Are you looking to find out about holiday lights at Dana Point Harbor 2017. 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. However, just because it’s not labelled IlluminOcean anymore, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still go down to the harbor and stroll the lights this year. For 2017, they are calling it Happy HarborDays. There are static light displays that the kids will love with candy cane pillars and lighted stars hanging above.
Video of the 2014 IlluminOcean Light Tunnels
Happy HarborDays Holiday Light Displays for 2017
Tunnels are still there in 2017, just not moving or choreographed to music.
Highlights of Holiday Lights at Dana Point Harbor
- It’s FREE!
- The candy cane light tunnels are a favorite. Little kids in strollers have the best view because there are features up on the “ceiling.”
- Lots of trees are lit up with green and blue along the medians and the parks that line the harbor.
- There’s a HUGE Happy HarborDays welcome light display as you come to the entrance of the harbor.
- I loved the shark stand over by Waterman’s restaurant — and how you can grab a photo with it.
- One of the tunnels of light now says “Merry Kiss Me” which seems weird to the kids, but the adults were enjoying taking their photos underneath the lights.
- Free parking for holiday lights at Dana Point Harbor around the shops (if you can find it). Surprisingly, 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).
- Hours: Come in the evening on a weeknight and you’ll probably find easy parking! Maybe bring the kids in their pajamas?
- Restrooms at Dana Point Harbor are near Dana Wharf near the light tunnels — and outside the Harbor Grill Restaurant.
- 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 8pm Sun-Thurs and until 9pm 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.
- More crowds on weekends and during the Holiday Boat Parade nights (December 8th/9th and 15th/16th).
- 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
The 2017 festive event features the theme “A Superhero Holiday” and the young and the young at heart are encouraged to dress as their favorite superheroes during the Boat Parade on December 8th/9th and 15th/16th. OC Parks will host free family activities throughout Dana Point Harbor including games, crafts, photos and selfies with Santa, superhero encounters and live entertainment. Get ALL the details on the Dana Point Harbor website.
Originally published in 2014.