Christmas Ships

The Portland Christmas Ship Parade ( sets sail on the Columbia River and the Willamette River every year in December. Portland has hosted Christmas ships since 1954.

Above is a story on the 2014 Christmas Ships from

The Christmas Ships have parades on both rivers. The Columbia Fleet parade begins at 7pm starting from the Salty’s / Gleason Boat ramp area down to the Vancouver waterfront.

Route details:

It might be worth the $5 parking fee at Gleason Boat Launch on Marine Drive, just to watch them prepare. Beats a $30-$40 carload at PIR for their Winter Wonderland drive-through.

The cheery ships brighten up the rivers each December, generally running through the third week in December.

About 20-30 Chistmas ships sail each night.

The Christmas Ship Parade is a 64 year tradition on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

The Fleet cruises between both the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The volunteer organization started with one decorated boat.

The privately owned vessels come from Portland, Vancouver, McMinnville, Salem and Hood River areas. Some of the ships owners have been part of Christmas tradition for more than 30 years with many being part of the fleets for over 20 years.

They typically parade for 15 nights in December, starting on the 1st and ending on the 21st and take about six nights off, so check their Columbia and Willamette River schedules.

For Columbia River trips, the boats often assemble at Hayden Bay on Tomahock Island (map). Many people watch the ships at area restaurants or along the shore.

The Chistmas Ships are a holiday favorite. Here are some of the best times to see them on the Columbia near Hayden Island: