The always gorgeous Newport Beach, California, sitting in the heart of Orange County’s coastal center, is a must-visit!
Newport Beach features rich culture, abundant natural beauty, thought-provoking history, and tons of mesmerizing charm. It’s an hour’s drive from southern Los Angeles with plenty of delightful things to do. This welcoming city’s attractions for couples, families, and solo travelers are abundant.
If you’re ready to have an experience of a lifetime in the home of the West Coast’s largest recreational harbor, then read on. We have a list of things to do in Newport Beach, California, and some of the best places to visit.
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN NEWPORT BEACH
Best Budget Hotel. Holiday Inn Express Newport Beach is a property on a budget that’s just a 12 minute walk from the ocean and 1.7 miles from Newport Beach Pier. The property also offers a pool, hot tub and complimentary breakfast.
Best Luxury Option. Balboa Bay Resort is Newport Beach’s premier waterfront resort, recently named the #1 resort in the area by US News and World Report. The amenities (which are seriously too numerous to list) include an onsite executive chef and poolside cabanas.
Best for Families. Hyatt Regency Newport Beach has three outdoor pools and hot tubs, and the beach itself is about 2 miles away with shuttle service available. Or head the other direction to Disneyland on a short, 15-mile drive. Breakfast is also included.
If you’re planning to make this year a memorable one with a fantastic vacation, then head to Newport Beach! This place promises thrilling experiences with a host of water sports, stunning sunsets, exquisite sceneries, and more. The Newport Beach Pier is an ideal backdrop for your sun-kissed, Insta-worthy holiday pictures.
You will get to experience a taste of luxury, too, with the exclusive yacht clubs, amazing golf courses, fine dining, and charming cottages. Regardless of your preferences, there is something for everyone in Newport Beach. From amusement rides and arcades to rock wall climbing or fishing excursions, there isn’t a dull day in this city!
CORONA DEL MAR STATE BEACH
Do you like beaches, sand, vintage cottages, and chic shops? If so, then you’re going to love what Corona Del Mar State Beach has to offer. We wouldn’t be wrong to describe State Beach as one of the most iconic places in Newport Beach.
People best know this place as the crown of the sea, with Little Corona Beach and Big Corona Beach being the two main attractions here. You can also head over to Lookout Point for breathtaking views and pictures.
Hikers will also love exploring the Buck Gully Trail, while nature lovers will find Sherman Library and Gardens an exquisite retreat.
Californians regard Balboa Island as one of their precious treasures, and it’s obvious why. You can access this hotspot through a ferry ride, on a bike, or in your car. You can even trek there if you’re looking to get a good view of the city. Once you’re here, your itinerary will soon fill up with visits to the bistros, restaurants, water sports, chic shops on the coast, and lots more.
Your taste buds will have a field day with a delicious variety of seafood and a mix of French-Swiss, Mexican, and Italian flavors. Balboa Island is also a great holiday destination to strut your most fashionable clothes. You’ll soon be picking up wardrobe upgrade cues with the stylish beach fashions here.
BALBOA ISLAND FERRY
If there’s an excellent way to explore the scenic island, it is Balboa Island Ferry. This ferry departs from Newport Beach’s Balboa Island and carries bikes, cars, and people to the Balboa Peninsula. The ride is an experience in itself, albeit a short one.
While it may merely take three to five minutes to cross the island and reach the Peninsula, you can still manage to capture some beautiful shots. We know tourists and travelers love to take pictures of the Harbor Pavilion and Ferris wheel while riding the ferry. You, too, would do great to board the ferry with your camera ready.
Few places in the world can bring out the kid in you and make grownups squeal in delight like the attractions of Balboa Village. Regardless of age, the Ocean Motion, Ferris wheel, Balboa Arcade with its Skee-ball guarantees a fun time for everyone. But nothing promises to be a treat quite like the frozen bananas of Balboa.
While you’re here, do make sure to get your fill of the delectable chocolate-dipped dessert that is the Village’s most popular offering.
The Balboa Peninsula meets all of your expectations of an ideal vacation. Relax all you want on the beautiful sandy beaches or ride high on the renowned surf of Southern California.
The coastline stretches for miles and entails everything that a vacationer could imagine. Indulge in competitive beach games with your friends or friendly strangers. Or enjoy invigorating swims in the refreshing waters or simply laze with your favorite book on the sand.
BALBOA FUN ZONE
Balboa Fun Zone has been a favorite for generations and will soon become yours too. We bet you’re going to feel like a kid on Christmas Eve once you treat yourself to the amusement rides, arcades, bungee jumping, and rock wall climbing here.
And if that’s not enough, Balboa Fun Zone’s Ferris Wheel is sure to make you feel at the top of the world, with the stunning Balboa Pavilion lying at your feet.
One can never claim to have seen all of Newport Beach till they haven’t seen the city’s iconic landmark, the Balboa Pier. Not only is the pier a great spot to relax, but it also offers a captivating view of the beach.
The pier guarantees panoramic views for your albums, romantic strolls, and a diner for a treat or two. You can also try your hand at fishing on this historic pier. Who knows, you might come back with one of the pier’s famous flounders or mackerels!
Last but not least, the historic Balboa Pavilion is worth a visit. This pavilion and restaurant was built in the early 1900s by the same man who constructed the red sandstone courthouse in Santa Ana. This amazing pavilion was built at the same time as the Balboa Pier, to attract land buyers. It was officially opened in 1906.
Recognized as one of Newport Beach’s most famous landmarks, the pavilion is a classic example of turn-of-the-century waterfront pavilions from times gone by, and it continues to be the center of activity in Newport Beach.
Balboa Beach is a crowd favorite here. It also offers a host of amenities nearby so that visitors can have a fulfilling experience. You can fish, relax, go for a walk in the waves, or enjoy eating at the diners, cafes, and restaurants.
You can never go wrong by planning a lazy day at Balboa Beach, with its sandy stretch calling out to you. Just grab a chair and towel, and bask in the glorious Californian sun with no care in the world.
The Balboa Fun Zone sitting on the Bayfront is just the cherry on top. When you’ve lazed all you want, you can head over to the entertainment hub and try some of the childlike delights present here.
CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK
Newport Beach is a treasure of scenery, mesmerizing landscapes, and nature. You only need to look at Crystal Cove State Park to believe what we’re saying. Sitting merely 15 minutes away from the south of Newport Beach, this state park will take your breath away.
It features miles of hills and valleys, untouched woods, stunning species of different animals. No matter what you find fun, you can certainly find it here at the park. From mountain biking to hiking, enjoying exquisite wildlife, to camping in the canyons, various unique experiences await you here.
WATCH FOR WHALES
When you’re in town, there’s no reason to miss watching the magnificent whales here. Did you know that Newport Beach houses one of the most important whale migration paths? You can find plenty of companies at Newport Landing offering sightseeing excursions to visitors.
The whole experience may last you hours, but you won’t regret a moment of it as you get to see these massive grey and blue whales. This is also a great family activity, especially if you get to spot the minkes, humpbacks, sharks, seals, or dolphins too.
SHERMAN LIBRARY AND GARDENS
Sherman Library and Gardens house various pretty plants, flowers, and trees. If you head over to this part of the town, you will give your senses a heady treat to revel in. The captivating colors and mesmerizing aromas of flowers mix in the air here are something you won’t find elsewhere.
This hotspot of Corona del Mar has a host of botanical gardens, where you will find orchids, succulents, and lots more. The lush vegetation, hidden waterfalls, koi ponds, and fountains will only add to the experience.
Never seen a man-made treasure like Lido Isle before? Then you have all the more reason to head over there when visiting Newport Beach. The man-made island sits in the Californian harbor of Newport Beach, in the heart of the city.
This luxurious community comes together with a host of clubs, wonderful amenities, and exquisite fine-dining restaurants. Occupying a romantic location, this hotspot offers some of the most stunning Bay views from community parks.
You will also love strolling along the Bayfront walkways and gazing at the panoramic views of both the city and the water. To add to your experience, you can also cruise the Newport Harbor with a rental from the Lido Electric Boat Rentals.
At the end of your enjoyable cruise, we know you’ll be thanking us for the suggestion!
For avid surfers, The Wedge is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you just cannot miss. A popular beach area, The Wedge promises the largest waves you can find in Southern California, measuring up to 30 feet. All you need to do is head to the eastern end of the Peninsula and find all varieties of water sports you love.
Even if you’re not an avid surfer, you surely wouldn’t want to miss the spectacular action and unreal photos of the gigantic waves for anything!
Are you looking for a place in Newport that offers paddling, surfing, swimming, cycling, hiking, and aquatic adventures all in one? Then, Newport Harbor is just where you should be. From stand-up paddleboarding to sunset cruises, you’ll need a weeklong vacation at least to experience the fun activities here.
Not only do the sports offerings please visitors, but the restaurants serving up the best seafood in town is also a must-have experience.
UPPER NEWPORT BAY NATURE PRESERVE
An open space of approximately 1000 acres, the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is a park and garden. Surrounding the ecological reserve, the park also houses the Interpretive Center of Mary Muth and Peter.
The Nature Preserve comprises the bluffs surrounding the bay and enjoys a reputation as one of the best sites for bird watching. If you happen to visit this park during the winter migration period, you might just see 35,000 birds in the bay.
This Preserve is also home to six endangered species and one rare plant species, the Saltmarsh Bird’s beak. If you haven’t ever visited a pristine estuary before, then you must book a visit to this Nature Preserve right away.
For the high-end shoppers, there is a lavish treat in store for you. The Newport Beach city houses Fashion Island, a gigantic open-air mall. You can indulge in all your shopping and fine-dining fantasies here with the hundreds of high-profile restaurants and shops.
The mall also features an enormous multiplex cinema where you can hang out with your friends or partner.
NEWPORT AQUATIC CENTER
It’s time to sharpen your canoeing, rowing, kayaking, and outrigger canoeing skills. This resource center promises to turn every visitor of various abilities and ages into an aspiring athlete.
You might return from the center fostering a passion for Olympic-level marine activities after exploring their world-class training programs.
SUGAR N’ SPICE ICE CREAM
Balboa offers some of the most delicious and unique homemade desserts that you simply cannot resist. Give your taste buds a sweet treat by visiting the Sugar N’ Spice Ice Cream stand that has served visitors and residents for years.
Their hand-dipped Balboa bars and frozen bananas are a must-have!
There is no better way to cruise along the spectacular Newport Coast than in one of the beautiful gondolas here. Add to your list of memorable experiences by booking a gondola adventure when in town.
From a romantic trip for two in the white-canopy-covered gondola to a thrilling ride in an authentic Venetian one, you can experience it all.
Haven’t raised a Martini flag yet? Then it’s about time you do. Let a visit to the Beachcomber Café be high on the list of your priorities when visiting this side of the town. The beach cottage, with its unique, vintage appeal and award-winning Californian cuisine, will make your senses swoon.
The spectacular oceanside view coupled with the mouthwatering food and drinks is what this café is most popular for. Why not give yourself a lavish treat? Once you experience firsthand the eclectic, calming, and festive vibes of the Beachcomber Café, you’ll see why they say every day feels like a Saturday here.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO CALIFORNIA
- BODEGA BAY: 11 Amazing Outdoorsy Things To Do In Bodega Bay
- TEMECULA: 12 Amazing Things To Do In Temecula, California
- MORRO BAY: Kayaking to a Desert & Other Amazing Things to do in Morro Bay, CA
- LONG BEACH: 14 Things To Do In Long Beach For Coastal Fun
- BIG BEAR: 11+ Adventurous Things To Do In Big Bear
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WHERE TO STAY IN NEWPORT BEACH
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