VIDEO: Lighted Boat Parades Bring Holiday Cheer in Bad Weather

It’s arguably the most “Chesapeake” holiday tradition we’ve got: lighted boat parade season.

Every year, up and down the Bay, boat owners voluntarily spend dozens of work hours installing elaborate lights displays from bow to stern, mast to waterline.

Then after all that work, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they happily set out on a freezing cold, sometimes soaking wet, pitch-black cruise. And the spectators who stand outside in these nasty conditions love every minute of of it. ‘Tis the season!

Cheryl Costello takes Bay Bulletin to a handful of the many lighted boat parades on the Bay, with many yet to come. Keep scrolling for our full 2018 list.

Area Lighted Boat Parades



Dec. 8, Annapolis harbor and Spa Creek, 

6–8 p.m.


Dec. 1, Fells Point to the Inner Harbor, 

6 p.m.

Middle River

Nov. 22, starts at Riverwatch Marina,

5 p.m.


Dec. 1, starts at Broken Oar Bar & Grill,

5 p.m.

Potomac River

Dec. 1, Tall Timbers Marina, Tall Timbers, Md.


Dec. 8, Patuxent River, Solomons, Md. 

6:15 p.m.


Dec. 8, The Narrows, Tilghman, Md.

Wicomico River

Nov. 25, Downtown Salisbury Riverfront, 

6 p.m.



Dec. 1, Alexandria Marina, Alexandria, Va.,

5:30 p.m.

Colonial Beach

Dec. 1, Potomac River, Colonial Beach, Va. 

6–8:30 p.m.

Hampton River

Dec. 7, Downtown Hampton waterfront. 

6–9 p.m.


Dec. 1  Yorktown, Va., 



The Wharf

Dec. 1, The Wharf Marina, 

6 p.m.