Newport Beach is a gorgeous coastal city in California with stunning beaches, charming piers, exciting activities, and many oceanfront restaurants. The easy and quick travel time of only a 1 hour to 1.5 hours drive from Los Angeles makes it a perfect day trip. One of the many charming beach coastal cities in Orange County, Newport Beach is also an excellent option for a relaxing weekend staycation close to home. Here are the best things to do and places to stay and eat in Newport Beach.
Best things to do in Newport Beach, Orange County, California
The piers and harbor
The splashy boat-filled harbor and the two piers, Newport Beach Pier and Balboa Pier, are some of the best things to see and do in Newport Beach.
At Balboa Pier, you will find The Balboa Fun Zone amusement park. There's a bit of fun to be had for young and old alike. The old-school amusement park offers a Ferris wheel and carnival rides with ocean views.
Newport Beach's local beaches
Orange County has some of the most gorgeous beaches in Greater Los Angeles. Newport Beach's popular Corona Del Mar State Beach offers a vast stretch of sand and towering cliffs. It is one of the most spectacular views in Newport Beach and is worth the travel. It is also a great place for swimming, as the waters are often calm.
Additionally, Inspiration Point at Corona Del Mar State Beach offers remarkable panoramic ocean views at sunset.
For those who like a bit more activity, the gorgeous surf beach, The Wedge, offers huge surf waves. You could spend a few hours watching the surfers and the boats entering the harbor.
Whale watching & dolphin cruises
The wildlife watching cruises available from Orange County and Newport provide an opportunity to see dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. The chance to see them is high and recent sightings include Common Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Humpback & Grey Whales, and more.
Cruises are offered daily and year-round. Most visitors to the area consider this a "do-no-miss" California activity. We agree!
Another massive highlight of California's Newport Beach is Balboa Island. The charming island has a 1.6-mile boardwalk. Visit for shopping, dining, or take in the views on the scenic 5-minute ferry ride to the island. The island also offers many travel activities such as paddle boarding and the option to rent a bike to explore the island.
Crystal Cove State Park
We love that Orange County is so close to Los Angeles, yet there are some incredible outdoor environments to make nature lovers feel worlds away from the city.
For outdoor lovers, the captivating Crystal Cove State Park offers tide pools, canyons, and coastal cliffs. There is also a campsite to spend the night in nature.
Where to eat in Newport Beach
Los Angeles may be known for its world-class restaurants, but foodies love Newport Beach's trendy restaurant scene. Many restaurants offer exceptional meals combined with ocean views.
Mama D's Italian
Mama D's Italian is Tripadvsors No. 1 recommended restaurant out of 297 restaurants in Newport Beach. With over 740 reviews and 4.5 out of 5 stars, we think that this Orange County restaurant is a great choice.
Fly N Fish Oyster Bar
We love seafood, and Newport Beach has many offerings. But the fact that Fly N Fish Oyster Bar and Grill is ranked No.2 in TripAdvisor and offers fantastic water views, we think it is a place every traveler should visit.
Where to stay in Newport Beach
There are so many lovely hotels and resorts in Newport Beach, many offering ocean views and luxury. Some resorts offer you a staycation where you barely need to leave the resort.
The Resort at Pelican Hill
Ranked as one of the top resorts in Newport Beach by travelers on TripAdvisor, the Resort at Pelican Hill boasts one of the largest circular pools in the world. The saltwater pool is 136 feet in diameter and three feet deep!
With endless sea views, pool attendants, and luxurious private cabanas, the Coliseum Pool is a place you could spend all day long! Additionally, the resort's Coliseum Pool & Grill restaurant offers seafood lunches and dinners.
The Resort at Pelican Hill offers accommodation in private bungalows or villas in luxurious settings with sea views.
Also available on the 504-acre property is the Pelican Hill Golf Club, a fitness center with a gym and a five-star spa.
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is our pick for family fun for something just as epic but more affordable.
This excellent Los Angeles hotel is a perfect retreat for the whole family with three sparkling pools, an adjacent golf course, and an idyllic setting on a 26-acre property.
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