Newport Beach, CA
If you liked watching The OC in the 90s, you will love Newport Beach.
- More about your oliver guide: Beth Scheer
- Trip type: Adult, Family, Group getaway, Beach
- Activity level: easy
- Ideal length of trip: Weekend, week, or month in summer
to & from
Direct flights to Orange County (SNA) or Long Beach Airport (LBC). Orange County airport is a 10 minute drive to Newport and Long Beach is about 20 minutes (if no traffic). Newport is about an hour drive from Los Angeles depending on traffic.
- Highly recommend renting a car.
- Use Uber or Lyft at night. Very easy and reliable for restaurant/bar hopping.
Where to Stay
If you want to rent a house on or near the beach, I would recommend Balboa Island or Peninsula Point. VRBO and AirBNB will be your best options. I recommend renting bikes (see info below) for getting around during the day.
- Lido House: (just opened in April 2018) very close to beach and Lido Village. Great rooftop bar.
- Balboa Bay Club: Right on the beach but larger and feels a bit more corporate. More family amenities if you have small children.
- Pelican Hill Resort
- The Montage Laguna Beach (15 minutes away) has a great spa but not in Newport.
Where to Eat and Drink
- Do not miss the donuts at Sidecar Donuts!
- The food is average but fun trip to go to Ruby’s on Balboa Pier if you have kids.
- Charlie’s Chili: Another classic for breakfast.
- Zinque. Located in Lido Marina Village. Located on waterfront. Very casual and relaxing atmosphere.
- Haute Cakes Cafe.: Very casual lunch spot.
- The best fish tacos: Bear Flag Fish Co. (good for lunch or dinner)
- The Crab Cooker: No reservations. If you like seafood, you must go here. Super casual. Prepare to wait.
- Mozza: Great Italian. Right across the street from Balboa Bay Club.
- A Restaurant. If you want a bar scene and a fun restaurant with great people watching, go here.
- El Cholo: Fun and casual Mexican. Great with kids.
- Olea: Wine Country inspired cuisine.
- Nobu. Located in Lido Marina Village. If you can’t get a reservation try the bar.
What to Do
Newport has a low key surfer vibe but you can also find a plethora of high end restaurants and fantastic shopping.
- Shopping: Lido Marina Village - great stores included Elyse Walker, Clare V, Warby Parker, Jenni Kane, Cynthia Rowley, etc.
- Shopping: Amarees is not to miss. This store sits on the water and carries incredible brands. The staff is beyond friendly and you can bring your dog.
- Shopping: Fashion Island. This lovely outdoor mall has big stores (Neiman's and Bloomingdales) and great restaurants (TrueFood, Sushi Roku, R+D Kitchen).
- Kayaking/SUP: Newport Aquatic Center
- Bike Rentals: Beach and Bikes. Beach traffic is bad in summer and on weekends so bike vs. drive when you can.
- Surfing: Endless Surf, Newport Beach Surfing Lessons
- If you have kids 10 and under, the Balboa Fun Zone is an institution and a good way to spend an hour or 2. There is a ferris wheel, arcade games (they have the same ones since I played on in the 70s), etc.
- If you want to take a drive down to Laguna and check out the scene there, stop at the Crystal Cove “Shake Shack.” 7703 California 1, Crystal Cove.
- The ocean beach boardwalk from 32nd street down is fairly seedy and touristy. Bars open at 6am and the scene can be sketchy at times.
- Hotel beaches and beaches by the bay versus the ocean may be better for families, girls trips and couples.
Beach traffic is bad in the summer… especially on weekends. Bike when possible.