Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival – A Must-Visit Lighting Event


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Festival highlights

Dive into the luminous world of the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival – a festival of lights that celebrates the spirit of community, peace, love, and hope. Join us in this wonderful journey of fun, togetherness, and illumination. 

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About the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival

Nestled in the heart of Lake Elsinore, California, the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival stands out as a beacon of unity and joy. This festival of lights brings the community together in a celebration of peace, love, and hope, illuminating the water with countless glowing lanterns. An event for all ages, the luminous spectacle allows attendees to revel in a variety of fun activities, from savoring diverse culinary delights at food trucks to enjoying the melodies of live music, and even crafting their own lanterns.

Aside from the festivities, the lantern festival also values sustainability. Eco-friendly materials are used to craft the lanterns, ensuring the event’s harmony with nature. This commitment to the environment is further demonstrated by the diligent efforts of staff and volunteers who ensure that the lanterns are collected post-celebration, leaving no trace behind in the waters of Elm Grove Beach.

The main highlight of the festival is the launching of the paper lanterns onto the water surface. Participants watch as their lanterns, carrying hopes and dreams, gently float away, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of light on the water. This highlight symbolizes collective hopes and dreams, making the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival a truly unforgettable experience.

Festival Dates (2024)

Circle May 18, 2024 on your calendar for a magical evening at Lake Elsinore, where the Water Lantern Festival is set to create a mesmerizing display of light and warmth. This event, lasting just one night, promises an atmosphere filled with enchantment and communal joy under the vast, starlit sky. 

As the gate of the festival opens on that special day, the celebrations will kick off, offering an invitation to all for an afternoon and  night filled with beauty and shared experiences. 

This is the perfect occasion to come together with loved ones, forging unforgettable moments amidst the gentle glow of lanterns on water. Ensure you’re part of this radiant event, where the serene waters of Elm Grove Beach will come alive with the dance of light and reflection.

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An image inspired by the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

The enchanting Water Lantern Festival is set to illuminate Elm Grove Beach, located at 500 Lakeshore Dr, Lake Elsinore, California, United States. This scenic venue, known for its serene waters and picturesque surroundings, offers the ideal backdrop for the festival’s magnificent display of lanterns. It’s an idyllic setting that combines natural beauty with the heartfelt warmth of the community coming together to celebrate.

The nearest airport to Lake Elsinore, California, is San Bernardino International Airport, offering various travel options for attendees:

  • Rental Cars: Available at the airport, allowing for a flexible and personal travel experience.
  • Taxis or Rideshare Services: Such as Uber or Lyft, providing direct and hassle-free transportation to the festival.
  • Public Transportation: Buses that connect the airport to Lake Elsinore, though it may require a transfer or two.

For those traveling from other cities by train, here are detailed guidelines to reach the festival location:

  • Arrive at the nearest major train station to Lake Elsinore: This is likely to be in Los Angeles or another nearby city.
  • Transfer to a regional train or bus service: Look for routes heading towards Lake Elsinore. You may need to consult local transit websites for the most current schedules and routes.
  • Local Transit in Lake Elsinore: Once in Lake Elsinore, local bus services can take you closer to Elm Grove Beach. It’s advisable to check the Lake Elsinore transit website for the best routes.
  • Taxis or Rideshare Services: For the final leg of the journey to Elm Grove Beach, taxis or rideshare options are available for convenience and ease.

If you liked this lantern festival, you might want to check out these spectacular lantern festivals as well:

Water Lantern Festival Utah

Bakersfield Water Lantern Festival

Festival Hours

The festival gates will swing open at 5:00 PM, welcoming guests to an evening filled with light, music, and creativity. Before the main event, attendees can immerse themselves in various activities, from designing their own lanterns to enjoying live music performances. It’s a time to mingle, create, and soak in the festive atmosphere.

As the clock ticks towards 8:00 PM, anticipation builds for the highlight of the night – the lantern launch. This magical hour between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM sees the water surface come alive with a sea of glowing lanterns. It’s a breathtaking spectacle, marking the culmination of an evening rich in community spirit and shared experiences.

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An image inspired from Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival

How Much Does It Cost to See Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival

Secure your spot at the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival with an early purchase and enjoy savings on Adult Tickets. Prices start at $26.98 for early birds until February 28, then increase to $35.99 until May 10, and $45.99 up until the day before the event on May 17. On the day of the festival, May 18, tickets will be available for $55.99, offering a last-minute opportunity to join the festivities.

For families attending, Youth Tickets for ages 8-14 are priced at a flat rate of $12.45, making it affordable for the younger enthusiasts to enjoy the event. Kids aged 7 and under can join in the fun for free, although they won’t receive a lantern kit. This tiered pricing structure ensures that the festival is accessible to all, promising a memorable experience for every attendee.

Weather and What to Wear

In May, Lake Elsinore, California, welcomes visitors of the Water Lantern Festival with its pleasant and mild climate, ideal for outdoor evening events. The temperatures during this time of year typically range from a comfortable mid-60s to low-70s Fahrenheit in the evenings, providing a perfect backdrop for the festival’s glowing lanterns against the night sky. While the days are warm and sunny, the evenings can bring a cool breeze off the sea, making the experience by the water all the more refreshing.

For those planning to attend the festival, here are some clothing recommendations to ensure comfort and enjoyment throughout the evening:

  • Light Layers: A light jacket or sweater can be handy as temperatures drop in the evening.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Opt for comfortable shoes suitable for walking on grass and sand, as you’ll be moving around the beach area.
  • Casual Attire: Dress in casual, comfortable clothing to relax and enjoy the activities and performances.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: For the earlier part of the event, protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sunglasses.
  • Waterproof or Water-Resistant Clothing: Just in case there’s a light sprinkle, having a waterproof layer can keep you dry.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

For those attending the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival and seeking comfortable accommodations, here are some nearby hotels to ensure a restful stay:

Econo Lodge Lake Elsinore Casino

  • Location: 20930 Malaga Rd, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States
  • Description: This 2-star hotel offers a comfortable and budget-friendly accommodation option, conveniently located near local attractions, including the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival. Guests can enjoy easy access to the casino for entertainment, making it an ideal choice for those looking to combine relaxation with some fun.
  • Amenities:
    • Free Parking: Ample space for guests to park their vehicles at no extra charge.
    • Complimentary Breakfast: Start your day with a variety of breakfast options, included with your stay.
    • Outdoor Pool: A refreshing outdoor pool to relax and unwind during your visit.
    • Free Wi-Fi: Stay connected with complimentary high-speed internet access throughout the hotel.

Best Western Plus Lake Elsinore Inn & Suites

  • Location: 31781 Casino Dr, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States
  • Description: This 3-star hotel boasts scenic views and comfortable accommodations, perfect for those wanting to unwind after the festival.
  • Amenities:
    • Complimentary parking
    • Free breakfast to start your day
    • Outdoor pool to bask in the California sun
    • Free Wi-Fi for all your internet needs

Quality Inn Lake Elsinore I-15

  • Location: 31808 Casino Dr, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States
  • Description: A 2-star hotel known for its friendly atmosphere and proximity to local attractions, making it a great choice for families.
  • Amenities:
    • Free parking for guests
    • Complimentary breakfast for a convenient start
    • Kid-friendly facilities to accommodate the little ones
    • Free Wi-Fi to keep everyone entertained

Where to Eat

Discover a variety of dining options near the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival to satisfy your culinary cravings:

Jack’s BAR-B-Q

  • Location: 1604 Lakeshore Dr, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States
  • Description: An American restaurant known for its cozy atmosphere and a diverse menu that caters to all, including happy hour specials and vegan options.
  • Foods Served:
    • Happy hour food
    • Vegan dishes
    • A variety of barbecue and sandwiches

Chili’s Grill & Bar

  • Location: 29233 Central Ave, Lake Elsinore, CA 92532, United States
  • Description: A family-friendly chain that offers a taste of classic Tex-Mex and American fare in a Southwestern-style setting, perfect for casual dining.
  • Foods Served:
    • Happy hour food
    • Great cocktails
    • Vegetarian dishes

Palm Thai Cuisine

  • Location: A Thai restaurant in Lake Elsinore that offers a serene dining experience with outdoor seating and a menu that includes vegan options.
  • Description: Enjoy the authentic flavors of Thailand with a menu that features everything from light appetizers to hearty soups.
  • Foods Served:
    • Vegan dishes
    • Vegetable egg roll
    • Chicken skewers
    • Tom yum soup

More Things To Do in the Area

Extend your Lake Elsinore adventure by exploring additional attractions in the area, each offering unique experiences and activities:

Walker Canyon Trailhead

  • Location: 27200 Lake St, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States
  • Description: A popular hiking area in Lake Elsinore known for its scenic trails and the spectacular display of wildflowers during the blooming season.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Hiking along picturesque trails
    • Photography of breathtaking landscapes and wildflowers
    • Bird watching and nature observation

Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park

  • Location: 20700 Cereal St, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States
  • Description: Renowned as one of the best motocross parks in Southern California, this off-road race track offers thrilling experiences for motorsports enthusiasts.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Motocross racing for all skill levels
    • Spectating exciting off-road races
    • Participating in racing events and clinics

The Chimes

  • Location: 201 W Graham Ave, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530, United States
  • Description: A historical landmark in Lake Elsinore, The Chimes is known for its stunning Victorian architecture, offering a glimpse into the area’s rich past.
  • Activities to Explore:
    • Guided tours of the historical site
    • Learning about the local history and architecture
    • Photography of the Victorian-era building and its intricate details

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Journey to Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival

The Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival offers a unique blend of serene beauty and communal celebration, set against the picturesque backdrop of Elm Grove Beach. From the moment the lanterns touch the water’s surface, illuminating the night with a soft glow, attendees are part of a magical experience that symbolizes hope and unity. 

Coupled with the array of activities, local cuisine, and nearby attractions, this festival promises a memorable outing for all ages. It’s more than just an event; it’s a chance to create lasting memories with friends and family under the starlit sky of Lake Elsinore.


Is there designated parking for the Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival?

Yes, designated parking areas will be available for festival attendees. 

Can I bring my pet to the Water Lantern Festival in Lake Elsinore?

Pets, except for service animals with valid identification, are typically not allowed at the festival to ensure the safety and comfort of all attendees.

Is smoking allowed within the festival premises?

Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, is generally prohibited on the festival grounds to maintain a clean and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.

Am I permitted to bring outside food and beverages to the event?

Attendees are often allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks. However, for safety and regulatory reasons, glass containers and alcoholic beverages are not permitted.

Are there age restrictions for festival participants?

The Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival is a family-friendly event welcoming attendees of all ages. Children may need to be accompanied by an adult, so it’s advisable to check any specific age-related policies.

What is the contingency plan for inclement weather on the festival day?

The festival typically proceeds rain or shine. In the event of extreme weather conditions, the organizers might reschedule to ensure participant safety. Keep an eye on official announcements for any updates.

What is the refund policy if I can no longer attend the festival?

Refund policies can vary. It’s important to review the specific terms and conditions at the time of ticket purchase or to directly contact the festival organizers for information regarding refunds.

Does the festival provide accommodations for attendees with disabilities?

The festival aims to be accessible to all, offering facilities and services for those with disabilities, including accessible parking and restrooms. Attendees requiring special accommodations are encouraged to reach out to the event organizers in advance.

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An image inspired by Lake Elsinore Water Lantern Festival


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