Highlights | Logistics & Amenities
| Getting There | Insider Tips
Newport Beach offers loads of star attractions, even by southern California standards. Topping the list are Newport Harbor and Newport Bay. Add quaint Balboa Island with its ferry and nonstop yachts, and you have the setting for a perfect vacation. The Newport Beach area also features miles of paths, fresh seafood, two piers, and an old fashioned amusement park.
Newport Beach Highlights
Newport Beach highlights include Newport Harbor, Balboa Island and Peninsula, Corona del Mar State Beach, and a fabulous ecological preserve. If you can tear yourself away from the beaches, there’s a great selection of parks with sea views that will have you grabbing for a camera.
Newport Harbor. Newport Harbor is all about boating fun. Rent an electric boat at the ferry landing for a self-guided tour of the bay; kayaks, runabouts, and sailboats are also available. The nearby Fun Zone has been part of Newport Beach since 1936 and offers a break from mega-amusement parks. Ticket prices are reasonable and the bumper cars are a must.
Balboa Island. For a great afternoon, take the ferry to Balboa Island spend some time exploring on foot. A stroll down Marine Avenue is essential for all dedicated shoppers. If your interest runs to yachts, check out the North Bay front walkway.
Balboa Peninsula is a good place to play on the sand or ride the waves. Cruise the boardwalk on foot, skates, or bike and visit both piers. Don’t forget the Wedge at the end of Balboa Peninsula — a famous bodysurfing spot. Enjoy the view but don’t dive in unless you are a very, very experienced bodysurfer! This is also the best place to watch sailboats, yachts, and every other kind of watercraft negotiating the harbor entrance. For a guided boat tour of the Harbor, stop by the Balboa Pavilion. This historic building has been a Newport Beach landmark since 1905. Deep-sea fishing trips and the Catalina Flyer embark from here.
Corona del Mar State Beach. Spectacularly situated at the east entrance to Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar State Beach is beautiful, clean, and very popular. It’s next door to Newport Beach in the quaint Village of Corona del Mar. By walking west, you may notice rock climbers at Pirates Cove. If you have time, drive up the hill to the Village and check out the shops, restaurants, and the Sherman Library and Gardens, where you can enjoy tours and a café. Little Corona Beach, a secluded cove at Ocean Boulevard and Poppy is a popular snorkeling and scuba diving venue.
Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve and Nature Preserve. Experience the natural life of the bay in all its diverse beauty through interactive exhibits and displays. Visitors of all ages will enjoy starting at the Interpretive Center, which is built into the bluffs and overlooks the water. Then take some time for a personal encounter with this bountiful marine habitat, which you can explore on foot, bicycle, kayak and canoe. Birdwatchers: Remember your binoculars! Hundreds of species of birds inhabit this rich marine environment, and thousands more use it during winter migration.
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Newport Beach Logistics & Amenities
Newport Beach Municipal Beach: Lifeguards, fire rings, and restrooms with showers.
Newport and Balboa Piers: Metered lot and street parking.
Corona del Mar State Beach: Plenty of parking (fee), restrooms, showers, volleyball, lifeguards, grassy area, rentals, and fire rings. Little Corona Beach has only on-street parking and no facilities.
Newport Beach: The nearest airport is John Wayne / Orange County Airport about 15 minutes away. Take I-405 (the San Diego freeway) west to Highway 55 west.
Newport Harbor: Take Newport Boulevard west to West Balboa Boulevard and Balboa Peninsula.
Balboa Island: Take the ferry from Balboa Peninsula or by the bridge off Pacific Coast Highway and Jamboree Road. The ferry has room for 30 passengers and several cars.
Corona del Mar State Beach: Take Ocean Boulevard to an access road near the intersection with Iris Street.
Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve and Nature Preserve: The Interpretive Center is located at the corner of University and Irvine Avenues.
Newport Beach Insider Tips
Families with small children may prefer one of the beaches facing Balboa Bay — they are calmer and offer amenities like lifeguards, restrooms, and showers. Bay Avenue, between 18th and 19th Streets, is a good choice. Other bay beaches include “N” Street, 10th Street, and Montero.
If you arrive at Newport Pier between 7 and 9 am, you’ll see local fishermen unloading their dories at Dory Fishing Fleet, a fresh seafood market. This is where many local chefs choose the catch of the day.
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