Newport Beach, California!

Discussion in 'Southern California' started by pixarmom, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    So many posters on the DL boards have asked about day trips to the beach from DL, so I've compiled information regarding Newport Beach that I hope will be helpful. Newport Beach is located approximately 25 minutes and 18 miles away from Disneyland and is a great destination for a day trip to the beach!

    First, a few disclaimers:

    1) I am very biased. My parents met on the sand at Newport Beach when they were teenagers, and I've been vacationing in Newport annually since childhood. I've been to a number of Southern California beaches, including Laguna, Huntington, Malibu, La Jolla, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Catalina Island, etc. But Newport has been my clear favorite since childhood, as a teen, a young single adult, a young married adult and now, as a mom of three boys (currently ages 6, 13 and 14.) We usually visit in the summer (July or August), but we love the off-season just as much.

    2) I've never lived in Newport, just spent one to two weeks out of every year there in a number of different beach house rentals over nearly 40 years. I stayed in a hotel once, and my parents have experience with a few additional hotels, but our preference (even in the off-season) is always a beach house rental.

    3) Most of this thread relates to my favorite parts of Newport - the areas I really recommend - Balboa and Balboa Island area. We spend very little time near the Newport Pier or around streets higher than 19th street.

    So why Newport?​

    1) Beach Time!

    Our very favorite spot for beach time is near 15th Street.

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    The beach is very wide and extremely clean.

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    Public restrooms are available at 15th Street (not the most clean, but good to have available because beach restrooms can be hard to find – just remember to bring your own hand sanitizer or soap.)

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    The beach is located between the ocean and the boardwalk. The boardwalk (which is really a concrete sidewalk) can be busy during peak season, with bikes and pedestrians. But one of the things we love about Newport with kids is that the beach is so wide and the protected by a sidewalk, instead of narrow and running into a parking lot or busy street, like some other beaches.

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    Beach rentals, t-shirts, sand toys, towels and swimwear are available at the 15th Street Surf Shop.

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    Breakfast and lunch are available at the Stuft Surfer (with outdoor seating on the beach!)

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    When school isn’t in session, kids can play on the Newport Elementary School playground.

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    Sand toys, candy, drinks, towels, etc. are available at Fry’s Market.

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    Parking is easy and convenient in the off-season, but can be very difficult in the summer – arrive very early in the summer to secure a good spot and pay careful attention to parking signs!

    The height and strength of the waves vary significantly, so we always watch our kids carefully and we've taught them about water safety in the Pacific. The beach at 15th Street is great for playing in the waves and boogie boarding. But if we want a swimming area, we just hop over to the bay side at 10th Street. This is another thing we love about Newport – on the peninsula, we always have the choice between the quiet bay side and the waves on the ocean side. And in most places, the bay side and the ocean side are 2-3 blocks apart. Here’s a photo of the beach at 10th street on the bay side:

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  3. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    2) Balboa Pier and Fun Zone

    The Balboa Pier is home to one of our favorite spots for a fun lunch – Ruby’s! Now, Ruby’s has become a chain with locations all over the place, but the Ruby’s on the pier has been there for a very long time and is great fun.

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    At the base of the pier, we appreciate the clean restrooms (with soap dispensers!) and the playground.

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    I’ll admit the Fun Zone is not as great as it was in years past. But some of our favorites remain and are still fun for the kids – the Bay Arcade, the ferris wheel and a ton of boat rental locations. You can also catch the Catalina Flyer to Catalina Island from the Fun Zone.

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    Views of the harbor and the ocean from the ferris wheel:

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    3) Balboa Island

    The ferry to Balboa Island is located right next to the ferris wheel at the Fun Zone. It’s a 3-car ferry with room on the sides for both pedestrians and bikes. And in just a few minutes, the ferry takes you across the bay and over to Balboa Island.

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    When you exit the ferry, turn to the right and enjoy the beautiful walk along the bay on a pedestrian sideway (no bikes) to Marine Avenue. (Bathrooms are very conveniently located right when you exit the ferry on your right, and then at the base of Marine Avenue at the fire station –the fire station restrooms now have soap dispensers.)

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    Turn left on Marine Avenue and enjoy the shops and restaurants!

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    Some of our favorites:

    Dad’s for frozen bananas and donuts!

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    Cinnamon Roll Fair for gooey cinnamon rolls.

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    Picante Martin’s for breakfast burritos, and really anything else. The tortillas and beans there are amazing. I don’t even like breakfast and I love the breakfast burritos here.

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    Martha’s Bookstore – they serve complimentary tea or wine for adults and lollipops for the kids. They have a small selection of books, along with soaps, Balboa Island souvenirs and hats. Our boys love the children’s area in the back of the store.

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    Our Gang’s General Store – always a hit with our kids.

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    Balboa Candy Store – same as above!

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    Other places worth mention – Even Sisters is a fun store for women, Magnolia Charlie’s has very cute children’s clothes (purchased one of our boys’ baptism outfits here several years ago) and Rosey Toes is a cute little place for manicures and pedicures.
     
  4. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    4) The Wedge

    The Wedge is at the very tip of the Newport peninsula – it’s a beautiful spot where the bay meets the ocean, the waves are huge and the sunsets are absolutely incredible. I wish photos could do it justice!

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    5) A few extra restaurant notes!

    Two of our favorite spots for dinner (either with the kids or without) are the Crab Cooker (around in Newport for decades) and Patril (just six years old!)

    The Crab Cooker is a casual seafood restaurant with a really interesting history. They don’t take reservations and are quite crowded in the high season, but worth the wait! Earlier, I mentioned that we spend very little time past 19th Street, but Crab Cooker is good reason for an exception!

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    Patril (sorry, no photos!) is a relatively new Italian restaurant. Owners April and Patrick have created a comfortable, cozy atmosphere with great food and wine. We’ve enjoyed Patril for date nights, family dinners, a wine tasting and pizza take-out since they opened six years ago. They are located right on Balboa Blvd. between 15th Street and the Fun Zone and they DO take reservations, which is extremely convenient in the busy summer months.

    On Balboa Island, we enjoy Ciao for Italian and Picante Martin’s (see above) is great for a quick Mexican counter service!

    Hope this is helpful - I'm happy to answer any questions about Newport. Happy Planning!
     
  5. KCmike

    KCmike Never have fallen asleep on any

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    Great thread pixarmom!
     
  6. Danibelle

    Danibelle DIS Veteran

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    I second the rec on the Crab Cooker! One of my favorites in that area! :thumbsup2
     
  7. Grumpy Grandma

    Grumpy Grandma DIS Veteran

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    Your pictures brought back so many wonderful memories ... what a great job you've done!! One of my favorite walks is from one end of the boardwalk to the other .... burn off enough calories I can eat whatever I want!!! And the school on the beach .... is that not the best location for a school? Crab Cooker .... believe it or not I have a picture of it on my wall. Love taking the ferry over to Balboa Island and then strolling around. Love to watch the surfers on the Wedge but best of all is that wide sandy beach!!! :love:
     
  8. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much, KCMike! We just returned from our San Francisco to Newport trip, with overnight stops in Monterey and Santa Barbara (and tons of other stops along the way!) What did you decide about Santa Barbara?

    Danibelle, so happy to hear from a fellow Crab Cooker fan!

    Grumpy Grandma, thanks so much - and what a happy post! :hug: We walk so much at Newport that there are no calories there. I grew up walking miles each day there and love it. And Newport Elementary is fantastic! We saw the kids going into school one morning during our visit earlier this month and I was thinking the same. Funny thing is that, while I live hundreds of miles away from Newport, our youngest son's classmate's mom actually went to school at Newport Elementary! She said it was really amazing. Love to hear about the Crab Cooker picture - my parents have one on their wall, too! But the one on my wall is Britta's - not sure if you remember that - it popped up down the street from the Pavilion in the late 80s but it's been gone for a while (moved to Irvine.) I know you have lots of travel plans in the works - when is your next Newport visit?
     
  9. Grumpy Grandma

    Grumpy Grandma DIS Veteran

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    I just looked at the pictures again this morning. I had totally forgotten about the bookstore on Balboa Island! DD is flying up from LA tonight and I can't wait to show her the pictures.

    Hmmmmm ..... I like your idea .... plan a trip to Newport Beach! :cool1:
     
  10. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

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    We enjoy the Crab Cooker. Great food served on paper plates with plastic utensils.

    Woody
     
  11. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    Now THAT'S a beach!!!

    Fantastic job on this very informative thread!

    I love a nice sandy beach with lots of waves. This reminds me a lot of the beaches I love here in New England- Hampton, Salisbury, but I reckon the water is a lot warmer at Newport.

    Any comments on approx. ocean temps? 68 degree water temps are considered downright toasty around here, and we usually only hit that on a few days in August.

    It looks like there are a lot of fun activities like shopping for beach gear, arcades and amusements. I can see why you love it.

    The sunset pictures at the Wedge are spectacular! I'm sure it is amazing to see in person.

    When you rent a beach house, what is the typical access to the beach? On the beach? Across the street? A couple of blocks?

    Thanks again for sharing all of this wonderful information!
     
  12. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    That bookstore is literally a hidden gem! Just tucked away back there, and it's so nice to walk in to a friendly offer of tea or wine. I just have to remind the boys to only take one lollipop each. And then, of course, there is the little plate of decorated tea cookies on the counter, too. It's a great family spot because, although small, it has the grown-up section and the kids' section in the back with a few toys out for kids to play with. Our boys ask to go there every morning.

    Enjoy the time with your daughter!

    Yay! Another Crab Cooker fan!

    Hi Dee! Funny you mention the water temperature - it's actually pretty cold, even in the summer. Average water temp at Newport in August is around 66 degrees, and it's just gets colder after September. Since I grew up on the East Coast, I've been to several beaches from Myrtle to Nags Head to Rehoboth to Ocean City to Wildwood, NJ! But I think the farthest north would be Martha's Vineyard. I swear the water at Martha's Vineyard felt warmer than at Newport. I've been boogie boarding at Newport (well, first we used green raft things) since childhood, but I have to admit the cold water temps make it tough to stay in the water all day. So my Mother's Day gift last year was a short wetsuit! And I should mention that the waves were very tiny when I took these photo - they can get quite big.

    The great thing about rentals on the Newport peninsula is that the peninsula is only a couple blocks wide in the area we stay. We've stayed at several different places on the bay side over time, and the walk to the ocean side beach is 2 blocks. But the place we've stayed at most frequently is the house with the American flag in this photo:

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    So beach access is on the other side of the sidewalk! For a few years, we stayed at another place in a similar location just a couple blocks down the sidewalk. That beach access is wonderful - the only negatives are: 1) the cost; and 2) the fact that the sidewalk can get busy in the summer, especially on weekends. The bay side is less expensive and very quiet, but there's the 2-block walk. Great either way!
     
  13. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    Another wonderful spot near Newport is Crystal Cove State Park near Laguna Beach. Parking is easier here and you can either walk or take a tram down to the beach. My parents have enjoyed the Beachcomber Restaurant at Crystal Cove for years, and I finally tried it with my family earlier this month. Loved it! Great views, casual atmosphere, interesting menu and great choices for kids. As you can see from the photos, the beach is beautiful.

    A few photos:

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  14. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    Hi, pixarmom! :cool1:

    I haven't said hello to you since last year, and it's funny because I just thought of you yesterday and here you are! I am planning to add an update to my Catalina Island thread and was thinking about the people who had already been kind enough to post in it (such as yourself).

    I love love love your idea for this dedicated Newport Beach thread.:banana: I love the photos you have posted - the beaches look so inviting - and you've covered a good array of beach pictures, city pictures, etc.

    I'm going to move this over to the SoCal forum (right now it's in the main California & the West section but it should be in SoCal). I will leave a redirect for it so people can find it, but I just wanted to let you know!

    Again - fantastic thread!!
     
  15. natebenma

    natebenma DIS Veteran

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    More great beach pictures! The one with gull is beautiful.

    I :love: the beach!

    Thanks for info on temps. I think I would be right at home! These pictures remind me a lot of New England Beaches.

    I think you are not far off the mark with the Martha's Vineyard beaches- I think they tend to be warmer because of their position in the Gulf Stream.
     
  16. Grumpy Grandma

    Grumpy Grandma DIS Veteran

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    Sherry would you mind post a link to your Catalina Island thread here. I'd love to read it. Thanks! :thumbsup2
     
  17. Sherry E

    Sherry E Currently tag-less... Moderator

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    I hope pixarmom doesn't mind.:guilty: I don't want to hijack her thread, but she did post in the Catalina thread so her contributions can be found there as well!

    The Catalina thread is actually immediately underneath this Newport Beach thread on the forum page:

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2703621

    It started out being about the free birthday boat offer, but I called upon pixarmom and PrincessInOz to share their Catalina experiences as well. Then other DIS'ers spoke up. I think I posted links to my own photos (I can't recall). Eventually Endy took advantage of the free boat offer and reported back to us about her first trip to Catalina.

    I had planned on doing a Catalina Superthread last year (much like my Halloween and Christmas Superthreads on the Disneyland forum). but it didn't happen. I plan on resurrecting that idea this year. In the meantime, the current thread is interesting.

    :dance3:

    Now - enough hijacking from me! Back to pixarmom's wonderful Newport Beach thread (with such amazing photos!)!!:cool1::cool1::dance3:
     
  18. Grumpy Grandma

    Grumpy Grandma DIS Veteran

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    Thank you Sherry and now ladies and gentlemen back to our feature event ..... NEWPORT BEACH!!!!
     
  19. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    Hello Sherry!!! SO happy to hear from you and thank you for moving this to the right place! I was thinking of you when I took some of these photos because it was such clear day with the most clear view of Catalina I've ever seen! Can you see the island in the photos?

    And OF COURSE you should link to your wonderful Catalina thread. In fact, I was thinking about that when I put the thread together. To me, Catalina is a part of Newport - just hop on the Catalina Flyer and you're there in no time. I considered a day in Catalina on our last trip, but my beloved Flyer had no weekday departures during that time in the offseason. We would have to travel to Long Beach to catch the Express. After driving down the coast from San Francisco to Newport, we had no driving time left in us!

    I do plan a return to Catalina next year while we're in Newport. So I'll try to get some photos to add! I have to go catch up on your thread and see what might be helpful. I just recently learned that they have ziplining on Catalina now - a HUGE draw for our older boys. So excited about that!

    Hugs to you! :hug:

    Grumpy Grandma, have you been to Catalina before? I just can't say enough good things about it. Enjoy Sherry's amazing thread, and always feel free to talk about Catalina here - like I said, it's a part of Newport to me!

    I do think Crystal Cove would be a perfect spot for you, Dee! Those rocks and coves are just so amazing. In some ways, the waves splashing on the rocks reminded me of Monterey - but much warmer. And there is even a rock-free area for boogie boarding, so it's quite perfect. And the cottages for rent are very retro, very inexpensive and right on the beach - just have to learn the system because it's a tough one to book. (Remember Bette Midler and the movie Beaches? They filmed it there.) And the Beachcomber restaurant quickly became one of my favorites - amazing view, yummy margarita, Tiny Ahi Tacos . . . doesn't get much better!
     
  20. Grumpy Grandma

    Grumpy Grandma DIS Veteran

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    pixarmom it's been years since I've been to Catalina. I do get a little seasick in those boats going over. I hate to take the seasick pills .... they always make me feel very strange for several hours. Guess what I need to do is spend the night instead of just doing a day trip!! :goodvibes

    I'm flying down to LA on Monday for a little over a week. My daughter loves Huntington Beach but I'm really a Newport Beach kind of girl. Maybe I can talk her into a nice long walk along the boardwalk in NB??? :confused3
     
  21. pixarmom

    pixarmom DIS Veteran

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    Linda, I know what you mean about seasick. I've been on the flyer with my dad enough times to really understand the impact of seasickness and the nearly equally horrible impact of seasickness pills - it's really tough on him!

    My mom and I have spent many days over many years taking the ferry over to Balboa Island and walking around the perimeter of the island. Everyone else walks directly from the ferry to Marine - my mom is the only one who will walk the entire perimeter with me! :) We love that Rosey Toes place for manicures and pedicures and we've enjoyed lunch outside at Ciao's on a few occasions. Hope you can talk your daughter into that walk!
     

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