14 Things To Do In Newport Beach, California

Lorrie
Lorrie 
Updated
| 8 min read

Newport Beach is a place of sun, sand and surf and is an outdoor paradise. It also offers shopping opportunities as well as many tours. And whether you wish to rent a boat or a yacht in Newport Beach or opt for luxurious beach house rentals, a range of exciting accommodations are available here. Explore the many attractions that this town has to offer during your stay. Check out these fun things to do in Newport Beach, California.

1. Balboa Island Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Community support! People are getting excited!

Posted by Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society on Monday, November 26, 2018

Balboa Island Museum is dedicated to the history of Balboa Island, a complex of three, adjacent man-made islands. In the mid-19th century, the ambitious project of “creating” the island from what was just a mudflat or sand bar, barely emerging from the water, began under the direction of a visionary developer, William S. Collins. Founded in 2000, the museum was later moved to its current location. Its exhibits preserve, pay homage, and promote the history of the Newport Beach area and Balboa Island.

Balboa Island Museum

Address: 210 B Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA 92662

Website: Balboa Island Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Thu : 10am - 4pm; Fri - Sun: 10am -5pm

Price: Free

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2. Surf and sand

Posted by Newport Beach, California on Saturday, 11 March 2017

If you’re wondering what to do in Newport Beach, how about visiting one of the many beaches located here? There are plenty of beaches in the Newport Beach area, including Newport Municipal Beach and its picturesque wooden fishing pier gives you great views of the shoreline. Balboa Pier Beach offers a bike trail for bikes and runners and Corona Del Mar State Beach is on the east side of Newport Harbor, where volleyball is very popular. Pirate Cove Beach is a great place for swimming and has cliffs behind the beach. North Star Beach is known for paddle boarding and kayaking and has many species of birds and has become one of the top bird-watching destinations in the state. West Jetty View Beach is popular with body surfers, surfers, knee boarders, and body boarders and is located by Balboa Peninsula.

Classic Yacht Adventures provides the unique combination of a classic yacht with history. They offer several different adventures such as half or full day private chartered yacht along the stunning southern California coastline, known as the Gold Coast. The tours offer the option to stop in one of the many coves and have lunch. The Newport Harbor Tour lets you check out one of the largest yacht harbors in the world. You will see luxurious yachts, beautifully restored classic boats and the many sea creatures in the area from diving pelicans to California sea lions, playing in the water. In the Sunset Cruise, guests are treated to a spectacular view, delicious appetizers and a wine tasting, while sailing through Newport Harbor and the open ocean to enjoy a southern California sunset. Sailing etc

Newport Area Beaches

Website: California Beaches Newport

Classic Yacht Adventures

Address: 3335 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA

Price: from 350 USD (Bay cruise), 525 USD (Half-day sail) and 1,150 USD (Full-day sail)

Duration: 2 to 7 hours depending which charter you take

Contact: +1 (949) 612-8767

Website: Classic Yacht Adventures

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3. Whale watching and kayak tours

Check out this shot from one of our recent whale watching encounters! When the Ocean Explorer and Patriot cooperated to...

Posted by Newport Landing Whale Watching on Friday, 31 March 2017

Those interested in Newport Beach whale watching can opt for one of the many tours offered here. Newport Landing Whale Watching has been offering tours for 20 years in Newport Bay. Their primary whale watching ship was built just for whale watching with unobstructed views from anywhere on the boat.They have five ships that take visitors on tours which can also include dolphin sightings, too.

Newport Bay Conservancy is focused on the conservation and restoration of Upper Newport Bay, a natural resource of southern California. They offer Kayak tours of the Back Bay area and are led by a naturalist guide. The guide begins with a quick lesson on kayak paddling and then leads the group into the Ecological Reserve. They make several stops to discuss the ecology and wildlife of the Bay. They also give several free nature hikes including the Explore the Bay Family Hike and the Big Canyon Bird and Plant Walk which involves exploring several habitats and provides a great introduction for those interested in identifying birds and plants of the Bay area. The Back Bay Drive Nature Walk is a leisurely morning walk along Bay Back Drive, observing birds and plants.

Newport Landing Whale Watching

Address: 309 Palm St #A, Newport Beach, CA 92661

Price: from 30 USD (Seniors and Kids Under 12) and 36 USD (Adults)

Opening Hours: Several tours a day depending on the season, check their website for more info.

Website: Newport Landing Whale Watching

Newport Bay Conservancy

Address: 2301 University Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Price: from 12.50 - 25 USD (Kayak tour) and free-of-charge (Other walks)

Duration: 2 hours

Access: 13 min from Newport Beach

Contact: +1 (949) 640-1751

Website: Newport Bay Conservancy

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4. Museums and wine tours

Posted by Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum on Thursday, 3 November 2016

There are quite a few museums in the area including the Gray Matter Museum of Art which has sculpture, pottery, glass-blowing, interpretive performances, music, photography, drawings, paintings, design and fashion, all made by local artists who need exposure for their work. The International Surfing Museum located up the coast, in Huntington Beach, has a great collection of surfboards and local history that has been preserved and cataloged into a rotating exhibit. Go inland a bit and you can see the Irvine Historical Museum, located in the San Joaquin Ranch House. This museum includes a research library and an extensive photo collection of local historic information.

The Orange County Wine Tour offers a personal guide as you learn about the process of making handcrafted wines, complete with tastings. They offer three options for tours. The one winery tour includes your choice between a winemaking tour or a vineyard and cave tour or the two winery tour which includes a tour of two wineries, caves, wine tasting and learning about wine making. Finally, the three winery tour includes visiting two estate wineries both with vineyards, and a year-round winemaking facility. These are private estates and guests travel in limos to the locations.

Gray Matter Museum of Art

Address: 485 E 17th St #101, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

Access 50 Santa Ana Bus 17th-Irvine

Website: Gray Matter Art Museum

International Surfing Museum

Address: 411 Olive Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Price: 2 USD

Opening Hours: Closed Mondays, Tues to Sun 12-5pm

Access: 1 Bus Long Beach, Pacific Coast Main

Website: International Surfing Museum

Irvine Historical Museum

Address: 5 San Joaquin, Irvine, CA 92612

Price: 5 USD

Opening Hours: Tues to Sunday 1-4 pm; closed holidays

Access: CA 55 N to I-405 S to Irvine

Website: Irving Historical Museum

Orange County Wine Tour

Price: from 65 - 129 USD

Opening Hours: limo pickup at set times

Duration: Tour 1: 3 hrs, Tour 2: 4 hrs and Tour 3: 6 hrs

Website: Orange County Wine Tours

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The following content is contributed by Trip101 writer, Celeste

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5. Family time at Balboa Fun Zone

Balboa Fun Zone by D Ramey Logan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Don Ramey Logan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Balboa Fun Zone is a popular Newport Beach attraction and a favorite with families. Located near Balboa Island Ferry, it has been the source of entertainment for over 80 years for many locals and travellers. Open all year round, except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, there are lots to attractions to discover here! Take on the Ferris Wheel for stunning views of Newport Harbour and the Pacific Ocean. For some heart-pumping adventure, ride the Happy Swing or challenge yourself to Ocean Motion. There’s also a Coconut Tree Climb if you want to race against your family members to see who reaches the top first!

Balboa Fun Zone

Address: 600 E Bay Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92661, United States

Website: Balboa Fun Zone

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 5pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 6pm

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6. Cycle and skate at Newport Beach Pier

Newport Beach aerial photo D Ramey Logan Feb 14 2015
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Don Ramey Logan used under CC BY 4.0

Located right beside the municipal beach at Newport Beach, you can cycle and skate along the boardwalk while enjoying the ocean views. There’s a bicycle path from Newport Beach Pier to Huntington Beach. It will take approximately half an hour if you decide to cycle your way to the north. You may also stroll along the trail and watch pelicans and seagulls going about their way. Pay Dory Fishing Fleet and Market a visit since it’s conveniently located at the base of the pier. Founded in 1891, the seafood market opens early in the morning from Wednesday to Sunday. Head there if you would like to purchase some fresh catch!

Newport Beach Pier

Address: 70 Newport Pier, Newport Beach, CA 92663, United States

Website: Newport Beach Pier

Opening hours: 5am - 12am (daily)

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7. Spend a peaceful day at John Wayne Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

John Wayne Park is a public park that is just a five-minute walk from Holiday Inn Express Newport Beach. Away from the hustle and bustle of the beach area and the crowds, John Wayne Park is a relatively peaceful recreation ground. It was previously known as Ensign View Park but in 2017, it was renamed after John Wayne, one of Newport Beach’s most famous residents. He died in 1979 but the John Wayne Cancer Foundation headquartered in Newport Beach continues to keep his memory alive to this day. John Wayne Park makes a good place no matter the time of the day but many gather to catch amazing sunset views.

John Wayne Park

Address: Newport Beach, CA 92663, United States

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8. Have your shopping fix at Fashion Island

Fashion Island shopping mall in Newport Beach, CA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vlad 89 used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Fashion Island is a mall open to the public since 1967. Situated on Newport Center Drive, it is right beside Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. There are many retail options here, including luxury brands like Chanel, Fendi, and Gucci. Familiar brands names include Lush, Apple Store, and Havaianas. There’s also no lack of dining options at this mall: Chick-fil-A, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Starbucks Coffee. Done with shopping and dining? Catch a new release or a discounted afternoon show at THE LOT Fashion Island cinema. Pick up some organic groceries at Whole Foods Market before heading back to your accommodation.

Fashion Island

Address: 401 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States

Website: Fashion Island

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 7pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm

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9. Hike at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach, California
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

For nature lovers, Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is one of the best things to see in Newport Beach. This 135-acre (54-hectare) wide park is open from 10am in the morning daily except Mondays. While you’re among clumps of trees, look up and see if you can spot some bird species like California gnatcatcher, San Diego cactus wren, and burrowing owls. Some of these species are decreasing in population, so it’s a privilege to still be able to spot them while you can. Apart from wildlife viewing, you can also spend your day indulging in some recreational activities such as hiking, jogging, walking, or cycling. You’re a 15-minute drive away from Fashion Island, and Newport Beach Golf Course and Santa Ana Country Club are within a short driving distance too.

Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

Address: 2301 University Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States

Website: Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon)

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10. Enjoy a fun-filled day at Balboa Village

BalboaPavilion
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Flickr user fontp... used under CC BY 2.0

Balboa Village is where you and your loved ones can come together to have a fun-filled day. Balboa Fun Zone is part of Balboa Village. Apart from the amusement centre and beaches that make up Balboa Village, there are many other places to explore here. Before catching a ferry at Catalina Flyer, grab some delicious breakfast sandwiches at Balboa Bakery & Donuts. Waiting for a whale watching or sportfishing tour to start at Davey’s Locker? You’ve got to take a picture at the iconic Balboa Pavilion. There are other food options at the village - New York Style Pizza, Balboa Bar-B-Que, and Cowafornia Ice Cream. Kids can also enjoy a game or two at Balboa Arcade.

Balboa Village

Address: 600 E Bay Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92661, United States

Website: Balboa Village

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11. Greenery awaits you at Sherman Library & Gardens (from USD 5.0)

Make a trip to Sherman Library & Gardens if you want to get away from the beaches for a while. See a different side of Newport Beach with the botanical gardens at Sherman Library & Gardens. It’s a five-minute drive away from Corona del Mar State Beach. Take your time to stroll through the conservatories and browse the library collections. To see what’s blooming, you can head to their website for a glimpse of the highlights. Some plants have really attractive names - Lady of the Night (Brunfelsia americana), Bleeding Heart Fuchsia (Fuchsia Rys), and The Chocolate Orchid (Oncidium). The library has interesting book collections on the history of Pacific Southwest, archival collections, and even art collections from famous painters like William Wendt.

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Skip the Line: Sherman Library & Gardens Admission Ticket

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

1 review

12. Go wine tasting at Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery

NorCal2018 -020 Sterling Vineyards - Wine Barrels - Napa Valley -S0240208
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fred Hsu used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery is a 5-minute drive or 10-minute walk from Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. The vineyards are not open to the public, so you won’t be able to do a walk-in. However, you can make a private reservation via their website. Do note that to tour the winery, you must have a group of at least eight persons. Thus, this makes for a great group activity. Children aged 13 and under are not allowed to enter. It’s interesting to note that one-third of their property is dedicated to 1200 vines. It’s where tons of superb quality red wine grapes are produced. Their site is available for booking if you’re looking to hold corporate events, wedding ceremonies, or even photography sessions.

Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery

Address: 2128 Mesa Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States

Website: Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

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13. Savour oysters at Newport Landing Restaurant

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Enjoy Happy Hour all day on our outside lanai, or on our Oyster Bar Deck#Newportlanding #safelyserving #indoorandoutdoorseating #dogswelcomeoutdoors #oysterbar #familyownedrestaurant

Posted by Newport Landing Restaurant on Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Sited in the vicinity of Balboa Village, Newport Landing Restaurant is a waterfront restaurant. This two-storey restaurant gives you fantastic views of Newport Harbor and Balboa Island Ferry. For the best viewing experience, head to the oyster bar located upstairs. Those planning to dine-in with furry pets can do so at their Lanai patio outdoors. Freshly caught and cooked food is served at Newport Landing Restaurant. Other than oysters, some of the other seafood items to try here are steamed mussels, crispy coconut shrimp, and grilled Atlantic salmon. Complete your meal with draft beers, wines, or handcrafted cocktails.

Newport Landing Restaurant

Address: 503 Edgewater Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92661, United States

Website: Newport Landing Restaurant

Opening hours: 11:30am - 9pm (daily)

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14. Watch the sunset from Inspiration Point

Corona del Mar Sunset
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ngooding1 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Inspiration Point is another well-known tourist attraction in Newport Beach, California. It’s a five-minute walk away from Corona del Mar State Beach. This lookout point offers incredible ocean views. There are benches around so take a seat if you find a vacant one. If not, this place is also a great photo-taking spot and a walk-through from the beach. It’s advisable not to drive to the destination during peak hours since it will be hard to find a parking spot by the streets. If you’re bringing your children along, be careful while walking through the rocks. Otherwise, just stay on the pavements and enjoy the sea breeze, wild plants, and flowers by the pathways.

Inspiration Point

Address: 3001 Ocean Blvd, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625, United States

Website: Inspiration Point

Opening hours: 8am - 10pm (daily)

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Newport Beach is the place to be this summer

Newport Beach Views 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pumaphotog used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Forget your worries and head to Newport Beach for adventure and some relaxation time.

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Frequently asked questions about fun things to do in Newport Beach

1. Whic are the top attractions to visit in Newport Beach?

The sunny city of Newport Beach has plenty of sights to see. The top attractions to visit in Newport Beach are Newport Beach Pier, Balboa Fun Zone, Balboa Village and Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. You can also embark on whale watching and kayak tours from here.

2. Which are the best outdoor activities in Newport Beach?

Plenty of outdoor activities are available at Newport Beach. Spend some time surfing or swimming at one of the many beaches here. You can go skating or cycling at Newport Beach Pier or hike at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Whale watching and kayaking tours are also popular outdoor activities here.

3. Which are the most popular things to do with kids and family in Newport Beach?

Newport Beach has several family-friendly activities and attractions. Some of the most popular things to do with kids and family in Newport Beach are spending a fun-filled day at Balboa Village, enjoy thrilling rides at Balboa Fun Zone, watching the sunset from Inspiration Point or relaxing at John Wayne Park.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I'm a self-employed pet sitter and have been in business for almost 13 years. I'm a solo traveler since 2011 and have visited Charleston, Newport RI, Chicago, Denver, Boston, Mackinaw Island and...Read more

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