Vacation year-round in southern California: Newport Beach offers something for everyone | Destinations


While most of the country experiences less than perfect year-round weather, Newport Beach visitors can enjoy nearly their entire vacation outdoors regardless of the time of year. With its sunshine and coastal breezes, this is one of the best nearby destinations.

The drive is just under six hours from Scottsdale or a quick hour and 15-minute flight from Sky Harbor to the easy to navigate John Wayne Airport in California.

There are plenty of lodging options from a five-star resort of the Balboa Bay Resort to the upscale Lido house hotel. Our pick for local options is the Newport Beach Hotel. Its location is steps from the beach, and it is a perfect spot for access to all of the local shops and restaurants. The hotel offers suites with full kitchens, has bikes, boogie boards, chairs and umbrellas available for use and has that charm of a boutique hotel.

Newport Beach also is home to a large selection of casual restaurants and family-friendly attractions, including the Fun Zone with a Ferris wheel and arcade. The best way to get around is to rent beach cruisers and take those up and down the boardwalk. 

The area also has the ExplorOcean nautical museum and marine biology experience, Crystal Cove State Beach & Park. The ecological landscapes, tide pools and marine habitats require more than one visit to see it all.

Newport Harbor has a reputation for being one of the largest small yacht harbors in the world. It attracts visitors who like to kayak, pedal boat, paddleboard, sail, or cruise on an electric Duffy boat, invented in Newport in 1970.

Newport Beach itself is known for the dining, shopping, resorts and spas. The surfers enjoy miles of pristine white sand beaches, tide pools and coves to explore.

Neighboring Huntington Beach offers some of the best surfing in the region. You can pop into the surf museum to see the world’s largest surfboard or check out the surfing walk of fame.

An hour north of Newport by car you can enjoy Universal Studios. The family-friendly day trip is worth the drive. It was originally built to offer tours of the real movie sets and is one of the first fully developed theme parks in the world. The minute you step foot in the park you are transported to another world.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, then look no further as you tour the Hogwarts Castle and fly on broomsticks. Kids can get fitted for a wand made just for them and cast spells at pop-up activations around the area.

Or visit the infamous Studio Tour to experience movie sets from some of our favorite films of all time. Some of the favorite thrills of the day included the Jurassic Park ride, The Mummy roller coaster and the Simpsons never disappoint.

The food onsite was delicious and well-priced. As a parent to a child with a food allergy, meals seem to be one of the most challenging parts of any vacation. We stopped at Sud’s McDuff’s Hotdog House and the staff was trained and had a binder with allergen information available. For those of us who struggle with this it was perhaps the best part of our day.

A trip to Legoland is equal distance from Newport Beach and is probably one of the best destinations for those with young children. The rides are appropriate for those kiddos just getting their feet wet on thrill rides and Miniland inside the park reflects iconic buildings all using the LEGO brick. There is plenty to explore as the park is adjacent to a waterpark, an aquarium, and the Legoland Hotel.

For dog lovers, Newport Beach is beyond dog friendly. Your furry friends are welcomed at boutiques, outdoor cafes, the beach, and even four-star hotels, making this travel destination perfect for animal lovers.

Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a weekend with friends or a family-friendly getaway, Newport Beach is a great choice. It has been voted the Top 10 Best Family Beaches in the U.S. and Best Urban Beach in the World.


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