We all know California is not short on beaches to visit; the problem is, choosing which one to visit? We say take a road trip to see the state's most glam beach destination, Newport Beach in SoCal (That's Southern California, folks).
Newport Beach may already sound familiar to you, thanks to the early 00s classic TV series The OC putting the city on the map. This time around, see the affluent beach minus all the drama by checking out its human-made islands, top-notch restaurants, scenic canals and yachts suited to a music clip. It's also home to a wealth of natural attractions from great surf spots, pristine beaches, and seaside cliffs that are every bit worth your time (and not a dime needing to be spent, we may add!).
It's a place of contrasts, which makes Newport Beach stand out. So switch up your USA road trip to see what the fuss is about as we highlight the things to do in Newport Beach.
With its stunning shores less than one hour's drive south of Los Angeles, Newport Beach is the perfect pit-stop to any USA road trip along the famed Pacific Coast Highway.
It's all about waterfront living as the coastal city rests along the Balboa Peninsula, a tiny slither of the mainland shaped like a finger poking out into the Pacific Ocean. The thin stretch of land protects the harbor that's dotted with several small human-made islands, making it a fun place to island-hop.
You can upgrade your island-hopping ways with beach hopping with the famed beachside city wedged between the state's famed beach spots: USA's surfing capital, Huntington Beach and cove-galore Laguna Beach. Its prime location makes it more the reason to spend a day or two getting to know one of California's chic beachside locales.
Heading to San Francisco? Check out our five top San Francisco hotels with a balcony.
Beach and brunch – is there not a better holiday duo? Like its beach options, Newport Beach also delivers the goods with brunch spots, perfect for replenishing the energy stocks for the day's activity.
Fashion Island, 1133 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA
Forget fried chicken and waffles; brunch just got sweeter with chicken and maple bacon doughnuts on the menu at The Great Maple on Fashion Island. The café specialises in giving a twist in modern comfort foods and, in this case, its finger-licking divine.
15 Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, CA
When by the sea, seafood for breakfast is never a bad idea, particularly if it's The Beachcomber Café's tasty crab cake benedict. And if in the mood, order the borderline novelty bloody Mary that is topped off with a crab claw. Too good.
600w Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, CA
Head towards the light to find yummy brunch options at the Lighthouse Café, such as lemon blueberry ricotta pancakes and breakfast burritos. But if wanting to turn brunch into an event, forget coffee and add extra Mimosas for $17.
211 62nd Street, Newport Beach, CA
Suppose you need that extra greasy pick-me-up to get through the day after a big night, head to Eat Chow! Full of many hearty breakfast options, we can't say no to the flavor-packed breakfast Cubano sandwich, then flushing it down with a raspberry white mocha. Now to find that extra stomach space…
1767 Newport Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA
We're coming back to waffle talk, but for a good reason. Toast Kitchen & Bakery serves the most gourmet chicken and waffle combination that's simply too hard to resist – orange chicken and black sesame waffle. Delicious much?
Okay, now that we have got past the fact that Newport Beach is one primed beachside destination, what's there to do?
Answer: there's plenty. Here we share a handful of our favorite things to do in Newport Beach.
Not all of Newport Beach's islands are made equal. Balboa Island oozes charm and chic with its quaint harborfront village feel and boardwalk, perfect for cycling around. Besides cute buildings, it's also home to the famous frozen chocolate bananas and the Balboa Ferris Wheel, so get ready to unleash your inner kid.
Wide sandy shores are Newport Beach's speciality. Explore the long stretch of beach at the iconic Newport Pier or venture further afield and visit Corona Del Mar State Park. If you are an avid surfer, check out the surf spot The Wedge, famed for its massive shore-breaking waves.
If you are going to be in a place that's all about luxe living, we say join them, even just for a day. The Mediterranean-inspired resort Pelican Hill offers an array of world-class spa treatments for you to completely Zen and unwind. After all, no guilt in treating yourself even on your travels, right?
Newport Beach boasts the largest recreational harbor along the west coast, so why not get amongst it? Create a splash by hiring a kayak or SUP to make the most of its coastline. Or choose to cruise along the harbor and pass by multi-million-dollar homes you can only dream of on a fun electric Duffy Boat.
If feeling the need for activities on land, embark on a hiking or cycling trail.
It's all about going back and forth between flip flops and hiking boots at Crystal Cove State Park. This park stretches over 3 miles and would excite any outdoor enthusiast with canyons, tide pools, coastal cliff bridges and an offshore underwater playground. If you want to immerse yourself in the Cali wilderness, a few campgrounds are available to pitch a tent. Easy.
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Main image by Ariel Blanco/Unsplash.