Festive on the Waterfront

Look at all these festive holiday happenings!

Nothing says the holiday season has arrived quite like lighted boats parading down the Chesapeake Bay. The first weekend of December heralded the season with quite a few festive vessel parades! Here we’ve rounded up a host of happenings around the Bay that are still to come. If we missed your favorite and it hasn't already taken place this season, email [email protected]. We would love to add it. And be sure to check event websites before planning to attend for any updates, changes, or weather cancellations.

festive Christmas lights at CBMM
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will open its campus for the Christmas in St. Michaels Lighted Boat Parade on December 9. Photo by George Sass

Lighted Boat Parades

Solomons Christmas Walk Annual Lighted Boat Parade: December 9. Starts at 6 p.m. and ends along the Riverwalk at approximately 7:15 p.m. weather permitting. The parade is coordinated by Solomons Island Yacht Club, Southern Maryland Sailing Association, Patuxent River Sail and Power Squadron, Solomons Yachting Center, and Sail Solomons. A captain’s meeting covering the route, safety issues, and rules for judging will begin at 5:15 p.m. at the Solomons Yachting Center. Register at solomonsmaryland.com. The island will be decorated with lights and banners, and an entertainment lineup will be announced as the event gets closer. 

Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade: December 9. From 6 to 8 p.m. around Annapolis Harbor. Anyone can participate, EYC members and non-members, power or sail. Skippers must register and attend the skippers’ meeting, Thursday, December 7 at 7 p.m. at EYC. The Spa Creek Bridge will be closed to vehicles crossing between downtown Annapolis and Eastport periodically from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Possible viewing locations include the Eastport Bridge, Naval Academy, City Dock, Ego Alley, the Harbor Queen, or any of the streets that dead-end at the harbor or Spa Creek in Eastport. For a map of the parade route, decorating tips, registration information, and more, visit: eastportyc.org/lights-parade.

festive lighted boat parade Hampton, VA
The Hampton Lighted Boat Parade takes place December 16. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Hampton Development Partnership

Deale’s Annual Parade of Lights: December 12. Parade starts at 6 p.m. on Rockhold Creek in Deale, MD. Spectators are encouraged to get to the parade viewing location at 5:30 p.m. Starting point: Rockhold Creek Bridge/Happy Harbor, continuing up the creek and into Tracys Creek going as far as Dockside/Tracys Creek Bridge as the boats can go depending on tide, then turning back and making a loop in front of Skippers Pier Restaurant. Skippers Pier is taking dinner reservations for that night and has a viewing area on the top deck which is first come first serve. Dockside will be taking dinner reservations; Happy Harbor is first come, first serve seating. For updates, visit facebook.com/DealeMDParadeOfLights. Questions? Email [email protected].

Hampton Lighted Boat Parade: December 16. The Hampton River will come to life as a fleet of decorated boats parade past the Downtown Hampton waterfront. The parade runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and concludes with an awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Following the parade, Santa will join the fun dockside. For more information, a map of the parade route, and to register, visit downtownhampton.com/lightedboatparade.

festive Piney Point Lighthouse
Even the Piney Point Lighthouse is getting into the holiday spirit. Photo courtesy of the St. Mary's County Museum Division

More Holiday Events

SPCA Lights On the Bay: November 19 through January 1. A two-mile scenic drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay with more than 60 spectacular animated and stationary displays illuminating the roadway. Benefits the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. $20 per car, $30 per large passenger vans, $50 for buses. lightsonthebay.org

Holiday Events at St. Mary’s County Museums. The Piney Point Lighthouse Museum will be open daily through January 1 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas) for a family-friendly holiday exhibit. Learn more at facebook.com/1836Light. At the St. Clement’s Island Museum you may enjoy the museum’s Christmas Doll and Train Exhibit which runs through January 1 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas) with kid’s activities, music, refreshments, and more. facebook.com/SCIMuseum

Christmas in Yorktown. Yorktown, VA, kicked off the holiday festivities with a Christmas tree lighting on December 1 at Riverwalk Landing. Other events include a nighttime Christmas market on December 8. visityorktown.org

Midnight Madness – Downtown Annapolis: December 7, 14, and 21. Shop local on December 7 and 14 from 4 p.m. until midnight, and until 11 p.m. on December 21. The downtown Annapolis area, including West Street, Maryland Ave., Main Street, and the City Dock area will be filled with traditional holiday decorations, including beautiful storefront windows, garland, wreaths, holiday lights, a snowflake alley, light canopies, a large Christmas tree, and a menorah. downtownannapolispartnership.org

Christmas in St. Michaels: December 8-10. Festive events throughout the weekend in St. Michaels, MD, including breakfast with Santa, holiday meals, holiday music, a lighted boat parade, the Talbot Street Parade Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and more. This traditional Christmas parade features marching bands, antique cars and boats, fire engines, horses, kazoo bands, and even llamas! Bring a chair and come early to get a great spot along the parade route for the largest holiday parade on the Eastern Shore. Rain or shine. Talbot Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 10:15 a.m. until noon from Seymour Avenue to Perry Cabin. The mission of Christmas in St. Michaels is to provide resources to help local nonprofit groups enhance the quality of life for the residents of the Bay Hundred community. christmasinstmichaels.org

Poplar Hall Parade of Horses and Christmas Market: December 9. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Historic Chesapeake City, MD. Christmas parade of horses, artisans, live concert, great food from local restaurants, and more. From 6 to 9 p.m., enjoy candlelight house tours. Check-in begins at Franklin Hall. chesapeakecity.com/events.php

Christmas in Onancock: December 9. Holiday Artisans Market 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Christmas Homes Tour 1 to 5 p.m. onancock.com

See our online calendar for more regional maritime happenings!