroling around a beach bonfire, a musical performance by the Fifes & Drums of York Town, and complimentary hot cider. Boat parade begins at 7 p.m. in Yorktown, VA.

December 1: Colonial Beach Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. Boats in all their holiday splendor cruise from one end of the Potomac and back again! Watch from the beaches or from the town pier, 5 to 6 p.m. in Colonial Beach, VA.

December 1: 19th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. At 5:30 p.m. Alexandria, Virginia’s, harbor shines as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront.

December 7: 30th Annual Downtown Hampton Lighted Boat Parade. Activities from 6 to 9 p.m. along the downtown Hampton, VA, waterfront. Boat parade sets sail at 7 p.m. All boats must be registered by November 30.

Notice a parade we missed? Email [email protected] for inclusion in our online calendar.