Looking for some cool sights to see during the month of December? 2020 was a difficult year with many things being shut down but because of that, new activities opened up like drive-thru Christmas lights which turned out to be very fun! With more things being opened up for 2021, more people than ever are looking to get outside and see these beautiful holiday decorations. We are fortunate to have lots of fun options here in Orange County and the surrounding area. Here's a list of some of our favorites!
Best Christmas Activities for 2021 in Orange County
Dana Point Harbor
November 17th - Early January
Take a drive along Dana Point Harbor to see some beautifully decorated trees! You'll also want to park near Dana Wharf Whale Watch to walk around for some great photo ops. These lights will be on from November 17th until early January.
Dana Point Christmas Boat Parade
December 10th - December 12th
Starts at 7:30 on the 10th and 11th, 6:00 on the 12th
Come watch Christmas lights in a different way during the Dana Point Christmas Boat Parade! Find a spot along the harbor and watch decorated boats go by. You can be a part of the parade by booking a trip aboard Dana Wharf Whale Watch who has boats in the parade. This tickets will sell out far in advance so make sure to plan for this. While you can view the parade from pretty much anywhere in Dana Point Harbor, the best spots are from the bridge and the headlands.
Hakari - A Festival Of Lights
November 26th - December 30th
A cozy Wagon Ride around the festively lit farm that will take you to the “Land of a Thousand Lanterns” and once off the wagon, you will have the opportunity to wander through the light displays, with photo opportunities throughout. After the wagon ride, make your way down to the “Gingerbread Forest!”
Use promo code "ocoutdoors" for discount
Huntington Harbour Boat Parade
December 11th - 12th 5:15pm
Come out to watch beautifully decorated boats travel through Huntington Harbour
Irvine Park Railroad
November 26th-Decmber 23rd
‘Tis the season for Irvine Park Railroad’s annual Christmas Train. Come with family and friends and take this enchanting ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Clause. The train will depart from the train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole. Children can share their wish list with Santa and have their photo taken with him too. You may take pictures with your personal camera or you may purchase a photo taken by Irvine Park Railroad.
After visiting with Santa, hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to Santa’s Village.
November 26th - January 2nd
Come ice skate under the stars next to the beautifully decorated 75 foot Christmas Tree and the giant Ferris wheel. The Christmas tree will feature a choreographed light show every 30 minutes after 5:00pm each night.
Newport Beach Boat Parade
December 15th - 19th starting at 6:30pm each night
Watch beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail along the harbor in the 113th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Beginning at Marina Park, the route will take the parade all along Newport Harbor, typically ending around 9:00pm each night. This is a massive boat parade with amazingly decorated yachts. During the parade, you may want to talk a walk around Balboa Island to enjoy the houses as well. You can also be a part of the boat parade by booking a tour with Davey's Locker or Newport Landing which will also take you around the harbor to see the decorated houses.
November 26th - January 1st
A great photo op, hang out bay side with floating decorations scattered throughout the bay.
Night Of Lights
November 26th - January 2nd
A magical and interactive winter wonderland drive-thru experience presented by Winter Fest OC, returns to the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa to provide the Southern California community with a safe, family-friendly holiday celebration. The Night of Lights OC experience guides guests through a mile-long drive-thru course filled with more than one million lights, themed holiday scenery and immersive vignettes, animated light shows, snow flurries and tunnels synchronized to music, special effects, even more interactive characters including Santa.
South Coast Plaza Tree
The 40th annual tree lighting will host musical performances and more, located in Town Center Park in front of the Westin Hotel. This 96 foot white fir tree holds 94,000 lights and makes for great photo ops! What's also special about this location is that it's typically not crowded (besides during the tree lighting) and makes for a relaxing atmosphere.
Villa Park Boat Parade
December 12th at 5:00pm
How is there a boat parade in a place where there's no water? Come out to Villa Park on this night to see beautifully decorated boats driving by on trailers! It's a very unique and cool experience.
For more info and map, visit Villa Park Boat Parade
November 20th - December 20th
Come pick out a tree and have it cut fresh right in front of you! This really is so much better than buying a pre-cut tree from your neighborhood store. These trees will last longer and be more fresh since they were growing right up until the time you picked it out, other trees you buy at lots have been cut and shipped weeks before arriving at the lots. This is a family owned business who have been operating this farm since 1963.
San Clemente Pier
Take a peaceful walk on San Clemente Pier and enjoy a Christmas tree and decorated lifeguard tower