Newport Beach is located 50 miles south of Los Angeles and 85 miles north of San Diego in Orange County. It is comprised of the villages such as Balboa, Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, Harbor Island, and Newport Heights. It is famous all over the world because of the picture-perfect sandy beaches and the long stretch of coastline. That, in itself, should be reason enough for you to visit.
Many famous celebrities frequent this place, if not call it home. But celebrity or not, you can still explore Newport Beach and its villages for a luxurious and adventurous experience.
Environmental Nature Center
Go exploring the more than 2 acres of wildlife habitat with trail guides as you discover California’s unique flora and fauna. Admission is free.
Upper Newport Bay
A free two-hour tour is available every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. It starts at 9 in the morning from Shellmaker Island. You can explore the areas that are home to more than 200 species of birds and wildlife. You can also avail of canoe tours and campfire activities for the family.
Culture and the Arts
City Hall Art Gallery
Visit Newport Blvd from between 9 am to 4 pm from Mondays to Fridays and drop by the City Hall Art Gallery to see works by exhibits of paintings, sculpture and photography by homegrown artists.
Newport Harbor Nautical Museum
The museum is set in the Pride of Newport, measuring 190 feet. It features the traditional and local sea-faring culture of the region. Galleries focus on several themes ranging from the recreational to commercial. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission fees for adults are $4, while for children are $1.
Newport Theater Arts Center
2501 Cliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA; (949) 631-0288; Call for Schedule:
The local community theater features veteran and new actors. Swing by Cliff Drive and look for the Theatre on the Cliff for schedules of current plays and upcoming shows.
Don’t confine yourself to going around just the Newport Beach proper. Be adventurous and take a trip to its outlying villages.
You could spend a day walking along Marine Avenue just browsing more than 70 shops, galleries and restaurants. Specialty boutiques and sidewalk cafes also add flavor to the area. To get there, either take a ferry from Balboa Peninsula or drive down Jamboree Road.
If promenading is your thing, try the Balboa boardwalk where you can bike, skate and/or walk as you take in the sights of Newport Harbor. An amusement park established in the 1930s still stands and is a local, as well as a tourist, favorite. Rides the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel in between trips to shops and restaurants. It also features the Balboa Pavilion, which was an electric railway terminal back in the early 1900s.
What used to be the hub of commercial fishing with boat yards and canneries (thus the name), this village is now mostly comprised of fine restaurants, vintage shops and a good number of art galleries. For a sampling of the local art, visit Cannery Wharf Park every Sunday to see local artists exhibiting their works towards the afternoon.
This waterfront village is situated by the Via Oporto. Don’t be fooled by the out-of-the-way location of this enclave by the harbor side. It is home to boutiques, jewelry stores, art museums and galleries, and restaurants by the boardwalk.
Whatever you speed is, you can take a charter for either sports fishing or dinner cruise. All restaurants and galleries have a strong maritime feel to them owing to their location. You can also take a gondola ride for a romantic tour around the New Port Harbor canals. Find Mariner’s Mile by West Coast Highway and is in between Dover Drive and Newport Boulevard.
McFadden Square has been famous with chefs and professional seafood buyers since the late 1890s. People would come to get their choice picks of fresh seafood and you can see such activity still go on which starts everyday at 9 in the morning.
There’s a lot Newport can bring to your vacation, whether you are on a luxury spree or on a modest budget. You can experience nature at its best while sampling local crafts as well as some high-class shopping. Whatever your speed, Newport Beach has something for everyone.