Things to Do in Newport Beach – Balboa Island
One of the most popular things to do in Newport Beach is to take a ferry ride over to Balboa Island. This small island is home to charming shops and restaurants, as well as a fun boardwalk that’s perfect for an afternoon stroll.
Once you’re there, you can visit Balboa Island Museum – a small but interesting museum that chronicles the history of the island. Get to know Balboa Island Ferry, John Wayne, and Joseph Allan Beek among other exhibit topics. Admission is free!
When you want to relax, go to Balboa Island Park for a game of sand volleyball or to feed the ducks. The park also has a playground and a basketball court.
If you have a daughter who loves mermaids, Once Upon an Island is a must-visit. This event venue hosts mermaid- and princess-themed parties and makeovers. Your kid can learn how to make a snow globe or seashell purse, dress up as a fairy tale character and take photos with Ariel. Tickets start at $95.
Things to Do in Newport Beach – Balboa Peninsula
If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll also enjoy a visit to Balboa Fun Zone located on the Balboa Peninsula. It’s an old-fashioned amusement park with rides, games, and arcades. Enjoy a ride on the waterfront Ferris Wheel, watch whales or tour the nautical museum.
Balboa Peninsula Park is another great spot for families. It has a large playground, sand volleyball courts, and a basketball court. There’s also a grassy area perfect for picnicking or flying a kite.
For something different, visit The Wedge – one of the most popular surfing spots in Newport Beach. Experienced surfers ride the waves here, and you can join them or watch from the beach.
In the Christmas season, visitors can admire decorated and illuminated boats and houses during the Christmas Boat Parade. The boats also offer holiday lights cruises for $32 per person.
Other cool spots on the Balboa Peninsula are:
- Newport Beach Pier – a historic pier where you can go fishing, take a walk, or enjoy the view.
- Balboa Pier – another pier with great views and a Ruby’s Diner.
- Balboa Beach – a wide and sandy beach perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or surfing.
- Newport Landing Whale Watching – go on a whale watching tour and see dolphins, seals, and whales. Tickets start at $28 per person.
- Balboa Pavilion – the oldest building on the Balboa Peninsula, built in 1906. Currently, it’s used as a marine recreation facility.
If you’re looking for active things to do in Newport Beach, there are plenty of options – for example, you could go kayaking. But the city also has its fair share of things to do for those who want to relax and take things slow.
Other Places to Go in Newport Beach
What are some things to do in Newport Beach on the mainland? If you want to explore more of the city, here are some other places to check out:
- Fashion Island – it’s not an actual island, but a large outdoor shopping mall with high-end stores, restaurants, and a movie theater.
- Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve – a great place for hiking, bird watching, or picnicking.
- Sherman Library and Gardens – a beautiful garden with a cactus garden, a koi pond, and a butterfly house. Admission is $5 for non-members.
- Corona Del Mar State Beach Park – a small but pretty beach with a tide pool.
- Inspiration Point – a great spot for sunset watching.
- Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center – learn about the local tide pools and marine life. Admission is free.
Attractions Near Newport Beach
We’ve listed all the fun things to do in Newport Beach, but if you’re staying in the area, it’s worth taking a short drive to a few other places. For example, you can unwind in the beautiful Crystal Cove State Park with hiking trails (including the popular El Moro Canyon Trail), tide pools, and a secluded beach.
Another place to enjoy nature is Buck Gully Reserve, a hidden gem with scenic views, hiking trails, and picnic spots. For an even more relaxing time, head to the Spa at Pelican Hill. This world-class spa offers massages, facials, and other treatments. There’s also Pelican Hill Golf Club if you’re looking to hit the links.
If you’d like to admire some paintings, go to Orange County Museum of Art in Santa Ana. Admission is free, and there are rotating exhibitions and cultural programs. It’s currently closed, but will open again in October 2022.
Are you interested in history? If so, make a trip to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. Admission is $23 for adults and includes a self-guided tour, audio tour, and access to the museum’s grounds.
And finally, don’t forget about Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park – they’re only 20 minutes away from Newport Beach!
Just a short drive south of Newport Beach is Huntington Beach, another great place to visit in Orange County. This beach city is known for its surfing, but there’s also a pier, a boardwalk, and a lively downtown area.
If you’re interested in things to do in Huntington Beach, be sure to check out the International Surfing Museum, the Huntington Beach Art Center, and the Shipley Nature Center. You can also take a stroll through the Central Park Rose Garden or go for a swim at Huntington Dog Beach.
The city of Orange also makes for a great day trip. It’s home to Chapman University, Old Towne Orange, and the Hart Park & Garden.
Some things to do in Orange include visiting the Farmers & Merchants Bank, checking out the Hart Mansion, and taking a walk through Chapman University’s beautiful campus. You can also catch a movie at the Plaza Theatre – it’s one of the last remaining vintage theaters in Orange County.
Where to Stay and Eat in Newport Beach
There are plenty of places to stay in Newport Beach, from luxury hotels to beachfront camping.
For family-friendly accommodations, try one of the many hotels on the Balboa Peninsula, such as the Balboa Bay Resort or the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, consider the Island Hotel Newport Beach or The Bungalow.
As for dining, there are countless restaurants to choose from, whether you’re in the mood for seafood, Italian, or American fare. Some of our favorites include Cannery Seafood of the Pacific, Lido Bottle Works, and Pescadou Bistro.
Enjoy Your Trip to Newport Beach
What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Newport Beach for an unforgettable vacation! There’s something here for everyone to enjoy. It’s also a brilliant spot to visit if you’re staying in Los Angeles for a longer time. And, with so many things to do in Newport Beach, you’ll never be bored.
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