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Holiday Boat Parades in and Around the Mid-Atlantic


Photo credit: The Wharf DC


Everything is better on the water! Yes, even holiday parades. You know that if Santa lived in the Mid-Atlantic, he’d be driving a boat filled with presents instead of an old sleigh. The reason is that the twinkle of thousands of colorful lights gleaming off the water is a magical sight. And we’re coming to that magical time of the year; Holiday Boat Parade season.


Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, most boat parades were canceled last year. We’re happy to tell you they are back, and better than ever. Once again, boaters and landlubbers alike, will ooh and aah at vessels of all shapes and sizes, elaborately festooned with holiday lights and decorations, as they cruise on by. And, for many boaters, decorating their vessels and bringing holiday joy to spectators is something they look forward to all year long.


Whether you’ll be waving from the deck of one of these dazzling boats, or enjoying the show from the dock, a holiday boat show is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. We want to make sure you don’t miss the festivities. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best holiday boat parades in and around the Mid-Atlantic.



November 27

The highlight of Thanksgiving week for all of Pasadena and the surrounding area, is the Pasadena MD Boat Parade. Elaborately decorated boats and small watercraft will be the center of attention at this festively illuminated maritime parade that will cruise Rock Creek, Stoney Creek, and Bodkin Creek. There will be judging from all three locations and prizes awarded. Then to add even more cheer, there will be an after party at The Rumor Reel Restaurant with dinner buffet, live music, and cash bar. For updates, visit the Pasadena Boat Parade page on Facebook.

Reserve your slip here


December 4

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade is DC’s iconic holiday celebration and a Potomac River tradition. Spectators on both sides of the river will be awed by over sixty beautifully decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel. And there will be plenty to do for the whole family. You can warm up by the fire pit, visit the lighted tree, go ice skating, decorate ornaments and even meet the big man in the red suit.

Reserve your slip at The Wharf Marina here!


The Solomons Lighted Boat Parade is a holiday extravaganza within a holiday extravaganza! For over 37 years the town of Solomons has been celebrating the holiday in a big way. A brilliant array of decorated sail and powerboats will cruise past the Patuxent Riverwalk as spectators of all ages look on in delight. Bird’s eye views of the parade can also be gained from many of the restaurants and establishments in Solomons or the Patuxent Riverwalk. There will also be a lighting of the gazebo tree and Santa’s parade with the Solomons Volunteer Fire Department. The fun never ends!

Reserve your slip here.


The Dundalk MD Lighted Boat Parade brings maritime holiday fun to Dundalk! If you’re looking for extra merriment and a chance to be creative this holiday season, then you should enter your boat in this parade. No boat? No problem! You’ll find plenty of spots to watch the pageantry from land, while enjoying a hot cup of coco or a drink that will warm your cockles. All who attend are sure to keep holiday cheer in their hearts all year long. Oh, and here’s a tip for you; fantastic views can be gained from Inverness Park, Wise Avenue Bridge, and Watersedge Park.

Reserve your slip here


December 11

The Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade is a favorite Annapolis holiday tradition. That’s because it’s when magic happens right on the water in the Annapolis Harbor. Every year, on the second Saturday in December, boats decorated with thousands of colored lights, and manned by jolly crews, change a cold winter night into something magical. You may want to get there early for the best parking and locations along the water.

Reserve your slip here


The Christmas in St. Michaels Lighted Boat Parade will completely light up St. Michaels Harbor for the holidays! You’ll feel like a kid again when over 22 vessels wow you with their originality and decorating skills. There will also be lots of great venues all around the harbor, from where you can view the parade. Check their website for details, as new venues are still being added. This way you can create the perfect festive evening to brighten the season.

Reserve your slip here


It may not be the holidays et, so batten down the presents and stow the cookies in the Galley. But it is the perfect time to make plans to experience one of these holiday boat parades in and around the Mid-Atlantic. And, if you have extra holiday spirit, get out the decorations and enter a parade yourself! If you choose to bedazzle your boat, check out this Boat Decoration Ideas for the Holidays Blog. It holds all the secrets to transforming your vessel into holiday magic.


Written by: Jo Montgomery

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