It’s about time I finally share my favorite things to do in my own city. Whether you’re looking for an activity filled weekend or a chance to lay on the beach and relax Newport Beach has it all. Swimming and eating are typically my favorite things to do, but real adventures can bodysurf the Wedge, paddle board in the back bay, and obviously surf.
For the first-timers, aka shoobies (anyone 90s kids watch Rocket Power?!) allow me to show you Newport through my eyes so you can make the most of your weekend. Trust me I’m a local 🙂
Duffy boat in the back bay
Friday afternoon or early evening is the perfect time to rent a duffy boat and cruise around the harbor. Grab your friends, snacks, and a bottle of wine and take off! You can usually find great rental deals on Groupon and the rates are even cheaper on weekdays. The boats are docked in the Fun Zone on the Newport Peninsula. Someone from your party has to drive the boat, so don’t forget to bring a designated driver.
Sunset View Park
Catch an amazing sunset at Sunset View Park (corner of PCH and Balboa Boulevard.) You can see the entire peninsula and Catalina Island from this spot depending on the clouds.
Night out on the peninsula
There are several touristy bars on the pier, but if you want the local experience I would go to Malarky’s, Stag Bar, and my personal favorite, Mutt Lynch’s. You can order a beer the size of your head and watch any football game your heart desires. Definitely your typical beach bars so no need to dress up.
Ferry from Fun Zone to Balboa Island
The best way to get to Balboa Island is to take Newport Boulevard all the way down the peninsula until you hit Balboa Pier and the Fun Zone on the left. There is plenty to do on both sides! The Fun Zone is great for little kids, there is a ferris wheel, shops, and other rides. It’s only $1 to take the ferry to Balboa Island and the ride lasts less than five minutes, but it’s all part of the experience!
Balboa Island has beautiful Nantucket style homes and a street lined with restaurants, a candy store, and the famous Dad’s Original. You have to try a Balboa Bar, it’s a chocolate dipped ice cream bar and you can top it with whatever you want. Other than eating and sightseeing there isn’t much else to do on Balboa Island so it’s a fun morning or daytime activity that will only take a couple of hours.
You can rent bikes for the day just about anywhere on the peninsula. There are several bike rental stores right by Balboa Pier.
Experience the Wedge
The Wedge is one of the most famous spots in Newport because of the enormous swells. Check the tide report before you go to see how big they are going to be, but surfing isn’t allowed. You can watch some crazy boogie boarders and bodysurfers though! It’s a fairly quiet beach with a nice park, great for laying out or a picnic.
Sunset at the pier (Newport or Balboa)
There is a Ruby’s restaurant at the end of Balboa Pier and Newport Pier has several restaurants right before. For some reason the sunsets are usually better in the winter, but regardless of the season the pier is always busy. Don’t forget your camera!
Lido shops and restaurants
Lido was completely renovated this year with new shops and restaurants popping up in 2017 including a Nobu Sushi. There are several high end stores and a new coffee shop too. Walking along the back bay you there is a great view of the water and yachts parked everywhere.
Crystal Cove is located in south Newport, close to Laguna Beach. This is my favorite stop along PCH because of the amazing view. The Beachcomber is a popular beachfront restaurant that is great for brunch or happy hour to complete your Newport Beach trip. I usually stop by Ruby’s in Crystal Cove for a milkshake. During the summer and hotter months the traffic and line to get into Ruby’s is awful, but I’ve found that it’s easier to get in on weekdays and in the winter.
It’s tricky getting to Crystal Cove beach, you have to park in the national park parking lot off PCH (you have to pay) and then walk through the underground tunnel or along the freeway to reach the staircase, which takes you down to the beach. It’s worth the extra effort though because the little area surrounding The Beachcomber is super cute.
Another fun thing you can do during the summer is paddle board in the back bay. The water is calmer and there are paddle board rentals all along the peninsula.
And that is how to spend a perfect weekend in Newport Beach! I love this beach town and it will always have a special place in my heart. Nothing like waking up to the sound of the waves and 75 degree weather every day. Just park your car for the weekend, grab a beach cruiser and start adventuring.