It’s time to jump into the Holiday Season and I have just the right thing for you: the Dana Point Harbor Christmas Lights and Menorah display with over 700000 twinkling lights. The Holiday Lights at the Harbor in Dana Point will give you a beautiful “Hallmark-y” Holiday experience, whether you are taking the whole family or going on a date with your special someone. But there is more to do at Holiday at the Harbor in Dana Point than just looking at lights, like cruising with Santa, the famous Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade, a Menorah gathering and lighting, and more.
My husband Greg and I were recently invited to Dana Point Harbor to experience the Holiday Lights Harbor Cruise. We had such a great time and will definitely add this to our list of things to do during the Holiday Season. Here are some of our top tips and things to do in Dana Point Harbor during the Holidays.
Dana Point Holiday at the Harbor Fast Facts & Events
Cost: it’s free
Opening Hours: Daily from November 16, 2022 – early January 2023
Location: Dana Point Harbor
Menorah Lighting: December 18-December 26, 2022
Cruising with Santa: December 3-4, 2022
Santa’s Jolly Trolley: December 9-11, 2022
Pet Pics with Santa: December 17 & 18, 2022
Christmas Carols & Live Music: December 9, 16, 23, 2022
Boat Parade Dates: December 9-12, 2022
Holiday at the Harbor Events 2022
Here are some of the top Holiday events happening this Holiday Season at Dana Point Harbor this year:
Dana Point Harbor Christmas Lights
November 16, 2022 – early January 2023
Christmas Lights are one of my favorite Holiday traditions and I love driving by the decorated houses, singing Christmas carols, and blasting the AC, so I don’t die of heatstroke in my ugly Christmas sweater. This year, we went to see the Dana Point Harbor Christmas Lights and I loved walking through this sparkling Christmas Wonderland. There are several installations, including Candy Cane Lane and my absolute favorite, the Merry Kiss Me arch, where you can kiss your special someone under the mistletoe.
If you like Christmas Carols and Live Music, plan your visit on December 9, 16, or 23, 2022 between 4 -7 PM.
A really fun way to enjoy the Dana Point Christmas lights is by hopping on board one of the Dana Warf Harbor Lights Cruises that will take you around the harbor and you can take in the twinkling lights, listen to Christmas carols, and enjoy some time out on the calm waters of Dana Point Harbor. Dana Warf also does fantastic Whale Watching tours starting in Dana Point. Keep that in mind for the upcoming Whale Watching season.
Dana Point Boat Parade 2022
December 9-11, 2022
The Dana Point Boat Parade is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. This year’s theme is “Surfin USA”, so you can look forward to some colorful and festive decorations. The boat parade starts at 7:00 PM on December 9th and at 6 PM on December 10th and 11th. Do plan to get there early to get a good spot!
One of the best ways to experience the boat parade (other than cruising it yourself) is to be on one of the boats in the Harbor. Dana Warf offers front-row seats to the Dana Point Boat Parade and a whole lot of Holiday Cheer on top! Tickets are selling fast, so hurry up and book now!
Santa’s Jolly Trolley
December 9-11, 2022
Another fun activity for kids who just can’t get enough of Santa. Santa and his elves hand out goodie bags to all kids (12 or under) from their festive Jolly Trolley. The trolley runs from 5 PM – 10:30 PM on December 9th, and 4:30 PM – 10 PM on December 10th & 11th.
Cruising with Santa
December 3 & 4, 2022
Pictures with Santa can feel a little “same old same old” year after year. Spice it up this year and do a harbor cruise with Santa instead. Dana Warf Sportfishing and Whale Watching will host a 20-minute Santa cruise on December 3rd and 4th between 10 AM and 2 PM. They suggest a $5 donation per person, and all proceeds benefit Soroptimist of Capistrano Bay Charity. Make reservations here>>
Sit with Santa – Santa Paws Event
December 17-18, 2022 10 AM – 3 PM
If you want to take adorable photos with your fur baby and Santa, you can do this at Dana Point as well. This one is even more heartwarming as all donations go to the Pet Project Foundation, a local non-profit animal rescue.
December 18 – December 26, 2022
Following the Jewish tradition, each day between December 18 to December 26, an additional candle is lit on the 12 ft tall Menorah on Baby Beach Pier to celebrate the 8 days of Hanukkah.
Top Tips For Holidays at the Harbor
Go early applies twice. We recommend you go early in the season and go early in the day.
Greg and I went during the first weekend the Dana Point Christmas Lights were open and it wasn’t crowded at all, perfect for taking pictures. If you can, go as early in the season as possible. If not, go during the week.
We also recommend going early. We arrived at 4:30 PM for a wine tasting at Frisby Cellars and it was already dusk. I wish we had come earlier to experience Dana Point Harbor during the day as well.
Dress in Layers
Yes, it never gets toooooo cold in Southern California, but by the water, it can get nippy at night. Of course, you also don’t feel too hot, when you start sipping your hot chocolate. Dress in layers and you can focus on your Holiday fun.
Shop Local for the Holidays
After the last two years, the local shops need us more than ever. Support them over the big box stores and do your Holiday shopping at Dana Point Harbor instead. And the best part: It is way more fun for you. Instead of rushing through a crowded mall, you get to stroll along the harbor, find cute gifts, sip some hot chocolate (or a glass of wine at Frisby Cellars), and really get into the Holiday spirit.
If you are still looking for some fun things to do this Holiday Season, definitely add Holidays at the Harbor in Dana Point to your list!
Also, read some of our other articles on Dana Point:
Best Dana Point Harbor Restaurants
Best Things to do in Dana Point
Dana Point Whale Watching
Of note: Common to the travel industry, the destination hosted some of the activities mentioned in this post. However, this does not influence my review.
Dana Point Christmas Lights and Holidays at the Harbor – Pin for Later:
Last Updated on January 11, 2023 by sandiegoexplorer
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