Newport Beach, California guide: Where to eat, drink and stay in the epitome of Orange County cool

Newport Beach, California guide: Where to eat, drink and stay in the epitome of Orange County cool

ven if you’ve never been to Newport Beach, it’s a place that’ll probably feel familiar. Over the years, it’s played a background role in many films and television shows, from Beaches and Treasure Island to The OC and Arrested Development. There’s even a swish film festival held every October, which draws in the stars.

This coastal city is the epitome of Orange County living, with al fresco restaurants dotted around a yacht-filled harbour, miles of sandy beaches, and laidback bars where locals drink rosé in flip flops. With 10 distinct neighbourhoods, Newport Beach is more a city of villages, from Balboa Island (reached via a cute, three-minute ferry) to Corona del Mar, where clifftop homes overlook a surf beach below. The Pacific Coast Highway cuts through the city, making it a good stopover for those doing the classic road trip down the California coast.

If you’re ready to live that OC life, this guide brings you the best things to do in Newport Beach, from the hottest hotels and restaurants to the activities you won’t want to miss.


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CITY GUIDES

Newport Beach, California guide: Where to eat, drink and stay in the epitome of Orange County cool

This west coast city, backdrop to countless films and TV series, is the trendy heart of OC living. Nicola Brady takes a deep dive – from surf beaches to shopping spots and sushi – to discover why it’s worth a visit

1 day ago

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<p>There are miles of sand to explore in Newport Beach </p>
There are miles of sand to explore in Newport Beach(Getty / iStock)
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Even if you’ve never been to Newport Beach, it’s a place that’ll probably feel familiar. Over the years, it’s played a background role in many films and television shows, from Beaches and Treasure Island to The OC and Arrested Development. There’s even a swish film festival held every October, which draws in the stars.

This coastal city is the epitome of Orange County living, with al fresco restaurants dotted around a yacht-filled harbour, miles of sandy beaches, and laidback bars where locals drink rosé in flip flops. With 10 distinct neighbourhoods, Newport Beach is more a city of villages, from Balboa Island (reached via a cute, three-minute ferry) to Corona del Mar, where clifftop homes overlook a surf beach below. The Pacific Coast Highway cuts through the city, making it a good stopover for those doing the classic road trip down the California coast.

If you’re ready to live that OC life, this guide brings you the best things to do in Newport Beach, from the hottest hotels and restaurants to the activities you won’t want to miss.

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Best things to do

Whale watching

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<p>Humpback whales and blue whales can be spotted between May and November</p>
Humpback whales and blue whales can be spotted between May and November(Getty / iStock)

This stretch of coastline is renowned for its marine life, with whales and dolphins congregating in their droves just off the shore. Head out with Newport Coastal Adventure, and you’ll speed along the coast on whip-fast Zodiac boats, accompanied by naturalists whose knowledge is second to none. Between May and November, you might see fin whales, blue whales, humpbacks and, in all likelihood, hundreds upon hundreds of common dolphins, who surround the boats leaping and playing around the bow all year round.

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SUP yoga

The Back Bay is a peaceful wetland nature reserve, where Sunday morning joggers make their way around the hiking trail and people bike along the wooden bridges and boardwalk. You can rent stand-up paddleboards at Pirate Coast Paddle and head out on the water, or go one better with a SUP yoga class from SoCal Paddle Yoga. On the calm waters of the bay, you’ll be led through a series of poses on the board, for an experience that’s a little more challenging but a hell of a lot more fun.

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