As popular in pop culture as anywhere in California, Newport Beach has been the setting for such television reality shows as The OC and Real Housewives of Orange County, among others. I haven’t watched those shows before, but I knew the reputation of Newport Beach as a wealthy beach town. Here the median price of homes is a cool million dollars! But Newport Beach has another claim to fame, one that strikes a chord with me especially. Newport Beach is the sister city to Antibes, France, where I lived last summer while working on yachts! This designation basically means that the cities work together to foster peaceful international diplomacy, based on the similar composition and location of the cities. I knew I would love Newport Beach, and I did! And you will too! Get ready for sun, sand, and surf! Here’s your Newport Beach Visitor Guide.
Newport Beach Visitor Guide
How to Get There
Newport Beach is south of Los Angeles but the closest airport is actually John Wayne Airport. You can fly into LAX if that’s your preference but it’s nearly two hours drive from there to Newport Beach, and probably longer with LA’s notoriously bad traffic. Once you get to Newport Beach, you may prefer to have a rental car for getting around. I didn’t need one at all because I stayed close to the beach and restaurants, and just used bikes and taxis to get around beyond that. It’s up to you whether you would rather have a car during your stay or not but you can definitely do without it, depending on where you’re staying and what’s on your itinerary.
When to Go
Southern California is beautiful all year round. You really can’t pick a bad time to visit! I went in March and it was in the 60s. So if you want to lay on the beach, you’re better off waiting for the summer. If you’re up for some boating fun, head to Newport Beach in April for the yacht races and in the summer for the beer can races in Newport Bay!
Where to Stay
You have a couple of options for where to stay in Newport Beach. Stay at an airbnb to get a local feel for the town. The best neighborhood to stay is Balboa Peninsula, which is essentially a long stretch of beach with a couple of piers. It’s almost entirely residential and you can walk to the beach from anywhere on the peninsula! Alternatively, you could stay at one of the resort-like hotels on the mainland. The Hyatt Regency is very lovely and sits right up against the Back Bay of Newport Bay!
What to Do
There are so many ways to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand in Newport Beach! If you’re looking to do more than just lay on the beach, check out my top five things to do in Newport Beach video right here! These include volleyball and surfing, check them all out here.
Where to Eat and Drink
For your morning coffee, head to: Urban Cup, a delicious Vietnamese coffee shop; Seaside Bakery, for some awesome doughnuts; or Alta Coffeehouse, a great organic hippie breakfast café. On Sunday mornings you can sample the local product at the Newport Beach Pier farmers market. Dori Deli has a great menu of sandwiches, perfect for lunchtime. Laventina’s pizza is legendary, especially for some late night snacks. And you should go for a drink at: Stag Bar, a casual, popular bar; Mutt Lynch’s, the locals’ favorite dive-bar; or Baja Sharkeez, for margaritas and a fun party!
Need to Know
Newport Beach has all the laid-back So-Cal vibes you expect, meaning that folks are friendly and chill. Spend a few days here and you’ll head home in a state of calm and relaxed. That also means it’s a safe place to visit for tourists. Come and enjoy some time in the sun in Newport Beach!