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On the one hand, Newport Beach is Orange County at its most exclusive. Think: high-end shopping at Fashion Avenue, glitzy homes on Balboa Peninsula, and many, many yachts. On the other hand, the city profits from its proximity to Los Angeles, as well as some truly exceptional beaches—visiting them is one of the top things to do in Newport Beach. Beyond that, see surfers hang-ten at the Wedge, browse artworks at the Orange County Museum of Art, go for whale watching boat trips year-round, and then make up your own mind about this sun-drenched, one-of-a-kind destination.
Like in much of Southern California, the weather forecast in Newport Beach is rarely something to consider. Still, locals do flee from the beaches in chillier “winter,” and the crowds die down once school’s back in session. If you want the buzz of this red-carpet region, come in summer, when the volleyballs fly and the harbor bustles past sunset. For less expensive lodging and fewer crowds, get here October–April. And as for whale-watching, that happens year-round.
Most travelers arrange for a rental car on their Newport Beach trip, and it can come in handy if you have far-flung places to go. But parking is a beast—if you can ditch the wheels, that’s ideal. Centrally located accommodations will go a long way (specifically on Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula), and the city offers Mokes (small electric cars), e-bikes, and even e-boats to alleviate the traffic issue.
Come around sunset to Balboa Island to skirt the parking issue. Sure, some shops might be closed, but you’ll still get that quintessential island experience, including Balboa bars, a golden-hour stroll along Marine Avenue, and the ferry to the peninsula—where you’ll find the old-school Balboa Fun Zone, Newport Beach, the Balboa Pier, and more. It’s a classic experience not to be missed. The ferry runs from 6:30am to 12am and is cash only.
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Newport Beach in California is worth visiting. Among Balboa Island, Fashion Island shopping district, Ocean Front Walk, Corona Del Mar State Beach, Crystal Cove State Park, and countless other spots with beautiful views, there’s a lot to do. You’ll also find great dining, watersport opportunities, and consistently good weather....More
How you spend a day in California’s Newport Beach depends on your interests. Some visitors choose to spend their time on the water, sailing, fishing, and relaxing. Others will hit high-end shops at Fashion Island or stroll around Balboa Island and Balboa Pier. The Ocean Front Walk is another can’t-miss spot....More
There are lots of avenues for enjoying Newport Beach. You could see the water in many ways, from chartering a boat to strolling Ocean Front Walk. You could shop on Balboa Island (an actual island) or at Fashion Island (a shopping district). Or, dine exquisitely and catch live shows....More
Newport Beach is a wealthy town, which leads to occasional petty theft—but that primarily affects homeowners. As a visitor, you’re unlikely to experience anything dangerous in Newport Beach, especially if you employ standard safety measures, like locking your car doors and keeping your purse or bag with you at all times....More
Newport Beach isn’t as touristy as some spots in Southern California, especially compared to Los Angeles. You’ll likely experience some crowds—especially in the warmer months—but that’s more about the residents getting out and about. Orange County, Newport Beach’s county, is one of the most densely populated counties in the nation....More
Newport Beach is known for Southern California vibes and great weather. Life here circles around the water—whether you’re walking Ocean Front Walk, riding the Balboa Ferry, strolling Corona del Mar State Beach, or going whale-watching—and high-end experiences, like shopping at Fashion Island or dining at spots like Mastro’s Ocean Club....More