Posted

May 24, 2017

With luxury shopping at Fashion Island, hiking trails and scenic golf courses, visitors will never find themselves wanting things to do in the city of Newport Beach. For the quintessential experience, however, take to the water. Home to more than eight miles of beaches and the largest recreational harbor on the West Coast, Newport Beach is a coastal paradise found. Soak up the sun while engaging in aquatic opportunities for all ages and skill levels, from scenic boat tours to interactive adventures.

Dock and Dine



Photo Courtesy of Duffy Electric Boats of Newport Beach

Climb aboard an electric Duffy boat to cruise around the harbor with up to 12 people, checking out sites like John Wayne’s former residence and Balboa Island. Rentals are available by the hour, and 11 public docks marked by blue-and-white-topped pilings allow boaters to also explore on foot. When it comes to food, pack your own or pull up to one of the waterfront restaurants like Pizza Nova that offers dockside service. duffyofnewportbeach.com

Ride the Ferry to Balboa Island



Photo Courtesy of Ian Keating

At nearly 100 years old, the Balboa Island Ferry is deeply engrained in the Newport Beach consciousness. Clocking in at under five minutes across an 800-foot stretch of water starting from the peninsula, it’s a quick ride but affords 360-degree views of the harbor. It also sets the mood for an afternoon of exploration on the charming, walkable island where you can find a historic museum, famed frozen banana stands and eclectic shops lining the small streets. balboaislandferry.com

Newport Dunes



Photo Courtesy of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort

Sail, kayak, pedal or paddle your way across the Newport Dunes Waterpark, a recreational lagoon along the Back Bay. Equipment can be checked out for a fee Thursday through Sunday, with daily rentals offered from late May through Labor Day. newportdunes.com

Back Bay Guided Kayak Tour

The Back Bay is one of Newport Beach’s best-kept secrets. An ecological wonder, it’s SoCal’s largest remaining coastal wetlands that provide a feeding area for local and migrating wildlife. Climb into a kayak to explore the estuary’s natural beauty on a two-hour guided tour departing every Saturday and Sunday morning from the Newport Aquatic Center. newportbay.org

Tidepool Exploration at Crystal Cove



Photo Courtesy of J. Christopher Launi

The state park in Newport Coast houses underwater parks that bring visitors up close to aquatic creatures just below the surface. The tidepools each provide a different experience, with the tide unveiling myriad sea anemones, barnacle beds and hermit crabs scuttling across the rocky formations. Volunteer docents are often on hand to offer helpful tips on tidepool etiquette and provide educational tidbits about marine life. crystalcovestatepark.org

Whale Watching

May marks the beginning of a special season for whale watching. In the spring, waters warm up and majestic blue whales make their way to our California coast. The largest animals to have ever lived on Earth can be spotted from aboard Newport Landing’s 70-foot Ocean Explorer vessel on a two-hour whale-watching tour—just keep your eyes peeled for a spray of water on the horizon that can reach up to 30 feet in the air. newportwhales.com