Are you looking to find out about holiday lights at Dana Point Harbor 2020? I feel like IlluminOcean in Dana Point Harbor made a big impression on people. It was a holiday lights extravaganza that lasted only one year (2014). IlluminOcean was, for the most part, not a static light display. Most of the lights moved or had some sort of animated features and sounds to go along with them. They even had special 3D glasses to view the show. You can see what I mean with my video of this light tunnel. The public loved it and so did the harbor businesses, but there was controversy and litigation.
Video of the 2014 IlluminOcean Light Tunnels
Shine Illumination and Happy HarborDays Holiday Light Displays for 2020
Local dad and CEO, Bruce Brenon, of Shine Illumination comes up with new concepts every year (while keeping the old favorites)! Follow the Shine Illumination page on Facebook and follow the @shineillumination account on Instagram to get current news about their displays all over our area.
For 2020, they are even going to light up the island at the harbor. The light display will run from November 11th until after New Year’s on January 3rd.
There are static light displays that the kids will love with candy cane pillars and lighted stars hanging above. This area with starbursts overhead and the impression of snow falling is called Candy Cane Lane.
Highlights of Holiday Lights at Dana Point Harbor
- It’s FREE!
- It’s scheduled to run from 6pm on November 11th until after New Year’s on January 3rd. The lights stay on from dusk until dawn.
- The candy cane light lane is a favorite. Little kids in strollers have the best view because there are features up on the “ceiling.”
- Lots of the eucalyptus trees are lit up with green and blue along the medians and the parks that line the harbor.
- There’s a HUGE welcome light display as you come to the entrance of the harbor. 2017 also featured a whale here. In 2018, it was a bobblehead Santa there.
- In 2017, there was a shark stand over by Waterman’s restaurant — in 2018, there was a Candy Cane heart display.
- Yes – “Merry Kiss Me” is back! Couples flock here like it was mistletoe. Take your photo and share with a #MerryKissMe hashtag.
- And the lights don’t stop there! Walk or drive down towards Baby Beach just past the Marina Inn and the harbor offices to experience light trees where there was a wave tunnel in 2019. The blue and white lights actually moved in a way that made you feel you were in the barrel of a crashing wave.
- Free parking for holiday lights at Dana Point Harbor around the shops (if you can find it). Surprisingly, one year we went on Holiday Boat Parade night and got a spot super close with no trouble!
Or there’s $3/hour parking on Boat Parade nights at Doheny State Beach with trolley service (see map on Dana Point Harbor website).No boat parade this year.
- Hours: Come in the evening on a weeknight and you’ll probably find easy parking! Maybe bring the kids in their pajamas? The lights are on from dusk until dawn. Lights are on from November 11, 2020 until after New Year’s on January 3rd.
- Restrooms at Dana Point Harbor are near Dana Wharf — and outside the Harbor Grill Restaurant.
- Dana Point Harbor Restaurants open for take-out.
- Coffee Importers – Espresso Bar & Scoop Deck is a great place to get a scoop of Lapperts Ice Cream or a hot cocoa. It’s open until 7pm Sun-Thurs and until 8pm on Fri/Sat.
- Harpoon Henry’s has seating downstairs on their patio which would be a fun place to watch the lights come on and people walk by. They have a Happy Hour which includes some pretty yummy appetizers and entrees on M-F from 4pm-7pm. (Also get them to go!)
- More crowds on weekends and
during the Holiday Boat Parade nights (December 4th/5th and 11th/12th).No boat parade this year.
- There are signs everywhere that say “don’t touch the lights” so you might want to prep the kids ahead of time to look, but don’t touch.
Dana Point Boat Parade Information
No boat parade for 2020.
Originally published in 2014.