Golf, Restaurants and Shopping

Beaches and Boating

 Newport Beach is an upscale, sophisticated coastal community in Orange County, California. Although there are miles of gorgeous beaches in Newport Beach, this coastal community of million dollar homes and exclusive country clubs is far more than another t-shirt shop beach town. Newport Beach is an elegant town with upscale entertainment. If you are planning a Newport Beach vacation, read on below to find lots of ways you and your family will enjoy spending time, either separately or together.

California SurferCredit: Photo taken by author, Deborah-Diane

#1: Spend the Day on the Balboa Peninsula

The Balboa Peninsula is the strand of land that separates the islands of Newport Bay from the Pacific Ocean. You can take a stroll along the three miles of beach, sign up for a harbor cruise, or just enjoy some fun in the surf and sand. The Balboa Fun Zone attracts fun-loving fans of all ages with its Ferris wheel, carousel, arcades, bike rentals, and relaxed atmosphere. This is also the spot to go if you want to take a ferry to Catalina Island, rent a small boat, or go out sport-fishing. In the evening, stroll along a pier over the water and watch the sunset from either Newport Pier or Balboa Pier. Go to the tip of the Peninsula to watch expert surfers tackle The Wedge, which often boasts 20 foot waves. If you're not up to tackling the surf yourself, you might enjoy spending time just watching the skilled surfers having fun riding the waves.

#2: Take a Walk Around Balboa Island

It takes about an hour to walk completely around charming Balboa Island with its gorgeous homes and picturesque cottages. The walkway is completely level, and it is an easy stroll; however, if you want a shorter walk you can cut across the island at almost any point. The shopping area is home to several shops and art galleries, ideal for finding the perfect souvenir of your trip. While on the island, you can take a quick little ferry ride over to the Balboa Peninsula fun zone. Balboa Islanders also have a lot of fun decorating the island for all sorts of holidays, from Halloween to Christmas. Finally, no stroll around Balboa Island would be complete without indulging yourself with a chocolate dipped frozen banana!

#3: Go Shopping at Fashion Island

The open air shopping center of Fashion Island is home to many fabulous shops, restaurants and upscale department stores, including both Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. Have lunch at an ocean view restaurant. Sit beside the koi pond. You'll have a wonderful time shopping at this premier Southern California shopping center.

Fashion Island is not the only shopping area available in the area. You can find dozens of shops on Balboa Island and in Corona del Mar. Of course, you can also buy swim wear and other beach clothing online at places like before you come, especially if you are looking for a few good deals. Wherever you shop, you'll enjoy the fun styles to see being worn in Newport Beach.

Here's a direct link to the souvenirs that are available from Amazon:

Quick link to cute Newport Beach souvenirs from

 #4: Explore Corona del Mar

One quaint community in Newport Beach is Corona del Mar. The residential streets of this bay side village are lined with charming cottages. Stop in at the Sherman Library and Gardens, a 2.2 acre horticultural retreat and cactus garden in the middle of town. There are wonderful restaurants to enjoy in Corona del Mar, as well, including Five Crowns, Tommy Bahama's, The Bungalow and many others.

#5: See the Christmas Boat Parade

One of the joys of the winter season is the Newport Beach Boat Parade. This event is so spectacular that many corporations plan their holiday parties at locations that enable their employees to enjoy this annual event. Local yacht owners decorate their boats with lights, Christmas trees and other holiday decorations and drive around Newport Bay, much to the delight of young and old.

#6: See the Crystal Cove Historic District

One of the oldest beach communities in Southern California was the little settlement of Crystal Cove. Today, the colorful little cabins have been updated and are now available as vacation rentals through the state park system. Even if you don't stay in one of these rustic cabins, you may want to stroll through the community and have lunch at the Beachcomber Restaurant.

#7: Have Lunch and a Round of Golf at Pelican Hill Golf Club

If you want a more upscale place to enjoy lunch, drive up the hill from Crystal Cove on Newport Coast Road and have lunch at the Pelican Hill resort. Sit on their heated patio and gaze out at the panoramic view of the ocean and surrounding hills. The Pelican Hill Golf Course is one of the best around!

#8: Rent a Duffy Boat

One popular way to explore Newport Bay and all the charming little islands that make up that portion of the city of Newport Beach is to rent an electric Duffy boat from one of the rental companies in the area. You can contact Duffy of Newport Beach or Pirates Life Boat Rental for more details. You can pack up a picnic lunch or dinner to enjoy while you're out, and spend a few hours cruising around on the boat. Or, you can use the boat to tour the islands, then head to one of the many waterfront restaurants that have docks where you can tie up the Duffy and go inside for dinner and cocktails.

Quick link to cute Newport Beach souvenirs from

#9: Dine in a an Upscale Restaurant

There are an abundance of popular restaurants available for your dining pleasure in Newport Beach. I've already mentioned the Beachcomber Restaurant in Crystal Cove, and the Pelican Hill resort on Newport Coast as possible choices. You may also want to try to popular Rusty Pelican restaurant on the PCH (Highway 1) on the north side of Newport Beach.

Another popular area of restaurants is the Cannery Village, near the beginning of the Balboa Peninsula. Some well-liked restaurants in the area include Woody's Warf, Bluewater Grill, Villa Nova and The Cannery.

#10: Take a Day Trip to Disneyland

If you are bringing your family on vacation to Newport Beach, it is only about a 20 minute drive to Disneyland, a popular tourist destination. By staying in Newport Beach you can enjoy the best of everything that Orange County has to offer ... fabulous beaches, great shopping, wonderful seafood and, of course, the world famous Disney Theme Parks. Whether you decide to spend one day or several at Disneyland, Newport Beach is still a fun place to spend time while you're in the area.

If you are interested in more things to do during your Southern California vacation, you will also want to check out some of the articles listed below:

Top 6 Things To Do Near Disneyland

Top 10 Things To Do In Laguna Beach

Come Explore the California Tidepools

Family Fun: Your California Beach, Golf and Disneyland Vacation!

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