Newport Beach, CA

If you liked watching The OC in the 90s, you will love Newport Beach.
— Beth Scheer
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • 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.

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.

eat and drink

Breakfast/Lunch:

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.

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

inside scoop

  • 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.

skip it

  • 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.

more...

Beach traffic is bad in the summer… especially on weekends. Bike when possible.

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