Newport Beach shoreline on a sunny day

Newport Beach has one of the most beautiful shorelines. (Photo: Marriott International)

Weekend Getaways

Experience the Relaxed Charm of Newport Beach, California

Whether you have a taste for freshly caught seafood and one-of-a-kind shopping, you’re looking for some beachy bliss or you’re seeking high-octane outdoor thrills, Newport Beach, California, has everything you need. 

Nestled along the Orange County coastline, the town’s idyllic surroundings attract visitors of all kinds — from glamorous travelers seeking high-end amenities to surfers just looking to catch the next wave — but it’s the cultural attractions (and gorgeous seaside homes) that make Newport Beach truly distinctive.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Friday: Soak Up the Sun

Child running on beach at sunset
Take in a classic California sunset. (Photo: Getty Images)

Newport has no shortage of wonderful beaches, but the sandy stretches in West Newport are said to be some of the very best.

Grab your towel and some sunscreen and head to the shore — but first, be sure to stop at Alta Coffee for caffeine or a smoothie.

Spend the next few hours lazing around in the sunshine or going for a dip, then rent a beach cruiser and pedal over to Avila’s El Ranchito, a town favorite for Mexican food since 1975, for a plate of the chile relleno or a bowl of Mama Avila’s soup.

With your belly full of hearty fare, head to the Duffy Electric Boat Company for an afternoon outing.

As you climb into one of these little vessels, you’ll quickly understand why so many locals use the word “duffy” as a verb. Invented back in the 1970s by Marshall Duffield, the electric boats can fit up to 12 adults and are the preferred method of transportation in Newport Harbor. Like a seafaring golf cart, the cruisers max out at around 15 mph, and you don’t need a license or any experience to rent one.

Spend a few hours tootling around the harbor, and be sure to time it right so you can take in the sunset while on board.

End your day with dinner at Mayor’s Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen. Occupying the footprint of Newport’s former City Hall, this trendy spot is part of the beach-cottage-inspired Lido House, the hotel that also boasts the Topside Roof Deck — which is where you’ll head for a nightcap under the stars, if that appeals.

Saturday: Take a Hike

Although Newport Beach may be better known for breezy luxury than outdoor adventure, the city is actually home to amazing parks, where you can find a variety of hiking and biking trails and even rugged campgrounds.

Throw on some comfortable shoes and make your way to Crystal Cove State Park.

If you’re a seasoned hiker, pop over to El Moro Canyon, which features a number of trails at varying levels of difficulty — just be prepared for a bit of a workout. If a leisurely walk is more your speed, opt for the Crystal Cove Trail, where the cliffside path has sweeping views of the water below.

If you hear your stomach begin to rumble during your hike, head to Crystal Cove Shake Shack, a casual but cute restaurant that’s famous for its burgers and milkshakes.

Corona Del Mar cliffs at sunset
Hike to see incredible views from the Corona Del Mar cliffs. (Photo: Getty Images)

After you get cleaned up from your hike, venture out to Corona del Mar and check out Roger’s Gardens. Part gaden, part showroom, part restaurant, it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon looking at flowers or even taking a workshop.

Enjoy a sunny lunch at the on-site patio restaurant, Farmhouse. Decorated with outdoor chandeliers and expertly manicured shrubs, the menu here evolves with the seasons.

From the gardens, go to Lookout Point, one of Newport Beach’s most popular spots for ocean-gazing, to watch the sunset over the water. And to finish your day, treat yourself to fresh seafood (or a steak) at the Bungalow, a neighborhood mainstay and one of the more elevated eateries in town.

Sunday: It’s Island Time

On your last day in Newport Beach, hop on the Balboa Island Ferry and make your way over to Balboa Island. Although small, the man-made island has a big heart, and as you stroll around the area, you’ll fall in love with its charm.

First and foremost, you’ll want to pay a visit to Balboa Island Baking Company, a celebrated spot that’s famous for its cinnamon rolls.

With a treat in hand, walk down Marine Avenue and spend the next few hours peeking into its many stylish shops, art galleries and specialty stores. For lunch, try Wilma’s Patio, a neighborhood staple with yummy food and a cozy, casual environment.

Just be sure to save room for dessert, as no trip to Balboa Island is complete without a frozen banana from Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop. These tasty sweets have been around for more than 75 years and come with your choice of delicious toppings.

Bacon cheeseburgers on a plate
Enjoy a hearty cheeseburger. (Photo: Marriott International)

Spend the rest of the day at the nearby Balboa Peninsula, home to the can’t-miss, circa-1936 Fun Zone. Steeped in nostalgia, the area features arcade games and carnival rides, including the famed Balboa Ferris Wheel, for splendid, spinning views over the ocean.

Once you’ve had your fill of old-fashioned fun, head to Ruby’s Diner, the original location of the now-national chain, where you’ll enjoy fish and chips or a Ruby Burger, washed down with a thick shake.