15 Best Things to Do in Newport Beach, CA

Newport Beach, CA
Jon Bilous / shutterstock.com

If you're looking to enjoy some time by the sea, consider stopping at the coastal city known as Newport Beach.

Located in southern California and with a population of 82,914, the city has been around since 1906.

Anyone who is a fan of water activities will find no shortage of options to try when visiting this city.

Aside from this, you'll find that Newport Beach has its share of hidden gems for you to explore.

From nature trails to wine tasting and shopping, there are plenty of activities you can try on both land and sea in the city.

With that said, here are the 15 best things to do in Newport Beach:

Find Fun Activities at the Balboa Fun Zone

Far exterior view of Balboa Fun Zone
Phil Feyerabend / Shutterstock.com

One of the biggest things to do when visiting Newport Beach is to visit the Balboa Fun Zone.

The Balboa Fun Zone is a coastal amusement area that's existed since 1936 and is the best place to have some fun.

When visiting this amusement area on East Bay Avenue, you can find plenty of facilities and activities to try.

People enjoying the wide variety of entertainment at Balboa Fun Zone
TonelsonProductions / Shutterstock.com

Some of the facilities available in this amusement area include arcades and various rides such as a Ferris Wheel.

If you're interested in experiencing different activities, you can also ride on a boat.

Aside from all this, you can also find plenty of spots to shop and eat at the boardwalk.

Whatever you choose to do in the Balboa Fun Zone, you can find plenty to enjoy.

Colorful Ferris Wheel at Balboa Fun Zone
TonelsonProductions / Shutterstock.com

Seek Whales and Deep Sea Fishes with Davey's Locker Whale Watching & Sportfishing

When it comes to the activities you can do in Newport Beach, one of the top activities to do is whale watching.

Among the different services you can choose to book, you need to check out Davey's Locker Whale Watching & Sportfishing.

Other than offering options to see whales, Davey's Locker Whale Watching & Sportfishing can also provide you with the unique experience of deep-sea fishing.

There are two types of fishing trips you can take and hundreds of fish you have a chance of catching.

By booking Davey's Locker Whale Watching & Sportfishing, you can experience plenty of marine life encounters.

Enjoy the Trails and Wildlife at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

A stream flowing beside the hiking trail at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock.com

After or before visiting the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, you need to check out the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.

The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is the best place to explore nature and seek out more wildlife local to Newport Beach.

With a thousand acres and various trails to explore, there is plenty for you to see in this preserve.

A narrow wooden bridge at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock.com

Do you like birds?

At this preserve, you have a chance to spot thousands of bird species depending on the season.

From exploring trails to seeking wildlife, there are plenty of outdoor options you can choose to enjoy at this preserve.

Panorama view of Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock.com

See the Whales with East Meets West Whale Watching

Anyone who is a fan of whales, dolphins, or both, needs to check out East Meets West Whale Watching.

East Meets West Whale Watching is an ideal service to experience a close encounter with wildlife.

There are plenty of marine species you can spot with this service ranging from whales to dolphins and seals.

When booking a session with East Meets West Whale Watching, this is a limit of six people per ride.

To book the best time for you, you can either make a reservation online or check out the service by heading to South Bay Front.

Take a Swim at the Corona del Mar State Beach

People enjoying the sunset at Corona del Mar State Beach
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

There are plenty of places in Newport Beach where you can enjoy different water activities, and one of them is Corona del Mar State Beach.

The Corona del Mar State Beach is the best place to visit if you're looking to take a dip in the water.

Golden brown sand at Corona del Mar State Beach
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

You can find the beach at Corona Del Mar, then head to the area between Iris Street and Ocean Boulevard.

As a beach that spans a half-mile long, there is plenty of scenery to enjoy in this area.

Whether you dive into the waters or enjoy a picnic on the sandy shores, you're sure to get a fun beach day by visiting Corona del Mar State Beach.

Aerial view of Corona del Mar State Beach
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Cruise on a Gondola with Gondola Adventures

Have you ever experienced riding a gondola?

If not, you need to book a ride with Gondola Adventures.

Gondola Adventures is a cruise service running since 1993 and provides a selection of cruises for guests to enjoy.

Cruises with Gondola Adventures can last as long as 2 hours, depending on the type of cruise you book.

Each cruise features different treats you can enjoy, including a meal, desserts, and local snacks.

You can find the service docked at Bayside Drive and book your choice of cruise online.

Whatever cruise you choose to have, you're certain to enjoy a treat and lovely views.

Test the Waves at The Wedge

Crest of huge waves at The Wedge
Keith V / Shutterstock.com

Any surfing fans need to make their way to The Wedge.

Known for having waves that can go as high as 30-feet, The Wedge is the best place for surfers to challenge themselves.

Big wave at The Wedge with rocks in the background
Chad Zuber / Shutterstock.com

You can find this spot by heading to the end of the Balboa Peninsula's southeast section.

Unfortunately, from the start of May to October, water activities at The Wedge are limited to bodysurfing and nothing else.

Overall, The Wedge is the best place to catch some waves.

Two surfers enjoying at The Wedge
Thomas J. Sebourn / Shutterstock.com

Experience Sailing the Sky with Balboa Parasailing

Take to the air by booking a session with Balboa Parasailing.

Balboa Parasailing is an ideal service to book if you want to experience parasailing.

Set at East Bay Avenue, you can soar as high as 800 feet during your ride and enjoy the experience alongside two to three people.

If it is your first time doing parasailing, don't worry; the staff is a reliable and licensed group that can ensure safety for all riders.

By choosing to book with Balboa Parasailing, you can get a fun experience while seeing some gorgeous views of the city.

Paddle the Waters with Pirate Coast Paddle Company

If you're looking to enjoy a more laid-back water activity, you need to check out Pirate Coast Paddle Company.

The Pirate Coast Paddle Company offers both rental and tour services for you to enjoy.

For those with little experience with paddleboarding, you can also book classes with the company.

One of the unique experiences you can have with Pirate Coast Paddle Company is to tour the waters of Newport Beach on paddleboards that glow in the dark.

Another option you can experience is to try doing yoga on a paddleboard.

By choosing to book with Pirate Coast Paddle Company, you're sure to get a unique experience.

Window Shop at the Fashion Island

Sign board of Fashion Island
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

You can find plenty of shopping spots in Newport Beach, but if you want a memorable shopping experience, you need to head to Fashion Island.

Fashion Island, which you can find at Newport Center Drive, is a shopping center with plenty to offer.

The mall has been running for over thirty years now and features nearly two hundred stores for you to peruse.

Fashion Island at California
Real Deal Photo / Shutterstock.com

With three floors and 909,000 square feet, there is plenty for you to explore at Fashion Island.

In addition to this, the mall offers a personal shopper's service to guide you through exclusive boutiques.

Shopaholics will definitely have their fill when visiting this venue.

Restaurants and shops at Fashion Island
TonelsonProductions / Shutterstock.com

Go Boating at the Newport Bay Conservatory

While there are different places in Newport Beach where you can seek out local wildlife, it is only at Newport Bay Conservatory where you can enjoy a boat ride while seeking them.

At the Newport Bay Conservatory, there are various outdoor activities you can choose to do, such as hiking the trails or cycling the area.

Among the different activities you can choose to do, you need to check out the kayak tours during the weekend.

By booking a tour with Newport Bay Conservatory, you have a chance to both explore the waters in the Bay area and find various wildlife.

You also have the option to go kayaking yourself by starting from Northstar Beach or Lower Castaways Park.

Either way, you can enjoy a different way to explore the area by visiting the Newport Bay Conservatory.

Do a Wine Tasting at the Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery

Try even more local delights by making a stop at the Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery.

Existing since near 1998, the winery features nearly 4 acres of land for its vineyards along with different natural scenery to admire.

The vineyard offers tours for up to 30 minutes, and some of the scenery you can find include botanical gardens and an aviary.

As for wine tastings, the winery is only open for a private tasting and requires a total of 8 people before a reservation is acceptable.

You can also choose to purchase their products online and have them shipped to you.

To visit the vineyard, you'll need to head to the Upper Newport Beach Bay.

Browse Local History at the Balboa Island Museum

Front exterior view of Balboa Island Museum
Alan Budman / Shutterstock.com

For those interested in checking out local history, you need to visit the Balboa Island Museum.

At the Balboa Island Museum, you can find various exhibits featuring local and popular activities and sights.

Sign board of Balboa Island Museum
Alan Budman / Shutterstock.com

Along with displaying history, the museum also presents different pieces from local artists.

To add to this, the Balboa Island Museum features educational presentations.

Once you've had your fill of exploration, you can check out the museum's merchandise and purchase them online or check out their events for the year.

Have a Look at The Pirate House

There is a good share of tourist sights and attractions located around Newport, and one of them is the Pirate House.

The Pirate House is a structure you would expect to see in an amusement park, but actually, you can find it around the Marcus Avenue area.

It features an array of statues decorating a private residence and a dock nearby.

What makes this attraction stand out?

As the name states, all the statues are pirates engaging in different activities throughout the building.

If you head to the waters nearby, you find even more pirates scattered around, playing cards or set on a boat.

While it may not be the most exciting location for some, it is still a fun sight to check out when visiting the city.

What's more, you may be lucky enough to meet the owner during your visit to the attraction.

Explore Nature and History at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center

The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center is a prime place to enjoy nature and learn something new.

Set within a bluff and spanning 10,000 square feet in size, the facility features gorgeous views and different exhibits for you to explore.

While it may not be the most prominent location compared to other spots in Newport Beach, the center does offer its share of charm.

Aside from checking out views and displays, you can join a tour around the Bay.

You can find this center by heading to the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve or contacting the staff to learn more about the programs held at the facility.

Final Thoughts

Newport Beach is known for many things, and one of them is the long list of water activities you can enjoy.

For those who are a fan of marine life, there are plenty of services that can provide you the chance to see wildlife ranging from whales to seals.

If you're looking to go surfing or kayaking, different areas offer fun waves and beautiful scenery for you to explore.

Outside of the different spots, you can explore on land and water; there is a good share of shops and eateries for you to try out.

Aside from this, you can also treat yourself to some fun at an amusement park.

Consider Newport Beach as your next destination for fun.